Lightning Express

Lightning Express was a screen magnifier supplied by Claro Software and Sensory Software. It is no longer available from us but we do receive enquiries about it.

To help anyone who wants it, here is a link to the executable. It must be downloaded and run every day that you want to use it. We do not support it, we do not warrant that it works, and we will not undertake any more work on it. We recommend users try out either the new improved Windows Magnifier free in Windows 10 or another commercial solution. You may also find this guide to using your computer with some sight useful.

Disabling ClaroUp

ClaroUp is our automatic software update program. It only runs when you run a Claro program: it doesn’t run in the background, or when Windows starts up. So it’s quite unobtrusive.

It also doesn’t show itself if the current user is not an Admin on the machine, so it should not bother users on networks or locked-down machines.

However, you may want to disable it entirely. You can do this by writing a per-machine registry key: (Read more…)

Disabling Spellcheck in ClaroRead for exams

You may need to disable the spellcheck features in ClaroRead, for example if you are using it for exams. You can disable it in Settings, or install ClaroRead SE instead (it has no spellcheck: contact Support to get a copy if you have ClaroRead Standard or Plus). But you might want to disable it and prevent the user from being able to turn it back on.

You have two options: first, you can run a simple program that locks spellcheck off and password-protects it. You don’t need to be an admin, but this only turns it off for the current user. Second, you can set a per-machine registry key that disables spellcheck for any ClaroRead running on that machine. This is suitable for network administrators who want to disable ClaroRead using something like Group Policy.

The two options are detailed below. See also Exams for more about using Claro products in digital exams.
(Read more…)

Acrobat Reader DC

ClaroRead 7 and later work great with Adobe Acrobat Reader DC. Acrobat Reader DC is the new name for Adobe Reader (so the last version of Adobe Reader was Adobe Reader XI or 11).

ClaroRead 6 and earlier do not have speech with highlighting. You can update ClaroRead to version 7 through ClaroRead Cloud or by using this simple patch. Just download, then run it – you will need to be an administrator – and it will simply update ClaroRead for Acrobat Reader DC support.

Claro Software & Windows 10 Compatibility

We have tested all of our products with Windows 10, and all of our products work fine. This includes:

  • ClaroRead (Pro, Plus, Standard, SE)
  • ScreenRuler
  • ClaroView
  • ClaroCapture
  • ClaroIdeas
  • WordRead
  • Scan2Text
  • Oska WordBanks
  • ScreenMarker

If you have an older version of any of these programs and need an update, please contact Support. If you have a product not on the list, please contact us to let us know and confirm support – if your product runs on Windows 8.1 you should expect it to work on Windows 10.

Installing Claro software on your network

Customers owning a site licence or multi-user licence version of a Claro product are able to distribute that product over multiple computers. This could be done by visiting each computer with the installers on a USB pen drive, and manually installing the product, but this would be very time-consuming. If the computers are connected on a network however it is possible to use Microsoft networking tools to distribute the software from a central location.
(Read more…)

Fixing problems with starting up

Symptoms

  • “I try to start ClaroRead or WordRead but it only gets to about 75% of the progress bar and the form never actually appears.”
  • “ClaroRead just won’t start: it flashes then disappears.”
  • “Nothing happens when I double-click the ClaroRead icon.”
  • “ClaroRead or WordRead crashes with a message about LHCOM02w.dll.”
  • “Save to audio crashes.”

Diagnosis

  • Run ClaroRead, will not start up.
  • ClaroRead uses speech: broken speech systems will stop ClaroRead working. Try the tests on Fixing Problems with Speech and fix any problems you find first.
  • If you are on Windows Server, and/or receive a Windows error message about an application error (rather than the program hanging), or you receive a Windows error message about “Data Execution Prevention”, see Cure 2
  • Download and run SAPI4Test.exe, get error message “Component ‘Xvoice.dll’ or one of its dependencies not correctly registered: a file is missing or invalid.” or one or more voices do not work. See Cure 1
  • If ClaroRead displays a message “Invalid Hard Disk!” while loading and will not go any further then you may have the Windows Script Host disabled or broken, see Cure 3.
  • If ClaroRead gets about one-third of the way loaded and then hangs, and also you cannot play any audio on your computer, then see Cure 4.

