How to use the Key Word Sign Australia App

A ‘handy’ app to help you create, print, and learn Key Word Sign

What is Key Word Sign?

Key Word Sign is a strategy used by children and adults with communication difficulties. It is used to support language development, support understanding, and help people get their message across.

How does Key Word Sign work?

Key Word Sign uses signs from Auslan (the language of the Australian Deaf community) and the speaker signs the key words of what they are saying. This gives the listener a visual cue in addition to spoken words.

Pro tip: It’s important to keep using natural facial expression, body language and clear natural gestures, because they also give a lot of information.

Where does the app fit in?

Once you and/or your communication partner are ready to start incorporating Key Word Sign into your communication, you might find using the Key Word Sign Australia app really handy.

The app allows you to develop Key Word Sign resources using line drawings of the signs you are working on. This can help you to become familiar with a range of signs. You can email or print the resources that you make to create posters or cards for easy access.

What does the app do?

The app includes:

  • Over 600 signs, in both symbols and line drawings.
  • Features to make your own sign books, posters, cards, or handouts.
  • Videos of how to do some signs yourself, including the alphabet and numbers.
  • A link to Sign bank to look up signs that are not included in the app.
  • The ability to upload your own photos or videos of signs.
  • The ability to add or change text to the pictures.
  • A fully customisable grid for printing in a range of sizes.

Image of four different screens from the app including the opening screen, index and board creation screen.

How do I make my own Key Word Sign Resource?  

  • Click on ‘Create a Grid’.

Picture of home screen

  • Name your new grid. I called mine ‘Cars’

Image of create a grid screen

  • Click on “add cells”.
  • Click on the plus sign, this will allow you add a sign, symbol or photo to the cell.

image of create a new grid screen with add cells button highlighted.

Image of screen with the add an image to cell button

  • Click on the plus sign to choose what you want to use. Click on ‘Auslan signs’ for line drawings of signs, ‘Widget symbols’ if you want to use a symbol, or ‘Camera/Photo library’ if you want to use a photo.

Image of the add image to button screen with the 'add auslan signs' option highlighted

  • Once you click on ‘Auslan signs’ you can type in the sign you are looking for. I searched for ‘stop’.

Image of using the search function to find the key word sign for "Stop"

  • Click the save button to save your sign.

Image of the key word sign for stop has been entered into the cell.

  • Add as many signs, symbols, or photos as you want! Once you have all of the images that you need, you can print or email by pressing the export button.

Image of a nine cell screen with key word sign symbols in each cell.

  • You can then choose how you want your selection to be displayed – for example, how many rows and columns, whether you want colour or black and white images, and whether you want the written descriptions of how to produce the signs included. You can include or leave out the title of the handout or poster.

Image of the Export Customs page with size, colour and title customisations highlighted

  • You can also choose whether you want to air print, or email to yourself or someone else.
    Image of the Export Customs page with printing or emailing options highlighted.And that’s all there is to it! You can hang this up at work or around the house to refer to when you use Key Word Sign.If you would like to know more about the Key Word Sign Australia app, contact Scope’s Communication & Inclusion Resource Centre (CIRC) at or
    03 9843 2000.