Claro AudioNote 1.1 Update

We’ve tweaked our audio recording and lecture capture program, Claro AudioNote. Recording multiple audio tracks into the same PowerPoint slide is much nicer, and we have added support for more recent Olympus audio recording devices like the DM-770. This means you can open recordings from these dedicated voice recorders and play them back. You can even use any bookmarks you’ve added to the recordings on your device to jump around the lecture to where you want to listen.

Claro AudioNote comes with ClaroRead Standard, Plus and Pro and you can download it from ClaroRead Cloud.

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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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Windows 10 Fall Creators Update support

The latest version of Microsoft Windows, “Windows 10 Fall Creators Update” (or version 1709) is now available for Windows 10 users to download and install.

We can confirm that we have tested all our current versions of Claro Software products and they work fine with the new version of Windows. If you do encounter any problems after upgrading, please contact support at support@clarosoftware.com.

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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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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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 Plus versus ClaroRead Pro Video

One of the most common queries we get for ClaroRead for PC is “What’s the difference between ClaroRead Plus and ClaroRead Pro?” And indeed they have similar features – reading, proofing, and scanning/OCR. ClaroRead Pro also has “Advanced Scanning” – but what does that mean?

Of course, there is a comparison chart to help, but we thought it might be helpful to create a short video to explain the key differences – the proofing dialog and the advanced save options. View it here or watch it on YouTube:

Claro Software compatibility with Windows 10 Anniversary Edition

We have tested ClaroRead and our other Windows PC programs with the new Windows 10 Anniversary Edition, released 2 August 2016, and can confirm that there are no known problems and that our software is compatible with this new version of Windows. If you encounter any problems do please contact us.

Our Windows software as of August 2016 includes (but is not limited to):

  • ClaroRead SE
  • ClaroRead Standard
  • ClaroRead Plus
  • ClaroRead Pro
  • ClaroIdeas
  • ClaroCapture
  • ScreenRuler
  • Claro AudioNote
  • ClaroView

“DYSboxing 8: ClaroRead Text-to-Speech Software Review”

Another short but really useful video from the great Codpast blog goes through the stand-out features of ClaroRead for Windows PC. Proofing, reading, positioning the floating toolbar, shortcut keys, saving text to audio, spellchecking and homophone checking are all demonstrated in double-quick time.

Want to try ClaroRead out yourself? Download a free 15-day ClaroRead trial to try on your computer.