Most Widely Used AAC Symbols (updated 2/2/23)

There was a post in the AAC for SLP Facebook group today where a member asked the following question:

“Hi all! I’m not sure there is even an answer for this question, but I’m going to go for it anyway. 😉 Is there one symbol set that is most widely used? I am only familiar with SymbolStix and PCS. To be specific, I’m not looking for people’s preferences… I am truly just interested on any data/study that demonstrate(s) which is most widely used.😊

I hadn’t ever seen a list or data/study that had this exact info. To truly know which symbol set is most widely used for high tech AAC you’d need to have data regarding sales of SGDs, sales of AAC apps, sales of symbol sets via in-app purchases and data regarding their actual use. My guess is this is going to vary greatly across the world and influenced by both the language(s) needed by a particular AAC user and the opinions of SLPs / SLTs about certain apps or SGDs.

To truly know which symbol set is most widely used for paper-based AAC you’d need to have data regarding sales and subscriptions and then a way to determine actual use for AAC vs. all the other possible uses for those symbols.

See this separate post for info about Apps & Websites to Create Materials with Symbols:

But it sparked my curiosity about what symbol sets are either included or available via in-app purchase in iOS AAC apps. So I looked through my vast AAC app collection and came up with the following list of symbol sets.

Based on the data that I collected, SymbolStix appears to be the most widely used (used in the most apps, available in 7 of the top 12 iOS symbol-based AAC apps – denoted by (*) in the lists below & available in traditional SGDs)

PCS symbols are commonly used (available in 6 of the top 12 iOS symbol-based AAC apps – denoted by (*) in the lists below). Especially if you factor in paper-based AAC systems like PODD and their use in traditional SGDs)

Widgit is more commonly used in the UK than the USA (available in 3 of the top 12 iOS symbol-based AAC apps – denoted by (*) in the lists below & traditional SGDs)

Minspeak symbols (and the closely associated symbols used in LAMP Words for Life) are only used in particular SGDs and that app but those are widely used.

Looking for info about Sign Language Symbols, Videos & GIFs in AAC Apps? See this new blog post (2/1/23):

More info about the Top 12 iOS Symbol-Based AAC apps: &

My Data:


1. aacorn+ (updated 11/21/22: no longer available)

2. Alexicom

3. Avaz (*)

4. Bridge Communication

5. Clicker Communicator (*)

6. CoughDrop (can add-on) (*)

7. GoTalk Now / GoTalk Now Plus (*)

8. Grid 3 on SmartBox SGDs (also available on other SGDs)

9. Grid for iPad (*)

10. Grid Player

11. Proloquo2Go (*)

12. Proloquo + Proloquo Coach (see this free handout for info about how this new subscription-based options differs from Proloquo2Go:

13. simPODD

14. So Much 2 Say

15. Sono Flex

16. Talk Tablet

17. TouchChat with WordPower (*), also available on Saltillo SGDs


1. Chatable (6/8/22: this app is being updated and isn’t currently available for purchase)

2. Clicker Communicator (*)

3. CoughDrop (can add-on) (*)

4. GoTalk Now (as in-app purchase) (*)

5. Grid 3 on SmartBox SGDs (also available on other SGDs)

6. Grid for iPad (*)

7. TD Snap (formerly known as Snap Core First) (also available on Windows devices and Tobii Dynavox SGDs) (*)

8. TouchChat with WordPower (as in-app purchase) (*), also available on Saltillo SGDs


1. Clicker Communicator (*)

2. GoTalk Now / GoTalk Now Plus (as in-app purchase) (*)

3. Grid 3 on SmartBox SGDs (also available on other SGDs)

4. Grid for iPad (*)

Open Source Symbols (most available on this website:

1. Cboard

2. ChatterBoards

3. CommBoards

4. CoughDrop (*)

5. ElineSpeaks

6. Leeloo

7. LetMeTalk

8. MyTalk

9. Niki Talk 2 Pro (*)

10. PhotoVOCA

11. Posco

12. SpeakProse (emojis)

13. Speech Assistant AAC (11/21/22: offers the option to add a Mulberry Symbol, emoji or photo to a phrase button)

14. SymboTalk


1. Clicker Communicator (*)

GoTalk Image Library:

1. GoTalk Now / GoTalk Now Plus (*)


1. CoughDrop (*) (can sync with your LessonPix account).

LessonPix is also widely used to make printed AAC options.

MetaCom (used fairly frequently in Germany)

1. GoTalk Now / GoTalk Now Plus (as in-app purchase) (*)

2. MetaTalkUS

3. TD Snap (formerly known as Snap Core First (as in-app purchase) (*)


1. Unity on Accent SGDs

Multi-Meaning symbols derived from Minspeak & Unity:

1. LAMP Words for Life (*), also on Accent SGDs


1. Talk Suite Pro

Pics for PECS:


Pixon (also related to Minspeak/ Unity):

1. TouchChat with WordPower (as in-app purchase) (*), also available on Saltillo SGDs

Smarty Symbols:

1. ASD AAC Bestie Communicator

2. Expressive

3. Speak for Yourself (*)

4. Quick Talk AAC

Smarty Symbols are also widely used to make printed AAC options, in products on Teachers Pay Teachers and in a few non-AAC apps.

There are other AAC apps and SGDs that have their own unique symbols:

1. Alela Pro

2. CardTalk

3. CoreVoice

4. EESpeech

5. Fluent AAC

6. Grace 4

7. Jellow

8. Lingraphica (apps and their SGDs)

9. My First AAC

10. Niki Talk

11. PAROL Mini

12. PictoMaker

13. SoundingBoard

14. Talking Mats

15. Talk to Me

16. Top Taps Speaks

17. Twinkl Symbols for AAC

18. Verbal Me

19. Visuals2Go

20. Voice4u

22. Wayword

23. Weave Chat

This website has a nice catalog of all (or at least most) of the various symbol sets. Most are not widely used. I think it’s interesting to read the history behind how/why symbols were developed:

It’s important to keep in mind… Symbol sets are like any other feature in AAC. There isn’t any “one size fits all” and to my knowledge there isn’t any research supporting the idea that any particular symbol set is superior to another. This is especially true when considering symbols that meet specific needs, user preferences, culturally relevant, etc…

See this quote from PrAACtical AAC: “There is no empirical evidence that one type of symbol is superior to another for all AAC clients, but there may certainly be differences for a specific individual. That’s why it is a best practice to evaluate the kind of symbol to use as part of an AAC assessment rather than picking one at random or using one based on our own convenience.”

Update 11/21/22: See their new post: (includes hyperlinks to info about the symbols)

And this post from NWACS:

Looking for in-depth info about features AAC apps? Check out these resources:

• iOS Symbol-Based:

• iOS Text-Based:

• Visual Scenes & Video Visual Scenes:

• AAC Feature Matching Resource Bundle (includes all three, save 10%): If you are looking to purchase resources for several staff / team members, take a look at the Multiple Licenses discount (saves 20%)

• Robust Android AAC Apps (Google Play & Amazon Fire):

• Affordable and Free AAC apps & AAC-Related Apps (iOS, Android, Amazon Fire, Windows & a few web-based options):

Have a question? The best way to reach me with any questions is via messaging on the OMazing Kids Facebook page: That way AAC related messages don’t get lost among the spam in my e-mail

Angela Moorad, MS, CCC-SLP, Founder of OMazing Kids, LLC, OMazing Kids AAC Consulting

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{Review} Smarty Symbols Image Club



{Review} Smarty Symbols Image Club

I have several patients who use the Speak For Yourself AAC app. That app uses Smarty Symbols. So I was especially thrilled to have the opportunity to try out the online Smarty Symbols Image Club (

I already had the Custom Boards – Premium app ( with access to over 10,000 symbols.

I was excited to see the Smarty Symbol Image Club has over 19,000 symbols. They even add hundreds of new images to their portal on a monthly basis. Many of these images are created in response to the requests by subscribers. If you search for a word and you don’t find it, they will create it for you!

