Screen Reader Support

Does anyone know if VoiceOver (or JAWS or WindowEyes) works properly with Scrivener in either the Mac or Windows flavors? This is something that my wife and I have wondered for quite some time as I love the software and she hears me rave about it, but until recently, there wasn’t a windows version. I don’t run a version of windows so i have no way to test and see, and she is usually doing something on hers that would prevent me from downloading the software and trying it. (Not to mention that I actually know very little about how to use a screen reader…)


Hi, I’m not a regular user of any screen-reader software, but I’m familiar with them due to my previous career of building accessible websites for charities.

As a quick test, I’ve tried VoiceOver with Scrivener (On my Mac of course) and it “mostly” works how I’d expect to see it working, but it really was a quick test.

The only issues I encountered were conflicts between keyboard shortcuts, so some behaviour I do via keyboard in Scrivener (Ctrl+Alt+Cmd+I or K to switch between comments & Meta data editing) clash with VoiceOver, and the “Ignore next key-press” command of VO+Tab (Ctrl+Alt+Tab), didn’t work in this instance. My tech-guru gut feeling tells me there’ll be a work around.

Also my text was being read out as column 1 in table 1, I don’t know if that’s due to my formatting or just how the internal rtf text is managed.

The only way to be certain if it’ll all work for you and your wife, is to try it and see. I’m sure Keith and Lee would be more than happy to discuss any issues you encounter.

It’s my understanding that both the OSX & PC versions of Scrivener are just native apps for their respective platforms, therefore they “should” work fine with any screen-reader. But I could certainly imagine there being areas where conflicts could exist.

As to Jaws etc. I never encountered a “standard” PC app that didn’t “work” (I’m not saying they were usable, EG Photoshop with Jaws may well work, but is it usable?)

The other area to evaluate of course is whether or not Scrivener will be usable with a screen-reader. Does she have any vision to be able to navigate with a screen magnifier? Or will she be totally reliant on keyboard nav?

Another of my gut feelings (based on my experience with Scrivener and having worked with a broad spectrum of computer users with different levels of accessibility needs for accessibility accreditation) is that the big benefits of Scrivener over “simple” word processors, is in it’s organisational aspects. The ability to “see” the structure of your project either in the outliner, cork-board or binder.

How well this transfers to the experience of using a screen reader… I’m not too sure. It will all depend on how the writer in question (your wife?) can keep a mental map of the application.

Ok. I’ve got my wife running though the VoiceOver quick start on our Mac Mini, and as she was doing so, I was paying a little bit of attention to how to do things in VoiceOver. Since I had Scrivener in the foreground on my Mac, I enabled VoiceOver and navigated around a bit. Overall Scrivener seems accessible under OS 10.6.6, but there are quite a few unlabeled buttons that while I’ve never used (to my knowledge) that I feel should be labeled so that a user that uses VoiceOver knows what they are.

As an update on this a decade later, I don’t run a mac, but hear that Scrivener is fairly accessible via screen reader. The windows app hasn’t fared so well. I tried downloading the beta version last year, and couldn’t even get the installer to work with my screen reader. I use JAWS. I am well able to orient myself on a mental map, and would love to dive into Scrivener, but won’t be able to do so until screen readers can gather all the relevant info from the app in question. I don’t fancy buying a mac Just to run one app, and iOS doesn’t support the entire feature suite for Scrivener. Sad day indeed.

Good day,

I am a big fan of Litterature & Latte and Scrivener in particular. I used to use it a lot, until my eyesight dropped and I had to start using a screen reader(JAWS).
The Windows version of Scrivener is sadly unusable with a screen reader. The IOS version works better but as the OP mentionned, the IOS version don’t contain the full features of the Windows version.

IIn another thread, I saw a poster mentionned trying the beta of Scrivener 3 for Windows and even the installer was unaccessible.

I would love to use Scrivener again. I do know however that it is much easier to add accessibility early in the development cycle than it is trying to fix afterward. I wanted to help raise awareness of the need for accessibility. Several ressources exist for developers wanting to code accessible software. Example, JAWS Inspect by Vispero.

Thank you for all the efforts to make a great writting tool and for your attention.

Sonya Coulombe