We are often asked if it is possible for secure PDF files to provide text-to-speech for visually impaired users. We are pleased to confirm that this is supported within the Javelin3 for Mac reader, with either page based reading aloud or when reading selected text regions. The standard Mac OSX/Catalina "Settings" facility, "Dictation and Speech" option is used to provide this facility. If you need any further advice on this facility please let us know.
B. Offline services
Standard web pages can use text-to-speech converters, such as the Read aloud plugin for Chrome and Firefox, but the quality and logic of such plugins leaves much to be desired. The text-to-speech facility on Mac computers, described above, is often a better option where access to a Mac computer is available. Likewise, the Speak Screen "accessibility" option provided via the iOS Settings facility is also usable, subject to some limitations in display interpretation.
2. Recommendations for PDF display
Our special PDF information page provides lots of information regarding the creation of "good" PDF files for use in electronic publishing. Please check this page for the latest updates, including notes on ensuring pages display reliably and fast, and facilities to help users navigate to pages rapidly.
(i) Recommended update v3.01.24 or later of Javelin3 and Javelin3Pro secure PDF readers for Windows:
We released a new version of our Javelin3 Windows PDF readers at the end of January - we recommend any users of the immediately previous release (v3.01.21/22) download and install the new version v3.01.24 and later as these includes a fix to authorization issues experienced by some users who have installed this version (relatively few users have this installed as it was only available for a short period before being updated) - please see the Release Notes page for more details.
The v3.01.24 release also includes a new text search facility which uses a more robust list-based approach and double-click to select the target hit, which is then highlighted. Again, this facility has been introduced to avoid issues experienced by some users when searching for text strings on some large documents. The v3.01.25 release includes improved support for refreshing of secure PDFs that include previous annotations but which have been structurally amended (e.g. extra pages inserted).
(ii) Javelinm on AppStore to be withdrawn shortly:
We plan to remove the appstore edition of Javelin for Mac (javelinm) from the appstore in the near future - this version is no longer compatible with recent versions of OSX and Catalina, but will remain available on our website for direct download. Publishers are recommended to amend their download guidance to reflect this planned change.
(iii) A new pop-up "Help" facility for Mac and Windows users:
A new pop-up help facility is available via the main Javelin downloads page, help icons, and may be accessed directly
here for Windows:
Javelin3 for Android was updated in mid-January and most end users will have received the automatic updated. If you or your end users have an earlier version of Javelin3 for Android and have not automatically been updated to the latest version we recommend this is done manually as soon as possible.