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Kurzweil 3000

An accessible guide to Kurzweil 3000

What is an accessible PDF?

One of Kurzweil's primary features is its ability to convert inaccessible PDFs into accessible PDFs, but what does this mean?

Inaccessible PDFs often:

  • Are poor quality scans of printed material.
  • Are pictures of text without inlaid text.
  • Cannot be copied, pasted, or highlighted because the text is unreadable.
  • Cannot be used with text to speech because the text is unreadable.
  • Are formatted sideways/upside down.
  • Have writing on scanned pages.

bad PDF example

Accessible PDFs include:

  • High quality scans and files directly converted to PDF.
  • Readable embedded text on the page that can be copied, pasted, highlighted, etc.
  • No graininess or low res.
  • Embedded text accurate enough to cater to text to speech conversion.

While professors and others who assign work to review should be always already working to make their PDFs accessible, there will be many times where users will need to convert an inaccessible pdf into an accessible PDF. Some PDF's may be too inaccessible to convert without an inordinate amount of labor required. However, Kurzweil's innate PDF recognition software should be able to help users through the majority of cases. 

Kurzweil PDF conversion can function on two levels:

  1. PDF rotation and automatic text recognition.
  2. Direct editing of embddeded text and text zones.

Automatic Text Recognition and Rotating Pages in Kurzweil:

On another page, users may have read the detailed tutorial on opening files in the browser and desktop Kurzweil application. When a PDF is opened in a Kurzweil application, two things will happen:

  1. Kurzweil will attempt to orient the file according to the the direction in which the text reads.
  2. Kurzweil will attempt to use its innate text recognition software to recognize the shapes of letters and inlay text even when there is no embedded text to begin with.

While the application automatically attempts to make PDFs accessible, sometimes mistakes linger that have to be fixed more directly. Two examples of this include:

  1. A PDF scan that opens with horizontal formatting.
    horizontal page error
  2. A PDF that opens but inaccurately recognizes text on the page.
    text recognition error

There are two quick fixes to each of these errors.

Rotating Pages in Kurzweil:

Rotating pages in Kurzweil is as simple as clicking a button:

Rotation in the Browser Application:

  1. At the top of the document window in the browser application, you will see a toolbar.toolbar browser application
  2. Fourth from the furthest right, with an icon that looks like a sheet of paper with a magnifying glass, is a menu titled "Document View".
    Document View menu
  3. On the bottom left of the menu, there are four options: "Rotate Page Right", "Rotate Page Left", and "Flip Page".
  4. Users can orient pages for text recognition using these tools.
    note: users with visual impairments using text to speech software may not be able to visually confirm that a page has been correctly oriented. If you are a user with a visual impairment, one way to confirm proper page orientation is by using the Kurzweil text to speech to test orientation and recognition. 

Rotation in the Desktop Application:

  1. In the desktop application, navigate to the toolbar (top of the screen, Mac) (top of the application window, PC).
  2. In the toolbar, select the "Scan" dropdown menu.
    scan dropdown menu desktop application
  3. With your cursor, highlight the "Rotate" submenu.
    rotate submenu desktop application
  4. From the options "Rotate Counterclockwise", "Rotate Clockwise", and "Invert", properly align the photo for text recognition.
    note: users with visual impairments using text to speech software may not be able to visually confirm that a page has been correctly oriented. If you are a user with a visual impairment, one way to confirm proper page orientation is by using the Kurzweil text to speech to test orientation and recognition.

Manual OCR:

While Kurzweil scans and attempts to recognize text on every document it opens, sometimes a PDF's quality prevents full OCR (Optical Character Recognition). When confronted by this problem, users have several options across both the browser and desktop applications. This box will only cover the manual text re-recognition. For text zone editing and direct OCR editing, see the Advanced Accessibility Formatting box below.

Manual OCR in the Browser Application:

While the Kurzweil browser application will often automatically produce a better OCR scan than the desktop application when opening a file, there is a manual OCR option.

  1. Open desired Kurzweil file.
  2. In the application toolbar, navigate to the "Tools" dropdown menu in the upper left corner of the screen.
    Tools Dropdown Menu
  3. Click the option that reads "Zone Editor Header-Footer Re-Recognize".
  4. When the page loads, users will be taken to the Zone Editor, etc. portal. Select the tab reading "Re-Recognize" on the far right of the screen.
  5. Click the button reading "Re-Recognize Page"

Manual OCR in the Desktop Application:

Manual OCR in the desktop application is relatively more simple than in the browser application.

  1. Navigate to the application toolbar (top of screen, Mac. top of window, Windows).
  2. Open the "Scan" dropdown Menu
    Scan Dropdown menu desktop
  3. Select the "Redo Recognition" button.
  4. Repeat as needed.

Next Steps:

For many documents, the above steps are more than enough to produce an accessible PDF, and can start reading and generating study guides. Some documents, PDFs in particular, require more intensive editing. The next box covers advanced accessibility editing.

