Have Difficulty Reading? There's An App For That!
Snap Reader is a Windows 10 Universal Windows Platform (UWP) Accessible OCR application that can assist someone who has difficulty reading printed text.
Please note that UWP applications do not run on earlier Windows versions, so Snap Reader is for Windows 10 PCs only.
Snap Reader uses a new OCR engine which combines both high recognition accuracy and very fast processing speed.
On a typical desktop PC using a 5.0 MP document camera, Snap Reader can read a page from a paperback book in about one second with no recognition errors!
Snap Reader can read documents that are single or multi-column, single or double page, in any orientation, and any skew angle.
Please note that Snap Reader 1.8 is English only, and is intended to be used only on PCs that run the US English version of Windows 10 that supplies a US English Text To Speech Voice.
Snap Reader Version 1.8 is available exclusively from the Windows Store for only $2.99.
New: Snap Reader is now compatible with Windows 10 Tablet PCs!
About Snap Reader Version 1.8
Snap Reader has both a simple Graphical User Interface, and a straightforward and easy to use Accessible User Interface.
It also includes a camera timer to allow you to set an image capture time delay.
The image capture time delay can allow you to use your hands, if necessary, to flatten badly curled book pages which can produce a big boost in OCR accuracy.
Snap Reader's OCR processing function automatically rotates scanned document images to the correct orientation, so you don't need to worry if your documents are sideways or upside down.
After character recognition is complete, Snap Reader will automatically use its Text To Speech function to read the OCR text output to you.
All OCR processing is done "locally" on your PC, as a result Snap Reader doesn't require a network connection.
Snap Reader will also keep track of the text position in your scanned documents. If the text boundaries are too close to the edge of the image, it might indicate that you've actually cut off or "clipped" a portion of the text. If this happens Snap Reader will notify you, for example it might say, "Document May Be Clipped On The Left". In that case, you could then pause the reading, shift the document a little to the right, and repeat the OCR. Snap Reader also supplies the user with additional audio notifications. Snap Reader will notify you if you forgot to plug in your document camera, or if the light level is too low, or if you have a blank page.
Snap Reader's Camera Interface
Snap Reader's camera interface is based on Microsoft's Media Foundation framework.
This makes Snap Reader much more reliable than the older DirectX framework.
The Media Foundation framework enables Snap Reader to check how many cameras are connected to your PC.
For example, if you have a notebook PC, it might have an internal front-facing webcam and an external document camera.
Snap Reader provides a simple UI for you to choose which particular camera you want to select for image capture.
If you only have one connected camera then Snap Reader will by default select that camera.
When Snap Reader connects to a camera, it automatically selects the camera's highest supported resolution.
Once you make a camera selection, or use the default one, from then on, everything will automatically be handled by Snap Reader, and no further user interaction is required.
Snap Reader's DeskTop/NoteBook Keyboard Accessibility Keys and their Functions
All of Snap Reader's functions are accessible through your PC's keyboard, therefor Snap Reader doesn't require a screen reader to operate the program.
Snap Reader uses the following easily located six function keys as command keys:
F1 key - OCR a frame from the live video stream coming from your camera - and use Text To Speech to speak the OCR results to you!
F2 key - Pause or resume Text To Speech
F3 key - Change the capture time delay to any value between 0 to 20 seconds (default is 0)
F4 key - Select a camera
F5 key - Help, announce the name and function of all command keys
F6 key - Exit Snap Reader
Snap Reader provides extensive audio feedback during the program's operation. When you launch the program, Snap Reader's Text To Speech system will announce that it's ready to operate by saying, "Snap Reader 1.8 Is Ready". Audio feedback is also provided for each keypress and the capture time delay will use an audible ticking sound. While Snap Reader's OCR engine is processing a page, you will hear a typing sound, and after OCR processing is complete, Snap Reader's Text To Speech engine will read the OCR output to you.
Snap Reader's Numeric Keypad Accessibility Keys and their Functions
Snap Reader's numeric control keys have the same functionality as the standard Desktop/Notebook keyboard keys. You can use them with or without NumLock.
1 - OCR a frame from the live video stream coming from your camera - and use Text To Speech to speak the OCR results to you!
2 - Pause or resume Text To Speech
3 - Change the capture time delay to any value between 0 to 20 seconds (default is 0)
4 - Select a camera
5 - Help, announce the name and function of all command keys
6 - Exit Snap Reader
Snap2Text - A Plug-In For Snap Reader!
Universal Windows Platform (UWP) applications like Snap Reader operate in a restricted environment with limited access to Win32 functions.
However, there are many Win32 functions that would be very useful for accessibility purposes but unfortunately are not available for a UWP application to use.
So we created a plug-in for Snap Reader called Snap2Text that provides a "bridge" that connects Snap Reader to the Win32 world to overcome this limitation.
