With the increase in the number of students using Mac computers on campus we’ve seen a growing need for Mac software to support e-text, specifically the format we use, Daisy.
There are currently three options I recommend for Mac computer users who receive e-text: Emerson-Reader (a free text to speech reader), VoiceOver (Apple software built into all Macs), and ReadHear (a $120 text to speech reader).
Emerson-Reader. This free reader is very simple and takes almost no time to learn how to use. If you use VoiceOver frequently, an FYI that VoiceOver does not work with Emerson-Reader. I recommend this software as the first option for most of you.
VoiceOver is Apple’s own screen reader software built into your Mac computer. Learn about VoiceOver. It takes some learning to use it most effectively, and is a great tool, but is probably more complicated than most of you want to spend the time learning about. There is also a very nice tutorial within VoiceOver, when you turn it on. You can use VoiceOver to access your e-text from DAS, but it takes more effort than the other two options because Microsoft Office software is not fully compatible with VoiceOver yet. You can use TextEdit, Apple’s built in word processing software, to access e-text with VoiceOver.
ReadHear is a very new text to speech product that is more advanced than the free Emerson-Reader. Similar to Emerson-Reader it takes almost no time to learn how to use, and it is compatible with VoiceOver. It is a nice product, and if you are a member of RFB&D (Recordings for the Blind & Dyslexic) you can get it for free! Otherwise, the $120 cost makes it more prohibitive than the other two options for students. You can download a free 30 day demo on their website.
Hopefully this info helps. We will be creating a new DAS Tutorial for Mac e-text and will post it on our website when it is finished. I am more than happy to help anyone who wants to learn to use any of these software options, feel free to get in touch now or whenever you would like.