Skip to Main Content

How to use eBooks: eBooks and accessibility

Mae'r canllaw hon hefyd ar gael yn Gymraeg 

Accessibility features - eBooks and assistive technology

Many e-book platforms have built-in accessibility tools.

We provide access to ebooks on lots of different platforms with different designs and functionality.

Platform providers are encouraged and expected to publish information describing the accessibility of their platforms to users with disabilities via a platform accessibility statement. 

Below you will find a link to the various accessibility statements of the providers we use at the University of South Wales and an outline of the tools built into some of these platforms.

Proquest eBook central

ProQuest Ebook Central offer books in either EPUB or PDF format.

These can be changed in your browser settings or by using plugins or extensions to change colour and contrast

You can zoom in up to 300% without text spilling off screen using inbuilt browser features (e.g., CTRL +/- for PCs and Command +/- for Macs) in Proquest eBook central. Browser extensions are also available, such as NoSquint for Firefox or Zoomy for Chrome. 

Ebook Central can be navigated by keyboard only – the tab, enter, and arrow keys can: 

  • Navigate website menus
  • Perform basic and advanced searches
  • Navigate search results
  • Read online including book navigation
  • Download ebooks

The ProQuest Ebook Central website is compatible with screen readers. Click here for more information





While Ebook Central does not offer an embedded text-to-speech tool, text-to-speech is: 

  • built into the Microsoft Edge browser 
  • available as browser plug-ins for Chrome, FireFox and Opera.
  • built into most digital devices such as PCs, Macs, Tablets and Phones.

Although Ebook Central does not have a built-in text-to-speech reader, you can switch to accessibility mode to use the software easily with assistive software.

Enabling accessibility mode: 

  • Go to the Settings link in the main navigation.
  • From the dropdown options select Profile.
  • Under the section Accessibility Mode, use the radio buttons to enable accessibility mode.
  • Check the box to agree to ProQuest's Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.
  • Save changes.
  • Use the Read Online button to open the book in the ebook reader. The text will display as plain text with no image layer. The images below show the online reader with the image layer. The second image shows the online reader with Accessibility mode enabled. You can now use this text view with text-to-speech applications such as Read&Write.

VLE books

VLeBooks platform supports PDF eBooks which are formatted to read online and support the accessibility functionality within the VLeBooks Reader.

PDF format books have distinct pages, which allow for page-level citations. They have a fixed page size that may not work well on all devices or screen sizes/zoom levels. PDF eBooks are compatible with screen readers using an ASCII text layer.

As more publishers are supporting EPUB and providing content in that format, we are working towards being able to offer both formats for both online reading and download.

VLE books offer you individual accessibility settings as follows - turn these on or off within individual ebooks 

VLeBooks have over 20 levels of magnification using the built-in zoom function, available when reading via the platform, which is operated through the universally recognised zoom icons. Windows & iOS magnifier can also be used.

The zoom function is designed to work as both a reduction and a magnification tool. The actual font size is dependent on device but typically a reading font size of between 4 to 36 is achievable.

DRM free PDFs can be downloaded by users and opened in Adobe Reader or Microsoft Word, where reflow may be possible.

As the platform does not currently support EPUB formats, reflow is not available. VLE are working towards enabling this.

VLE books has inbuilt text-to-speech, available through ‘Read Online’ which can be used from both desktop and mobile views. The Read Aloud feature enables the user more freedom to roam desktops or browsing devices where traditional assistive software would have been required. Read aloud is a core feature built into the online platform allowing for wider audience access to audible facilities where assistive software may not have been possible or practical.

eBooks downloaded to eReader software such as Adobe Digital Editions can be read by most other software

There are a range of accessibility options available to users which make searching and navigating the platform easier.

To access these options, select Edit Accessibility Settings on the left side of the screen. This feature enables users to set their own preferences for the platform.

Options include:

  • Large Font
  • High Contrast
  • Highlight links in yellow
  • Underline Links
  • Greyscale Colour mode
  • Dyslexic friendly font
  • Prevent pop-up auto close

The options are applied permanently or until users make a change.

