Ghotit Real Writer and Reader has just been released as Version 8. It has an expanded floating toolbar with some new features and some functions that have been enhanced. This review builds on my previous review of V7.4 (see second page onwards), so this first part of my review is really an addenda to my review of Ghotit RW&R V7.4.
Revised Floating Toolbar
Version 8 has some very handy new additional features as well as some improvements in existing features.
The features include:
Predict Anywhere – Being able to launch word-prediction is one of the new features from the extended Floating Toolbar. It opens a prediction window that uses can deploy in any application. It behaves very well on MS Windows. On Mac OS it has a few limitations but is still a very useful addition to the program. One quirk on the Mac is where the user must first click the title bar in order to read-aloud prediction options by hovering by mouse.
Read Anywhere – This new button reads any selected text without having to copy it. The ability to have text-to-speech is possible on both MS Windows (Narrator) and is native to MAC OS (Apple/System Preferences/Accessibility/Speech). The beauty of having the speak immediately facility is that it is fast and works straightaway with any text in any document, window or web site.
Screenshot Reader – This has been totally overhauled and enhanced. It will now recognise text on low-resolution displays such as non-Retina screens as well as many common low-resolution MS Windows screens. It is more accurate and far more reliable. Not only does it read back the text from a locked PDF or photo or screen image (e.g. the rules in a game that re really ‘graphics’ of text) but it also places the text into the Ghotit text window.
Settings button – This button brings up immediate access to the Preferences dialogue box and by default shows the Speech option. Users can now change the voice, the rate of speech and both background and text highlight colours with just a few clicks. It is quick and convenient. Or they can change any other of the preferences as deemed fit.
Bring Editor to Front – The second last option is simply to bring the Ghotit window “forwards’ or on top of other open windows. This is very especially for users with physical disabilities or for those people using eye-gaze technologies. It avoids the frustration of locating the Apple menu (on the MAC) and using Recent Items and trying to locate the Ghotit RW&W program window. It proves to be very useful to get to focus the Real Writer window if it is concealed or minimized.
Minimize/Maximize button – This is used to minimize the Floating Toolbar when not in use. It toggles the floating toolbar to it’s full extent (that of eight options) to just the one green Ghotit icon and back again.
The program is maturing and with every new upgrade, it is introducing more features to assist struggling writers and readers and proofreaders.
Original Review of Ghotit V7.4
Ghotit RW&R is a standalone software program, available for MS Windows, Chromebooks and MAC OS computers. Once installed, it does not require further Internet access. Users can work with Ghotit RW&R with any preferred word processor or text entry tool, website or program. With younger students, it can be used as the user’s main word processor, if required. Text can be copied from programs such as Google Docs, Pages, OneNote, Inspiration, or MS Word by using copy/paste or by selecting up to 1000 words and pressing Fn-F6 keys or by using the ABC button of the Floating Toolbar.
Ghotit Real Writer & Reader 7.4 is an integrated writing and reading software program. It cleverly combines several advanced inclusive technologies specifically created and designed for people with dyslexia, dysgraphia and other learning disabilities and difficulties. It also can be applicable to users learning English as a second language. Ghotit is useful and relevant for children at home or in school. It also caters to adults with dyslexia and dysgraphia and allows them to read, write and correct text in any application – independently. Therefore, it empowers children through to adults to confidently work with text for writing, study or research purposes, or just for fun. It builds skills, confidence and the ability to accurately create or edit their own work or in third party documents.
Main Features include:
- Powerful phonetic and context-sensitive spell checker
- Advanced grammar and punctuation corrector
- Quick-Spell Word-Prediction with instant correction for creative/phonetic writers
- Word-Prediction topics (i.e. using Advanced Word-Banks)
- Effective proof reader
- Speak as you write (i.e. speech feedback – spoken at a fast or slow rate in a preferred human quality male/female voice)
- Integrated dictionary, with meanings of each word that can be read aloud
- Reading assistance with text dual colour user-selectable highlighting
- Screenshot Reader that is able to read text within images or photos, locked PDF files, etc.
- Integration with most common text based applications
- This version is a dyslexia friendly editor for Google Docs
- Independent Text Editor
- Voice dictation
- Comprehensive collection of Emoji
- Independent floating toolbar that provides the user with the ability to:
- Check spelling, grammar and punctuation of selected text in any document, web site or program
- Read back selected text in a document or web site
- Read back text in locked PDFs, from artwork, photographs or screen content (e.g. games)
Ghotit’s patented Text Correction technology provides the most accurate fixes for spelling, grammar and punctuation mistakes according to the intended meaning of a text. This is not unique as there are competing products with similar claims but it performs these functions with an extremely high degree of accuracy, speed and efficiency. In addition, it is very easy to learn, use and master. The program’s software corrects text analyzing the components and structure of the sentence that the user is typing.
