Writing and reading accessible math in Word, HTML and EPUB

Handouts Media

Presented at 11:15am in Virtual C on Tuesday, November 17, 2020.



  • Richard Orme, Mr, DAISY Consortium
  • George Kerscher, , DAISY Consortium
  • Charles LaPierre, , Benetech
  • Joseph Polizzotto, , University of California, Berkeley

Session Details

  • Length of Session: 1-hr
  • Format: Lecture
  • Expertise Level: Intermediate
  • Type of session: General Conference


Paul Halmos wrote that “the only way to learn mathematics is to do mathematics”. Attendees to this workshop will experience practical techniques for generating digital documents with accessible math, writing math with a screen reader, and navigating math in Word, HTML and EPUB formats.


Reading and writing math for users of assistive technology has been a dark art for too long. The technology underneath the surface is more straight forward than text and images, but the user experience doesn’t have to be so hard. This ambitious workshop will show how screen reader users can write math in familiar tools like Word, explain how accessible math and simple chemical expressions can be included in Word, HTML and EPUB documents, and demonstrate reading solutions that work for students using AT. While the writing and production tools are mostly Windows based, we will show some reading options for the macOS platform.


  1. There are free and paid for options for writing math with a screen reader.
  2. There are straightforward techniques to include math in accessible documents in various formats.
  3. Users of assistive technology can read and navigate math expressions with the right tools.

Disability Areas


Topic Areas

Accessible Educational Materials, Assistive Technology, EPUB Track, Uncategorized

Speaker Bio(s)

Richard Orme

When teaching in a college in rural England more than 30 years ago, Richard encountered his first blind student, beginning a career in what we now refer to as accessibility. He has worked for local, national and international organizations, with young, old, and very old people, with visual, physical, dual sensory and cognitive disabilities. Having identified a critical lack of accessible curriculum materials in the UK, Richard led an initiative for a national database of accessible textbooks, now grown to become the national Education Collection operating as RNIB Bookshare.

Richard is Chief Executive of the DAISY Consortium, the global organization whose mission is to develop standards and solutions for accessible publishing and reading.He volunteers in his community as a home visitor, providing technology support for people with disabilities. Richard’s brother James has a profound learning disability, and his son Jim has dyslexia.

George Kerscher

Already submitted

Charles LaPierre

Already submitted

Joseph Polizzotto

Already submitted