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The Region of Waterloo is actively workingtowards achieving a fully accessible website that conforms to the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0.

We are committed to making this website accessible and easy to use for everyone, at all levels of ability.

If you use assistive technology and the format of any content on this web site interferes with your ability to access the information, please contact our Webmaster and we will make every effort to provide you with a format that is accessible to you.

This website allows people using text-only browsers or other assistive technology to read the content on the page, including text descriptions for all images.

Text Size

You can adjust the size of nearly all of the text on this website by using our font size widget that is found at the top right side of the website. To change the font size, click on the "+" or "-" until you find a font size that is comfortable for you.

Image of the Text Size Tool on the Region of Waterloo website

Many browsers also provide a way of enlarging text and/or graphics under the "View" menu.


The Region of Waterloo's website can now be read using a program called BrowseAloud.

What is BrowseAloud?

BrowseAloud makes websites more accessible for people who want help reading web pages. They include people with impaired vision, learning difficulties such as dyslexia and those for who speak English as a second language.

Once you install this free program, you will hear words spoken out loud as you move your mouse pointer over text on a BrowseAloud-enabled web page.

With most browsers, you can also choose to have the text highlighted as it is read. Or you can ask BrowseAloud to read a complete page to you.

To stop the reader at any point, press the Ctrl key on the keyboard.

For detailed instructions, visit the BrowseAloud website.

How do I install BrowseAloud?

Follow the simple steps to download and install BrowseAloud.

What does BrowseAloud look like?

Image of BrowseAloud Toolbar

BrowseAloud features and options are accessed from a floating toolbar (see above). You can position this toolbar anywhere on your screen or hide it if you prefer.

What will BrowseAloud do for me?

  • Reads web pages aloud in a natural-sounding voice (including websites, intranets, extranets, html, accessible Flash, form fields and alt tags).
  • Reads secure web pages.
  • Reads PDF and Word documents in their original format.
  • Highlights each word as it is spoken to show you where you are on the page.
  • Magnifies text to your chosen font size and font style.
  • Translates word-for-word between English, French, German, Italian and Spanish.
  • Looks up accurate dictionary definitions.
  • Converts text to MP3.
  • Masks information on the screen to help you focus on a particular area.

Other screen-readers

Windows Narrator

Windows Narrator is a basic screen-reading program. The program gives speech feedback for menus and dialogue boxes. It does not speak the entire web page. The following steps will enable you to turn on that feature:

  • Click the Start button or press the Windows logo key on your keyboard.
  • Open Programs. Click All Programs or press P on the keyboard until All Programs is highlighted and press Enter.
  • Click Accessories or press A on the keyboard until Accessories is highlighted and press Enter.
  • Click Accessibility. If you are using the keyboard, it will already be highlighted, press Enter.
  • Click Narrator or press N on the keyboard until Narrator is highlighted, press Enter.
  • This opens the Microsoft Narrator box. The Narrator immediately begins to read instructions on how to use the feature.
  • Click OK or press Enter on the keyboard. Another window will appear with various options.
  • Click the checkbox or press the spacebar on your keyboard to customize your options. You can also adjust voice settings by clicking the Voice button or pressing V on the keyboard.

Macintosh VoiceOver Utility

VoiceOver Utility is a screen-reading program built into the latest versions (OS 10.4 and 10.5) of Apple Macintosh Operating Systems. It provides speech feedback for menus and dialogue boxes and can speak out whole web pages once configured.

Visit the VoiceOver website for more information about VoiceOver Utility.

Visit the VoiceOver download section for an accessible PDF manual or audio recordings of the Getting Started manual for VoiceOver Utility.

Alternative Text

Images on the Region of Waterloo's website have alternative text attributes, often known as alt text.  This means that the image can be understood by text browsers and assistive technologies such as screen readers.

Software Utilities

Some documents on the Region of Waterloo's website are available in a PDF format.  Adobe Reader is required to open these files. You can download Adobe Reader free of charge from the Adobe website.

Contact Us for Help

While we make every effort to keep all content on this website accessible to all visitors, please contact us for help if you find any information on this website that you cannot access.

Building an accessible website is an ongoing process and we welcome any comments on how to improve our site's accessibility.

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