Questions:

 

Answers:

A1: To open a file in Kurzweil, select "Open" in the File menu. Browse to your intended file, and press "Open."

For PC: Kurzweil can read files with the following extensions:

  • .rtf (rich text format)
  • .txt (text file)
  • .pdf
  • .doc (Microsoft Word)
  • .docx (Microsoft Word)
  • .jpg (image)
  • .kes (Kurzweil)

The following file types are known to be incompatible:

  • .jpf
  • .psa
  • .png
  • .tiff
  • .ai
  • .ppt
  • .pptx
  • .ps
  • .exe

All other file types should be considered incompatible.

For Mac: Kurzweil is compatible with the following file formats:

  • .doc
  • .pdf
  • .tiff
  • .jpg
  • .rtf
  • .kes
  • .ai
  • .txt

The following file extensions are known to be incompatible:

  • .docx
  • .jpf
  • .png
  • .ps
  • .ppt
  • .pptx
  • .exe

All other file types should be considered incompatible.

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A2:Kurzweil can read web pages using Firefox on Windows computers. The KESIReader extension needs to be installed to Firefox to use this tool. While the extension is not currently installed on the AzTech stations, it is a very quick process which the user can perform themselves. The Read the Web function on Macs is still non-functional.

For Windows:
Open up the desktop Kurzweil software. Select the 'Web' icon located on the Main Toolbar. You will be automatically prompted to install KESIReader. Select 'Yes' and quit out of Firefox if you have it open. Firefox will open automatically along with a Software Installation window. Click 'Install Now' and restart Firefox. When you next open Firefox you will see a Kurzweil toolbar near the top of the browser.

The first time you try to read a web page, you may encounter a Windows Security Alert saying that Windows Firewall has blocked some features of Kuzweil. Select 'Allow access' to continue. You should now be able to use the application.

The Read the Web toolbar functions much like the desktop Kurzweil. However, it occasionally has difficulty reading some web pages, such as articles on The New York Times' website. If you encounter one of these pages, your best bet is to open the webpage directly in Kurzweil using the KESI Virtual Printer (see the KESI FAQ).

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A3: The KESI Virtual Printer can be used to "print" documents and webpages directly to Kurzweil, automatically opening them as Kurzweil files.

To use KESI, open the print menu as normal. Under "Printer Selection" choose "KESI Virtual Printer." Before printing, choose color instead of black & white. In our experience, this results in a much higher quality document. After printing, your document will appear in Kurzweil. If Kurzweil isn't open, it will launch automatically to display your document.

The KESI Virtual Printer offers an alternative to Kurzweil's Read the Web feature. Occasionally Kurzweil encounters webpages it cannot read; in these cases, the Virtual Printer is a better option.

Note: This feature is available only on the Windows operating system.

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 A4: For Mac: To translate into another language, highlight the text in question, open the Online menu, and select "Translate." Selected the desired language from the drop-down menu, and press the "Translate" button to view your text in this language.

Unfortunately, Kurzweil for Mac is sadly unable to read in languages other than English.

For Windows: To read a document already in another language, scan/open the document in Kurzweil as normal. Under the Read menu, you can select between various reading languages with the "Language" option. Each language comes with a variety of new reading voices. Those voices with the prefix "VW" or the suffix "-tel" seem to be the best.

Kurzweil can read the following languages:

  • Spanish
  • French
  • German
  • Italian
  • Portuguese
  • Finnish

From our testing, we have found that Kurzweil's ability to read Spanish and French is startlingly accurate, with highly intelligible voices. We cannot speak to Finnish.

To translate into another language, highlight the text in question and press the "Translate" button in the Main Toolbar. Selected the desired languages from the drop-down menus, select "Translate," and then "Read."