I was able to quickly create a CV web mat to use in conjunction with the fabulous free speech sound cue cards from Speechy Musings also featuring Smarty Symbols ( The website was easy to use. I can’t wait to make more materials featuring Smarty Symbols!

Here are some of the key features in the Smarty Symbol Image Club:

  • Access over 19,000 symbols
  • Ability to request a specific symbol be created
  • New symbols added monthly
  • Symbols representing a variety of genders, ages & ethnicities
  • All symbols are offered in full color or gray scale
  • You can download images in two formats: .png (transparent background – great for layering) or .jpg (white background). You can easily insert them onto your materials.
  • Images are organized into over 140 educationally relevant categories
  • You can search images by speech sound & position in a word making it very easy for SLPs to create materials to target particular articulation goals.
  • Activity Library where users can share activities they have created with other subscribers.
  • Printing Center with 40 templates. You can also create your own custom grids with 1-8 columns and 1-8 rows, specify the border color and adjust the border thickness. This portion of the website can only be accessed via a computer (not iPad-compatible).
  • Several video tutorials to help you get up to speed quickly on using the website:
  • Subscribers Facebook Group:
  • Facebook page:

Pricing Options: For personal use, they currently offer rates of $45 per year or $9 per month. They also offer group licenses at a discounted rate to school districts and educational agencies (contact them for that pricing).

If you have an online store such as a store on websites like Teachers Pay Teachers, you will want a commercial license which gives you the rights to post your creations for sale while your subscription is active. The commercial license gives users the same access as a personal license. The key difference is that you will be sharing whatever you created with others online or by selling the material to others. They currently offer commercial rates of $200 per year or $29.99 per month.

If you are needing an option that is totally iPad compatible and templates for common AAC mid-tech devices, then their Custom Boards app will be a better fit for your needs (

On the other hand, if you would rather create items on the computer, have access to more symbols (including .png format that can be layered and used in other projects) and those representing a wider variety of ages and ethnic backgrounds, have access to the activity library where other subscribers have shared materials and don’t anticipate needing AAC templates, then the online subscription to the Smarty Symbols Image Club would be a great option.

Or get the best of both worlds by getting both the app & the online subscription. Both the app and the online subscription offer the option to search for images by speech sound & position in a word making it very easy for SLPs to create materials to target particular articulation goals. Both also offer the option to search for symbols in the “Speak For Yourself (SFY) Core”.

The cool thing is all of these options are significantly more affordable than a Boardmaker CD or a subscription to Boardmaker Online.


I was blessed to win a copy of a Boardmaker CD many years ago and it’s definitely gotten LOTS of use. You’ve also seen me post about the Tools 2 Talk app with PCS symbols, the iESLp app with SymbolStix, the GoTalk Now Plus app with PCS and SymbolStix, the Custom Boards app with Smarty Symbols and now the Smarty Symbols Image Club. Each of these tools is unique and I pick the one best suited to the need in that moment.


In the era of working with patients using AAC devices with varying symbol sets I’m glad to have a way to make materials and visual supports with the symbols that each patient is accustomed to. If I’m making visual supports or therapy materials that will be used across lots of different patients, then I often pick symbols from a variety of symbol sets going with whatever best depicts the concept.


Disclaimer: I received a free subscription to this website to facilitate my review. Opinions expressed are my own.

Angela Moorad, MS, CCC-SLP
Speech-Language Pathologist
Founder of OMazing Kids, LLC – inclusive wellness & educational activities for kids of all abilities
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Angela Moorad is the founder of OMazing Kids, LLC and is an ASHA certified & licensed pediatric Speech-Language Pathologist and Kids Yoga Teacher with 27 years experience working in a variety of settings (early intervention, schools, teletherapy & a nonprofit pediatric rehab hospital for children with developmental disabilities). She is an app beta tester for educational & therapeutic app developers and loves sharing info about great apps, products, books & toys to use with kids of all abilities.
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