(Read more…)

Fixing problems with speech

Symptoms

  • “It’s not reading anything any more!”
  • “I press Play and everything flashes really quickly in Word but no speech”
  • “I’ve installed a new piece of software and now ClaroRead/WordRead will not work”

Diagnosis

  • Make sure you can hear non-speech sound – try Windows Media Player, or go to YouTube, and play a CD or any sound. If you can’t, then you have to fix your sound first.
  • Download and run SAPI5Test.exe – none of the voices work.
  • Open Control Panel > “Sounds, Speech and Audio Devices”> “Speech”. The panel does not appear. Try Cure Number 2 first.
  • If it does appear, switch to one of the Microsoft voices (for example, Sam, Anna, or Hazel). Click the Preview button: no sound is produced, or an error message results. Try Cure Number 3 first.
  • 32-bit Windows machines only: If a Microsoft voice works, but some or all of the Claro voices (e.g. ScanSoft Daniel_Full_22kHz or Vocalizer Daniel) do not speak, then go to Cure Number 4.
  • 64-bit Windows machines: our Claro voices will not show up in the Speech dialog in Control Panel. However you can launch the 32-bit Control Panel window by downloading and running our Speech Control Panel program. Go straight to Cure Number 4.

(Read more…)

Problems recording audio in Microsoft Windows

Sound problems on Windows machines can be especially difficult to fix if they relate to recording. Many Claro applications support recording, but only if recording works on that machine. The article helps you fix Windows recording problems.

Test applications. You can test recording with the Microsoft Sound Recorder application. Other useful applications to try include Skype (which lets you see and test different Recording Devices) and Audacity.

Windows Settings. Find the Recording settings in Control Panel, Hardware and Sound, and the Sound windows. You want the Recording tab. There you will see your Recording Devices. For example, your laptop might have a built-in microphone (Recording Device “Integrated Microphone Array” in the list below) and a 3.5mm mic jack for an external headset (Recording Device “Microphone”). If you plug in a USB mic or connect to a Bluetooth, these will appear as Recording Devices.

The Recording tab in the Sound control panel in Microsoft Windows

The Recording tab in the Sound control panel in Microsoft Windows

Symptoms of recording problems

  • You cannot record at all.
  • The “Record” button in audio applications is greyed out.
  • Trying to record produces an error message or crash.
  • Audio applications do not recognise and offer the Recording Device you want to use on your system (Skype is a good test)
  • Audio applications will record, but the resulting audio is completely silent.
  • Audio applications will record, but the resulting audio consists of static.
  • You can record with one Recording Device but not another (e.g. the mic jack works okay, but the mic above your laptop screen does not.)
  • You have several Recording Devices all called “Microphone”.

Misleading symptoms

A Recording Device can appear in Sound correctly, be enabled, and its volume indicator shows that it is responding to sound. It may still not record in an audio application if the device drivers are wrong or the manufacturer audio application has muted the Recording Device.

Things to check and fix

  • Correct installation of audio device drivers from the manufacturer. You may need to update or install manufacturer drivers if you have any of the following symptoms:
    • Multiple Recording Devices with the generic name “Microphone”.
    • Recording Devices are using generic Microsoft drivers.
    • Sound not displaying some devices you know you have plugged in.
    • Recording Devices enabled in Sound, and the microphone level showing activity, but audio applications not recording with that Recording Device.
  • Windows settings in Sound. Check that:
    • The Recording Device you want to use is enabled in Sound.
    • The Recording Device you want to use is the Default Device or Default Communication Device.
    • The Recording Device you want to use is not muted.
    • The “Stereo Mix” Recording Device is not disabled, if present (advice from Microsoft Support)
  • Volume turned on in manufacturer-provided audio software.
    • If the volume is muted in the manufacturer-provided audio software, Windows may still show it as active, but it won?t work in your audio application.
    • Check in the System Tray (Notification Area) for manufacturer-provided audio applications.
    • Check for Realtek, Intel, Aureal, Creative or Roland applications on your system and see if they control your audio settings.

