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Reading online: tools that can help

by Alison Taylor on 2021-03-10T11:19:00+00:00 | Comments

Pug wearing round glasses

We’re all spending a lot of time in front of screens. Give your eyes a break with some of these options to make reading online easier. Whether you want software that reads aloud to you, different fonts or a change of background colour, there are tools that can help you.

Reading aloud from web pages

This article from AbilityNet shows lots of options on how to make your device talk to you.
Google Lens is worth a look. It offers a scanning and OCR widget, although it isn’t really intended for whole books.
For short, downloaded documents like journal articles, Sensus Access is useful for converting to MP3. Sensus Access is available from our website.


Accessing ebooks

Our two main ebook providers are ProQuest Ebook Central and VLEbooks. Both providers have settings that can improve your reading experience. These guides tell you more:

ProQuest Ebook Central


You can use the ebooks tab to search across our entire ebook collection on Library Search. You can also search ProQuest Ebook Central and VLEbooks individually.

ATBar and tools for audio

Our resource list for accessibility tools tells you more about AT Bar and other tools you can try.

You’ll need to download AT Bar to your browser. AT Bar works well with ProQuest ebooks, where you might want to highlight a portion of text on a page.

You could also try Read Aloud for text to speech. It is a Chrome browser extension.

Journal articles and audio options

Some journal articles can be downloaded as an MP3 file so you can listen rather than read. Here is an example:

Control bar above a journal article with the download button highlighted

This example article is on the Taylor and Francis website. Above the article title there is an option to ‘listen’. Clicking the menu button reveals a download option, shown above. Other journal websites can offer similar functions.

Fonts and background colours

Our resource list for accessibility tools has several tools which can change the font, size or background colour of your screen to whatever combination suit you best. As well as AT Bar can help you here as can Noverlay, HelperBird and ColorVeil. And when evening comes, it’s a good idea to stop the blue light from your device from disturbing your sleep. Check out the article at the end of the list on just this topic, change your device settings and sleep well zzzzzzzzz.

Koala sleeping on a branch

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