Read & Write Gold for Mac

Read & Write Gold is reading/writing/notetaking software. A Windows version and iPad version are also available.

Any current U-M student, faculty, or staff member may obtain Read & Write Gold v. 6 from the Computer Showcase.

Read & Write Gold v. 6 is installed on all Sites Macintosh computers. Due to networking issues with this version and the Sierra operating system, you may be prompted for administrative passwords (click "cancel") or may not be able to use some features; we are contacting the manufacturer to try to address this. There is also a version of Read & Write Gold for Windows on Sites Windows computers and an iPad version available for personal use.

screenshot showing Read and Write Gold's speech feature

Useful Strategies for Reading/Writing Assistance

Reading Modes Reading Tools Notetaking Writing Tools
  • Audio only
  • Audio and highlighted text
  • Masking
  • Reference (dictionary)
  • Highlighters
  • Extraction of highlighted text
  • Word prediction
  • Audio output while typing
  • Checkers (spelling/​homonym)
  • Reference (dictionary/​thesaurus)


To install Read & Write:

  • Insert and open the thumb drive.
  • Open folders on the thumb drive until you see the Read & Write icon:
    Read & Write desktop icon
  • Drag the icon onto your desktop.
  • When copying is finished, double click on the icon.
  • You will be prompted, possibly multiple times, to enter your computer password. Enter it once, then go to Apple Menu>System Preferences, and click on "Security and Privacy."
  • Click on the Privacy tab. You will see the Read & Write icon on the right (not shown below).
    Mac Security & Privacy tab
  • Click on the lock in the bottom left corner. Then click on the checkbox next to Read & Write, and click on the lock again. Close the Security and Privacy window.
  • You will be prompted to install “High Quality” voices. These are not particularly worthwhile and can be skipped.
  • You will be prompted with an Activation screen. Simply click on “Activate;” you should not need to enter a code.
    Activation screen: Simply click on Activate; you should not need to enter a code.
  • Read & Write should open and you should be good to go!

Read & Write Overview

Read & Write works directly with applications such as Microsoft Word and Web browsers.

Most functions are located in Read & Write toolbar, which appears somewhere on the screen when Read & Write starts. The default toolbar looks like the following:

Read & Write Mac Toolbar

The Read & Write menus appear at the uppermost top left of the screen when Read & Write starts. The menu bar looks like this:

Read & Write Mac Menus

Short video tutorials for many of these features are available on the TextHelp website.

Default Toolbar Functions

This section describes the buttons that appear on the toolbar when Read & Write starts. Note that settings may not be saved on public machines, or if you move your flash drive version from one machine to another.

Most of the information below was taken from TextHelp's Read & Write Gold Quick Reference Card.

Spell Check Icon
Spell Check. Spell checks selected text in your current editing window. Press Play on the main toolbar to read the dictionary definition aloud.
Sounds Like Icon
Sounds Like and Confusable Words. Checks for homonyms (words that sound the same but have different spellings and meanings, such as "there," "they're," and "their") and confusable words (words with similar sounds, such as "affect" and "effect"). Definitions can be read aloud by clicking Play.
Word Prediction Icon
Word Prediction. This feature puts up a list of words based on letters that have been typed (similar to the prediction used by cell phones).
Dictionary Icon
Dictionary. Provides definitions of common words. Definitions can be read aloud by clicking Play.
Picture Dictionary
Picture Dictionary. Allows you to type in a word and retrieve one or more associated pictures. Double click on the image to insert it into your document.
Verb Checker Icon
Verb Checker. When the user inputs a verb, the Checker asks the user to confirm the tense in which it is being used, then provides a conjugation in that tense for standard, perfect, continuous, and perfect continuous verb forms. Click Play to hear them read aloud and click the Replace button to add the selected verb into your document.
Play Icon
Play. Options include the ability to specify reading unit (word, sentence or paragraph), a Pronunciation Tutor for hearing (but not correcting) pronunciation of individual words, a Speech Options setting for choosing and adjusting the voice, and several other audio output and reading settings. To use, highlight a few words near the beginning of the text you want to have read, then click on the Play icon. This feature is for use with Microsoft Word, web pages, and similar documents.
Rewind Icon
Rewind. Moves back one reading unit (e.g., word) and reads it.
Pause Icon
Pause. Pause current reading. When Pause is clicked a second time, the audio continues from the stopping point.
Forward Icon
Forward. Moves forward one reading unit (e.g., word) and reads it.
Stop Icon
Stop. Stops the current reading. If the user then presses Play, reading recommences from the beginning of the current reading unit.
Screenshot Reader Icon
Screenshot Reader. Allows user to capture text in any format and read it using Text Reader or from within Word. Useful for reading bitmapped (non-selectable) text or other text that cannot be accessed with the Play or PDF Reader functions.

