Read&Write feature guide

Read&Write is a software toolbar that will assist you to read, write and express yourself more confidently.

Read&Write makes many everyday online tasks simpler, quicker and more accurate.

Here is some information to introduce you to the key features of Read&Write.

The toolbar

The toolbar is docked to the top of your screen by default, but you can position it anywhere on the screen. For more information about any of the buttons on the toolbar, click the info button at the top right of the toolbar.

Toolbar of Read&Write

Check It

Check It icon

A proofreading tool that checks for spelling, grammar, homophone, and verb errors.

  • In Word, click the icon to see your errors underlined in purple in your document. Or click the red button on the floating panel to open the Check It window.
  • Outside of Word, select some text and click Check It to do a check of your work in the Check It window.

Play/Pause/Stop buttons

Play button

Text-to-Speech, the Play/Pause/Stop buttons, reads text aloud from Internet browsers, Microsoft Word, PDF documents and other files, with colour highlighting and natural-sounding voices.

  • Highlight or place your cursor in front of some text.
  • Click the Play button on the toolbar.
  • Use Play/ Pause/ Stop buttons to control the speaking.

Screenshot Reader

Screenshot Reader icon

Usually, text is read directly from within the document, but sometimes your highlighted text is read from the Text Reader box.

If you are unable to select text, perhaps because it is part of an image, you will need to use the Screenshot Reader which can read any text you can find on your screen.

Screenshot Reader allows inaccessible text to be read aloud via OCR, even if it is part of a picture or from a scanned document. This can take a few moments to process.

  • Click on Screenshot Reader
  • Click and drag the mouse pointer around the part of the screen you wish to be read aloud.
    After a few seconds the text will be read to you.

The tool can be configured to read directly on screen, read from the text reader box, or copied into a Word document and read from there.


Scan icon

Scan OCR tool can be used with a scanner to convert hard copy documents into text-based digital documents; or convert inaccessible digital documents which appear to contain text into actual text-based digital documents.

  • Click on Scan.
  • Choose Scan from Device or Scan from File.
  • Select your input.
  • Choose your output, either Word Doc or PDF.
  • Click Scan.

Audio Maker

Audio Maker icon

Audio Maker converts your selected text into an MP3 for away-from-computer-listening.

  • Select the text you want as an MP3.
  • Click on Audio Maker.
  • Review the text in the text box.
  • Click Preview Audio to listen to it.
  • Choose where you are going to save it and name it.
  • Click Create MP3 and your file will be created in a few seconds.

Screen Masking

Screen Masking

Everyone finds reading black text on a bright white screen fatiguing after a while. With the Screen Masking tool you can choose from several colour masking and tinting options to help reduce glare, improve focus and readability, allowing you to read longer, with less fatigue.

You can also enable a reading line to help keep focus on the sentence that you are reading without being distracted by the lines above and below.

Talk & Type

Talk&Type icon

Talk & Type is a voice recognition tool to turn the spoken word into dictated text. It requires a microphone and a quiet environment for best results. You will be prompted to do some initial training when you first use this tool. It is not a feature-complete voice recognition solution, such as Dragon NaturallySpeaking, this tool is designed for more informal dictation and brainstorming.

  • Click Talk&Type.
  • Start dictating in whatever text box your cursor is active in.

PDF Reader

PDF reader icon

PDF Reader allows you to have fully secured text-based PDFs read aloud by providing the functionality of the Play tool within this PDF reading program.

  • Click PDF Reader and a dialogue box opens allowing you to choose a PDF to open.
  • Allow it to open then click anywhere in the document to start reading it.



Highlighters can be used to categorise and colour important information in the text in yellow, green, blue or pink. The colours don’t stick to the original documents, so you use the Collect Highlights tool to export the selections into a new Word document.

  • Select the text you wish to highlight.
  • Click on the Highlighter colour, changing colours as you like.
  • Use Erase Highlights if you make a mistake.

Collect Highlights

Collect Highlights

Collect Highlights will place your highlighted text into a new Word Document for you to review. A bibliography can be automatically placed at the bottom of the page. You can adjust the collection and bibliography settings in the Read&Write Settings menu, under the Highlights section.

  • Settings>Show more settings>Show More>Highlights.
  • Switch on Collect from multiple documents.
  • Select Bibliography format.

Additional tools

Try out additional tools such as:

  • building a Vocabulary List in a Word document, including selected words, dictionary definitions, images;
  • Voice Note to record a voice message and attach it to a document; and
  • Translator for translating single words and larger selections of text into multiple languages.

Further information and training resources

TextHelp Training Support

TextHelp Video Tours

Using Read&Write at University

For additional support, contact Digital Services.