Thunder Screenreader

Thunder is a free screenreader for blind people on Microsoft Windows. It is not open-source, but it is free for individuals and organisations. It works on Windows XP Service Pack 3 or later, including Windows 7 and 8. If you don't like Thunder then you might want to try the free open-source NVDA Screenreader.

Thunder in the UK is distributed by Roger Wilson-Hinds at, who does all the technical support for it. If you need help, contact Roger.

Thunder is distributed with the WebbIE set of programs, which provides a text web-browser, a podcatcher, an RSS news reader and other tools. These are maintained by Alasdair King, who also does the Thunder installers but does not do the Thunder code. So if you have a Thunder query, speak to Roger. If you have a WebbIE query speak to Alasdair.


Thunder user help
Thunder comes with a basic help file which you open with the Help menu item in Thunder. English Help File. It's really just a list of shortcut keys.
There is an official Thunder Manual, which is also installed and has a shortcut in your Start menu.
There is a whole Audio Guide to Thunder online.
Alasdair wrote an Unofficial Thunder Manual (Word document). Unofficial Thunder Manual Online. This is for getting to grips with how Thunder works and details more of the shortcut keys and functions.
Translating Thunder
Translating Thunder (Word document) and Localising Thunder Input (Zip file).
Scripting Thunder
Thunder has powerful scripting abilities, although no-one but the developer ever uses them. Still, the scripts are open-source, so you're welcome to develop your own. Here's the documentation: Thunder Screenreader Scripting Manual (Word document) Thunder Screenreader Scripting Manual Online. You can also remap all of the Thunder hotkeys and assign arbitrary key combinations - see the Localising Thunder Input above.
WebbIE Help
See the Help menu in each WebbIE program for a manual or press F1.

Download Thunder

Download the correct version of Thunder for you from this page. The URLs will not change and you can link to them.

The current version is 16 December 2013. Installer version 3.1.14. Thunder version 3.1.14.

Thunder end-user installers

This is an self-extracting EXE file that installs Thunder and WebbIE in the correct language. It contains both Thunder and WebbIE MSI files.

It sets Thunder to run on the login screen (in the Ease of Access Center) in Windows Vista or 7. Some of the versions also install speech synthesizers to support non-English users. If you don't want any of this stuff, see the MSI installers below.


Thunder and WebbIE and speech synthesizer MSIs for network installation

WebbIE does not have installers/versions for some languages, and Thunder does not have installers/versions for some languages.

The installers are all standard Windows Installer MSI files, so they can be deployed over a network using standard Windows mechanisms.

Thunder for USB pen drives

This is a zip file containing the latest Thunder and WebbIE, currently only for English and Arabic. Other distributions can be done - if you want one, call me.

Testing a Thunder Installation

Check these out to make sure your Thunder installation is all working. Do them in order. Each depends on the previous working.

  1. Start Thunder, cursor up and down the Start menu. Thunder should read the entries in the Start menu. This tests speech synthesis and MSAA.
  2. Open Windows Notepad and enter some text. Cursor up and down. Each line should be read out by Thunder. This tests the Thunder off-screen model.
  3. Start WebbIE, press Control + W to open a search, and enter a phrase. Press return to search. This tests that you have installed WebbIE and websearch works.
  4. Go to in WebbIE. Cursor up and down the webpage text. Each line should be read out by Thunder. This tests that Thunder is interacting with WebbIE correctly.