Category Archives: voicedream products

GTT National Conference Call Summary Notes: All About Windows 10 and Screen Readers, November 9, 2016

GTT National Conference Call
Summary Notes

November 9, 2016.

Screen Readers:
Screen readers being used by people on the call.

• JAWS, ranging from Version 13 to 17, paid only with time limited trials available.
• Window Eyes, free, trial and paid versions available.
• System Access, free, trial and paid versions available.
• NVDA, free with a suggested $30 donation.
• Dolphin Guide, paid only with a free 30-day trial.
• Many people are using windows 7, a few windows 8.1 and some windows 10 with one person still on xp but looking to change.
• One person is using ZoomText Magnifier/Reader but changing to NVDA.

Brainstorming specific questions:

Someone was trying to convert PDFs received by email into word documents without a scan and read program.
There are three main blindness specific scanning programs, and one that isn’t specific to blindness. There are also free web sites available to convert PDF files to text documents, and two of the screen readers discussed this night are able to convert PDF files to text on the fly.
ABBYY FineReader, which is not a blindness specific program, however that is being used successfully by screen reader and magnification users.

Kurzweil 1000, which is aimed at the blind market has been around a long time, and is used almost exclusively in the school and post-secondary systems. This program is available for the PC, and its sister program, Kurzweil 3000 is aimed at the Learning Disability sector on both the Mac and PC platforms.

Openbook is also blindness specific and is a product of Freedom Scientific. It is only available for the PC platform.

DocuScan plus is a blindness specific program and is created by Serotek, the makers of System Access. It is a stand-alone scan and read program that is self-voicing, and available for both the PC and Mac platforms.

DocuScan plus by Serotek appears to be the least expensive of the known scan and read software and is very easy to use.

Someone said that they try to read a PDF using Acrobat Reader and it says converting but then the screen reader says empty document.

This may be because the file has been scanned as an image and not converted for OCR. OCR stands for Optical Character Recognition, and you can learn more here. When someone is setting up their scanner they need to check the box which says check OCR so that it creates PDF files that will be readable by screen readers.

When a document has been scanned as an image file or when PDF files are received by email, programs like ABBYY FineReader, Kurzweil, Openbook and DocuScan can convert them to text based files electronically.

Also, sometimes iDevices read pdf’s that computers can’t access easily.
• The VoiceDreamReader app is good at converting and reading PDFs.
• The KNFB Reader iPhone app can also convert PDF files to text.

There is an OCR add-on that you can download from Freedom Scientific called, Convenient OCR. It is built into the latest versions of JAWS.

To OCR a document with JAWS, do the following:
1. Press jaws key plus the space bar
2. Press O for OCR then D for entire document.
3. Once converted to readable text one may select all or some of the text for pasting into an MS Word document. See more details by accessing the above link.

NVDA also has an OCR Add-on for converting PDFs to readable text. Download it by accessing the above link.

There are web sites that are free to convert PDF and other formatted files too many text based editable formats. One of them is, PDF to Text, and it can be found here. Narrator.
• In Windows 10 you can do more with narrator. You can move around your screen with it. It is not as robust as the above noted screen readers, however you can use narrator for the built in Live Mail and Edge Browser programs for Windows 10.
• You can use narrator to get to a website say to set up NVDA. Edge and Windows Live Mail are very inaccessible with any other screen reader.
• Narrator is not a full-fledged screen reader yet but people are encouraged to try it with Windows 10.
• It is free.

Google Searches:
It was pointed out that if you’re looking for download links to free software like NVDA, try typing in your Google Search NVDA Screen Reader Download or Thunderbird Download and it will usually take you right to the downloads page. Also, Google searches that start with “How do I…” will almost always get you good and helpful results.

General Questions:
Someone asked what version of JAWS is needed in order to run Windows 10? It is JAWS 16 or higher.

NVDA updates are always free and the software is free unless you buy the Eloquence Synthesizer voices which is around 80 dollars Canadian.

Once you have purchased the System Access screen reader, all updates are free, and it does work with Windows 10.

