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ClaroRead Releases Open Source Accessible PDF for Windows

31 March, 2008 by Peter Verhoeven

PDF files often are difficult to access by visually impaired. With the free Accessible PDF program for Windows PDF files, if they are not a scanned image, are now also accessible for visually impaired.

This is realy a program I was waiting for! Most screen readers and screen magnifiers include support for reading PDF files with Adobe Acrobat, but this is always a difficult job. It is nearly impossible to navigate through a PDF document in Adobe Acrobat with a screen reader, the computer becomes slow and sometimes everything locks. I often loaded the PDF file in Adobe acrobat Reader and saved it as text, but the result mostly was not what you expected.

With Acccessible PDF from ClaroRead all these problems are finished and what is also good news is that accessible PDF is open source software and free!

After downloading Accessible PDF a wizard helps you install the program on your computer. After installing, you can launch Accessible PDF and open a PDF file with the File -> Open menu. Accessible PDF gives you a message that the file is "running". After clicking the OK button you can start reading.

Accessible PDF has 5 menus on the menubar. File, Edit, View, Options and Help. With the File menu you can open PDF files, save a PDF to TXT or HTML format and Exit the Accessible PDF program.

The Edit menu includes common options like Cut, Copy, Paste and Select All.

Interesting is the View menu including the options, Text, Webpage, Zoom In and Zoom Out. With Text view you get a text version of the PDF file. The text view is very useful for those using a screen reader or text-to-speech program. Very nice in this text view is, that you can navigate through the PDF file. For example all the items in the table of contents are links. You can see, hear or feel this, because the word Link followed by a number, is placed before a navigation item. Also reading features included in most professional screen magnifiers like ZoomText, Lunar and Magic work here.

With Webpage you can switch to a webpage view of the PDF file. Users of a braille display are recommended to maximize the Accessible PDF program by pressing ALT + Spacebar and pressing M, because otherwise the braille display does not properly follow the cursor.

I tested Accessible PDF with a PDF file of 2 MB in size. After saving it as Webpage a HTML file results of 210 KB. It was nearly impossible to load this HTML file in Internet Explorer with my screen reader Supernova, but with Accessible PDF it is no problem.

The Zoom In and Zoom Out options in the View menu are very helpful for those who need more magnification, but magnification has its limitation.

I also find a bug here. If you select a black background color and white text color in the Options menu, pressing ctrl+j to Zoom In, results in black Text Color and Black background color, which nobody can read, accept those using Text-to-Speech or a braille display.

As I already wrote with the Options menu you can change Text and Background color. Here you also can change the Font style.

Concluding: Accessible PDF is realy a great help for those having problems reading PDF files with Adobe acrobat Reader!

Visit the Accessible PDF WebSite
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