I have a client, a Ph.D. candidate in Computational Chemistry, that is visually impaired. He's pretty self sufficient and he's had some success learning the content by directly reading source, when available, for most texts. He does this to read the LaTeX, when used, in order to understand the math.

He's also trying to learn Python, which relies on indentation to identify code blocks. I've helped him hack the python mode to trigger system alerts every time he uses auto-indent, and this seems to work ok for now.

He works on a windows client to access a unix server for his computation. Generally his Emacs is running on the server and he's accessing it through X-forwarding.

I've come across Emacspeak, but it appears to target linux boxes. There are a variety of text-to-speech tools for the Windows platform, and I think his preference is to use JAWS. These tools are helpful, but they can complicate the process when they compete with native teach-to-speech features of various applications.

Besides Emacspeak, are there other tools or techniques for efficiently using Emacs if you're visually impaired? Are there essential details I need to know about Emacspeak in order to benefit from it?

  • I don't have the authority to add the desired tags: visually-impaired, emacspeak, and text-to-speech.
    – Yann
    Oct 16, 2014 at 15:22
  • I've extended visually-impaired to accessibility. Feel free to rollback if you're not happy. Also, are you looking for general tools? Or specifically python tools?
    – Malabarba
    Oct 16, 2014 at 15:41
  • @Malabarba, I'm looking for general tools; python tag was there because I needed at least one tag... the question's been updated.
    – Yann
    Oct 16, 2014 at 15:56

1 Answer 1


Emacspeak is generally the "standard" answer, but you might also like to try speechd-el (at http://devel.freebsoft.org/speechd-el ).

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