Ghotit Quick Spell Word-Prediction is a state-of-art technology designed for writers with typing issues and for phonetic or ‘creative writers’. It also caters to students with physical disabilities, as words do not have to be fully completed. The user may employ the use of a conventional keyboard, enlarged or programmable external keyboard, onscreen or ‘virtual’ keyboard or eye gaze technology. Words are predicted in a list with accompanying Function key shortcuts by using just a few initial characters. The user can select a long or complex word quickly and efficiently, knowing that it is spelt correctly.
Word Prediction technology increases writing speed for many users who have great difficulty in attempting to type text and spell words. Ghotit successfully predicts intended words with instant correction of the first misspelled letters. It has powerful algorithms that check the context of the word in the sentence and displays a list of intended words, all with associated meanings. Users can elect to have each meaning read aloud or ‘spoken’. The student or writer may require text-to-speech support, as they may also be poor or struggling readers. The male or female voices are human quality and the users can alter the rate (or speed) of speech to suit his or her preference or cater to the genre of text. The user, of any age and ability, can choose familiar text to be spoken aloud through speakers or a headset/headphones/earplugs at a fast rate whilst difficult, complex or new text might be read back more slowly.
Ghotit Reading Technology makes any text document readable: users of all ages can hear text being read aloud in conjunction with dual colour highlighting, using a preferred voice (male or female) and at a specific rate (or speed). The user, parent or assistant can change voices and rate of speech at any time.
I particularly like the Ghotit Screenshot Reader feature that reads texts taken from images, photos, graphics, games, locked PDF files and other inaccessible documents or web pages. It will capture any text on screen and read it back to the user. Users can copy and paste the required text into other documents, or save it to the user’s Google Drive or Dropbox.
Reading text aloud works in place on the screen with yellow highlighting of the currently read word and this can be repeated. In parallel to reading, a copy of the recognized text is available for users from the Ghotit Writer window and could be further copied and pasted into another program.
Ghotit Real Writer & Reader integrates with most common Mac OS applications (i.e. Pages, Microsoft Office, OneNote, Safari, Chrome, Gmail, Google Docs/Drive) for text correction and for reading text aloud.
English is a complex and difficult language to learn and master. As it has evolved over the centuries, it has many spelling irregularities and grammar rules, many of which are inconsistent and confuse students and adults alike. Standard spell checkers don’t usually cope with users who begin words by approximating the ‘sound’ by using usual combinations of letters. Some students find phonics difficult to master.
Many people make spelling and grammar errors that regular spell checkers in other programs that cannot correct. Ghotit is the only spelling and grammar checker that corrects severe spelling and problematic grammar errors. The beauty is that it does it with ease and without an Internet connection. It is fully stand-alone. It has an intuitive interface and only four major buttons on screen. It provides a floating toolbar that used independently of the program and performs text-to-speech, reading back text and a screen shot reader.
Example of Ghotit’s spelling capabilities:
Original Text: That whas scery. I can fell a shiver down may spiyn. Its getting liyt. I shud go to bed. I bet im gooing to have nitmers a bawt that. o well, just have to dellwith it. I cant get that thim song out ove my haed never going to whach halloween movie a gen or its seqwels.
Corrected Text: That was scary. I can feel a shiver down my spine. It’s getting late. I should go to bed. I bet I’m going to have nightmares about that. Oh well, just have to deal with it. I can’t get that theme song out of my head never going to watch Halloween movie again or its sequels.
The program uses highly developed algorithms to determine the spelling, grammar and punctuation errors in a sentence. The user can select from a number of English based dictionaries including Australian, United Kingdom, New Zealand, Canadian, United States and South African.
By selecting or highlighting a word, phrase sentence or the entire text (e.g. Command-A or Ctrl-A on a Windows computer) the user can choose the ABC tick icon displayed on the left hand side of the screen. Ghotit software will analyse the text for errors and mistakes as well as missed words and incorrect punctuation. The above example above clearly shows how these errors are all highlighted in different colours.
Users may elect to write straight into the Ghotit window or cut and paste from third party text (e.g. an MS Word document or Google Doc, PDF, web site or note from Sonocent Audio NoteTaker). They might elect to highlight text from another source and use Fn-F6 to transfer the text into Ghotit as another option. The user can elect to press Fn-F2 keys to hear text spoken aloud with dual highlighting. Yet another option is to use the Reading button of the Floating Toolbar.
The software will clearly mark misspelled words, suspected confused words and grammar errors by the colours red, blue and green respectively. The user then simply clicks on an incorrect word. The software will offer alternate word suggestions. To approve and apply the selected changes, the user clicks on the Smiley Tick button. This will remove all colouring and markings in the document.
The program uses the system voice from the user’s Mac OS computer. The user selects a voice from a drop down menu and then sets the rate of speech (from slow delivery to fast). Speech feedback can be turned on so that everything the writer types will be spoken back after a spacebar hit (and the entire sentence spoken after a full stop, exclamation mark or question mark). Colours can be judiciously used to help users who have Meares-Irlen Syndrome by having the selected word in one colour (e.g. light pink) and the background in a darker colour (e.g. dark purple). This affliction occurs with many students and is often undiagnosed or misdiagnosed.
Note: Mac OS is packaged with a number of high quality voices. In order to download and experiment with a wider range of voices, or when using different languages, go to this site for many more English voices and other languages (e.g. Heather in Scotland).
To have text read aloud, the user highlights some text from the Ghotit window and clicks into the Speaker icon (top left of screen). The text is spoken with foreground and background highlighting. Clicking the speaker again will stop or pause the speech feedback. Therefore speech can be toggled on and off at will.
Users can work with any word processor or web browser (off line or online as with Google Docs) and copy/paste text to be corrected in Ghotit’s window. In addition or alternatively, Ghotit can be used simply as a text editor (with all of the wonderful access options available). The icons above appear in a horizontal toolbar in the program.
The user can elect to create a new blank file and start from scratch or later cut and paste text from other third party sources (encyclopaedias, web sites, PDFs, Google Docs etc.). It can open text or HTML files. Most importantly, it can export files in formats including .doc (Ms Word), .docx (Ms Word 2008 or later), .pdf (portable document format) .odt (Open Office document), and .rtf (rich text format).
Below the main toolbar is the formatting toolbar. Text can be standard or bullet point (3 options) or ordered (4 options). The font and size can be selected as well as buttons for Bold Face, Italics, Left, Centre, Right and Full Justification. These are followed by Add a new word to the dictionary, a Preferences dialogue box, Screen Shot Reader that can capture and read aloud and text from anywhere on the screen, an icon to bring up a Best Practices and Tips User’s Guide in PDF format and Save or Retrieve documents from the user’s Google Drive. The last icon is to sign out of Google Drive.
There are buttons to save the file, print it, export it into other file formats, undo and redo actions, cut, copy and paste text as well as a dictionary.
Four Major On Screen Buttons
There are four large buttons. On screen in the left hand side of the Ghotit Window is Read Aloud text. It will speak text from the beginning of the document or just text that the user has highlighted. Underneath it is Word Prediction. On the right-hand side is the ABC icon where the user has selected text that requires checking for spelling, grammar and punctuation. Underneath the ABC button is the Tick button that accepts and approves the changes made to the text.
Four buttons makes for a simple yet intuitive and powerful interface. Learning the program, after the voices, the preferred regional English language and the dictionary are set up, is a breeze. It caters to users of all ages and abilities.
Users can add new words to the dictionary for use with Word Prediction. This is extremely useful for users who are typing in proper nouns, names of characters or places or unusual words, including slang or idiom. It also caters to students studying specific courses or areas of study or interest. There are topic dictionaries where users can add a single word or a list of words in a file that is able to be imported quickly and easily. Dictionaries can be ‘built’ then added or removed. If not required, users can wholly delete dictionaries. Users can hear all of the words in each dictionary. The program is able to be customised to meet the needs of an entire history or geography class – or matched to accurately meet an individual’s needs. It is an excellent example of inclusive technology.
When using the word prediction, the user can select a word by pressing the corresponding Function key that is displayed to the left of the word or simply click on it. Users using eye gaze can dwell on the function key and thus enter the complete word without having to finish spelling out or typing long or complex words.
Another wonderful edition to this version is Dictation. It is nowhere near as advanced as Dragon Naturally Speaking, but it does serve a purpose for those users who can speak well and are articulate. Simply locate the Edit menu and choose Start Dictation. I used the inbuilt microphone on my desktop MAC and it worked very well. I then used a $300 desktop microphone and the result was excellent. Students will be able to use headsets in class that have unidirectional microphones so that they can dictate (or speak their text) as well as listen with privacy and less distractions and avoid background ‘busy’ classroom noise. It works similarly to SIRI; but it does not have editing commands. It could prove to be handy for some users.