To use Screenshot Reader:

  1. Click on the Screenshot Reader icon, and draw a box around the text you would like to read. Screenshot Reader will take a few seconds to analyze this text and will then start reading it aloud.
  2. You can use the standard Play, Pause, and Stop buttons to control this text.
Daisy Reader Icon
Daisy Reader. Reads file that are in DAISY format (a format optimized for accessibility).
Speech Maker Icon
Speech Maker. Converts highlighted text in Word docs and PDF files to an MP3, M4A, or AIFF audio file.

To use Speech Maker:

  1. For best results, highlight 4 pages of text or fewer, then click on the Speech Maker icon. The first page of the resulting dialog box previews the text you have chosen.
  2. Clicking on Next goes to a second screen allowing you to change and test settings for voice, speed, and volume. Then click on the “Create” button to generate the audio file.
  3. You will be prompted for the location where you want to save the file and the file format you wish to use. Click “Save” when done.
Scan Icon
Scan. Options include whether to scan text to a Word, PDF or HTML file and specifications about the type of scanner being used. Even if you don't have a scanner attached, the Scan function can be useful for converting PDFs that were scanned as images into a text format. To use this functionality:
  1. Open Read & Write and click on the Scan icon: Scan Icon
  2. The resulting window will look like this:
    Read and Write Gold Scanning Options screen
  3. Set up the window as follows:
    • Click on "Scan from file" (upper left corner). If there is no physical scanner attached, this option will be selected automatically.)
    • Click on "Multi-Page" (under Mode)
    • Click on "Word" (under Output options)*
    • Click off "Preserve Format" (under Output options)
  4. Click on the Scan button (bottom right). You will be prompted for a Word file name and location to save the document. You will then be prompted to open the document you want to scan.
  5. You may be asked to grant access to the Word file; it is fine to do so.

* If you are a U of M student and do not already own Microsoft Office, which includes Word, you may download it at no charge.

Fact Finder Icon
Fact Finder. Do a quick web search directly from your document.
Fact Folder Icon
Fact Folder. Select information you wish to store from a website. Then click the Fact Folder icon, click on "add fact," then click "close." The fact and website address are saved.
Fact Mapper Icon
Fact Mapper. Provides access to an online mind-mapping tool for entering and organizing information.
Translator. Select a word or phrase and click on this button to translate into the language of your choice. Note: You must be online to use this feature.
Screen Masking Icon
Screen Masking. Tints all or part of the screen.
Highlighters Icon (Green and Pink)
Highlighters. Allows selected text to be highlighted in green or pink, or for the highlighting to be erased.
Highlighters Icon (Yellow and Blue)
Highlight Yellow and Highlight Blue. Adds additional highlighter color options.
Collect Highlights Icon
Collect Highlights. Collects and sorts highlighted text, and sends it to a new file.
Vocabulary Icon
Vocabulary. Allows users to add highlighted words to a vocabulary list, with the option of adding images for the Picture Dictionary as well.
PDF Aloud
PDF Aloud. Provides access to a program designed to read PDF files. You will need to have Adobe Acrobat Reader installed on your computer.

