Claro ScanPen Android 2.1 Released

We’ve updated Claro ScanPen for Android with a powerful new Share feature and made it easier to get.

First, you can now share text you have captured with other Apps. You can use ScanPen to take a picture and speak the text in the picture out loud. But what if you want to use the text somewhere else?

We’ve added a Share button to ScanPen Android, so you can just tap on Share and the text you have selected will be sent to wherever you choose – an email, a message, even Word for Android or Google Docs. This lets you include printed documents in your work and communications – put a quotation in your essay, or send a copy of a page to yourself for reference.

Select the text to share (copy). Then tap the Share button (top, centre)

Share action pop-up on an Android phone

Select the Share action (where the text will be sent). Select “Copy to clipboard” to simply copy the text to the Android clipboard. I’m going to select Outlook.

The text has been Shared to an email and can be sent

The selected text is now Shared to the chosen application, in this case an email App.

Second, you can now unlock ScanPen for Android with a ClaroRead key. If you’ve purchased ClaroRead for Windows or ClaroRead for Mac with a licence key, you can simply install Claro ScanPen for Android and enter your licence key. This will unlock all of its features: essentially Claro ScanPen for Android is now included free with ClaroRead for Windows or Mac.

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Claro ScanPen Swedish Review

We have just come across a wonderful review of Claro ScanPen. This one is from Sweden and the reviewer, consumer editor Martin Appel, has really nailed some of the best features for his readers.

For those of you who do not read Swedish, this is what he said:

Some apps are almost magic, and just a few years ago they would feel like science fiction. Claro ScanPen is one such. What the app does is to turn written text into speech. You can keep the phone in front of a regular page in a paper book, and after a few seconds you hear the text read by a synthetic voice.

We agree. Every time people try out Claro ScanPen at exhibitions or conferences, they think it is magic. It is something about the mix of old style paper print with new technology that really appeals.

Martin Appel goes on to talk about the different groups who will benefit:

The scan pen is primarily intended for schoolchildren who have difficulty reading. By hearing the text while reading, it becomes easier to understand. But, of course, it’s not just schoolchildren who may have trouble reading, and the app may as well be used by people with impaired vision – or all of us who sometimes need some help concentrating.

Thanks Martin for the excellent review and the helpful tips.

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ClaroRead in the Workplace – Supporting Firefighters and Saving Money

ClaroRead helps people be productive. Here is an example of how. Download this article as a PDF.

Andy Fell has been a disability assessor for over 20 years. Originally a rehabilitation officer working with people with visual impairments, Andy has worked at Guide Dogs for the Blind and Microlink and was one of the first visual impairment assessors for the Disabled Students’ Allowance.

These days he is a Workplace Assessor, a senior associate trainer for the British Dyslexia Association and an expert witness in tribunals.

He was a fan of Claro software from the very beginning because he could see that a facility to tint the screen would be of use to people with dyslexia and could help those who experience visual stress.

‘I like Claro software because it is just so easy to use,’ said Andy. ‘Instead of putting a host of different functionalities in one product, every element is simple so users can pick it up and get going straight away. This is so good for their confidence. I think the ClaroPDF is excellent; it is popular for dyslexia and VI and for anybody who wants to annotate a PDF whether they are disabled or not.’

These days people do not necessarily have a laptop at work – or even their own desk – so workplace assessors need to find solutions that are portable and adaptable. ClaroRead can be installed on a USB pen drive instead of onto a desktop or laptop. No more negotiating with the IT department or waiting for someone to install files on a machine or a profile. This means that employees now have control over the tools they need to do their job and can use ClaroRead to scan documents, capture text and convert it to an audio file that they can listen to later.

It is used by workers in many industries including some you might not expect. ‘Firefighting is one example. It is a very practical job,’ said Andy. ‘My role is to make sure firefighters with dyslexia can complete written reports and cope with the study units they need to advance their career. Often there will just be a couple of PCs in the crew area for all staff to use so those with dyslexia just pick up their USB and go online to write up their reports without needing extra support.’

A relatively new product – ClaroRead USB Creator – means that if they lose their USB stick, they can go online and download ClaroRead onto a new 4GB blank USB drive. They just need to keep a note of the serial number.
ClaroRead can make a real difference to individuals. Andy found one social worker who had not submitted an expense claim for over a year but once she had ClaroRead she caught up and very quickly realised just how much money she had been losing. ‘ClaroRead makes people more independent,’ said Andy, ‘and it can also save them money!’

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ClaroRead Anywhere V12 Released

We have updated our online cross-platform Web App, ClaroRead Anywhere. This release, which is available to all users immediately, focuses on ease-of-use and performance: we are all busy people and we need the tools we use to work smoothly and easily.

A big part of performance is letting you know that the App is doing what you have told it to do. First, when you use Speech Recognition, you will see the text you are dictating appearing as you say it, rather than in one lump at the end:

Second, when you are converting a file (PDF or image) so you can read the contents aloud and work with them, you’ll get more information that ClaroRead Anywhere is processing and working.

We’ve also made ClaroRead Anywhere better at opening Microsoft Word and Google Docs documents. Lists (bullet points) are better-displayed and easier to read and use.

Finally, if you start a new document but you’ve changed the original, you’ll be prompted to save it – simple, familiar, but a little tweak that stops you potentially losing work. We hope these tweaks make ClaroRead Anywhere more enjoyable to use on your device – which of course can be any tablet, desktop, laptop or phone!

Speech Recognition is only supported in the Google Chrome browser on Windows, Chromebook, iOS and Android.

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ClaroRead Case Study

Our software helps our users to achieve more in education and life. Here is another story of a real-world ClaroRead user. Download as PDF.

Interested in ClaroRead for your school, college or university? Check out ClaroRead Site Licences. Want to know about using ClaroRead as a Computer Reader for GCSE and other exams? Briefing: Using Computer Readers in Exams.

ClaroRead Case Study from Wigan & Leigh College

Thanks to ClaroRead, Nicole is doing well at college and in her job in telesales.

Cheryl Bentley is an Enabling Technology Development Officer at Wigan & Leigh College. Her job is to recommend software, hardware and apps to students who are struggling with their courses and to make sure they get the right training. Here she talks about how ClaroRead helped Nicole Swift who was working towards a Level 2 Diploma in Business Studies.

Nicole was struggling with some aspects of her course. She found it hard to read black text on a white background, had problems with spelling and poor concentration.

She met the Additional Learning Support Team who recommended ClaroRead and arranged a one to one training session where she found out how the software could solve some of the problems she had when completing assignments.

As soon as Nicole began to use ClaroRead, she noticed a difference straightaway and the improvement was so dramatic that she asked her employer to buy a licence so that she could use Claro for her work in telesales. She has found that using the ClaroView yellow overlay means she can read the customer’s details from the computer screen more easily.

Benefits

  • Nicole has now become more confident in using a range of vocabulary
  • She uses the play back feature regularly to listen to written text as it appears on the screen
  • She can express herself more fluently in her assignments.
  • The dictionary and predictive text features let her be more independent and check her own spellings and correct them if necessary

I am extremely pleased with the progress that Nicole has made whilst at college, in the workplace and when completing her assignments at home. It is wonderful to see what a difference it has made to Nicole’s learning experience. I am a firm advocate for ClaroRead and I encourage everyone to use it. Having the ability to proof read your work can make all the difference. I think it helps students to expand their vocabulary and this boosts their confidence.

ClaroRead has helped to break down some of the barriers to reading and writing for lots of our students at college which can only be seen as a positive!

Want more case studies? ClaroRead Case Studies.

ClaroRead Chrome V13 Released

We have updated our ClaroRead Chrome extension with a new feature, document conversion, and made a change to better support site licence users.

Document conversion

We know that you sometimes need to convert an inaccessible file – maybe a TIFF or JPEG scan of a paper document, maybe an inaccessible PDF file – into a readable, accessible format, like Word or accessible PDF. Then you can read it in any software, or send it to someone else to use.

ClaroRead Chrome Extension now lets you do this by accessing our ClaroRead Cloud OCR service online. On the ClaroRead Chrome toolbar you’ll now see a drop-down on the Scan button (you’ll need to turn on the Scan button if you have not already!)

