PDF is a surprisingly complicated format: a PDF file can contain almost anything. Some PDFs work well with assistive technology like ClaroRead, some don’t: how can you be sure you have made or been given a PDF that will read properly? Continue reading
Introducing Claro ScanPen Premium – a free-to-download iOS app which allows you to have 10 free scans. You can optionally sign up for the annual subscription to get a free 14 day trial. If you don’t cancel during the free trial, you will get charged the £9.99 annual subscription (correct as of October 2017). With an active subscription you have unlimited scans and unlimited access to all of our high-quality voices (currently Nuance Expressive, Acapela and children’s voices).
Below is a comparison chart highlighting the differences between the two versions (click to enlarge or visit the original chart):
When you first launch Claro ScanPen Premium, you will see the following launch screen, just select whether you’d like to have the 10 free scans or sign up for the 14 day free trial (with the option to cancel at any time).
We have updated our ClaroRead Chrome extension with a new feature, document conversion, and made a change to better support site licence users.
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.
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.
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.
- 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?
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.
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:
We are delighted to announce the launch of our first native Android app, Claro ScanPen for Android. Just like the iPad or iPhone version, you can take a photo with your Android phone or tablet, wait a couple of seconds, and then simply select any text in the photo to hear it read back to you!
Claro ScanPen requires no Internet connection and is super-fast and easy to use, providing access to exam papers and other printed material. It supports ten languages: English, Danish, Dutch, French, German, Italian, Norwegian, Portuguese, Spanish, and Swedish.
Finally, we hope that our Android version is as well-received as Claro ScanPen for iOS, so to help it along we’ve made it completely free until the end of 2016. After that you only need a one-time in-app purchase of £2.99 – and you can check it out for fifteen days free trial any time.
ClaroRead Cloud OCR is our online OCR document conversion service. You can send it any file type you would use in ClaroRead Plus or Pro – PDF, TIFF, JPEG – and get back an accessible PDF, Word or text file, or take a photo and get the text in the picture back. It’s great for organisations big and small that want to provide OCR capability across machines and tablets and phones without having to manage the installation of ClaroRead Plus or any other software.
We’ve upgraded ClaroRead Cloud OCR to V2, and the new version features better integration with three popular Cloud storage mechanisms. Dropbox, Google Drive and OneDrive are now all supported within ClaroRead Cloud OCR: you can select any file from your account with one of these services, OCR it, and save the result back to your Cloud storage – all entirely within your browser!
Select a local file, take a photo or get a document from your Cloud storage service:
Choose the accessible output format:
Save to your local machine or phone, or save back to Cloud storage:
All the features and simplicity of V1 are there: you can still take photos and OCR them on your phone, and convert local files from your computer, but we hope the new Cloud features make it a better fit for our users moving to Cloud-based solutions.
Try out ClaroRead Cloud OCR now by signing up for ClaroRead Cloud today and getting five documents a month completely free!
The latest version of ClaroPDF is now available in the App Store!
What’s New in V1.4?
- Photo to PDF: You can now convert photos and other images to fully accessible Text PDF files that can be spoken, searched, copied and highlighted*. Using this new feature, you can now turn paper into speakable PDF files that you can annotate.
Find out more about this new feature in our Exploring Photo to PDF article.
- Convert to Text PDF: As well as converting photos, you can also convert any PDF file in ClaroPDF into a fully accessible Text PDF file. Along with making these PDF files speakable, it will also compress them, reducing file size.
- *50 pages can be converted using the 50 included credits. Further credit can be purchased in app.
- Sync with iCloud: You can now sync ClaroPDF with your iCloud account. This lets you store and synchronise your PDF files and annotations across multiple devices. Sync with iCloud can also act as a document backup so you can keep your documents safe.
- Save as PDF app extension: Save as PDF lets you convert text, images and webpages to PDF files from Safari and almost any other app that handles text, images or webpages. When converted, these new PDF files will appear in your documents list inside ClaroPDF.
- New voice ranges: The Acapela and CereProc voice ranges are now available to download for ClaroPDF, allowing even more accents and dialogues. These new voices are available as in app purchases. This new version of ClaroPDF also comes with a free download of the Scottish Heather CereProc voice, which you can download from inside ClaroPDF.
- Improved annotations import/export: The import/export annotations feature in ClaroPDF now has the standard .xfdf file format to allow greater compatibility with other applications.
- Improved switch mechanism: The switch control in ClaroPDF has been updated to allow greater compatibility with more bluetooth switch devices.
- Organised Settings menu: The Settings menu in ClaroPDF has now been condensed into separate section windows, with the main settings remaining on the main Settings page. This makes the Settings menu easier to read and quicker to navigate.
Follow @ClaroPDF on Twitter for the latest news and hints & tips.
Check out The Codpasts recent review of our ClaroSpeak Plus App!
Exploring Photo to PDF in ClaroPDF
We are excited to announce the new Photo to PDF feature in ClaroPDF V1.4. This powerful new feature allows you to turn photos of papers, worksheets, books, etc into PDF files that can be spoken, searched and fully annotated.
The new Photo to PDF feature is accessed from the Open button in ClaroPDF:
Pressing this will allow you to choose an existing photo from your library, or take a new one using your device’s camera. Once you have selected a photo, give your PDF file a name:
Press Save, and ClaroPDF will create an image PDF from the photo that you selected:
With your new image PDF, you can perform simple annotation drawings on it:
As mentioned above, this new PDF is an image PDF, this means it doesn’t yet contain any text. If you try to press play to speak the PDF or tap the search button to search the PDF, a message will pop up informing you that this PDF is an image PDF and needs to be converted:
If you want to convert this image PDF to a text PDF, you can press Yes in this message box, or you can choose Convert PDF from the ClaroPDF Save as menu:
When you select this option, a new message will pop up, informing you of the amount of credits it will cost to convert this PDF file. The cost is one credit per page:
When you select Yes to convert your PDF file, ClaroPDF will send your PDF off to our ClaroPDF Cloud OCR server to convert it. An internet connection is required for the conversion process. A progress bar will appear on the top toolbar to let you know the current progress:
The conversion is done in the background so you are still free to use ClaroPDF whilst the conversion is underway.
When the conversion has finished, you will be prompted for a file name. Enter a name and press Save:
Once you press Save, ClaroPDF will open your new text PDF and you speak it, search it and fully annotated it:
There are also some new settings for this new feature to help you maximise your conversions. The Settings menu in ClaroPDF has now been reorganised and you can find the settings for the conversions under Text PDF Conversion:
The main setting in here is Convert to Text PDF in Cloud. This is switched off by default. If you switch this on, then ClaroPDF will automatically prepare to convert your photos to text PDFs when you select one using Photo to PDF. With this setting switched on, you don’t have to manually Select Save as -> Convert PDF… to convert your PDF to a text PDF.
In the Text PDF Conversion settings, you can also view your current credits and add more if you need some. The first time each user runs ClaroPDF, they will be credited with 50 free credits so they sample the Text PDF Conversion feature.
In the advanced section of Settings, there is a new setting called PDF image detection. This is switched off by default. If you switch this on, then whenever you open an image PDF, ClaroPDF will tell you that it is an image PDF. This is useful if you are getting PDF files from external sources and you don’t know if you can speak/annotate them or not: