ClaroSpeak iOS 3.0 Released

Version 3 of our ClaroSpeak for iOS app was released towards the end of May 2018 and brought with it lots of great new features and improvements.  For a complete list of these changes, you can check the release notes here: ClaroSpeak 3.0 release notes.

One of the biggest changes gives everyone access to all of the iOS system voices, free of charge.  This means you can now choose male and female variants for different voice languages, as well as accessing higher-quality versions and the Siri voices.

Another change saw the font and colour options now being accessible from the keyboard:

font and colour button

font and colour button

This change not only lets you change these settings more quickly, but it also lets you see the changes as they are applied, so you can be sure to choose the right settings for you:

settings in real time

settings in real time

One of the best new features in V3 is the addition of the “Read with ClaroSpeak” web extension.  This lets you choose a webpage from Safari, or other browsers, and then have that web page read back to you with highlighting.  You can access this new extension from the Share menu in your browser app:

accessing "Read with ClaroSpeak" button

accessing “Read with ClaroSpeak” button

You can then tap on some text to set the start point and tap the play button and the text will be spoken back with highlighting so you can follow the text as it is being spoken:

speech with highlighting

speech with highlighting

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ClaroPDF iOS 2.1 Released

ClaroPDF iOS V2.1 is now available and brings some great new features and improvements – check out the release notes for a complete list of all changes. Here’s an overview of two of the new major changes:

Access to all of the iOS system voices

The 2.1 update of ClaroPDF lets you access all of the iOS system voices, including the Siri voices, for free. This is great, because now you can choose between male and female voices for the same language, as well as opting to use the higher-quality versions of those voices.

File sharing integration

ClaroPDF has always supported different ways of sharing your PDF files between apps and locations to make your workflow as simple and as fast as possible. Now, in V2.1, the app is fully integrated with the iOS Files app, which means you can now access, share and organise your PDF files directly in Files:

 

ClaroPDF in the Files App

Files App

Create new folders:

ClaroPDF in the Files App

Create new folders

Moves files:

Moves file

Moves file

You can tap a PDF document here and ClaroPDF will open it directly. All of the changes you make in the Files app, are reflected inside the ClaroPDF app.

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ClaroRead for Mac V6.2 Released

We are pleased to announce the release of our latest version of ClaroRead for Mac, V6.2. There are lots of little improvements and bug fixes, but here are the top new features – check out the release notes for a complete list of all changes.

Future macOS Ready

The next version of macOS (after High Sierra) will only support 64-bit applications. ClaroRead V6.2 is now a 64-bit application, so ClaroRead and its Extras are all ready for that change.

Ignore Homophones

There are common words, such as “you” and “I”, which are homophones, but you probably never get them confused with the alternatives (like “ewe” and “eye”). In ClaroRead V6.2 you can now choose to ignore these kinds of homophones, so they don’t get highlighted when using the “Show Homophones” feature.

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ClaroRead V7.3 Released

We are pleased to announce the general availability of our latest version of ClaroRead for PC, V7.3. Of course, there are lots of little improvements and bug fixes, but here are the top new features – check out the release notes for a complete list of all changes.

Improved scanning/OCR

We know that converting inaccessible documents – paper or PDF or images – to readable Word or PDF files is very important to our users. We’ve updated ClaroRead with the very latest world-class OmniPage OCR engine to make sure that more documents work perfectly when you are getting ready to study, research or sit an exam. Documents produced by ClaroRead 7.3 will read better and more accurately, and we’ve worked to make ClaroRead 7.3 handle broken PDF files better so you know whatever you start with you can make a highly-compatible working accessible PDF file.

We’ve also added support for the Kurzweil eBook format. Schools and colleges often have books and documents as Kurzweil files, which is a problem if your students don’t have access to the Kurzweil software. ClaroRead 7.3 will convert Kurzweil into accessible PDF (or Word documents) so you can use your Kurzweil documents more freely.

