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Clicker 4

Clicker 5 now available

Clicker 4 has now been replaced by a new version. But before your throw away your old CDs there are some things that Clicker 4 can still do that Clicker 5 can't. Find out more about the new incarnation by reading my full review.

Clicker 4 is a fantastic tool for literacy. It is incredibly versatile, allowing it to be used by a wide range of users, and it is easy to use. There are essentially two parts to clicker: Clicker Writer and Clicker Grids.

Clicker Writer

Clicker Writer is a word-processor that has been tailor-made for young people with or without learning difficulties. It has all the common tools you'd expect from a word processor: spell checker, the ability to change font and size, insert pictures, and so on. But it also has: toolbars suitable for young users, clipart feedback, and speech. Clicker also ships with the Sassoon font, which most people agree is easily the easiest font to read and also matches the style they are being taught to write with.

The clickerwriter toolbar

The Clicker toolbar is simple yet full of standard word-processor features (it's easy to make Microsoft Word appear simple and uncluttered like this. Find out how by following this step-by-step guide).

Clicker Pictures

Having clipart feeding back to the user gives them a great incentive to work, helps them understand the words through picture matching, and makes the printed copy more rewarding. You can add your own pictures to its database of clipart, including those taken with a digital camera. If you have a copy of a symbol library such as PCS or Rebus, then you can use this too. The font shown in the example is Sassoon. If you don't want them, the clipart feature can be turned off.

In the example shown above, as soon as I entered the full stop after 'school', clicker read to me the sentence. If you prefer, Clicker can read every letter-by-letter, or word-by-word. Or you can turn speech off all together.

The Clicker spell checker

The spellchecking feature of Clicker 4 is also rather impressive. If the user misspells a word, a grid pops up displaying alternatives. If there is a clipart picture, digital photo, or symbol associated with the word, it will show in the grid (but you can turn this feature off if you like). Clicking the right word will correct the misspelled one.

There's a lot more that the grids feature can do other than spellchecking! Read on for more details.

Clicker Grids

The grids feature of Clicker is the part that makes this piece of software stand out against the crowd and can only have helped Clicker 4 receive its 5 BETT awards. Grids are made of cells, and these can contain words, letters, whole phrases, punctuation, or pictures.

Using a grid in Clicker 4

Here is a screenshot of Clicker 4 running with a typical grid. Clicker Writer has been squashed up to the top half of the screen, while the grid is at the bottom half. It is worth noting at this point that Clicker 4 works best on larger screens. It can be a little cramped on a 14" or 15", and I'd always recommend 17" or higher for any computer, clicker or no clicker. This particular grid contains enough words to complete a whole sentence without using the keyboard. There is even a full stop to end the sentence with.

The grid works in the same way as the spell checker above, in that when the user clicks on a word or phrase, it transfers itself up to Clicker Writer. Speech feedback is provided as the words transfer themselves up, but this can be turned off where required.

Another grid in use

For those who struggle to read, clicker can help in two ways: speech and pictures. By using the left mouse button, clicking a cell will transfer the words inside that cell up to Clicker Writer. By using the right mouse button, though, Clicker will read out what is written in the cell. So a user who might be unsure of what is written in a cell could simply right click it. Another option is to use pictures. Cells can contain pictures that pop up over the words in the same way as they do in Clicker Writer. The screenshot to the right shows a similar grid to that one above, only this time with pictures added.

Clicker 4 comes with a selection of example grids and more can be downloaded from the supporting Learning Grids website.

Making your own grids

The easiest way to make your own grids is to edit an existing one. You'll be surprised how easy this is. In the picture-less example above, if we wanted to change 'Tom' to 'Mike', all you have to do is hold down Shift and left-click in the cell. Then simply type in 'Mike' and hit return. That's it! You can change all the words in all the grids as often as you like, and you can save the grid for later retrieval.

If you want to make your own grid some scratch, that's easy too. Clicker even comes complete with lots of grid templates (empty ones) in different sorts of styles. See my tutorial section to find some great step-by-step guides to making Clicker grids.


Clicker is a fantastic solution for those who struggle to use a keyboard for physical reasons. Because the cells are set up to be click on by a mouse, you can easily use a joystick, rollerball, or any of the other mice substitutions (see our equipment list). This means you can also use a touch screen.

Some of the greatest benefits of grids are for switch users. Clicker has an inbuilt switch driver that allows the cells in the grid to be scanned. This way, those users without keyboard or mouse abilities can use Clicker to the same extent as more able users.

Clicker Resources

See my Clicker tutorials page for printable step-by-step guides on using Clicker 4.

Many grids made by Crick Software and teaching professionals can be downloaded for free from the Learning Grids website.

On the Web

Go to the official Clicker 4 website.


Clicker 4 has now been superceded by Clicker 5 so you might find it difficult to get hold of the older copy. Clicker 5 is currently available from:

Crick Software Logo

Crick Software

01604 671691 |
Inclusive Technology Logo

Inclusive Technology

01457 819790 |
Keytools Logo


02380 584314 |