Then click on the ClaroRead Cloud OCR button that appears on the dropdown:

You’ll then be taken to our ClaroRead Cloud OCR web app, where you can select your inaccessible file and it will be uploaded, OCR/scanned, and returned to you as accessible PDF, Word or plain text.

Note that this document conversion feature is only available to Premium users – anyone paying for ClaroRead Chrome through a site licence or personal account, or anyone who has ClaroRead for Windows or Mac. If you are interested in upgrading, see the ClaroRead Chrome webpage for options.

PDF handling

ClaroRead Chrome opens PDF files in a special way to make them readable. If you’re deploying ClaroRead Chrome across a site you may not want ClaroRead Chrome to do this, even though you want to deploy ClaroRead Chrome to every user.

In V13, if you or a user turn off all the speech options in ClaroRead Chrome – click and play, echoing typing, speak on select, and scan from screen – then ClaroRead Chrome will no longer open PDF files and will leave it entirely to Chrome.

If you have reasons to use the native PDF handling in Chrome – additional extensions, for example – then this may be of use to you.

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Claro ScanPen V1.6 Released

Claro ScanPen V1.6 has been released on the iOS App Store!

This update includes a number of useful features:

  • ScanPen can now automatically copy the selected text to your device’s clipboard ready to paste into another app. This feature is switched off by default, to turn it on simply open ScanPen’s settings and select “Advanced settings” and switch on “Copy selected text to clipboard”.
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  • A share button can be enabled in Advanced Settings. This lets you export your image to other apps, email and other destinations.
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  • ScanPen now includes a range of Acapela kids voices, that are available as in-app purchases (£3.99). Here are some samples:
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    Name Language Gender Audio Sample
    Liam English (Australia) Male
    Olivia English (Australia) Female
    Harry English (UK) Male
    Rosie English (UK) Female
    Jonas German Male
    Lea German Female
    Ella English (USA) Female
    Emilio English (USA) Male
    Josh English (USA) Male
    Scott English (USA) Male
    Valeria English (USA) Female
    Emilio Spanish (USA) Male
    Valeria Spanish (USA) Female

ClaroRead Cloud OCR V3 Released

We’ve updated our online OCR/scanning document conversion web app with some new features!

  • Support for KESI files. KESI, Kurzweil or .KES files are a file format for scanned material (books) often found in education. ClaroRead Cloud OCR V3 will let you open these files and save them as accessible PDFs so they can be read in any app that handles PDF. This lets you work with legacy stores of KESI files when you move to a more modern platform, like Chromebooks.
  • Support for Word DOCX, DOC and RTF input files. Convert any of these common document formats into accessible PDF, plain text or image files.
  • We’ve worked to clean up and simplify the user experience so it’s even more straightforward to use. We know that most people don’t care about PDF formats – but they do care that the PDF they make looks like the original and reads correctly. So we’ve made our default option the most accessible and useful format for most of our users – while letting advanced users choose their output formats where necessary.Super-simple output options - PDF, Word or text.
  • We’ve also added support for the PDF/A standard so by default the accessible PDF files produced by ClaroRead Cloud OCR will work on any PDF reader on any platform.

Anyone can get five free document conversions a month by signing up for ClaroRead Cloud. This is completely free, so why not try it now?

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Claro USB Creator

You can now create a totally portable ClaroRead on a USB stick. Using it is super simple: just insert your personal ClaroRead USB into any Windows or Mac computer, run ClaroRead from the stick and you have the whole program and extras – reading Word and PDF, high-quality voices, OCR and scanning, scan from screen, screen tinting and more.

Demonstrate ClaroRead on a student or client machine. Use ClaroRead on your machine without having to install it. Lend ClaroRead out while a laptop is being repaired. Run ClaroRead anywhere you want!

All you need is your normal ClaroRead licence key, a USB stick, and a tiny program you can download for free from our website: https://www.clarosoftware.com/usb

On a Windows PC you can make a ClaroRead for PC USB stick that runs on any Windows PC. On an Apple Mac you can make a ClaroRead for Mac USB stick that runs on any Apple Mac.

Your licence key is good for two of your personal devices, so you can create your personal ClaroRead USB even if you have used the key to install on a Windows or Mac machine already. You can check your key at https://www.clarosoftware.com/get to find out how many times it has been used.

