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Getting Started

Instructions for using accessibility software.


What is Read& Write?: Read&Write is a customizable toolbar that integrates reading, writing, studying, and research support tools with common applications. The Google Chrome extension-based web version* works in online environments, including Canvas and Google Docs.

Why it's useful:  Read&Write has myriad tools to support students in building independent learning skills to enhance overall success in college: text-to-speech, highlighting, dictionary, vocabulary tool, and study skills tools to capture highlight.

Who it's for: Everyone. While students benefit from the tool, so can faculty and staff. 

How do I Install it? Follow instructions on this ITS page to access the web tool and install the browser extension. It should only take a few minutes.

 *There is a desktop version for Macs and PCs with more advanced features, including more language translation tools. In most cases, the Chrome version will be sufficient for students.

Getting Documents Ready for Read&Write

Scanned documents in image form (e.g., jpg, png, tiff, and sometimes pdf) cannot be read by Read&Write. To make them readable, they should be converted into machine-readable text.

  • Check whether a PDF is in image form by either:
    • control-f searching for a common word (e.g. "and"), or
    • by trying to select and copy text. If you can't do one or the other, it's an image PDF and won't be readable by Read&Write.
  • Use the online app OrbitNote* to convert an image PDF to machine readable format. (On the same page, you can also see other OrbitNote tools, tutorials, and support options.)

*Like Read& Write, your access to OrbitNote is provided by BC ITS & supported by BC ITS and BC Libraries

Installing Read&Write

 Read&Write can be installed in its Google Chrome extension form and/or as the desktop version.

1.) To install it, go to the BC Software Downloads page, under the Accessibility tab, and click "Download Read&Write software."

2.) On the TextHelp page, click "Try Read&Write" and select the version you want, e.g., Google Chrome (extension), Mac (desktop), or Windows (desktop). (You might need to scroll down the page a little.)

3.) When you open the application, you will be prompted to sign in. Use your BC Google account and your access will be upgraded to the premium version.

Google Chrome

After installing the browser extension in Google Chrome, there's an added step to make it visible. In Chrome, click the puzzle-piece extension icon to the right of the URL bar. In the drop-down that appears, click the pushpin icon to make the extension appear. Whenever you want the Read&Write toolbar in Chrome, just click the icon.