ClaroRead for Mac 6.3 Released

ClaroRead for Mac 6.3 is now available!

ClaroRead for Mac will work with the new macOS version, Mojave (10.14).

One of the new security features of Mojave is that it will make sure you are aware of when apps are communicating with each other. This means you will have to allow ClaroRead to access the programs it’s trying to read from (e.g. Microsoft Word). Simply click OK and it won’t ask you again for that application.

ClaroRead’s study skills Extra, ClaroCapture, has been updated to include the option Capture Text from Screen. This lets you draw a box around some text on the screen and ClaroCapture will convert it to text and insert it as a new item. This feature is only available if you have ClaroRead also installed.

Another ClaroCapture improvement is that items captured using Capture highlighted text from Word will now keep their colours when using Export project to Word.

ClaroIdeas, our mind-mapping software, is now included with ClaroRead as standard.

We have some new Swedish only features too:

  • Language profiles allow you to switch between Swedish and English settings and resources (like voice and homophones) easily.
  • The Check button now checks compound words if you also have ClaroStava installed.

How To Update

Update to the latest version by downloading the installer from your Cloud account or by selecting Check for updates in ClaroRead for Mac’s menu bar.

System Requirements

  • Mac OSX 10.11 or above.
  • 2GB RAM.
  • 920MB hard disk space (ClaroRead Standard and Plus).
  • 620MB hard disk space (ClaroRead SE).
  • Plus 200MB-650MB for each voice.

Recommended:

  • Microsoft Word 2016.

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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.

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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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.

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 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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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: