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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