Features in Read&Write

Posted August 26th, 2021 at 2:13 pm.

Read&Write is a tool that helps with reading, writing, researching, and organization. This article outlines features found in the Read&Write Chrome extension. All of these features may not be available on versions of Read&Write on platforms other than the Chrome extension.

These headings list the features available on the Read&Write toolbar from left to right. Click on the appropriate heading to learn how to use the feature.

Read and Write toolbar

Adjust the Toolbar

Click the four arrows icon and drag the toolbar to reposition it on screen.


Prediction is a writing tool that suggests the spelling of words as you type. To use this tool, click on the Prediction icon and then begin to type in a search bar, Google Doc, or email online.  A list of word suggestions will appear below your cursor as you type. To hear the suggestions spoken aloud, hover your cursor over the word. To select which word you would like to use, either click the word or press Control + the corresponding number of the word in the list. These actions will insert the word where your cursor is.

word prediction feature

Hover Speech

The hover speech feature reads out any text that your cursor hovers over. To use this feature, click the Hover Speech icon. Next, place your cursor over whatever text you want read aloud. Read&Write will begin to read the text.

To pause the speech, click the Pause icon . To have the speech read again, click the Pause icon a second time.

To stop the speech from reading the current paragraph, click the Stop icon . The speech will not resume reading in that paragraph, but it will read surrounding paragraphs if you move your cursor to hover over them.

To stop using the hover speech feature, click on the Hover Speech icon.


The dictionary feature will tell you the definition of a word. To use it, double click the word in your text for which you want to know the definition. Then click the Dictionary icon. A box under the icon will show the definition of the word. To move this box, select it with your cursor and drag it along the screen. To have the definitions be read aloud to you, click on the arrows next to the definitions in the box. When you are finished using the dictionary, click Exit at the top of the definition box to close it.

dictionary feature

Picture Dictionary

The picture dictionary will show you a picture that describes the meaning of a selected word. To use it, double click the word for which you would like to see a picture. Then, click the Picture Dictionary icon.  A box with a picture of the word will appear under the icon. To move this box, select it with your cursor and drag it along the screen. To close the picture dictionary feature, click the Exit icon on the top of the picture dictionary box.

picture dictionary


This feature allows you to hear text read aloud. Double click the word where you would like to have Read&Write start reading. Next, click the Play button . You will begin to hear the text read aloud.


To pause hearing the text being read aloud, click the Pause button . To resume reading, click the Pause button again.


To turn off the read aloud feature, click the Stop button .

Screenshot Reader

For text-to-speech programs like Read&Write to be able to read them, text needs to be optimized for optical character recognition (OCR). Often, text in graphics is not optimized for OCR and therefore cannot be read aloud. However, Read&Write has developed a feature called Screenshot Reader to work around this issue so that text in graphics can be read aloud.

To use this feature, click on the Screenshot Reader icon. Click the corner of the text you want read aloud and drag your mouse until the square surrounds all the text you want read aloud.

Audio Maker

Highlight the text that you would like to be made into an MP3. Click the Audio Maker icon. A MP3 file will be created from that text, and will automatically download for your use.

Web Search

Double click on a word in your text that you would like to learn more about. Then click the Web Search icon. You will be led to a Google page showing search results for the word that you clicked.

Screen Mask

The screen mask feature creates an overlay for the screen where the entire screen is darkened except for a horizontal band.  This band helps readers stay visually focused on the line of text they are reading.  Click the Screen Mask icon to open this feature. The screen mask will appear. Move your cursor up and down to move the line of focus over the text you want to read. Scroll as usual to advance through the webpage.

When you open the screen mask feature, three new buttons will appear on the top left corner of your screen. Click the four arrows icon button to drag these new buttons to a new placement on your screen. Click the center Screen Mask button to turn the screen mask off. Click the Cog icon to open the Options menu. In this menu, you can adjust the appearance of the screen mask.

screen masking

Talk & Type

Talk & Type allows you to dictate what you want written. To use this feature, click the Talk & Type icon. You may be prompted to allow permission to your microphone. Click Allow to continue. Click the area where you would like to type. Then, speak aloud the words you would like typed. The Talk & Type feature will automatically transcribe what you have said.


To use the translator feature, double click on a word you would like to translate into another language. Then click the Translator icon . A pop-up window providing a translation will appear.

translator feature


To highlight your text on screen, use your mouse to highlight the text you want, and then click one of the following highlight buttons in the toolbar: Yellow, Green, Blue, and Pink. You can highlight with all of these colors on the same screen.

hihglights on webpage

Clear Highlights

Click the Clear Highlights icon to clear the highlights from your web page. First, select the highlighted text that from which you want to clear the color. Second, click the clear highlight button. The highlight will disappear.

Collect Highlights

This feature allows you to collect all of the text you have highlighted into a Word doc along with a link back to the original source.  To use this feature, click the Collect Highlight icon. A menu will pop up. Click the checkbox next to each color you would like to have exported to your Word doc. Then click OK. The Word doc will generate and appear on your screen.

menu to select which highlights to collect

word doc with all the highlights


This feature creates a vocabulary list with definitions from the words you have highlighted on screen. First, highlight individual words you would like to include in your vocabulary list. Second, click the Vocabulary icon. A Word doc will automatically generate which will include the vocabulary you highlighted, along with a definition, a picture description, and a blank space for you to add notes and change the font style and line spacing.

word doc vocabulary list

Simplify Page

The simplify page feature allows you to transform the look of the webpage to show only meaningful text and images. To use this feature, click the Simplify Page icon. The screen will transform and you will see a menu appear at the top of the webpage. This menu provides options for your to choose how much or little simplification you want on the screen, as well as the color contrast of the text and background, font style, and line spacing.

page in a simplified format

Practice Reading Aloud

This feature allows you to record yourself reading a passage of text from the website you are visiting aloud and then listen to the playback. When you click the Practice Reading Aloud icon, instructions will appear on your screen prompting you through the recording process.

practice reading aloud screenshot


Click the More icon to access additional features. The features under the More menu are: Options, Help & Support, Send Feedback, or Navigate to texthelp.com.

  • Options: Click Options to customize the appearance of your Read&Write tool bar, to adjust the language features, speech, screen masking, and other features.

options menu

  • Help & Support: Click Help & Support to access Texthelp’s help documentation.
  • Send Feedback: Click Send Feedback to offer feedback to Texthelp about your experience with Read&Write.
  • Texthelp.com: Click Texthelp.com to go to that website.
Filed under: Accessibility by Grace Cipressi

Comments are closed.