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University of York Library
Subject Guides

Learning Technology - Practical Guide

Introduction to Read&Write

Available resources to assist with students during their time at University.

Download Read&Write

The best way to start playing around with Read&Write is to add the browser extension to your Chrome browser. Follow the link below to install the extension.

You can also download the Read&Write desktop app. Follow the link below on how to do this.

What's the difference between the Chrome extension and the Desktop app?

Use the Chrome extension for online files - webpages, PDFs stored in your Google Drive and so on.

Use the desktop app for offline files eg Word documents, PDFs stored on your computer.

Note: If you open a PDF on your computer in a browser, neither the Chrome extension nor the app will work! Viewing an offline file in a browser does not make it an online file. Upload the PDF to your Google Drive, or open it in Adobe Reader.

What can Read&Write be used for?

Access to 20 different support tools where and when you need it. It gives you the flexibility in how to access and engage with content and help improve reading and comprehension skills.


Helps you to study, revise, proof read and increase understanding in your studies. Useful tools such as highlighters, voice notes, vocabulary tools and more will help you to study smarter and more independently. 


Provides a useful tool for accessibility needs to ensure everyone can study effectively.

Using Read&Write on Windows and Mac

You can download the Read&Write Desktop app for Windows. Take a look at the YouTube playlist by Texthelp below which shows you how to use the features included within the desktop app.


You can also download the Read&Write Desktop app for Mac. Texthelp have also created a series of videos which show you how to use these features on Mac.

Features at a glance

Read&Write includes many features that can assist you with your learning:

  • Text can be read aloud as words, passages or whole documents can be read with easy to follow dual colour highlighting.
  • Text and picture dictionaries are available which provide definitions and display images to help with word comprehension.
  • A vocabulary list is created instantly into a new document, including selected words, the dictionary definitions, images from widgit symbols and an editable notes column.
  • Read&Write also reviews any written piece for incorrect grammar, spelling (phonetic), capitalisation, punctuation, verb tense and more.
  • An audio maker is available which converts selected text into an audio file, and automatically downloads this file.
  • You are also able to convert spoken word into text.

Take a look at the Youtube playlist below to see these features in action.

Texthelp PDF Reader and ePub Reader

Other useful reading and annotation tools in the Texthelp family are OrbitDoc (previously Texthelp PDF Reader) and Texthelp ePub Reader.

Apart from the familiar Read&Write functions, you can read text aloud, including math & science equations, and input maths & science directly into your PDF with integration of the EquatIO for Chrome extension.

EPubs are a flexible and adaptable reading format. They can be downloaded from the VLE or directly from ePub sources. Try Texthelp's ePub Reader.

Read&Write - Rowan's top tips

Rowan from Biochemistry shows us their favourite features in Read&Write:

It helps you to pick up mistakes really easily and just makes it much easier to check your spelling, check your grammar, check your style, check your sentence length. The screen masking tool highlight lines that I’m reading; this is particularly useful at night when I might be a little bit more tired and need a little more help to pick out my lines. – Rowan

Read&Write - Rowan's top tips [5 min YouTube video]

Some useful links