When reading via the platform, users can change the background colour to suit their requirements. Select ‘Read Online’ and access the colour palate in the top right-hand corner of the screen. This will open a pop-up panel which allows users to select a reading background from one of seven 7 different dyslexia-friendly colours.

To amend contrast in the reader, users will need a browser plugin such as ‘High Contrast’ on Chrome

Watch or listen to our helpful video on our Accessibility Options


Bibliu is fully compatible with external text-to-speech software for navigation within the app.

This feature is only currently compatible in the desktop app and not the mobile app. 

In built reading feature-there is an inbuilt text to speech and speed reading features in the reader view of the app. These can be found in the menu which appears when a section of text is selected. Alternatively, you can highlight the text and then you can right click to open the reading features. 



The BibliU library is designed to be easily navigable using keyboard commands when you are viewing content on a desktop or laptop:

  • The up and down arrow keys on your keyboard will enable you to scroll up and down the page
  • Using the tab key and left and right arrow keys, you are able to direct the cursor to different books on the page 
  • When the cursor is over an image on the page within a book, pressing the enter key will select it
  • Pressing enter when a book is highlighted (grey halo around title), pressing Enter will open it

Selecting the 'TT' icon at the top of the page will enable you to access the Reader Settings. Once the magnifying glass icon is selected, you can zoom in and out of the page using the left and right arrows on your keyboard or using your mouse or finger. It is also possible to select 'Flux' and 'Night' modes from here or choose custom colour settings for the text. Clicking the esc key will close this menu.

EBSCO host ebooks

Adobe digital editions

Digital Editions uses the accessibility features on Windows and Mac operating systems to provide accessibility, including support for high contrast modes and support for resizing of book text.

Digital Editions also offers enhanced keyboard support (with tab navigation, keyboard shortcuts, and high-contrast support).

To use Adobe Digital Editions with screen readers (text-to-speech), download and use one of the following tools:

  • JAWS (on Windows) - Download from here.

  • NVDA (on Windows) - Download from here

  • VoiceOver (on Mac) - Download from here.

Zoom in and out by clicking the page icon next to the search box in the top right and selecting how you would like to view the book.

  • Click on the list icon (next to the flag in the top left) to open the navigation panel if it is not automatically open.
  • The leftmost option in the panel is the Table of Contents. Click on chapters with arrows next to them to expand or collapse that section of the list. Click on chapter headings to navigate to that section of the book. Click on the settings cog at the top of the panel to expand or collapse all chapters at once.
  • The middle option in the navigation panel is Bookmarks. See the section on making notes and bookmarking for information.
  • Scroll up and down to move between pages.
  • Navigate to a specific page by typing the page number into the box at the bottom of the screen and pressing enter. You can also go to reading in the top left, choose go to page, enter the page number in the pop-up and click OK.

Type a search term into the search box in the top right then press enter. Move between search results by clicking the arrows to the right of the search box.

To search your book, enter text in the top-right text box, or choose Reading > Find on Windows (Edit > Find on Macintosh). The reading panel highlights the found text. To navigate to each instance of a search term, click the left or right arrows on either side of the search box, or choose Reading > Find > Find Next or Find Previous on Windows (Edit > Find > Find Next or Find Previous on Macintosh)

  • Find all your bookmarks notes and highlights in the Bookmarks tab of the Navigation Panel on the left-hand side. Click on one of your notes to navigate back to it.
  • To bookmark a page, click the flag icon in the top left (next to the Library button). You can also right click on the page itself and select bookmark page. The flag will turn large and red on a page that is bookmarked.
  • Highlight the text by clicking and dragging to select a selection of text. Right click on the selected text and choose highlight.
  • Make a note by clicking and dragging to select a section of text. Right click on the selected text and choose add note to text. A yellow box will pop up over the book where you can write your notes. Move this note around by clicking in the grey bar of the note and dragging. Resize it by clicking on the bottom right corner (where there are small lines) and dragging. Hide notes by clicking the minus sign in the top left of the note box. Shown hidden notes by double clicking on the note in the Navigation Panel or by right clicking on the page where the note is and choosing open pop-up note.
  • Delete bookmarks, notes and highlights by clicking on the item in the Navigation Panel and pressing delete. You can also click the settings cog and choose delete selected or simply click on the red bookmark flag in the top left.