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A5: For PC: If scanning in color, select "Use Color" under the Scan menu. Place your first page in the scanner. Under the Scan menu, click Scan Repeatedly. The scan will begin immediately. After the first page is finished scanning, a window will appear counting down from 15 seconds - during this time, place your next page in the scanner. When the countdown reaches zero, this page will be scanned and added to the current Kurzweil document. Continue until your last page is finished scanning, then press "End Scanning" on the countdown window.

For Mac: Place your first page in the scanner. Under the Scan menu, select either "Scan in Black & White" or "Scan in Color," and then "Scan New Document" to begin. This page will appear on-screen. Place the next page in the scanner, and click "Scan Next Page" at the top of the scan window. When finished, click "Scan Done."

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A6: For Mac: The Header/Footer editor is a useful tool for dealing with unwanted headers and footers that are being read aloud. Under Scan, select Zones and then choose Edit Zones. Selection boxes will appear around the text in your document. You then have the ability to move, delete, or otherwise change these zones. Whatever text is in the zone will be read, in the order in which the zones are numbered. Go back to Scan, Zones, and Edit Zones to save your changes and return to normal viewing.

For PC: Under the Scan menu, select H/F Editor (or press Ctrl+F8). Use the mouse to right-click and select Mark Header/Footer. Click where you want to start and drag the box across the page over any footnotes, etc. that you would like to avoid. To finish, click outside the box. To apply the setting to all pages or adjust the location of the box, right-click inside the box and choose that option.

Kurzweil can ignore actual footnotes when blocked off by the Header/Footer editor, but unfortunately cannot avoid reading the numbers in the text that refer to footnotes.

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A7: For Mac: Under the Reading menu, use the "Reading Voice" option to choose between several different voices. An alternative option is found in the Kurzweil Reader pop-up. Clicking the arrow next to "Details" will reveal several reading options, including reading voice.

Users of the Mac version should note that the voices are generally less clear than Windows voices -- of those available, we find Alex to be the best.

For Windows: To change reading voice, click the farthest left menu of the yellow (reading) toolbar, and select another name. and click on another name. We recommend VW Julie or VW Paul.

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A8: For Mac: Under the Reading menu, the reading speed can be changed using the two options "Read Faster" (Command + ]) and "Read Slower" (Command + [).

To choose a more exact reading speed, select "Set Reading Speed" under the Reading Menu and input the Words per Minute at which you wish Kurzweil to read.

An alternative option is found in the Kurzweil Reader pop-up. Clicking the arrow next to "Details" will reveal several reading options, including reading speed and voice.

For Windows: In the yellow toolbar, the farthest left red triangles (under the "Read" button) control the speed. The number next to them shows the Words per Minute at which Kurzweil is currently reading.

Click the triangle pointing up to increase the speed and the triangle pointing down to decrease the speed. You may also enter a number in the words per minute box next to the triangles. You may also press F11 to increase the speed by five words per minute or F12 to decrease the speed by five words per minute.

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A9: Kurzweil (both the Mac and PC versions) will automatically straighten slightly misaligned documents. However, it cannot do so for documents rotated more than approximately 15 degrees. If Kurzweil fails to automatically rotate your document, your best option is to simply rescan it. However, if you can’t rescan your document, try opening it in Adobe Photoshop and manually rotating the image until the text is horizontal.

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A10:

For Mac:

  1. Open your document in Kurzweil as normal.
  2. Under the File menu, click "Create Audio File."
  3. Select your desired reading voice, and the speed at which you want the document to be read.
  4. Uncheck the "Copy to iTunes" option, and click "Ok."
  5. Choose a filename and destination, and click "Save."
  6. Before logging out, be sure to save this file in your Home folder, thumb drive, or other secure location.