Finally, we’ve decided to make ClaroRead output PDF/A by default. This is an “Archive” version of the PDF format that does some technical tweaks (like embedding fonts) to ensure that the PDFs you create work on more machines and devices. We think our users are increasingly consuming PDF on a variety of machines (Chromebooks, Android and iOS devices) and need the best inter-operability possible.

ClaroRead Chrome Extension

We’ve always supported reading web pages by selecting the text you want to hear, or using Scan from Screen. ClaroRead also supported reading web pages with highlighting – like in Microsoft Word and Adobe Reader – in the Internet Explorer browser: just click in the web page and press Play to read the page from that point.

The venerable Internet Explorer, however, has been superseded by the Google Chrome browser for most users. We’ve therefore built a ClaroRead Chrome Extension to give you reading with highlighting in web pages in Google Chrome, Google Docs, and PDFs you open in Google Chrome. We are really pleased with it, but of course an end user has to know it exists and how to get it.

ClaroRead for Windows 7.3 will therefore install the ClaroRead Chrome Extension, so it is easy for you to activate and use it. Of course we don’t activate it unless you say so – you’ll get a prompt the first Chrome next starts, and if you don’t turn it on you’ll never see the prompt again.

If you do choose to use ClaroRead Chrome you can unlock its premium features, including Scan from Screen, by entering your ClaroRead for Windows licence key into ClaroRead Chrome. We want our ClaroRead users to have the best experience and the widest range of tools available to them, no matter where they do their work and study.

More voices

We ship the very best-quality text-to-speech voices we can, because we know that having a voice that suits you is very important if you are going to use the software in the first place. Which voice you like best is a really personal preference, of course: that’s why we make thirteen English voices available to any end user (and 67 other voices if you are not reading English text).

Now Microsoft has started to ship good-quality voices for free with Windows 10, including many non-English voices like Swedish and Arabic. This means extra choice, which is great for end users: but Microsoft has decided to ship these new voices in a special format which meant that they were not available to ClaroRead (and other traditional desktop software).

We’ve done the work in ClaroRead 7.3 to make these new free Microsoft Mobile voices available for you to use: you will see them in the Speech settings in ClaroRead and they start with “Microsoft”, like “Microsoft George”, but do not have the word “Desktop” in them. Try them out, you might find one that suits you!

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ClaroRead Chrome Extension 14 Released

We’re pleased to announce another update to our Google Chrome web browser extension for Windows, Mac and Chromebook.

ClaroRead Chrome Extension Premium users have a Scan from Screen feature. This lets you simply select part of the screen with the mouse and hear it read aloud to you. We’ve made it much faster, especially the first time it is used, and we’ve also added the option to copy the text into the clipboard when it is selected so you can paste it into another application. This is perfect for websites like Google Books or anywhere where you can see the text you want but selecting it is impossible.

The ClaroRead Chrome Extension is free in the Chrome Web Store, but Premium is not: but you may be able to get Premium if you have a ClaroRead for PC or Mac licence key. Just open the ClaroRead Chrome Extension settings and click “Upgrade to Premium” and paste in your licence key, and the Premium features will be unlocked permanently for you!

A couple of other little tweaks: new users get a welcome tab explaining the extension they’ve just enabled, and if you open Settings then your Google Domain is displayed at the bottom – great if you are enabling a site licence of ClaroRead Chrome extension and need to know your Google Domain to do it.

Get the ClaroRead Chrome Extension for Google Chrome now! Available free on Windows, Mac or Chromebook. Or check out the release notes for more details.

ClaroPDF V2 Released

October 2017 saw the release of V2 of our ClaroPDF for iOS app, with some major changes. The most significant feature is the new tabbed structure when viewing multiple PDF documents.

Multiple Documents

In V1 of ClaroPDF, you were limited to viewing 1 document at a time.  In V2, ClaroPDF now allows you to open multiple PDF documents at the same time.  The documents are arranged in a tabbed view, across the top:

Tabbed document view in ClaroPDF V2,

Tabbed document view

This lets you switch quickly to other documents for reading and/or annotating without having to replace the current document you were viewing.  You can tap the X button on any document tab to close it.