The whole program – any version of ClaroRead, including ClaroRead Plus – is installed on the USB stick and will run on any Windows machine (for ClaroRead for PC USB) or Mac machine (for ClaroRead for Mac USB) – just you plug it in. You don’t have to install anything or be an administrator.

We really want our software out there being used by people who will benefit: we hope personal ClaroRead USB sticks will help.

Are you an accessibility professional? Do you want to have your own personal ClaroRead USB stick? Get in touch to get you your own ClaroRead licence key!

ClaroRead Case Studies

Our software helps our users to achieve more in education and life. Here are the stories of two of the people who use ClaroRead. Download as PDF.

Interested in ClaroRead for your school, college or university? Check out ClaroRead Site Licences. Want to know about using ClaroRead as a Computer Reader for GCSE and other exams? Briefing: Using Computer Readers in Exams.

ClaroRead Case Study 1 from Barnet and Southgate College, London

Fayez, a mature apprentice at Barnet and Southgate College, says, ‘ClaroRead has made a world of difference to my life.’

‘I have always had trouble remembering things that have been said to me and when I started college it became a real problem. I found it hard to make notes and my spelling was poor. I fell behind on my work, my grades dropped and my confidence was very low.

‘I am a mature student and have mild learning difficulties. I’m a visual person and I started to use a lot of mind mapping software which I found very useful.

‘I first found out about ClaroRead when I went to FE college to do an apprenticeship course. The assistive technology coordinator recommended it and gave me the full training. I now use it in the college and at home.

‘I have changed how I work now. For example, I had a problem reading the text on a white background and now I use the filter screen and change to a colour that works for me. I could not proofread my work properly but the read aloud function helps me to understand the text. Now I use ClaroRead to proof read and to read back text to me when I’m writing an assignment so I don’t forget what I have written.

‘ClaroRead has made a world of difference to me. I really wish it could be rolled out into my workplace where I am doing the apprenticeship!’

Some hints and tips for getting the best out of ClaroRead are:

  • Don’t rush when using it. Take it one step at a time.
  • Find the bits that make your learning easier and work for your learning style
  • Choose a voice you can relate to and that is easy to listen to
  • Use it all the time so it becomes second nature

ClaroRead Case Study 2 from Barnet and Southgate College, London

Laila, a part-time student and mother says, ‘ClaroRead has transformed my work.’

‘I never had extra help during my studies or for exams when I was at school although the teachers recognised that I had some kind of learning difficulty. The only extra help I got was English lessons. I now have two children both of whom have learning difficulties. I have learnt about their needs and how to help them and found out that some of these techniques also help me.

‘Before coming to technology sessions, I was struggling, especially in English. The main difficulties I had were with putting my ideas onto paper, proofreading and checking for errors in my work. The more the tutor tried to explain things, the more confused I got.

‘I spent a lot of time on my work, continually making changes, trying to organise sentences so that they made sense. I used to read my work out loud in order to hear the mistakes that I had made. The trouble with this was that I could not always spot spelling mistakes or grammatical errors. Continually reading my work looking for errors was time-consuming. What now takes me around an hour to do was taking me three to four hours before.

‘I found out about ClaroRead when I was studying maths and GCSE English at college. My maths tutor recommended that I should see the college’s assistive technology coordinator. She was very helpful. She introduced ClaroRead to me and provided step-by-step training.

‘Since having assistive technology sessions, my work has become much easier to understand. At home, I still use mind mapping. This helps me structure my work. Now I can change the background colour and it has helped me immensely making my work look clearer.

‘Now using ClaroRead, hearing the computer read back to me what the work actually says, rather than reading what I meant it to say, has made me spot mistakes more quickly so I am able to correct errors straightaway. I now use ClaroRead for proofreading I listen to my work as I’m going along and can hear if the work makes sense, if there is a spelling mistake or if I have used the wrong word and where I need to put in punctuation. Then when I finish I listen to the whole piece to double check everything makes sense.

‘I can use ClaroRead at home by accessing the college remote desktop that allows me to access specialist software. Using ClaroRead has helped to be more independent, not relying on other people to help me to proof read my work. Now I can check my own work quickly and more effectively.’