Note: There are other Apps available for Apple portable devices (iPad and iPhone, Chrome Books, MS Windows computers and tablets, as well as Android devices and Smartphones. Users can link to https://www.ghotit.com for more information.
Either install Ghotit Real Writer and Reader from the Internet or install it from the Ghotit CD. The installer will require an internet connection only for the installation and to download the Best Practises User Guide. Download the .dmg (for MAC OS) installation file then copy and paste the Ghotit App icon to the desktop. Then double click on it to launch. The set up wizard guides the installer through the process, with only a few steps required. This is where the user can determine and adjust the voice settings as well as the required English Dictionary. These can be changed later at any time to meet the user’s needs.
Then the user will have to enter the username and password (all case sensitive) – supplied by Ghotit or their distributor/dealer. When successfully completed, the user is greeted with "Welcome to Ghotit". The next step is to configure the F-Keys, as these are handy short cuts used in the software. The users launches Ghotit, clicks on the Apple icon, chooses System Preferences, then the Security and Privacy icon then the Privacy icon. Then the user selects Accessibility. If the dialogue box is locked (as it should be) untick it by providing the administration password. The user then selects the checkbox left to the Ghotit App to provide keyboard access so that the F-Keys can be used and integrated with other MAC applications. Then the user needs to lock the dialogue box again, close System Preferences, close the Ghotit App and then restart Ghotit Real Writer and Reader and the user is ready to begin writing, editing and note taking.
Google Docs Dyslexia-Friendly Editor
Google Docs is a powerful online tool. Unfortunately, people with dyslexia and dysgraphia have problems using it due to their reading and writing limitations and this can cause frustration. Ghotit Real Writer and Reader acts as a simple-to-use text editor which, integrated with Google Docs, solves their productivity problems.
Ghotit’s writing and reading inclusive technology including word prediction, text-to-speech including dual highlighting with human quality voices, context and phonetic spell checking, grammar and punctuation checking is able to be customised to fully meet an individual’s writing and reading needs. These capabilities are available both online and offline.
The software opens Google Docs documents inside the Ghotit Writer Editor, a simple to use editor with only main functions and big clear buttons, word-prediction option, text correction and in-place reading aloud with dual-highlighting colours.
This means that the user is supported with these enabling features compared to editing in Chrome, even with many other assistive options available. After editing, the file is automatically synchronized with Google Drive. If the connection is temporarily unavailable, the software will remind the user to synchronise it later. Multiple Google Drive accounts could be used by signing-in and signing-out to/from an account. This enables the student at school or University/TAFE institute can work on the document when they get home. They are able to be independent at school or workplace and not rely on assistance as the software helps them correct their text wherever they are working.
One aspect that delineates Ghotit Real Writer and Reader from some other products on the market is that when you pay for a licence, it is NOT a subscription. There is an option for subscription, but it’s only for single licenses.
The user owns the program and can use it indefinitely. If a new version is released, the user has the option to update or buy the new version.
Subscription based software can be a trap as the user has to pay EACH YEAR. Users often forget, can’t afford to subscription costs or schools and institutions do not adequately budget for the year’s new subscription cost.
Ghotit RW&W can be purchased in Australia from Spectronics in Australasia. It is sold as a single licence AUD 380.00, the school/institute site licence for AUD 2000 for up to 100 users (that is, AUD 20 a copy) or a home and school/institute licence for AUD 2770 for 100 users. This would be my considered option for most large schools or universities. The student can therefore have it at school and at home. Teachers can also install it to learn the software and become accustomed to using it.
A multi site (i.e. a school that has more than one campus) for up to 100 users is AUD 3540 and a multi site and home licence as well as home use for up to 1200 users is AUD 4920.
Users in different countries can always go to the Ghotit website for prices in their currencies as well as site licences.
- Mac OS 10.7 operating systems and later on desktop, Air and Apple Books.
Memory: 4GB at least although 8GB or more is recommended.
- Local disk space required for the program is just over 1GB.
Note: One-time only connect to the Internet for the license activation.
This software review was written in October 2018 by Gerry Kennedy © running MAC OS 10.12.6 with 12GB RAM using MS Word 2008 and Ghotit Real Writer and Reader for Mac. The author acknowledges Ghotit for providing a copy for review purposes.