Using the Text-To-Speech Feature in Read&Write

One of the most commonly used features in Read&Write is its ability to read text aloud.  This is helpful for anyone with a print disability or for those who simply wish to listen along as they read. Click on a jump link to view a specific topic:

Using Text-To-Speech with PDF Documents

Using Text-To-Speech with Word Documents

Using Text-To-Speech in a Web Browser

Using the Screenshot Reader

Additional Questions

Using Text-To-Speech with PDF Documents

Read&Write features a PDF reader, which makes reading PDF files easier.

  1. On the main toolbar, locate the PDF reader icon.

    Windows icon: Sheet of paper with a bent corner

    Mac icon: Circular icon (Mac) with “PDF” written on it
  2. Click the PDF reader icon and the file open screen appears.
  3. Navigate to the file you wish to open.
  4. Click the file, and then click Open.
  5. The file opens in the PDF Reader.  You will find various controls for navigating the PDF, reading the table of contents, performing a text search and more.  Some features may differ depending on the PDF.
  6. To start text-to-speech, navigate to the page where you wish to start reading.  Click on the text at the point where you wish for reading to begin and text-to-speech will start immediately.  Click the Stop button on the toolbar or any blank part of the screen to stop reading. Notice that the text is highlighted as it is read.  This can help someone who is reading along on the screen to keep their place.

If Read&Write will not read a particular PDF, it is possible that the PDF has not undergone the Optical Character Recognition (OCR) process.  By default, PDF files are images, which have to go through this OCR process in order to be read by assistive technology software such as Read&Write.  To convert a PDF to an accessible file, you can use SensusLibrary, available at this link:

Follow the instructions to convert your file.  You should select to perform a “accessibility conversion” and “Tagged PDF text over image” as the file type.  The file will be emailed to you once processed.  This copy should be readable by text-to-speech.

Using Text-To-Speech with Word Documents

Using text-to-speech to read Word documents differs only slightly from reading PDF files.

  1. Open the document that you wish to have read aloud in Microsoft Word.
  2. Click in the text where you wish to start reading, and then click the Play button on the Read&Write toolbar.
  3. You can click the Stop button or any blank part of the screen to stop reading

Using Text-To-Speech in a Web Browser

Read&Write works in Google Chrome for Windows and Mac as well as Safari for Mac.

  1. With Read&Write open, launch the web browser that you wish to use.
  2. After some time you will see a pop-up asking you to “add” an extension or “enable” the extension, depending on whether you are using Chrome or Safari respectively. Click “Add to Chrome” or “Enable” and the extension will be installed.
  3. At this point, you should be able to highlight the text where you wish to start reading, and then click the Play button on the toolbar to start.  You can then click the Stop button on the toolbar or any blank part of the screen to stop reading.

Some web pages may not read with Read&Write.  If you have a textbook that is web-based, please request a PDF through SensusLibrary.  You can then use the PDF reader to read this text.  If it is an article assigned by your instructor, you might be able to look for a download button, download it to your computer then read it with the PDF reader.  If it does not read in the PDF reader, please follow the instructions under the “Using Text-To-Speech with PDF Documents” for using SensusLibrary to convert the PDF to an accessible file.

Using the Screenshot Reader

The preceding sections described ways to read longer texts, such as PDF files and Word documents.  If you want a small portion of text read such as text in a photo or a question on an exam, use the screenshot reader.

  • The screenshot reader is an icon that looks like a box with a mouse cursor on the Read&Write toolbar. 

Windows users: When you click this icon, your mouse pointer immediately turns into a plus sign.

Mac users: You may be prompted to grant some permissions so that the application can capture parts of your screen.  Please follow the instructions to grant these permissions. 

  • Once your mouse pointer changes into the plus sign, you can draw a square around any text you wish to have read aloud.  After processing the text, it will be read aloud.

Additional Questions

Texthelp created a short video for each feature in Read&Write, describing and demonstrating how it works. Access these videos under the Help menu on the Mac, or the Info icon at the top right corner of the toolbar on Windows, and then click the Video Tours item.

You can also contact the Office of Learning Resources by phone at 937-229-2066, option 4 or by email at for assistance.

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Article ID: 134961
Wed 10/20/21 8:54 AM
Wed 8/2/23 10:21 AM

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