Photo to PDF

The Photo to PDF feature has been significantly upgraded in V2.  You were previously limited to adding 1 photo at a time.  Now you can select multiple images when choosing to create a PDF.  Not only that, but you can now also choose to append your chosen photos to your current PDF; they’ll be inserted at the page after the one you are currently viewing.

Delete Pages

Deleting PDF pages is a brand new feature in V2.  From the thumbnail view mode, tapping Edit, you are able to select PDF pages you wish to delete from your current PDF:

Deleting PDF pages in V2

Delete PDF pages

This gives you even greater control over your PDF creations.

Acapela Children’s Voices

There are a new range of high-quality children voices, available as in-app purchases for 8 different language accents, including boy and girl.

Quick-look Settings

In V2, the document settings have been moved from the standard Settings menu and placed down on the main bottom toolbar, accessible by tapping the new document settings button:

Document settings menu in V2

Document settings

This change takes some of the most commonly changed settings and makes them quicker to access, as well as being able to see the changes made to your document as you go. Changing the page background colour, for example: now you can get exactly the right shade you require as the document changes colour in real-time.

New Document Setting: Scroll mode

There is also a new setting on the document settings menu called Scroll mode.  This setting controls how the document is to be scrolled.  There are 2 options to choose from:

  1. Per page – this is the traditional page scrolling, where each page has a defined page break.  Swiping left or right in this mode will scroll to the next page.
  2. Continuous – page scrolling is continuous and there are no page breaks.  Scrolling is like scrolling through one big page; there are no defined page breaks.

Other improvements and bug fixes

Check out the ClaroPDF V2 release notes for full details on other improvements and changes in V2:

http://www.clarosoftware.com/help/claropdf-v2-release-notes/

ClaroRead V7.2 Released

Over the summer we released our latest version of ClaroRead for Windows PC. Exciting new features include:

  • Play On. Users have told us that they sometimes want ClaroRead to keep reading through their document as they switch to other Windows to check their references, edit the document as it reads, or just leave it playing in the background. We now have a “Play On” mode, where ClaroRead will keep playing as you edit your Word document. This lets you proof through your document with speech, fixing any minor errors as they come up, rather than having to stop, edit, and restart. We hope this will let you save time and stay in your flow.
  • Dynamic phonetic spelling suggestions. ClaroRead has always supported common phonetic (or dyslexic) misspellings. Now ClaroRead includes a dynamic phonetic spellcheck mechanism, so English words that are particularly hard to spell are checked against the phonetics of the user’s word to produce extra suggestions even when the original user’s word is very far removed from the orthography of the targeted word (e.g. “bzr” for “bazaar”).
  • Speak word under mouse. Users like to quickly check the meaning of a word, or hear it read aloud. ClaroRead 7.2 gives you the ability to simply hold control, point the mouse and hear any word on the screen read aloud and/or defined with a speaking dictionary in ANY application, including Google Books and PDFs.

There are also lots of minor improvements and fixes, all of which you can find in our release notes: ClaroRead 7.2 Release Notes.

Getting ClaroRead 7.2

Existing end-users of ClaroRead 7 and 7.1 can get the latest ClaroRead 7.2 free from the Claro automatic update system, from their ClaroRead Cloud account or by emailing support@clarosoftware.com. Licence keys from versions 7 and 7.1 will work fine – no need to get a new key.

ClaroRead USB

You can also install ClaroRead onto a personal USB stick free with your ClaroRead licence key. Get a USB stick, go to our website and download the free ClaroRead USB Creator. Enter your licence key and ClaroRead will be installed on your USB pen drive. This is a totally portable version of ClaroRead that can be used on any Windows machine, no installation required, no admin account: just walk up, plug it in, and off you go!

Get ClaroRead USB Creator
https://www.clarosoftware.com/usb

Check your licence key
https://www.clarosoftware.com/get

Download the latest software from ClaroRead Cloud
https://www.clarosoftware.com/login

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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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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 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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