AccessApps

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AccessApps is the result of an initiative supported jointly from its inception by Jisc Techdis and the Jisc Regional Support Centres. It consists of over 50 Open Source and freeware Windows applications, capable of running from a USB stick. Access Apps provides a range of solutions to support writing, reading and planning as well as sensory, cognitive and physical difficulties.

Portable applications are software programs that run directly from an external drive (e.g. USB stick) without needing to be installed on a host computer. This means that a user who needs to change screen colours, use text-to-speech software, magnify the screen or use an alternative mouse/keyboard can carry their software around in their pocket for use wherever they happen to be, and are not limited by the restricted access often in place in their institution. The use of freely available portable applications also offers learners the opportunity to try out assistive technologies and assess their suitability without the financial outlay necessary to purchase commercial applications. While some learners will need more functionality than AccessApps provides, by trying the free version they gain a clearer idea of what they want to look for in a commercial version, and can make an informed choice.

Portable applications can provide effective tools for all users - staff and students alike - whether or not they have a disability. For those with disabilities, they are excellent cost effective ways of providing independent support that can work on almost any PC in any context. They particularly benefit users needing to access different PCs across different sites - for example, work-based or adult community learning. AccessApps has generated a great deal of interest from a variety of education providers, including those from the Offender Learning, Work-Based Learning and Adult and Community Learning sectors, as well as mainstream HE and FE due to the flexibility, ease of use and low cost of the technologies involved.

 You can download either the original AccessApps bundles from

  1. the AccessApps Downloads page or
  2. the enhanced "Access tools" bundle from the University of Southampton. This has a more accessible interface.

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