Assistive software on the University network

We have a variety of assistive software available at Heriot-Watt University:

Texthelp Read & Write

Texthelp Read & Write is an easy-to-use toolbar containing support tools to make reading, writing and research easier for you. Features include:

  • Text-to-Speech: Have text read back to you from Word and PDF documents, emails, and websites.
  • Text-to-Audio File: Convert text into an MP3 audio file.
  • Phonetic Spell Checking: Easily check your documents for spelling errors.
  • Dictionary: Provides definitions and alternative words. Basic, Advanced and Online Dictionaries.
  • Screen Masking: Mask out all or part of the screen with a tint colour of your choice.

There are short feature demo videos available on Texthelp's website to help you familiarise yourself with the software.


MindGenius is a powerful planning and brainstorming tool available to access on the University network. Heriot-Watt's MindGenius licencing also allows students to download and install the software on their own computers.

Learn how to download MindGenius.

Find out more on how to get started using the software, and more how-to guides on the MindGenius website.


Colorveil is a free software package available from the aurelitec web site.

It places a coloured overlay onto the computer screen. You can adjust the colour and transparency levels to suit your needs. It can be helpful in reducing:

  • Eye strain or headaches when reading
  • Words moving or being blurry
  • Poor concentration
  • Problems associated with glare from the screen.
Balabolka and Scottish Voices

Balabolka is a free text-to-speech software. It can read aloud, or convert into a sound file, any text copied into its window. It allows you to read text from websites, word documents and PDF files and create sound files, such as mp3s, for your mobile devices.

You can download Balabolka. Please note that Balabolka is only available for devices running the Windows operating system.

We have created a demo video to highlight the key features and functionality of Balabolka.

If you would like Balabolka to read with Scottish voices you can download Heather & Stuart created by CALL Scotland. To download and install these voices, you will need to complete the form on the page with your details and use your Heriot-Watt e-mail address to satisfy the conditions. You will then be sent an email with a download link.

Other software for students

Key information

Arran Brown

Job title
Assistive Technology Advisor
+44 131 451 4267