*Note: if your needs are being met with Windows 7 or 8.1 you don’t have to move to Windows 10. Those two operating systems will be supported by Microsoft for several years yet. However, if you are upgrading from Windows XP or Vista it might be worth your while to embark on a Windows 10 upgrade as you will be entering a significant learning curve anyway.

NVDA is a great screen reader developed by two people who are blind and they are updating all the time. This program is open source so some workplaces may not let you install or use it.

Many of the key strokes are very similar between NVDA and JAWS.

Trouble-shooting and training apps:
JAWS offers a built-in training and trouble-shooting utility called Tandem which allows someone helping you to access your computer provided both are running JAWS.

NVDA has a similar program called NVDA Remote.TeamViewer is another utility that can be used for trouble-shooting and training that is not screen reader specific. Difference between screen readers on the PC and mac?
• The Mac has only one choice for screen reader. It is called VoiceOver and is built-in. It is available on all Macs and you do not need to buy it separately.
• All the native Mac apps, (Mail, Web Browser, Spreadsheet, iTunes, Notes, Word Processing work well with VoiceOver.
• It has good high quality voices.
• The way you use this screen reader is very different than on the PC so there is a learning curve.
• There are good books through National braille press, as well as guides and podcasts through and many resources to help you with the Mac and other iDevices.
• If you use other iDevices, your content will sync well between them and the Mac.
• The Track Pad on the Mac lets you do many gestures which are the same as those you use with your iPhone.
• If you have a friend with a mac and you want to try it out, hold down the Command Key and type F5 to toggle it on and off. The Command Key is known as the Alt Key on a PC, and is found to the left and right of the Space Bar.
• When you launch VoiceOver on the Mac, you are asked if you want to run the VoiceOver Tutorial, which helps you learn the basic keyboard commands.
• One other advantage is that you can run a copy of Windows on your Mac with NVDA. So, you can have both systems running on one computer. You might only want to do this if you love technology however.
• If you have questions about the Mac, Kim Kilpatrick uses it almost exclusively and can talk to you about the pros and cons.
• Mac computers are more expensive than many laptops but they are good quality.

What resources are out there for learning screen readers?
There are many good free and paid resources for learning to use your products and screen readers.
Often if users are having trouble, it is because they have not taken the time to set up the machine for maximum benefit from screen readers, or they haven’t learned enough about how to access the computer with their screen reading software.

CathyAnne Murtha textbooks are very good and highly recommended.NVDA has put out a very good manual for learning how to use it and someone said it is one of the best manuals he has seen. The cost for it is 30 dollars Australian and it can be found on the NVDA web site.

• There are many other useful things on the NVDA Web Site including some tutorials, downloads of the software etc.
Serotek also has good materials for learning the screen reader and the programs it supports.Disability Answer/Support Desk:
The below free technical support hotlines are reserved for screen reader, magnification, hearing or physical disability software users. All reports are that the people working these hotlines are quick, respectful, expert and friendly.

Someone was having an issue getting iCloud Mail running on the PC or on Android. No answers came out of the group gathered this night, so it was suggested that he call the Apple Accessibility Support number:

For all troublesome matters related to screen reader or magnification users and the Microsoft Operating System or MS Office products, the Microsoft Disability Answer Desk number is:

It was suggested you could use two different email programs on the PC. Say Outlook for Gmail and Thunderbird for iCloud.

It was pointed out that Thunderbird is a good email program and is recommended by those developing NVDA, but there can be a few problems such as not landing directly in your inbox.

The Edge Web Browser does not work well in Windows 10 but you can use Google Chrome, Firefox or Internet Explorer.

Next meeting, December 14, all about Streaming Services.

Respectfully submitted,
Kim Kilpatrick and Albert Ruel


NNELS Library Resource: Governor General’s Literary Awards in Accessible Formats

Find this article on the web by clicking here.

Dear readers,

As many of you know, the winners of the Governor General’s Literary Awards were announced early this morning by the Canada Council for the Arts. Congratulations to all the winning writers and publishers!

We are so happy to have worked with the Canada Council. As in 2015, they trusted us with advance access to their list of winners so that we could have some of them ready for you today. We continue to produce additional winners in accessible formats and we’re adding them to our list as they’re done:

Over time, you’ll be able to find more nominees and winners in our full collection of 2016 GG Books:

A number of these titles are only available in print formats at this time, which means they will take a little longer to arrive in accessible digital formats than some of the other titles we are producing.

