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Software Review You can now digitize your most important documents When you talk about your average paper documents, there are two main issues everybody encounters: The program completely digitizes your paperwork allowing you to edit any inaccuracies or inconsistencies right then and there and print out a fresh copy of the edited version. You can even store your files and document digitally and in a PDF format. ABBYY FineReader uses optical character recognition technology to identify the text in the documents, the layout and the language the document is written in. It converts the file on your desktop via the scanner and then makes a softcopy of it you can edit.
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An Evaluation and Comparison of Two Optical Character Recognition Products People who are blind or visually impaired have greater access to printed material than ever before, but a vast amount of material still remains unavailable in accessible formats. Optical character recognition OCR , the process of transforming inaccessible printed and digital documents into accessible text, allows blind and visually impaired people to access material that would otherwise be unavailable to them.
In this article, I look at two alternatives to high-cost OCR software: I tested each program using a variety of document types: Standard print documents printed from digital documents created with a word processor on 8. There is also a day free trial available for download on the Fine Reader Professional webpage. You’ll need to provide some personal information such as name and profession before downloading the free trial, and you’ll be limited to saving a maximum of 50 pages during the trial.
The install program is very accessible as it is a regular Windows install program without any deviations from the standard format. Screen readers have no issue installing the program. The program itself also contains a very accessible Windows help file containing the contents of the guide.
The guide is meant for a sighted audience, referring often to locations of elements and directing you to use the mouse to accomplish tasks. It does not, however, rely on inaccessible diagrams for instructions or images of controls, which makes the guide useful for a visually impaired or blind user.
The Scanning Process When you first launch the program you will be presented with the New Task dialogue box where you can choose the type of scan you would like to perform. The first List Box allows you to choose the output format for the scanned material. The document will be opened in both the program that displays your chosen format and in the Fine Reader program itself.
Once you have selected your format, you must select several other options including language and color mode. The choices for color mode are Black and White and Color. Selecting Black and White returns results more quickly. Once you have selected your options, you can activate the “Scan” button to be taken to the Scanning dialogue box. The Scanning dialogue box contains several options for adjusting the scanner settings.
You can also indicate if you would like the program to check the orientation of the page being scanned, and whether you’d like to separate facing pages into single pages in your output file. Once you have made your selections, you can either activate Preview to create a quick image scan, or activate the “Scan” button to scan an image for OCR processing. After the scan is complete the Scanning dialogue box will reappear so that you can scan another page.
To exit and view your OCR results, you can press the “Close” button. Depending on which output file type you have chosen, you either will be taken to the Fine Reader editing screen, or the program that is associated with your selected file type will be launched with a copy of the OCR results. A document printed on standard 8. Misspelled words such as “tke” for “the” were recognized as written. The scanning results were also nearly perfect when pages from a book were scanned.
Multiple errors in one scan were due to shifting the book around during the scanning process. Further scans of the book were error-free. The magazine article with multiple columns was rendered in a single column, with the second column following the first. The text was perfectly rendered.
The text of a magazine article with an image was also rendered perfectly with the image recognized accurately. Fine Reader worked very well when scanning a table from a book. The only document type that caused an issue was the utility bill. The bill was rather small and contained a bar code that was rendered as a line of the letter “I” in the OCR results. Screen Reader Accessibility The scanning process is the only portion of Fine Reader that is fully accessible.
The main editing interface, on the other hand, is almost entirely inaccessible. Though it’s possible to enter the main editing window where the text is displayed, many letters will be missing from the OCR result and there is no accessible way provided to correct the text. Therefore, I will focus my assessment on the accessibility of the scanning process, since it’s possible to use Fine Reader if you save your results in another format.
NVDA had the best accessibility results. Almost all of the options in the New Task dialogue box read correctly and NVDA even read the explanation of each variant for those formats that had a multiple options.
The “Help” button was unlabeled and the selections in the Color Mode list box were not displayed, but otherwise all the controls were rendered perfectly. NVDA also read the dialogue boxes for saving documents correctly. It also did not read the description of the format variants when these were highlighted. All of the other buttons and options were read correctly accept for the “Help” button, which again was unlabeled. The Scanning dialogue box was correctly read in its entirety, and the dialogue boxes for saving files were also correctly read.
