Accessible Python IDE For Mac

macOS and Mac Apps

Hi, everyone! I am learning to code in Python using Pythonista 3 on my iPhone. However, there are functions necessary for my CS class that will not download to my phone and a lot of the instructions are very Mac-specific. Obviously, I can't go on using Pythonista 3. Does anyone know of an accessible Python IDE for the Mac? I have found Terminal to be quite cumbersome, and it is terrible for running large programs. Thanks in advance for your input.



Submitted by Simon on Wednesday, August 2, 2017

The best solution i could find was to write the code in TextMate. A reasonably accessible text editor, then run the code manually in Terminal.

There are a few hiccups with navigating the terminal with Voiceober, every now and again i have to relaunch the Terminal. This is because when navigating by line or word it sometimes reads the wrong line or word. This always seems to be rectified with a quick relaunch.

It might be worth running Parallels, this will give you Notepad++ or Microsoft Visual code under windows. Both are accessible and support things like Git easily.

Submitted by splyt on Wednesday, August 2, 2017


Macs are not specially good to code ... you are better either going to Windows which offers plenty of free options or make the full switch and research how to install emacspeak for mac.

Emacspeak is not something running on Apple's environment and it is a full environment carefully coded and thought by blind people for blind people.

Any serious development on the Mac platform that does not deppend on Apple specific stuff should be performed on emacspeak although I have never managed my self to install it successfully .. on Apple deppendant projects you are forsed to deal with xcode which is a crap to say the best on productivity and easy of usage for blind people but there is really nothing to do about it ...

Submitted by gfish103 on Wednesday, August 9, 2017

The best python coding solution for the visually impaired as I know is emacs with emacspeak and elpy. I personally use emacs-mac with emacspeak and go-mode to write go code on mac, It does really well. If you like, you can give it a try.

Submitted by Mani on Monday, August 21, 2017

Hello gfish103,
I managed to install emacs and emacspeak on my Mac. I just have a few questions for you:
a) I use the Mac TTS server. I thought I would be able to use the Mac voice set in the Accessibility options. Do I have to do anything to make it default to my preferred voice?
b) How do you get over the missing right control key on the keyboard of a Macbook?
c) Is there a good emacspeak manual or guide I can refer to?


Submitted by Mani on Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Hello Chuck,
I followed the instructions on this website:

I know it is outdated but it worked for me. I have to admit I spent a lot of time getting it to work after the installation because the init.el (emacs' initialization file) needed a lot of tweaking on my part and I ended up messing it.

Good luck with it and let me know if you need any help.

Submitted by gfish103 on Thursday, August 24, 2017

Hi Mani.
I use the emacs-mac variant. It gets on well with the mac environment. Install it with homebrew cask
brew cask install emacs-mac

For emacspeak voice, I modified the lisp source files to replace the default voice name like "Alex" with what I prefer, say "Samantha". You should refer to the voiceMap in the mac speech engine, which is a Python file, and Apple's speech voice identifiers to do this. For other emacspeak settings, either add them to the emacs init file or use the emacs customization system.

Right Ctrl key is never a problem for me. I use a bluetooth keyboard to code on mac. Or using the macbook keyboard I can sswap the Left Ctrl and CapsLock, but a bluetooth keyboard is important.

The best emacs tutorial is the tutorial on the emacs' welcome page. Move the cursor onto the link called "emacs tutorial" and press enter, that's it.

Good luck.

Submitted by Chuck Winstead on Friday, August 25, 2017

This was the same tutorial I had followed before, and i had a hard time getting it to work. In fact a guy tried working with me on this like twice and never could get it right.
you mind me asking what steps you took differently?

Submitted by gfish103 on Friday, August 25, 2017

Below are some resources on emacs and emacspeak on mac. I've tried other options but found it most comfortable.

1 To install and use emacs-mac on mac, see
I install it with brew cask

2 To install and use emacspeak on mac, refer to
Note to skip the homebrew and emacs installation part.

3 Once all done, launch the emacs-mac, and from the welcome page there's a link called "emacs tutorial". Enter and read on it. It's easy to follow.

Hope this helps.

Submitted by Chuck Winstead on Friday, August 25, 2017

I'll try this i've not tried it this way.

Submitted by Blee Blat on Friday, August 25, 2017

Please pardon the long comment, but I have questions. I want to try this Emacspeak stuff. I'm normally a vi person, but I guess that's not workable on Mac. I tried to pair my 1byone foldable keyboard with my mac, but the arrow keys are messed up. left and right arrow work, but up and down arrow do not. I don't recall having this problem with iOS. Do I need to by a different keyboard? I like the keyboard for portability but it is a bit cramped for certain things. So what's a reasonable bluetooth keyboard. I don't really like the mac laptop keyboards either because of the single control key. So something that would pair with a bunch of devices simultaneously and has a reasonable layout. I like the mechanical keyboards. I don't know if there is one that comes with bluetooth or do I have to rig something myself. Not that I'm a huge fan of bluetooth, but switching keyboards while bouncing devices can be awkward. Now onto the Emacspeak stuff. I have no difficulty in learning emacs, but how badly does emacspeak mess up other emacs stuff? Are there extensions that don't read? Is it like a screen reader or what exactly is an "audio desktop"? I'm used to braille for coding as well, how different is it with speech? Having to have all punctuation enabled to catch syntax errors is annoying, which is why I usually used BRLTTY? I know BRLTTY doesn't have a Mac port, and VoiceOver's braille support is probably useless for coding in terminal-based text editors, so how do people usually handle this? Also can you develop iOS and Mac apps with a text editor or are you stuck with the GUI tools alone?

Submitted by Mani on Friday, August 25, 2017

I too am a fan of mechanical keyboards. The closest BT keyboard which is 'mechanical' I found was a Mattias keyboard which has the original Apple keyboard layout. I use a wired USB keyboard for my MBP. I am sure a BT keyboard would be more convenient.

About emacspeak, I am still playing with it and find it to be nice. I realize that there is a steep learning curve for emacs and have just started to dip my feet into it. I believe it is very powerful and can serve as a desktop and emacspeak supposedly integrates with it well.
I really wish vi would work well on the Mac with VO. I miss it.

I am sorry if I was not of any help.

Submitted by Chuck Winstead on Friday, August 25, 2017

Do you need to install Cask? If so what is the best method for installing Cask? I've never used Cask. I've used Home brew and that's the method I've used in the past which has not worked quite well.

No you don't need to install cask. If you have homebrew installed, here's what you do:
brew update
brew install cask emacs

Submitted by Chuck Winstead on Saturday, August 26, 2017

it is still not working for me. I followed the instruction on the installing Emacs-Mac and then the ones on the finally emacs speak on Emacs post. It got as far as installing Emacs with no issue but will not install emacs speak for some reason.

Submitted by Mani on Saturday, August 26, 2017

Hello Chuck,
I did not follow the installation for emacs-mac. I am assuming you downloaded the tar file for emacspeak, 'untared' it into a directory and did a 'make config' and 'make' in that directory.

Can you please give me more details on what you mean when you say 'emacspeak does not install'? You can send me an email directly if you wish.


Submitted by Chuck Winstead on Saturday, August 26, 2017

I used the cask and followed instruction on the page that were stated for using Homebrew. Which Emacs itself is fine, and installed on my machine, and is in my applications folder as i done the cd emacs applications
It's emacs speak I"m having trouble installing. I can't recall what happen now as I shut my computer down last night, but it did give me several errors.
If you're able to help me. my email is