If you’re interested in finding out when more books are ready, please follow us on Twitter (@nnelsca) or Facebook (, and if you have any questions about these books, or how to make them work with a particular device, please contact us:

Happy reading!

Sincerely yours,
The NNELS Team

Resource: Saving CELA/CNIB Library Zipped DAISY files to a Dropbox folder for uploading to Voice Dream Reader

Saving CELA/CNIB Library Zipped DAISY files to a Dropbox folder for uploading to Voice Dream Reader:

Note: This set of instructions was requested at the end of the discussion during the January 13 National Conference Call titled, “All About the Mac”. Strangely, these are PC based instructions related to the use of Voice Dream REader on iOS devices.

To access the two sets of instructions in this document search for ## and your word processor will take you to the start of each section.

##CELA Library search and Download instructions

1. open your favourite web browser then brows to
2. Scroll to the Sign-in link and press the enter key. Type your user name and password and press the enter key;
3. Press the letter E in order to access the Search edit field. Using JAWS or NVDA you will press the space bar to activate the Edit Mode, then type your search string, for example, “Chevalier, Gerry” will bring up the following result, CNIB digital library audio tutorial;
4. Use the letter H to navigate to the Heading for the second result, then use the down arrow to read about the Zipped DAISY book available for download, then continue down arrowing to the Get It! DAISY Download Zip Button and press the enter key;
5. In the resulting page down arrow to the Download Button and press the enter key;
6. With Internet Explorer you will hold down the Alt key while pressing the letter N, then Tab to the Save Button and press the space bar to actually start the download;
7. Use the down arrow button to access the Return to Search Results and press the enter key to go back as above;
8. Check your Downloads folder to see that your book has been downloaded. Allow some time for this to occur, which will be dependent on the speed of your internet service.

##To move the DAISY Zipped file to your Dropbox folder do as follows:

1. Navigate to your Downloads folder and locate the desired Zipped file;
2. Copy or Cut the file to the Clipboard with Alt X or Alt C respectively;
3. Navigate to the Dropbox icon on your Desktop, then locate the sub-folder you wish to store the Zipped file into and press the enter key to open it;
4. Paste the Zipped file into the folder with Alt V;
5. Once the Zipped file finishes loading into your Dropbox account you will have access to it from Voice Dream Reader.

##How to download a Zipped DAISY file to Voice Dream Reader from Dropbox:

1. In Voice Dream Reader navigate to the Add Button and do a 1-finger double-tap;
2. Flick right or left with 1-finger to access the Dropbox icon and do a 1-finger double-tap to open it;
3. Flick right with 1-finger to locate the file, or the folder where the Zipped DAISY file will be found. If it’s in a folder a 1-finger double-tap will open the folder, then flicking to the right or left with 1-finger will allow you to navigate to the desired file;
4. Once the file is located do a 1-finger double-tap to start the download process. Flicking right and left with 1-finger will access the progress bar for the download and loading processes. Flick to the OK Button once done and do a 1-finger double-tap;
5. This will land you back in the Dropbox folder, so flick right or left to the Done Button and do a 1-finger double-tap to return to the main Voice Dream Reader screen;
6. Flick right or left with 1-finger to access your stored material to find the book just downloaded and do a 1-finger double-tap to launch it.

If you have any questions about the above please be in touch with Albert Ruel at or 1-877-304-0968 Ext. 550.

The Amazing Voicedream Writer app

Voicedream Writer Is An Amazing App

Posted By Kim Kilpatrick
GTT Coordinator

I have had many issues selecting and editing text on I devices. I know that there are ways to select and de-select text using pinch gestures. I have not yet been able to work these gestures successfully. I have written the post for this blog using the amazing new app, voicedream writer. I was able to quickly select blocks of text, move them, copy them, and put them where they needed to be. It was fast and amazing. I also spell checked the document easily. I have not played with formatting yet but this app is so great. I can export and import documents into it and work on them. voicedream reader and writer apps are about 10 dollars each but are so worth the price. I’m sure I will use this app more and more.