Read&Write Quick Guide

Read&Write (R&W) is a more comprehensive literacy & writing software that functions both within and outside of Blackboard.  It is  free to download from University's IT WebsiteFeatures include text-to-speech, screen masking, talk&type, translator, pdf reader, highlight & more.  See below for more information on how to install and use the various features available in Read&Write! 

How to Install Read&Write (R&W)


  • Once downloaded from University's IT Website, Read&Write will appear as an application on your computer. 

  • Select sign in with Microsoft Account & enter uark email and password when prompted.

  • The Read&Write toolbar will appear as a banner across the top of your screen (as shown in images below). 

Read&Write for Mac toolbar:

Read&Write's toolbar for Mac.


R&W is NOT functional with Respondus Lockdown Browser for Mac users. Mac users are encouraged to try ReadSpeaker when Respondus is required and/or contact the CEA for assistance identifying other options.

Read&Write for Windows toolbar:

Read&Write's toolbar for Windows


R&W can be used with Respondus Lockdown Browser for for Windows users only. However, users must open Read&Write BEFORE opening Respondus. 


How to Use Read&Write's Features


  • The Text-to-Speech functionality within Read&Write reads on-screen text aloud using a naturally sounding voice. As the words are being spoken they’re also highlighted. Users can even personalise the voice they hear by choosing their favorite voice from a list of options. Read&Write includes language/voice options to read content aloud in various languages, such as German, French, Dutch, Chinese Mandarin, Spanish, Brazilian Portuguese, Russian, and South African.


  • Screenshot Reader: Screenshot Reader icon (square outline with curser pointing inward).

    • Screenshot reader allows you to select the text to be read aloud by clicking and dragging a box around the desired text. R&W will automatically begin reading once the text has been selected.

  • Play button: Play button icon (triangle pointing to the right).

    • To utilize the play button, the text has to be text-based (i.e. word document, google doc).

      • Note: To enable compatibility for Google Doc with R&W, you must first click Tools > Accessibility Settings > Turn on Screen Reader Support.

    • Click at the beginning of the desired text before clicking the play button for reading to begin. Pause, rewind, fast forward, and stop features available, as well.

  • PDF Reader: PDReader icon (document with letters PDF on it).

    • The PDF reader allows you to open a PDF within R&W to have it read aloud.

    • Click this icon for an open box to appear. Locate the desired document & click “Open.”

    • R&W will open the PDF in a separate window. Click any portion of the text to start/stop reading. Options for zooming in/out, printing, and searching in the document are available in this window.

      • Note: R&W will not read a PDF unless it is opened through the PDF reader function

Screen Masking:  Read&Write Screen Masking icon (computer screen).

  • Screen masking allows you to tint or mask portions of the screen.

  • Activate/deactivate this feature by clicking the icon. A small toolbar appears near the bottom of the screen. Click the settings icon to locate screen masking settings.

  • In settings you’ll find options for tinting the whole screen, underlining typing line, tint typing line, change page color, and underline cursor. There are also options to change the opacity and color of the screen tint or add a reading ruler.

Talk&Type:  Read&Write Talk&Type icon (headphones with paper inside of them).

  • Talk&Type allows you to control your computer through speech recognition. Speech can be detected through your computer’s microphone, a microphone connected to your computer, or a headset. Disclaimer: if you have not already, you may have to set-up the speech recognition software on your computer.

  • Click the icon to activate/deactivate this feature. To begin speech recognition, click the microphone and start speaking. To stop speech recognition, click the microphone.

  • To type, open the software of your choosing, click where you’d like to type and begin speaking.

  • To open a program, simply say, “Open (insert program name)” (e.g., Outlook, Google Chrome, Safari, etc.).

Translator:   Read&Write Translator icon (two intertwined arrows pointing to the right).

  • Translator allows you to translate a word/phrase into another language of your choosing.

  • Clicking the feature will open a small window instructing you to select the word/phrase you’d like translated, click “OK” to close the window.

  • Simply highlight the word/phrase you’d like translated & then click the translate icon.

  • A tab will open in your internet browser with the translation (text & audio).

  • To change the language of the translation, click the Settings icon to the far right of the R&W toolbar and click “show more settings.” In the settings window, click Translator from the list of options in the list on the left. In the drop-down menu for Translate To, scroll to find the desired language for translation.

  • Disclaimer: If Read&Write Exam Mode is activated, Translator may not be available during quizzes or exams.

Highlight: Read&Write Highlighter & Collect Highlights icons (markers with a streak of color: yellow, blue, green, and pink. A circle of arrows as the Collect Highlights icon).

  • Highlight is tool that can be used to highlight text in text-based documents (i.e., Microsoft Word, Google Docs).

  • To use this feature, select the portion of text you want highlighted and then click the desired highlight color (yellow, blue, green, or pink).

  • To erase a highlight, select the highlighted text and then click the Erase Highlights icon.

  • To adjust the highlight features, click the “Settings” icon in the far right of the R&W toolbar. Options to turn a highlighter on/off, organize them, or separate them are available in this window.

  • Clicking “Collect Highlights” will pull each highlighted portion of text into a new document with a bibliography.

Voice Note: Read&Write Voice Note icon (small box with triangle inside).

  • Voice Note allows you to place audio recordings into Microsoft Word documents.

  • To use this feature, place your curser where you’d like the voice note to be inserted in your MS Word document, click the Voice Note icon and click record. Click stop when completed.

  • To insert the audio directly into the open MS Word document, click insert in the Voice Note box and the audio will be placed as a comment on the page.

  • To save the audio, click save & select the desired location on your device.

Additional Read&Write (R&W) Resources:


Read&Write Exam Mode

  • Read&Write Exam Mode allows professors/administrators to turn selected Read&Write features off for exams. 

  • When activated, you may only have access to certain features selected by the administrator (ex: translator may be disabled for language-based exams).

  • Read&Write Exam Mode is available for Windows users only and must be set-up on an individual computer or a range of computers on a shared network.

  • Note: Exam Mode may be implemented for accommodated exams taken at the Office of Testing Services .