Skip To Content

Athabasca University

AT Writing Support Software

Writing software helps you increase the speed at which you type.

Hand Writing Recognition

Tablets are proving useful for their portability and connectivity. Hand writing recognition has been around for a long time but it now has become more portable and affordable through the use of tablets and smart phones. Some one with hand motor challenges may find these blogs useful.

On a computer:

On a tablet or smart phone:

  • A Macademise blog that compares 3 iPad apps (7NotesHD, NotesPlus, WritePad):

Voice Dictation/Recognition

Voice recognition requires a few considerations before undertaking it. It requires patience to train it, the ability to correct its mistakes, a strong voice pattern with minimal accent or slurring of words and the ability to speak continuously. Voice recognition today analyses words in context and predicts the best fit.

Apple's OS X 10.8 has Built-In Voice Dictation
This article outlines how to enable and use Dictation in OS X Mountain Lion. It is free in that OS and is not a bad solution for free. Ensure you place your microphone at the corner of your mouth, approximately one inch away. This will work in any area where you can type text. Just press the defined shortcut key, say the text you want to type and press the shortcut key again to stop it. No training required.

Windows 7 Voice Recognition
Windows 7 has built in voice recognition too. So you can use your voice to control your computer. You can say commands that the computer will respond to, and you can dictate text to the computer. Check out this Microsoft Tutorial page:

A video comparison of the Windows 7 Speech Recognition feature and commercially available Dragon Naturally Speaking. The video demonstrates how to correct using Dragon as well:

Windows 8 Speech Recognition
Windows 8 Speech Recognition feature information can be found at the following link:

Dragon Naturally Speaking for Windows

Select a compatible microphone or digital recorder for Nuance products like Dragon

Dragon Naturally Speaking for Windows Video Tutorials

Dragon Dictate for Mac

Word Prediction

A window on the screen follows the typing cursor and tries to predict the word you are typing. The goal is to minimize keystrokes. Custom vocabulary lists can be imported and some software can read the words aloud to help in comprehension.

Word prediction considerations include:

  • Is typing uncomfortable or slow?
  • Are you able to not be lead in content by the prediction window?



FREE on the mac - Word prediction. Suggests words after typing a few letters.

Where to Find It: In many applications simply start typing and press either F5 or the Esc key

Mouse and Keyboard Alternatives

This type of assistive technology software and hardware require website and application developers to ensure keyboard functionality and keep accessibility guiding principles in mind.

Windows has an on-screen keyboard built in.

OptiKey is an on-screen keyboard for Windows. It is to be used with an eye-tracking device to bring keyboard control, mouse control and speech to people with motor and speech limitations, such as Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), Motor Neuron Disease (MND), Multiple Sclerosis or similar conditions. Check out for more info and to download.

Eye Tracking Systems involve a camera mounted on a monitor or head born headset which monitors eye movement. The learnt eye gestures control the cursor or pointer and may be difficult.

There are various other hardware and software devices, less complicated such as:

Updated September 07 2016 by Student & Academic Services

AU, CANADA'S OPEN UNIVERSITY, is an internationally recognized leader in online and distance learning.