It’s true. Reading and writing with ADHD can be difficult and frustrating. The good news are: there’s nothing wrong with our brains and we can do it all smoothly once we’ve found our way.

And to find our way, there are two things to consider:

  1. Our hyper nature: we tend to read everything at once (skipping lines, paragraphs or details) and we think faster than we can write!
  2. The design of the document we are reading or writing, which is to be neat and clean.

In this post, I walk you through the second issue, which is something you can address right away.

The first issue is related to comprehensive reading, like when we study. I’ll be publishing a method which I am positive you’ve never heard of, and which I’ve been using for decades.

Designs’ Guidelines for ADHD

Whether we are reading or writing digitally or on paper, what we’ll be looking for is, simply, the following:

  • Nice combination of font colors and contrast: a shade of black over a white that is not too bright, sounds delicious.

For instance, you may find more ADHD friendly to use a blank sheet with no lines and black ink, instead of the yellow legal pads and blue ink.

  • ADHD friendly fonts, which we could agree are “sans” fonts. If you are writing, doing so in small caps will do the trick.
  • a clean layout (for instance: space between lines and paragraphs; a blank sheet or a screen without pop-ups)

Digital Solutions to Read And Write With ADHD

On a Browser

At “How to Use the Reader View,” you’ll find out there’s a “reader view” mode (which uses sans fonts) that we can activate or install in our browser.

If you are using Safari, for instance, you can simply activate it from the top menu > View > Show Reader. Then press scape to close the reader view.

On a Computer (Text Editors, Spreadsheets, and everything that is not a PDF file)

For our computers, we are to install the fonts we need. And Google Fonts offer us a free solution, which is also very easy and quick to set up.

I wrote a tutorial on this @ “How to install Google fonts.”

Important: all the software in your computer will automatically pick up the fonts once you’ve installed them. I mentioned the PDF files as an exception because not everyone has the software to edit PDF files.

If you don’t have a text editor in your computer, LibreOffice is a free and great solution. (It does the same trick than the Microsoft package)

Reading With ADHD From a PDF

With Adobe Acrobat (for which you need a license, and which I am not promoting!) you can edit PDF files.

There are many plans and that can be confusing. So simply search for the Adobe Acrobat Standard version, which lets you “Edit text and images, reorder, and delete pages in a PDF.”

Reading and Writing With ADHD on Paper

What I am going to share with you, has gotten me through Law School and it is helping to this day with the courses I take.

Writing using small caps

I used to write in cursive, fast and without caring much about the prolixity of my notes. And then, trying to read my own writing was painful.

What did I do? I started writing in small caps, and yes it took me while to write fast this way. But the time of adjustment is worth it.

Another thing I do, is to get home and write my notes on a word file, print them, and toss the handwritten notes.

If you’re studying, think that the moment to begin typing you’ll be studying. It’s not time lost.

Making copies of books to work on them

Finally, when I’m in front of a book or something I can’t edit, I make copies. (Yes, it is a budget, but I have ADHD) 

Then to study or simply read, I highlight the keywords, I write down notes on those copies, and then I create a text file with it all.