To use PDFaloud:

  1. Click on the PDFaloud icon, then select the file you would like to read. Adobe will open automatically,
  2. A hand with a green dot (Hand with Green Dot) will appear at the top of the page. If the dot is red instead of green, click on the hand and the dot will change color.
  3. Place your cursor where you would like to start reading. Use the Play, Pause, and Stop buttons on the standard toolbar to control the reading.
Preferences Dialog Icon
Preferences Dialog (keyboard shortcut: ⌘ + , [comma]) Allows options to be set for the following functions:
  • Appearance
    • Color options for text that is highlighted while it is read
    • Spelling errors indicator color
    • Sounds Like and Confusable Words indicator color
  • Dictionary
  • Fact Finder
  • Word Prediction
  • Screen Masking
  • Screenshot Reader
  • Sounds Like and Confusable Words
  • Speech
  • Spelling

Other Pre-Set Toolbars

The following toolbar options may be selected from the Mode menu:


This toolbar includes the following options:

  • Play
  • Stop
  • Rewind
  • Pause
  • Forward
  • Preferences Dialog


This toolbar includes the following options:

  • Dictionary
  • Picture Dictionary
  • Sounds Like and Confusable Words
  • Play
  • Stop
  • Rewind
  • Pause
  • Forward
  • Screenshot Reader
  • Daisy Reader
  • Scan
  • Screen Masking
  • Translator
  • PDF Aloud
  • Preferences Dialog


This toolbar includes the following options:

  • Play
  • Stop
  • Rewind
  • Pause
  • Forward
  • Dictionary
  • Picture Dictionary
  • Spell Checker
  • Sounds Like and Confusable Words
  • Word Prediction
  • Verb Checker
  • Scan
  • Fact Finder
  • Fact Folder
  • Fact Mapping
  • Screen Masking
  • Translator
  • Preferences Dialog

Study Skills

This toolbar includes the following options:

  • Highlight Green and Highlight Pink
  • Highlight Yellow and Highlight Blue
  • Erase Highlighting
  • Collect Highlights
  • Vocabulary
  • Preferences Dialog


This toolbar includes the following options:

  • Dictionary
  • Picture Dictionary
  • Play
  • Stop
  • Rewind
  • Pause
  • Forward
  • Speech Maker
  • Scan
  • Fact Finder
  • Fact Folder
  • Fact Mapping
  • Translator
  • PDF Aloud
  • Highlight (all four colors)
  • Erase Highlighting
  • Collect Highlights
  • Vocabulary
  • Preferences Dialog

Custom Toolbar Options

Any toolbar icon may be added to the currently selected toolbar by going to the View menu and choosing Customize Toolbar.

Three additional options are available:

Space Icon
Space. Inserts a space between toolbar items. The space size will stay constant when the toolbar is resized.
Flexible Space Icon
Flexible Space. Inserts a space between toolbar items. The space size will adjust when the toolbar is resized.
Calculator Icon
Calculator. Brings up a calculator with basic math functions.

To restore the toolbar to its default configuration, go to the Mode menu and choose the desired keyboard.

Menu Functions

Functions that are available through the Read & Write menu at the top of the screen include the following:

  • Edit menu
    • Opens the speech-to-text function that's built into the Macintosh operating system (keyboard shortcut: Press "fn" key twice on a full Mac keyboard)
    • Opens the Character Viewer to allow emoji, math symbols, and other special characters to be added to documents (keyboard shortcut: Control + ⌘ + spacebar). Position the cursor in the document, then click on the character to insert it.
  • Mode Menu
    • Lists all premade toolbars.
    • Allows users to set the toolbars back to the default.
  • View Menu
    • Toggles visibility of the Read & Write Gold toolbar (keyboard shortcut: Option + ⌘ + t).
    • Allows users to customize the toolbar and anchor it so it always appears on top of other applications.
  • Window Menu
    • Allows users to minimize Read & Write toolbar (keyboard shortcut: ⌘ + m).
    • Zooms size of toolbar.

More Resources

For a wealth of useful information about learning disabilities, see DyslexiaHelp.

Other Useful Programs