A screen reader is a form of assistive technology (AT) that renders text and image content as speech or braille output. Screen readers are essential to people who are blind, and are useful to people who are visually impaired, illiterate, or have a learning disability. Screen readers are software applications that attempt to convey what people with normal eyesight see on a display to their users via non-visual means, like text-to-speech, sound icons, or a Braille device. They do this by applying a wide variety of techniques that include, for example, interacting with dedicated accessibility APIs, using various operating system features (like inter-process communication and querying user interface properties), and employing hooking techniques.
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Microsoft Windows operating systems have included the Microsoft Narrator screen reader since Windows 2000, though separate products such as Freedom Scientific's commercially available JAWS screen reader and ZoomText screen magnifier and the free and open source screen reader NVDA by NV Access are more popular for that operating system. Apple Inc.'s macOS, iOS, and tvOS include VoiceOver as a built-in screen reader, while Google's Android provides the Talkback screen reader and its Chrome OS can use ChromeVox. Similarly, Android-based devices from Amazon provide the VoiceView screen reader. There are also free and open source screen readers for Linux and Unix-like systems, such as Speakup and Orca.