LibreOffice has support for various Accessibility aspects: keyboard navigation, scheming, assistive technology (AT) support, and much more. Details can be found here: https://www.libreoffice.org/get-help/accessibility/
Java Accessibility Bridge
Assistive Technology support on Windows is no longer dependent on the Java Accessibility Bridge to a Java runtime as the project has implemented an IAccessible2 (v1.3) based native bridge.
There is a mailing list ( firstname.lastname@example.org) which can be used for user questions and comments, as well as for developer-related subjects.
- Subscribe by sending a blank email to email@example.com.
- or visit the archives
LibreOffice AT support
LibreOffice exposes it's information to AT via the the IAccessible2 API on Windows, via GNOME Accessibility API (ATK) on Linux with GNOME, and via NSAccessibility on Apple OS X systems. This way LibreOffice should be accessible with AT supporting MSAA/IAccessible, ATK, or NSAccessibility.
When LibreOffice is launched and an AT is detected in use, accessible events will be detected and rendered as MSAA/IAccessible events without further action by the user. Additional adjustments to AT behavior can be made from the▸ ▸ dialog, and a few only in the ▸ ▸ panel's Expert Configuration dialog.
Everything you need is included in current versions of GNOME.
Activate AT support globally: Preferences/Accessibility/Assistive Technology Support, check “Enable assistive technologies” More information can be found here: https://developer.gnome.org/accessibility-devel-guide/stable/
Accessibility/TextAttributes lists the mapping between LibreOffice text properties and ATK text attributes.
LibreOffice interacts well in general with the VoiceOver screen reader that is built into OS X. Enable the screen reader using Command-F5 and set the options using control-option-F8. LibreOffice accepts the VoiceOver Navigation well and for the most part the options are available to the screen reader. Some options can't be accessed with the screen reader navigation.
AT That Works
In general, AT support is much better on GNOME than on Windows. This is no limitation within LibreOffice, but in Windows AT, which support focus on other accessibility APIs, not on Java Accessibility.
- Windows, Screen Reader
- ZoomText 7.11, 8.12, 9.x
- JAWS 6.2, 7.x
- NVDA (open source!)
- Windows, Screen Magnifier
- ZoomText 7.11, 8.12, 9.x
- Windows, On Screen keyboard
- Probably all, because they just send Windows messages
- GNOME, Screen Reader
- GNOME, Screen Magnifier
- GNOME, On Screen keyboard
- OS X
In order to get LibreOffice speaking through the graphical screenreader Orca (https://wiki.gnome.org/action/show/Projects/Orca), you don't necessarily need to start a gnome-session in GNU/Linux. Setting and exporting the following variables in the shell, will tell the soffice command to use the atk-spi bridge of GTK.
export SAL_USE_VCLPLUGIN=gtk3 GTK_MODULES="gail:atk-bridge" orca & # if not already running soffice file.odt
With Orca running, all of LibreOffice's menu functions are accessible with speech and braille using the left "Alt" key or the right "Menu" key on your keyboard, in combination with navigation functions that Orca provides with its hotkeys (usually Scroll_Lock plus one or more other keys).
AT Support While Giving a Presentation
While the normal (edit) mode for presentations works well with AT, the slide show itself doesn’t expose much information. The reason is the the slide show only has elements optimized for the slide show, and doesn’t know the real objects in the presentation document. Even knowing the real objects, it’s unclear how to best expose the content, given that you won’t see all content at once, but the many transition effects result in many changes to what you see on the screen.
For making slide shows accessible, people should use the Presenter Console. (Please note the extension might not accessible - an update was due to be available around about the time of the release of OpenOffice.org 3.2.
See also Presenter Console description on the OOo wiki for a description of the extension.
In the presenter console, the critical information is exposed to AT: Current slide and its notes.
We believe that the presentation slides itself are not a good source for gathering the critical information you need while giving a life presentation, and that people would put information they need in the notes.
See Presenter Console Keyboard Shortcuts on the OOo wiki for a list of the support keyboard shortcuts.
LibreOffice DAISY support
An Extension for exporting ODT to DAISY / DTBOOK is available here:
NV Access provides the free and opensource NVDA Assistive Technology screen reader for Windows os users from their home page at
NVDA documentation and 3rd party service agencies providing training and support are available via the projects github hosted development. There are links from there to post bugs-reports, request features or help out with development
The NVDA Community mail lists are via Groups.io and reachable at
An accessibility for developers page records ongoing work.