Background Colour in Windows 8

In Windows XP, Vista, and 7, you can change the background colour of windows to make them easier to read.

In Windows 8 the setting to do this is still there, but it’s buried away. You have to change your Theme to one of the High Contrast themes in the Control Panel\Appearance and Personalisation\Personalisation screen. Then? you can change the Color setting.

This is long-winded and you may not want to set your machine to High Contrast – many people, such as people with dyslexia, want to change the background colour to reduce contrast, not increase it. And you lose the attractive Windows 8 styling.

You can use ClaroRead (Standard, Plus or Pro) to change the background colour in Windows 8:

  1. Start ClaroRead.
  2. Click the Extras button on the ClaroRead toolbar and select Advanced Settings Editor.
  3. On the General tab uncheck the “Reset background colour when exiting” checkbox.
  4. Close Advanced Settings Editor and restart ClaroRead.
  5. Go to Microsoft Word.
  6. Click the Font button on the ClaroRead toolbar and select Background. Choose the colour you want.

You can now close ClaroRead and the background colour will be set.

Reading MathML formulas in Internet Explorer using ClaroRead

Mathematical Markup Language (MathML) can be used to display mathematical formula in webpages. To make such a formula accessible to ClaroRead for reading back, a plugin for Internet Explorer is required.

The plugin is called Design Science MathPlayer and is available as a free download from here.

Once MathPlayer has been installed, simply hover the cursor over the formula with ClaroRead running and ClaroRead will read it back.

Reading Kindle books with speech

The Kindle for PC eBook program lets you view your Amazon Kindle books, but it does not allow ClaroRead to highlight and speak them like Adobe Reader or Microsoft Word. You have two things you can do:

  1. With ClaroRead Plus or Pro, you can Scan from Screen to speak a particular page. Click on the Scan button on the ClaroRead toolbar and select Scan from Screen. Then draw the rectangle round the page in the Kindle for PC program, and wait until it is processed. Click Play to hear the page contents.
  2. Install the Kindle for PC Accessibility Plugin. This will read the current page aloud, without highlighting, using a male or female voice (not one provided by Claro). Control+R starts reading. This plugin will only work when a screenreader is installed, but ClaroRead fulfils this criterion and reading will work while ClaroRead is running.

Claro Software & Windows 8 Compatibility

Quick Summary: Claro Software programs work fine on Windows 8 / 8.1 machines.

We have tested all of our products with Windows 8 / 8.1, and all of our products below work fine with Windows 8 / 8.1 when using it on the traditional desktop where non-Modern UI apps like Office, Internet Explorer and Adobe Reader run:

  • ClaroRead (Pro*, Plus*, Standard*, SE) V6
  • ScreenRuler V3
  • ClaroView
  • ClaroCapture V2 **
  • ClaroIdeas V2
  • WordRead V6
  • Scan2Text V2
  • SymPrint
  • Oska WordBanks
  • Tactix Touchpad
  • Oska V2
  • Claro FaceMouse

(Read more…)

OpenOffice and LibreOffice

OpenOffice and LibreOffice are free open-source Office/Productivity suites – competitors to Microsoft Office. ClaroRead for Windows PC works with both of them for highlighting and reading back in their word processors. However, if you have both installed on your system, then one them may fail to work. This is because the programs were the same program until very recently, and they conflict at a system level if both are installed.

Uninstall one of the suites and reinstall the one you want to use to make sure ClaroRead works with it.

Microsoft Windows support

Claro Software programs cannot work well on Microsoft Windows machines which are having technical problems. You should always keep your Windows installation updated and working smoothly. Only Microsoft-supported versions of Windows are supported by Claro (e.g. not Windows 2000).

If you are having problems here are some utilities that can help you:

Program Install and Uninstall
Fixes problems with installation and uninstallation of programs.
.Net Framework Cleanup Tool
Fixes problems with the Microsoft .Net Framework.
System Update Readiness Tool
Fixes some other problems with Microsoft .Net – try this if you encounter SXS errors with .Net.