Window Eyes did not read the format selections in the New Task dialogue box. It also did not read the “Help” button, or the variant selections. It did read the label on the combo box for selecting Color or Black and White, but it did not read the options themselves. It did read the “Scan” button, the “Close” button, and the checkbox that determines if the New Task dialogue box appears when you start the program.
Window Eyes also struggled with the Scanning dialogue box. The labels of these boxes were read but the content was not. Compared to its poor performance on the Scanning and New Task dialogue boxes, Window Eyes reads perfectly in the Saving dialogue boxes.
Text Cloner Pro Installation and Interface The Text Cloner install package, which uses the standard Windows format,is very accessible using a screen reader. When you launch the program you will be presented with a blank document where you can either scan or type content.
Text Cloner acts similarly to a basic text editor, and offers a list of common menus: File, Edit, View, etc. There are very few program-specific hotkeys and these are restricted to activating the scanning process and the document summarization feature. Documentation The documentation is accessible from the Help menu. It can be accessed in a Windows-style help file or as a Word document that can be opened in Text Cloner.
You can also find the Word document in the Text Cloner Pro installation folder where you can use your processor of choice to read it. The document provides a quick reference for keyboard shortcuts; most of the shortcuts listed are standard in Windows programs.
The only program specific hotkeys mentioned are the scanning keys: After the Quick Reference section, the manual describes each menu in detail. The document is quite comprehensive, listing every option and its use. Frequent typos throughout the document such as missing words or added words made some instructions difficult to understand and detracted from the professional appearance of the program.
Scanning There are two different scanning processes available in Text Clone. Black-and-white is used for books and text-only materials. Color is used for more complex material that includes images and tables.
You can begin a scan by pressing F5 for black and white and F6 for color. Each of these choices has its own set of options that can be accessed from the Scanning menu. The options for each scanning process optimize the scan for the type of material being scanned. For example, the black-and-white scan provides the option of scanning a magazine, book, or other material. When you scan either with black-and-white or color, the program automatically begins recognition after the image scan has completed.
You can also import a PDF file or image file for processing if the material that you need to scan is digital. Scanning Results Printed documents on 8. Some letters did not appear properly but everything was legible and there weren’t any full lines of unrecognizable text. The document with purposeful misspellings was rendered perfectly by the program with the misspellings intact.
I used the black-and-white scanning process with the Other option checked in the material option submenu. Scanning book pages produced passable results. Every scan had a few errors where letters were not recognized correctly. Repeated scans would correct errors in one area but introduce them in another.
With the table, the scan was very good and almost free of errors. I was able to save the table in HTML format and use my screen reader’s table navigation features to navigate it. I used the color scanning process and the Text, Tables, and Images option when scanning this material.
For the multi-column magazine article, Text Cloner Pro provided an excellent result with proper formatting of the columns, one beneath the other for easier reading, and the image correctly recognized and placed. I used the color process with the Text and Images option selected.
An electric bill was the only type of material that caused significant issues. The bill contents were not displayed correctly in the proper format even after several scans to obtain the optimum image. The portion of the bill that contained only text was rendered correctly but the portion with the amount of the bill and other pertinent information was extremely poorly rendered.
That side of the bill did contain a bar code, which may have contributed to these issues. Editing Text Cloner Pro is a somewhat robust text editor. The area where content appears after being typed or scanned is similar to what you’d find in WordPad or Microsoft Word.
The program supports headers and footers as well as bulleted lists. You are also able to create your own tables using the Table menu and insert images and text from other documents using the Insert menu. The program also includes the ability to change fonts and set special attributes on the paragraph level.
Next you must determine the pages on which you wish to perform OCR. The PDF conversion dialogue remains on the screen until conversion is complete, whereupon you are placed back in the document.
An Evaluation and Comparison of Two Optical Character Recognition Products People who are blind or visually impaired have greater access to printed material than ever before, but a vast amount of material still remains unavailable in accessible formats. Optical character recognition OCR , the process of transforming inaccessible printed and digital documents into accessible text, allows blind and visually impaired people to access material that would otherwise be unavailable to them. In this article, I look at two alternatives to high-cost OCR software: I tested each program using a variety of document types:
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