Snap2Text allows you to save your OCR text output in a default file save directory or automatically convert it to MP3 audio and copy it to an MP3 player plugged into a USB port on your PC.
It also has functions that allow you to navigate and select saved OCR text files and play them back at a later time.
Using the Snap2Text plug-in is optional, you only need to use it if you want to use the enhanced functions that it provides. You can use these new commands by using the function keys or the numeric keypad keys listed below:
F7 or 7 key - Convert Snap Reader's OCR text output into an MP3 file and copy it to an MP3 player or save the OCR text output as a text file
F8 or 8 key - Scroll down through the list of saved OCR text output files
F9 or 9 key - Select a saved OCR text file to listen to with Text To Speech
F10 or 0 key - Scroll up through the list of saved OCR text output files
Saving OCR Text Output as MP3 Audio Files
After you've finished scanning a page, press the F2/2 key to pause reading or simply let the reading finish. Then, plug your MP3 player into any USB port on your PC, wait for Snap2Text to detect your MP3 player and then press the F7/7 key. When Snap2Text detects your MP3 player it will provide audio feedback with the message "Detected MP3 Player". After you press the F7/7 key Snap2Text will convert the text from your scanned document into an MP3 audio file and copy it to your MP3 player. This process happens automatically without any further user intervention and will use the Text To Speech system to announce its progress. Snap2Text uses an "auto-incrementing" file naming system for your MP3 files. This creates a sequentially ordered "play-list" so that your MP3 player can skip between pages by simply pressing the "Next Song" or "Previous Song" button. It also means that you never have to worry about typing directory paths or file names, just press the F7/7 key and let Snap2Text do the rest of the work!
Saving OCR Text Output as a Plain Text Files
After you've finished scanning a page, press the F2/2 key to pause reading or simply let the reading finish and then press the F7/7 key. Snap2Text will then save the OCR text output in the default save directory, using an auto-incrementing naming system that begins with "page000.txt". This process happens automatically without any further user intervention. Just like with the MP3 save technique, it means that you never have to worry about typing directory paths or file names, just press the F7/7 key and let Snap2Text do the rest of the work!
Selecting and Listening To Saved Text Files
Once you've saved some OCR text output in the default save directory you can then later choose a a particular page and listen to it with the Text To Speech system. Use the F9/9 or F10/0 keys to scroll through the list of saved text files with Text To Speech feedback, and when you hear the desired page number press the F9/9 key to listen to this page.
Click on the icon below to download (1.34 MB) and install the application Snap2Text.
When Snap2Text is installed, the installer automatically gives it the keyboard shortcut of "Ctrl-Alt-X".
Note: Whenever you use Snap2Text, always exit Snap Reader by using the F6 or 6 key, this also terminates Snap2Text!
Configuring Snap Reader and Snap2Text on your PC
After you've installed Snap Reader and Snap2Text on your PC, perform the following three steps:
Step 1 (Create a DeskTop Shortcut to Snap Reader)
Click on windows icon in lower left corner of your display
Click on "All Apps"
Scroll down the app list to Snap Reader
Drag Snap Reader with the left mouse button and drop onto the Desktop
Step 2 (Create a Keyboard Shortcut to Snap Reader)
Right-click on the Snap Reader DeskTop icon you just created and select "Properties"
For the "Shortcut key", put "z", to yield "Ctrl-Alt-Z" (The choice of "z" is a requirement for this application, please do not change it!)
Press the "OK" button
Step 3 (Customize AutoPlay defaults on Windows 10)
Open the "Settings" app, and click on the "Devices" icon and then "AutoPlay".
Under "Choose AutoPlay Defaults Removable Drive", select "Take no action". If you don't turn off AutoPlay for removable USB drives, then AutoPlay will display a pop-up dialog that will interfere with the operation of Snap Reader whenever you plug in your MP3 Player.
After you've finished the installation and configuration of Snap Reader and Snap2Text, make sure you have a document camera plugged into a USB port on your PC and type "Ctrl-Alt-X" to lauch Snap2Text. When you launch Snap2Text it will automatically launch Snap Reader which will then take control of the display. Snap2Text operates silently in the background handling any requests from Snap Reader to save or listen to the OCR text output and will continue to do so until Snap Reader exits. If you choose not to use Snap2Text you still have the option of launching Snap Reader directly with "Ctrl-Alt-Z" and using only the F1 or 1 through F6 or 6 keys.
OS: Windows 10 Only!
RAM: 2 GB minimum
Document Camera: 2.0 MP - 5.0 MP, or a Windows 10 Tablet PC with at least a 2.0 MP rear facing camera
This application does not collect or transmit any user's personally identifiable information. No personal information is used, stored, secured or disclosed by this application.
If you would like to report any violations of this policy or get more information on this app, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.