Free Windows Screen Readers: NVDA and Thunder

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Screen reader is software that makes a computer talk to you. It allows blind and vision impaired people to access and interact with the computer without needing to see the screen. With it, users will be able to write letters and documents, chat, and perform other computer operations easily by just hearing. If you are looking for a free screen reader program then here are two great options for Windows Operating System: NonVisual Desktop Access (NVDA) and Thunder.

NonVisual Desktop Access is an open-source screen reader that provides users feedback via synthetic speech and Braille. It works with almost all Windows applications allowing users to browse the web, email, chat and even use command line programs.It also has the ability to run on Windows logon screen where many applications don’t work.

NVDA offers additional voices, which you can download and install if you are not happy with the default one. The program can be run entirely from a portable media without the need for installation.

More features:

  • Browse the web
  • Read and write documents with programs such as Microsoft Word or Notepad
  • Create basic spreadsheets in Microsoft Excel
  • Send and Receive email with Outlook
  • Supports internet chat programs
  • Supports Windows Command Prompt and other console applications
  • Manage computer through My Computer, Control Panel and other areas
  • Built in speech synthesizer supporting over 43 languages
  • Supports many refreshable braille displays
  • Available as a portable and installer program with easy talking installer

NVDA is compatible with both 32 and 64 bit variants of Windows XP, Vista, Windows 7. You can get it at the below link.

Download: NonVisual Desktop Access

Thunder is another screen reader for Windows which provides feedback via synthetic speech. It is not open-source, but is free for all to use. Thunder is also available as a portable and installer version. It works on 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Windows XP Service Pack 3 or later.

Download: Thunder