Tips for using Read&Write Text-to-Speech


Presented at 3:30pm in Virtual Room 1 on Wednesday, November 17, 2021.



  • Karen McCall, Senior Advisor, Accessible Document Design, Karlen Communications

Session Details

  • Length of Session: 1-hr
  • Format: Lecture
  • Expertise Level: Beginner
  • Type of session: General Conference


Read&Write is a Text-to-Speech (TTS) tool used by many people with learning, cognitive or print disabilities. TTS tools are different from screen readers. This session highlights the identifies the features of Read&Write that support student success. Topics including accessing documents and PDF multilingual content.


While many of us who remediate digital content to be accessible understand the conceptual differences between a screen reader and Text-to-Speech tool (TTS), it isn’t until we try to use one to test the accessibility of digital content that we realize how dramatic the differences are. This session looks at the tools available for student success in Read&Write (for Windows), what types of strategies students with learning, cognitive or other print disabilities can use to access digital content in a meaningful way and what some of the limitations are in terms of access versus accessibility. Read&Write has several tools such as the ability to highlight and take auditory notes when reading a document or web page. One of the features of Read&Write is the ability to read multilingual content once it is set up. This session is a combination of lecture and demonstration.


  1. Understanding how TTS tools work provides insight into how to make digital content more accessible.
  2. Identify the differences between screen readers and TTS tools.
  3. Understand the differences and similarities in how those of us with disabilities access digital content.

Disability Areas


Topic Areas

Accessible Educational Materials, Assistive Technology, Uncategorized

Speaker Bio(s)

Karen McCall

Karen McCall, M.Ed. has been working in the field of accessible document design since 1999. She began her career in website accessibility and auditing and moved to accessible Word, PowerPoint and PDF documents in 2004. Karen is:

A Canadian delegate of the ISO 14289 or PDF/UA (Universal Accessibility) committee and has been for a number of years. A Canadian delegate to the ISO 32000 PDF committee. A Microsoft MVP for Word (Most Valued Professional) since 2009. A Microsoft Accessibility MVP since 2017 when this category of MVP was established.

Karen has written several books on the topic of accessible document design for Word, PowerPoint and PDF documents as well as smaller publications with specific techniques for working with Office applications if you are using adaptive technology and/or the keyboard.

Karen is the president of Karlen Communications.