There are many free accessibility options that come with the installation of Microsoft and Mozilla that are not widely known in the general public’s knowledge bank. Some of them are helpful if you found yourself in pinch without your specific software i.e. if you wanted text from the Web read while at a public access machine without Kurzweil; and some are worth downloading or changing the options on your own machine. A word to the wise, open these links in the browser supported by its creator because the information looks very different in the other browser.
Windows Vista and XP; 2007 and 2003 Office System including Microsoft Reader; and Internet Explorer 7
Microsoft’s Text to Speech Reader
Enhance eReading with New Accessibility Options
Microsoft Reader for Tablet PC and Microsoft Reader for Windows-based PCs and laptops boast accessibility features that are bringing eBooks to more communities and providing a richer on-screen reading experience with additional TTS and Verbosity functionality. To enable Microsoft Reader to take advantage of existing speech technologies, you must install the Microsoft Reader Text-to-Speech (TTS) Package.
Note: You must have Microsoft Reader installed on your machine before the Microsoft Reader Text-to-Speech Package can be installed. This download does not change the behavior in Microsoft Excel version 2002.
Microsoft Reader Text-to-Speech Package is localized in three languages. All versions maintain the same system requirements, but the download size varies slightly.
Microsoft Reader Installation
Tips for using Microsoft Reader
Mozilla’s accessibility features and products
Screen readers with Firefox 3 The list of compatible screen readers on this page does not mention the availability of the new Kurzweil 3000 plug in which makes Kurzweil 3000 compatible as well.
Common Issues Fixed in Firefox 3
For problems with Firefox PDF plugin
Firefox’s screen reader – Fire Vox
Download and installation guide
Fire Vox is an open source, freely available talking browser extension for the Firefox web browser. Think of it as a screen reader that is designed especially for Firefox.
In addition to the basic features that are expected of screen readers, such as being able to identify headings, links, images, etc. and providing navigational assistance, Fire Vox provides support for MathML and CSS speech module properties. It also works on Windows, Macintosh, and Linux.
Fire Vox Tutorial