Monday, May 11, 2009

Help Ten

Ten Things for Writers with Impairments

Freeware caution: always scan free downloads of anything for bugs and other threats before dumping the programs into your hard drive.

Click-N-Type virtual keyboard freeware provides "an on-screen virtual keyboard designed for anyone with a disability that prevents him or her from typing on a physical computer keyboard. As long as the physically challenged person can control a mouse, trackball, touch screen or other pointing device, this software keyboard allows you to send keystrokes to virtually any Windows application or DOS application that can run within a window." Version 3.03 has a page explaining new and helpful features (OS:Windows 95/98/ME/NT/2000/XP/Vista)

Disability Resources on the Internet is a majorly helpful and useful site for people with all types of impairments. has a page of software programs to aid the dyslexic, a couple of these are free or have free trials or demos.

Iconico's EasyRead utility allows you to view HTML pages and magnify them as you browse the web via Internet Explorer (OS: Windows XP)

Inspired Code's resources for the visually impaired includes SayPad, "a freeware talking text editor that can read you a good book or help you write one, using the latest speech technology. It carefully installs the SAPI 5.1 Text To Speech engine from a compact 8.2 megabyte download. This is a quick and painless way to get the SAPI5 TTS onto your system, plus it does cool things like read to you with natural phrasing as a person would. You can fit huge files into it like the whole Bible for instance, which you can prove by downloading it below. (In fact it has a filter you can turn on that skips over verse numbers to let you hear it like a story.) SayPad can now convert Text to Audio, even a whole book in one run, splitting off chapters into separate, well named Audio files you can burn onto a CD" (OS: Win98/Me/2000/XP)

For the visually impaired, there's a free trial download of The Magnifying Glass Pro utility, a "virtual magnifier (virtual lens, screen-zoomer) that enables you to enlarge (magnify) text and graphics as they are displayed on your computer monitor or attached television screen, or projected onto a larger media during a presentation (e.g., using an application such as PowerPoint). As you pass your mouse cursor over a section of the viewing area, the display is magnified making it instantly more readable and accessible. In addition, you can apply a variety of visual effects and enhancements to that display" (OS: Windows 9x/ME/NT/ 2000/XP/Vista)

For those who need a free screen magnifier utility or program, check out's freeware and shareware list.

Panopreter "reads text files, word documents and web pages in .htm format, it can read in English, Spanish, French, German, Italian, Chinese, Japanese and more, provided such Text-To-Speech voice engines have been installed on your computer. Panopreter converts the files into audio files with the format of wave and MP3. So you can hear your files with your audio media player, you don't need to sit at the desk, with your eyes fixed on the computer's screen any longer. Panopreter is also a good aid to any language learning program. You install the Text-To-Speech voices for the specific language, then you can hear the files being read for you" (OS: Windows XP/2003/Vista)

The Talking Dictionary is designed "for use by visually impaired and/or disabled computer users. It is a very powerful program using an incredibly detailed dictionary/thesaurus database. Full instructions are included" Note: although this is advertised as completely free on a couple of sites, it's only a free trial download. (OS: Windows 95 or higher)

TTSReader is "a full-featured, text-to speech software package that allows reading text aloud as well as to wav or mp3 files" (OS: Win 98/ME/2K/XP/2K3/Vista)


  1. Thank you for highlighting this issue! Thank you thank you thank you (x1000)!

  2. I know you like to give heads up to writers on open markets. I thought I would share the newest call for submissions from The Library of the Living Dead. I had a short story in the latest anthology "Zombology" and really enjoyed working with Dr. Pus (Dr. Mike West in real life).

    "I'm going to put out a horror anthology that will contain only female penned stories.

    Any horror genre will be accepted. Word count max will be 7K. I'm hoping to make this a huge tome.

    Only female authors will be accepted.

    Send you submissions to .... ... and title the e-mail "Ladies".

    Please send submisson in Rich Text Format.

    You will be paid one cent per work and receive two copies of the book when it's published.

    This is my way to thank you ladies for all of the cool stories I've received already from those of the "female persuasion."

    Undead love,