Accessibility Block

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Note: You are currently viewing documentation for Moodle 2.5. Up-to-date documentation for the latest stable version of Moodle may be available here: Accessibility Block.

The Accessibility Block allows users to customise Moodle pages to meet their accessibility requirements.


As of Moodle 2, the block requires no additional configuration to get per-user style modifications working. Since 2.0 the block includes ATbar, which provides Text-To-Speech functionality (TTS). To get TTS working, you'll need to follow these instructions (currently only supported on Linux servers).

  1. Install the Accessibility block as normal
  2. Install Festival, the Text-To-Speech engine, on your server. This should install text2wave in /usr/bin. If not, you'll need to symlink it there.
  3. Install LAME, the MP3 utilities, on your server.
  4. Go to the Moodle root directory (at command line or in a file manager)
  5. From here, find blocks/accessibility/toolbar/server/TTS/ and make it executable. To do this from the terminal, run:
    chmod +x blocks/accessibility/toolbar/server/TTS/
  6. Edit to set the tmpdir variable at the top to a suitable temporary directory, and dirroot to the value of $CFG->dirroot in your Moodle config.php
  7. Change the ownership of blocks/accessibility/toolbar/server/TTS/cache to make it writable by the user the web server runs as. To do this on Ubuntu, run these commands:
    chown -R user:www-data blocks/accessibility/toolbar/server/TTS/cache
    chmod -R 775 blocks/accessibility/toolbar/server/TTS/cache
  8. Load a Moodle page containing the block, click "Launch ATbar", select some text, and click the Text-To-Speech button (speaker icon).


The block's functionality is split into 2 areas: Native functions, and those functions provided bt ATbar.

Native Functions

There are 8 buttons on the block itself. The 3 buttons on the top row displaying an A control text size:

  • Clicking Accessibility A-.png will decrease the text size.
  • Clicking Accessibility A+.png will increase the text size.
  • Clicking Accessibility A.png will reset the text size. If you had a saved setting for the text size, this will be cleared.

The final button on the top row saves styles changed by the block. Once you have altered the text size or colour scheme, the button will become active, shown by the blue arrow. When it's active, click Accessibility save.png to save settings. Once saved, they will persist between pages even when you log out.

The bottom row contains 4 buttons, each displaying a different colour scheme. Clicking any of these buttons Accessibility colours.png will apply that colour scheme to the page. Clicking the button on the far left will reset the scheme to default and clear any saved colour settings.


At the bottom of the block, you'll see a button labelled Launch ATbar and a checkbox labelled (always?)
Accessibility atbar.png
Clicking the button will launch ATbar and hide the native controls. ATbar has several advanced Accessibility functions on top of the ability to change page styles, including Text-To-Speech and Dictionary lookup. Note that if you change styles with ATbar, they will not persist between pages as they do with the native functions, nor are you currently able to save them. Ticking the checkbox will cause ATbar to be automatically loaded each time you visit a page containing the Accessibility block. You can find out more about ATbar's functions by clicking the Accessibility help.png icon on the right of the bar itself.