Choosing where to start reading with ClaroRead in Adobe Reader PDF files on touchscreens

ClaroRead lets you click in a PDF file in Adobe Reader, click Play on the ClaroRead toolbar, then hear the PDF file read back from that point.

If you are on a touchscreen computer/monitor with Adobe XI then you may find that you cannot click on the PDF file to place the caret (cursor) to indicate where you want to start reading.

Adobe Reader detects that you are on a touchscreen and goes into Touch Mode when you open a PDF. This is helpful to let you flick and scroll through the PDF file, but it also changes the default Selection Tool to the Hand Tool. To click and place the caret you need to use the Select Tool instead, but Adobe Reader XI also hides the button on the toolbar that changes to the Select Tool.

You can quickly change to the Select Tool by right-clicking on the PDF document and selecting Select Tool from the drop-down menu:

You can now click in the document to indicate where you want to start reading, or select text to have ClaroRead read it out straight away.

To make the Select Tool button reappear on the toolbar so that you can get to it more easily, open the View menu, the Show/Hide menu item, Toolbar Items menu item, Select & Zoom menu item, and click Select Tool. The button will now appear on the toolbar and you can click it on any time more easily:

Text smoothing in Adobe Reader

Adobe Reader turns off text smoothing by default if it detects ClaroRead is running because it wrongly thinks that ClaroRead might want to magnify the text and this is easier if smoothing is off.

You can prevent this happening by starting ClaroRead, then opening Adobe Reader and going to the Edit menu, Preferences, Page Display category, Rendering section, and changing “Smooth Text” to “For Laptop/LCD screens” or “For Monitor”. This will leave smoothing on when ClaroRead is running and your text will look better.

Adobe Reader Preferences - Text Smoothing

AppLocale and ClaroRead in Arabic

ClaroRead for Arabic works perfectly on machines with Arabic Windows. However, some users prefer to run English Windows, and find that some of the ClaroRead user interface does not display properly as a result.

You can fix this with the free AppLocale tool from Microsoft. This tells Windows that ClaroRead is working in Arabic, and the parts of the user interface that did not display correctly will look perfect.

Installing AppLocale

AppLocale?was designed for Windows XP so you can install it directly if you are using Windows XP:

AppLocale still works correctly in Windows Vista, 7 and 8 but?installing it requires an elevated command prompt. Follow these instructions:

  1. Download AppLocale from the Microsoft website:
    http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=13209
  2. Open the Start menu.
  3. Go to the Command Prompt shortcut (typing “command” is the easiest way to do this.)
  4. Right-click on the Command Prompt shortcut and select “Run as Administrator” from the dropdown list.
  5. Change to the folder where you saved AppLocale.msi (you do this by typing something like cd “c:\users\YourUsername\downloads” to go to the folder. That’s “cd”, then space, then the full path to the folder, surrounded by quotation marks if there is a space in the path.)
  6. Type “msiexec /I AppLocale.msi” to start the installation.

These same steps are described in more detail at this site:

Using AppLocale

Having installed AppLocale you start it up from the Start menu and follow the instructions. A good walkthrough is provided by AppLocale: here are the specific settings for ClaroRead:

  • Run AppLocale, click Next.
  • Choose “Launch an Application”
  • Click “Browse” and select “ClaroRead.exe” from the “C:\Program Files (x86)\Claro Software\ClaroRead” folder (the exact path will depend on your version of ClaroRead and Windows.)
  • Click Next.
  • Select “Arabic” (in Arabic) from the list of languages.
  • Click Next.
  • Check “Create a shortcut to always run this application with AppLocale”
  • Type a good name like “ClaroRead Arabic”
  • Click Finish.

You should see ClaroRead launch, and you should now have a “ClaroRead Arabic” shortcut in your Start menu. You or the user can just click on the shortcut in future and ClaroRead will launch entirely in Arabic on your non-Arabic Windows machine.

ClaroRead in Arabic (and Hebrew)

Claro Software has Arabic and Hebrew versions of ClaroRead and other software. However, support for right-to-left languages has many limitations, in Windows and other software, especially older versions. Arabic and Hebrew users will know many of these: these are generally not problems with ClaroRead, but problems with other programs and with Windows.
(Read more…)