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Useful free tools

There are many freely available resources and browser plugins that can make websites and electronic resources easier to use. This page is far from exhaustive, but provides an idea of the types of tools available. As these are third-party tools, the library service may only be able to provide limited assistance. Please get in touch and we'll do our best to help.

AbilityNet has general advice on making your device easier to use, including:


The University of Southampton’s ATbar is free and lets you change the look and feel of webpages, increase and decrease font sizes, have text read aloud, use coloured overlays, readability and a dictionary to aid reading. Spell check forms and try word prediction when writing. It is available for most popular browsers.

ATHENA: Free Assistive Technology

Along with the tools highlighted in this guide, the ATHENA Free Software Inventory highlights a wide range of freely available software that assists people with disabilities.

Software suitable for use on mobile devices and tablets can be found at mATHENA: Free Assistive Technology Software Inventory for Mobile Devices

Headings Map

This browser extension generates an index of any web document with headings that make a website easier to navigate. It's particualrly useful for very long webpages. Web developers also use this extension when identifying structural problems with their own sites.

Headings Map for Firefox

Headings Map for Chrome

Magic Reader

Adjust the font size and line spacing of the main content of a webpage automatically based on your preference. Unlike the zoom function in a web browser, Magic Reader only affects the main content of a webpage, allowing you to focus on what's important.

Magic Reader for Chrome

High Contrast

High Contrast lets you browse the web with your choice of several high-contrast color filters designed to make it easier to read text.

When you install this extension, all pages are "inverted", so black becomes white and white becomes black. Press the "browser action" icon in the toolbar to toggle it on and off, or customize your settings on a per-site basis. Use a convenient keyboard shortcut to quickly change your settings while you browse.

High Contrast for Chrome

Reader View

Reader view strips away clutter like buttons, background images, and changes the page's text size, contrast and layout for better readability. The extension allows you to toggle between normal view and reader view by pressing the page-action button. It is useful in jounral platfoms to remove addditional links and clutter when you are trying to focus on the actual article.

Reader View for Chrome

Reader View for Firefox

Selection Reader (Text to Speech)

High quality text-to-speech reader capable of seamlessly reading large amounts of text. Can read out large amounts of text. Once the plugin is installed, selct the text you want read out, right click and then 'Read out selection'.

Selection Reader (Text to Speech) for Chrome

A similar extension is available on Firefox

Read Aloud: A Text to Speech Voice Reader

Swift Read

Swit read lets the user read text two or three times faster. The number of words appearing on screen can be controlled, along with the speed at which they display. A useful tool for those who prefer less clutter on their screen.

SwiftRead for Chrome

Feedback and contact details

If you find any accessibility problems or think Springshare is not meeting accessibility requirements, contact the Springshare Support Team.

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