Advanced Accessibility Editing

Some documents may be more difficult than others for Kurzweil to scan and convert into OCR text. Sometimes this is due to complicated text layouts, in which multiple headers, footers, footnotes, and text boxes crowd a page. Sometimes, a document's text may be so poorly readable due to scanning errors or handwritten notation that Kurzweil cannot determine where text begins and ends.

Kurzweil's advanced tool for users looking to convert inaccessible PDFs to accessible PDFs is the Zone Editor. The Zone Editor allows users to manually draw text zones, or sections of the page where text is found, for OCR scanning on the page. The Zone Editor can also demarcate the order of read text during text to speech, and also main body text from header and footer text. As established in other sections of this resource guide, this section will introduce users to zone editing in both the browser application, and then the desktop application.

Zone Editing in the Browser Application

Users may have already seen the zone editor page in the browser application by following the steps to re-recognize OCR text in a document in the previous box on this page. Regardless, opening the zone editor is simple.

  1. Open a document in Kurzweil.
  2. Navigate to the "Tools" button on the sidebar, and click it.
    Tools button
  3. Select the "Zone Editor" button from the list of tools (third button from left to right). In order to access the Zone Editor, users may be asked to remove the highlighting from a page.
    Tools Icon
  4. Users will now see the Zone editor screen. Take a moment to familiarize yourself with the two panes, one containing the document with each already existing text zone highlighted, and the side panel zone editor.Zone Editor full screen

    There are three tabs for Zone Editing: "Zones", "Header / Footer", and "Re-Recognize".  â€‹Users should note the following tools and components of zone editing found under the "Zones" tab.
    • Text zones can be created, deleted, or orderd using the following buttons:
      • "Add Zone": Use to draw a text zone using the cursor. Must be re-selected each time to draw a new zone. Zones are drawn according to the selected zone type (options below).
      • "Delete Zone": deletes currently selected text zone. Text zones are selected by clicking them with the cursor.
      • "Delete All Zones": deletes all text zones on a page.
      • "Reading Order": text box where reading order can be manually entered numerically. Special zone properties apply.
      • "Read Silently": can be toggled on specific boxes to cause the reader to skip them.
    • Text zones are sorted according to color indicating the text zone type. Options for text zone types include:
      • "Primary", Yellow. Indicates the primary text that is read in order first by the reader.
      • "Secondary", Green. Secondary text automatically is reading ordered behind primary text.
      • "Graphic", Blue. Indicates a graphic instead of readable text.
      • "Override OCR", Purple. Text in this box will override the OCR reading of automatically recognized text and instead read text typed into the text box underneath this option in the "Zone" tab.
  5. Click the tab "Header and Footer" in order to access controls for enabling automatic recognition of headers and footers in a document. Headers and footers will automatically be categorized as "Secondary" text. 
    • Important tips for this option include:
      • Users must toggle "Mark Header/Footer" in order to automatically mark the header and footer of a page.
      • Users must toggle the "All Pages" option in order for the header and footer of more than one page to be recognized automatically.
      • Users must click "Save" in order to apply the desired header/footer effect, which will exit the zone editor tool.


Zone Editing in the Desktop Application

Zone editing in the desktop application is, arguably, simpler than it is in the browser application. In order to get started:

  1. In the application toolbar (top of screen, Mac, top of application window, Windows), navigate to the scan tab. From the dropdown menu, open the "Zones" sub-menu, and click "Edit Zones.
    ZOnes toolbar access
  2. Users will now see the automatically ordered and recognized text zones created by the Kurzweil application when the document was first opened/uploaded.
    Example text zones desktop
  3. When the zone editor is opened, user's cursors should turn into a zone drawing tool. New zones can be drawn by dragging the cursor over desired text. Text zones can also be selected and dragged around the screen. In order to change the properties of these text zones, there are several tools available. Re-navigate to the "Zones" sub-menu.
    Zones sub-menu expanded
    Options include:
    • Defining selected text zone type, including:
      • "Primary Text": marks text zone as part of primary text to be read by the Kurzweil reader. Keyboard shortcut command+1.
      • "Secondary text": marks text zone as secondary text. Cannot be shifted in reading order. Keyboard shortcut command+2.
      • "Graphic": marks text zone as a graphic or image. Keyboard shortcut command+3.
    • Set reading order of text zones. Options include:
      • "Set Reading Order": opens popup menu for setting reading order manually for a selected text zone.
        set reading order menu
        • Dropdown menu contains text box for manual numerical zone number entry (up to six zones). Can also manually set zone as "First" or "Last Primary Zone".
      • "Read One Zone Earlier": moves selected text zone back by one in reading order. Keyboard shortcut command+↑ (up key).
      • "Read One Zone Later": moves selected text zone up by one in reading order. Keyboard shortcut command+↓ (down key).
      • "Read as First Primary Text Zone"
      • "Read as Last Primary Text Zone"

Next Steps

In this page, users have learned several ways to make texts more accessible using OCR scanning. These newly accessible texts can now be used for Kurzweil's main study functions: text to speech; and detailed annotation.