Accessibility Options for Visually-impaired Users

ebrary offers two alternatives to assist visually-impaired users:

OPTION A – A screen-readable, text-only mode for QuickView used in conjunction with a separate text-to-speech program such as JAWS

OPTION B – Unity Reader’s built-in text-to-speech feature


OPTION A – Using QuickView’s screen-readable, text-only mode

Most popular option because typically visually-impaired users already have a familiar text-to-speech program

If a librarian requests accessibility mode for a particular user, we can provide that user with a special screen-readable text mode:

Step 1 – Librarian contacts ebrary’s customer support team at and requests the text-only option for an individual user.  We will need the user’s personal ebrary account username.

Step 2 – The user can then activate the text-only mode as follows:

a) Go to your ebrary site and log in to your personal ebrary account

b) Click on the “My Settings” button at the top right of the ebrary page

c) In the window that appears, toward the bottom under the heading “Choose your accessibility mode:” select “Display in accessibility mode”

d) Scroll down and click “Set Preferences” button to activate change

e) Once those changes are made, anytime the user is signed in to their bookshelf account, all documents opened in QuickView will be viewed in the special screen-readable, text-only mode

f) The user can then use QuickView in conjunction with JAWS or another text-to-speech program

For tips on using Jaws with ebrary Accessibility Mode, see:

OPTION B – Using the text-to-speech feature of ebrary’s Unity Reader

Step 1 – If the Unity Reader is available on your ebrary site and it works on your particular system, you will be able to open documents using the “ebrary reader” button.  If you don’t see that button, contact your librarian who can contact

Step 2 – Using the text-to-speech feature of the Unity Reader

a) Open an ebrary document by clicking the “ebrary reader” button

b) Click on the “Speech” tab just to the right of the TOC and Notes tabs

c) Highlight the text to be read aloud

d) To begin having the text read aloud, click the speech-bubble icon

e) To stop the text being read aloud, re-click that same button

f) There are also buttons to pause, skip back one sentence, and skip ahead one sentence, as well as options for a male or female voice (Bob or Alice) and controlling pitch and speed

With Adobe Digital Editions 2.0, full-document downloads can be read by screen readers

For more info, see Adobe Digital Editions FAQs at:

Click on “How do I use it with screen reading technology?

To upgrade to the newest version of Adobe Digital Editions, proceed as if to install Adobe Digital Editions, and it will detect that you’re upgrading:

  1. From your computer, go to
  2. Scroll down and click: “Download Adobe Digital Editions ›
  3. Follow the steps as prompted


Tips for using JAWS software with ebrary Accessibility Mode

The following are “best practices” from advanced users of JAWS with ebrary’s accessibilty mode:

Begin searches as follows:

  • Select CTRL HOME
  • Arrow down
  • Go to “Skip Navigation”
  • Then use either arrows or CTRL F to reach the desired link.

To get to the Links list view:

  • Select INS F7

Note, once you successfully select a page number, and the page loads, you need to press ESC (escape key) to get to the text on that page.