Technology for learning and equipment loan

Technology can be used to support many areas of your learning including making resources easier to read and more accessible, or using software to compile ideas and information. Below are some tools that you can use to support your learning. We also have small items of ergonomic equipment and Dictaphones that can be loaned for up to 3 months.

Support with reading  

  • Hear text read aloud to aid understanding.

  • Change background colours.

  • Use scanning tools to create audio files or alternative formats of printed materials.

  • Spot errors in your own work.

Support with reading
Natural Readers documents to hear them read aloud whilst the sentences are highlighted. Guidance document: Natural readers text-to-speech (Office document, 491kB).

Read Aloud


Available in Word for Microsoft 365. If you have a Word document there is a read aloud feature built-in to read the text. Guidance document: Word Read Aloud and Immersive Reader (Office document, 709kB)

Immersive Reader


Available in Word Online for Microsoft 365. To change the spacing of a document, use reading rulers, change the background colour or display sylablle breaks in Word Online, go to the View menu and click Immersive Reader. Guidance document: Word Read Aloud and Immersive Reader (Office document, 709kB)

Mac Reader


Apple Macintosh computers (Macs) have a facility built in to read in various programmes. To set up see the guidance document: Mac text to speech (Office document, 21kB)

Sensus Access


Create alternative formats is a web-based conversion tool. Transfer documents into accessible formats including PDF to Word, MP3 and Braille. Guidance document: Sensus Access alternative formats (Office document, 216kB)

Blackboard Ally

The materials you receive through blackboard can be changed into alternative formats including translations, PDF to word and MP3, plus Beeline create an easier format to read. Guidance document: Blackboard Ally (Office document, 315kB) 

Texthelp Read&Write

Text-to-speech software available in all libraries and study centres. Also from software self service via a university managed laptop. Information and online training here  (login required).

Mind mapping software

  • Plan and organise your essay or project in a visual way.
  • Take notes in a non-linear visual style.
  • See connections and links.
  • Collate your notes and materials in one place.
Mind mapping

Available in all libraries and study centres, and from software self service via a university managed laptop. 

Note taking - learning & productivity

  • Audio note taking app 
  • Support with capture and organsiation of lecture notes
  • Can be used on own device 
Note taking


Contact Library Support to set up access on your own device. 

Information and online training

Support with writing

  • Speak instead of typing.
  • Avoid difficulties with keyboard use and spelling.
  • Get ideas on paper quickly
Support with writing
Dragon Naturally Speaking
Dragon is available on site to those who already use it in the Meet & Speak Room and
Accessible Group Study Room (AGSR), Arts and Social Sciences Library. When setting up your profile on a shared PC please use a non-identifiable user name.

Screen reading and display enhancement 

  • Hear text read aloud to aid understanding.
  • Enlarge and enhance screen text.
Display enhancement
JAWS Screen Reader

Product information. Available in the Accessible Technology Room, Arts and Social Sciences Library, and PC Room, Queen's Building Library.

Video captioning Automatically caption any audio/video playing in your Google Chrome browser (live or recorded). To setup please see the guidance document: Captioning on Chrome (Office document, 21kB)
Windows magnification Further information to follow**
Mac magnification Further information to follow**

Screen magnification and reading. Information and videos. Please ask Library Support for further information. 

If specialist assistive technology is required for a disability please contact Disability Services:

Overview of assistive software

Library Support can provide an introduction to and further information about the assistive software listed.

Productivity tools

A range of freely-available online tools to help with reading, writing and ways to enhance screen display.

Ergonomic equipment loan

Equipment you can borrow to adapt your study space, including:

  • foot rests
  • wrist rests
  • back support
  • ergonomic mice.

Borrow small items for up to 3 months or discuss equipment available for use within our libraries and study centres.

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