For PC:

  1. Open your document in Kurzweil.
  2. Under the File menu, click "Audio Files" and then "Create Audio File."
  3. A dialogue box will appear stating that Kurzweil needs access to the Internet. Select "Yes."
  4. Click "Ok" on the resulting dialogue box. Exit the "Create Audio File" window, and close Kurzweil.
  5. Launch Kurzweil once more, and repeat steps 1) and 2).
  6. Choose your desired reading voice, and the speed at which you want your document to be read.
  7. Uncheck "Add to iTunes" and "Add to Windows Media Player."
  8. Click "Ok."
  9. You will find your saved audio file in the "Kurzweil 3000 Output Audio" folder, located on the Desktop. Make sure to move it to your Home folder, thumb drive, or other secure location - if using a public lab machine, the file will be deleted immediately upon logging out!

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A11: For Mac: Kurzweil for Mac can be used as a simple word processor. To create a document, simply click "New" under the File menu. Doing so will create a blank document on which you can type. Typical word processing options (text size, font, alignment, and spacing) can be found under the Format menu.

At any point, press Command+R to instruct Kurzweil to read your document aloud.

For Windows: Similarly, a blank document can be created in Windows by opening the File menu and selecting "New" -> "Draft" -> "Blank," or by pressing Control+N.

Kurzweil on Windows, however, has several other word processing options not available on Mac.

Outline: Under File, select "New" -> "Outline" -> "Blank." This provides a blank document formatted to function as an outline. Use the "Outline Palette" to move between various degrees of indentation.

Brainstorm: Under File, select "New -> "Brainstorm" -> "Blank." Use the "Brainstorm Palette" to construct a Bubble-and-Arrow diagram.

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A12: For Mac: Changing the zoom on one page of a multiple page changes the zoom on all other pages as well. Zoom options can be found in the View menu.

For Windows: On Windows, changing the zoom while viewing a particular page leaves the zoom on all other pages unchanged. To avoid having to repeatedly change the zoom on each individual page, you can do the following:

1. From the Tools menu choose "Options."

2. Choose the "Image" section of the Options window, and in "Default Fit:" choose My Zoom.

3. Choose the "General" section of the Options window. Set the "My Zoom" field to your preferred value. "My Zoom" defaults to 100%.

4. Click Apply, then OK.

All pages of a multiple page document should now be zoomed consistently.

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A13:For Mac: To the left of your Kurzweil document should appear the Tools palette. If you don't see this, select "Show Tools" under the Window menu.

In this palette are a variety of different highlighting options. To switch highlight colors, simply click a different highlighter tool. To erase highlights, user the Eraser tool, found on the top right of the palette.

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A14:If you prefer to use your keyboard to your mouse, there are a number of shortcuts that can be used instead of accessing the menu and many of the toolbars:

For Mac:

Command + (R)   Start reading

Command + (.)    Stop reading

Command + (])    Read faster

Command + ([)    Read slower

Command + (+)   Zoom in

Command + (-)    Zoom out

Command + (Right Arrow)   Next page

Command + (Left Arrow)     Previous page

Control + Command + (S)   Selector

Control + Command + (E)   Eraser

Command + (T)    Show Fonts

For Windows:

F1: Help

F2: Back One Sentence

F3: Start Reading

F4: Forward One Sentence

F11: Increase Reading Speed

F12: Decrease Reading Speed

Control + W: Change Spoken Word

Control + D: Definition of Selected Word

Control + Q: Synonyms of Selected Word

Control + Y: Syllables of Selected Word

Shift + F5: Add Note

Shift + F6: Close Note

Shift + F7: Add Voice Note 

For additional shortcuts, click here. For a shortcut cheatsheet, click here.

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A15:Unfortunately, no. Mathematica files are also incompatible with Kurzweil.

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A16: For PC: To scan in color, select "Use Color" under the Scan menu before scanning your document.

For Mac: Select "Scan in Color" under the Scan menu.

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A17: On PC: Yes! Increasing brightness may increase document readability. To increase brightness, go to Tools > Options > Scanning. If you increase the brightness too much, however, you will begin to lose detail. Also try checking the "despeckling" option under the same menu.

On Mac: Kurzweil for Mac does not have customizable scanning options.

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