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.’

ClaroRead for Mac V6.1 Released

ClaroRead for Mac has been updated to V6.1. Download ClaroUp to update your version 6.0. Read on for more details.

New: Mac USB Creator

You can now use your ClaroRead Windows or Mac key to download and make your own version of ClaroRead for Mac on a USB drive. This is a great way to transport ClaroRead around to use on shared computers which might not have it installed. See the ClaroRead USB page for more information.

Improved: Scan from Paper

Rather than launching Image Capture, Scan from Paper now launches a scanner window for you to complete your scan and converts the scanned image immediately into the format and location of your choice.
Select “Scan from Paper” on the toolbar:

Select your scanner and click the Scan button:

When the scan is complete, choose the name, location and file type of the result. ClaroRead will remember these for future use:

View the Scanning tutorial video to find out more:

More information

There are many more improvements and fixes. More information can be found in the ClaroRead for Mac V6.1 Release Notes.

Useful links

ClaroSpeak V2.6 Released

The start of May 2017 brought a big update to our ClaroSpeak app.  Read below for more details.

iCloud and Locations integration

You can now open and save files directly from your iCloud Drive and other locations on your device.

This new feature gives you the ability to import or export your files from any app on your device, without ever having to leave the ClaroSpeak app.

Four free voices

The existing voices that came shipped with ClaroSpeak have been removed and you can now download 4 free voices in the language of your choice. This means you can get the exact voices in the languages that you need, to match your requirements.

App containers

ClaroSpeak can now share its documents with different versions, so Free, Standard and Plus versions of the app can all access the same documents.  This is useful if you’ve just upgraded: you no longer have to manually transfer over documents.  It can also act as a backup incase you need to remove a version of ClaroSpeak: if you have another version of the app installed, your files will be remembered.

Settings cleanup

The settings menu has been streamlined and reorganised to make it easier to navigate. There is also a new speech rate slider that is more accurate and lets you select more precise values.

Integrated with the Audio controls on the iOS control centre

ClaroSpeak audio can now be controlled using the iOS controls on the control centre, allowing you quickly stop. play and skip through, without having to enter the app.

Support for Google SignIn

Full support for the new Google Authentication, so you can access Google Drive in the app.

ClaroRead Chrome V11 Released

We have updated ClaroRead Chrome, our Chrome extension for Chromebook and the Google Chrome browser.

ClaroRead Chrome now supports reading with highlighting in Google Slides (the Google version of PowerPoint). Many people like to use presentations and slides in web documents, so we hope this will be helpful when you run across them:

ClaroRead Chrome reading Google Slides with highlighting

We’ve also broadened out word prediction, with new prediction languages (French, German, Spanish, Polish and Arabic) and support for phonetic prediction in Swedish. Word prediction is a good aid for getting the word you want (and making sure it is spelled correctly) so we’re pleased to have it in more of the many languages supported by ClaroRead Chrome.

Finally, we should note that Google has updated Chrome and as a result ClaroRead Chrome on Windows now allows access to more installed voices (SAPI5 voices, for the technical). You could always access the default system voice, but now you can choose from all the voices available. With many free voices this means you can read web pages, PDF files and Google documents with ClaroRead Chrome in more languages and voices than ever before.

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ClaroCom V1.4 Released

In April 2017, we updated our ClaroCom app with a couple of great new features:

Link & chat to iOS device (Pro only)

This adds the ability to connect your device to any other device that is also using ClaroCom. You can then chat between the devices using the text that you type or words or phrases that you select. You can also use your word and phrase prediction to help you compose messages.

This feature is disabled by default, but you can switch it on in the ClaroCom Settings menu:

Then new button will appear on the top toolbar:

Tap this button to open the chat connection window.  ClaroCom will then automatically search for any other devices in range that are also using ClaroCom.  When you find a device you want to connect to, tap it to ask them to chat:

When you are connected, you can close the chat connection window are start chatting:

When you are finished, you can open the chat connection window and tap Disconnect to close the chat and return ClaroCom back to its normal use.

This feature requires bluetooth or Wi-Fi.  The devices must both be using ClaroCom and be on the same Wi-Fi network or within bluetooth range.

Added support for split screen on iPads

You can now use ClaroCom in multi-tasking mode, allowing you to run it split-screen with other apps:

Updated Icon

We’ve also updated the app icons to a more modern style as well as updating the Speak button to match this.

ClaroRead Cloud OCR March 2017 Update

In March 2017 we released an updated version of the ClaroRead Cloud OCR service. In this latest version:

    • Administrators can decide which input and outputs (of local, photo, OneDrive, Google Drive or Dropbox) are available to end users. For example, if you have chosen Google Drive as your preferred cloud storage solution, you can turn off OneDrive and Dropbox so your users are not confused into using the wrong one.
    • You can now save to a particular Google Drive folder instead of simply into the Google Drive root.
    • You now get a nice suggestion for the output filename based on the input document.