Enhanced Convenient OCR

NOTE: For those of you participating in the live Webinar, the following link will open the documentation in a new browser window.

What Is Convenient OCR

One frequently encounters images which contain textual information while browsing the web or performing other tasks on one's computer. The setup screen of an application, or the menu of selections for a DVD movie very often use Buttons and other onscreen controls which are labeled with pictures of text instead of the actual text characters themselves. Many Portable Document File (PDF) formatted documents also do not contain accessible text. Instead, these .pdf documents contain images of pages. In the past, this text could not be read using a screen reader. Convenient OCR (Optical Character Recognition), first introduced in JAWS 13, enables you to access any image on the screen that includes text, or recognize all of the text in a PDF document.

Using Convenient OCR

Convenient OCR is included in JAWS Layered keystrokes. Each keystroke is composed of two "layers." Press JAWSKey+SPACEBAR to invoke the command layer, then press the second keystroke to activate the command. In the case of Convenient OCR commands, you will first press JAWSKey+SPACEBAR, followed by O to activate the Convenient OCR command layer, then you will press a specific letter to invoke different kinds of recognition.

Use one of the following keystrokes if you locate a control, or graphic which you believe is labeled with an image of text:

When you encounter graphical text and use one of these commands, JAWS will recognize the image in a matter of seconds and activate the JAWS cursor so you can navigate the resulting text. In order to differentiate the recognized text from other text that may be in the window, JAWS will use a different voice when it encounters the recognized text. The recognized text will be in the same location as the actual image on the screen, so you can use the left mouse click command to activate an onscreen control. When you activate the PC cursor, or switch to another application or dialog box, the text is removed and you will need to perform the OCR again.

Enhanced Convenient OCR for PDF Documents

The Convenient OCR feature now allows you to recognize entire PDF documents. In JAWS 16, if you open a PDF document and you do not find any text to read, press INSERT+SPACEBAR, O to access the OCR layer and then press the letter D. After several seconds, the contents of the PDF file are displayed in the Results Viewer for reading. You can use standard reading commands to review the text. You can also select and copy sections of content for pasting in other applications. For example, you could select all, then copy and paste into a Microsoft Word document, which you could then save.

EXERCISE: Reading the Smartphone Etiquette Document. Open the Smartphone Etiquette Document, a pdf document containing page images and use Convenient OCR to gain access to the text.

  1. Navigate to the document and press ENTER to open it
    Acrobat Reader will process the document, which may take a moment. Notice that Acrobat Reader reports "empty document," indicating that there is no accessible text in the document.
  2. Press JAWSKey+SPACEBAR (Laptop: CAPS LOCK+SPACEBAR) to invoke the command layer.
  3. Press O to open the OCR layer and press D to perform OCR within the .pdf document.
  4. Use standard reading commands to read the text now placed in the Virtual Viewer.

JAWS recognizes the text of the entire document featuring a very high degree of accuracy as the results are not affected by the curretn screen resolution, as they are when recognizing the current screen or window.

NOTE:The OCR process takes longer for larger PDF files. As text is recognized, it is added to the end of the existing text already in the Results Viewer. This allows you to continue reading without interruption as the document is processed.

EXERCISE: Reading The Palms Gourmet Deli Menu. The Palms Gourmet Delimenu is an example of a typical online menu. This online version was created by taking pictures of their actual menu. Quick and easy to create, but without Convenient OCR, unaccessible using JAWS.
You can use standard reading commands to browse the menu.


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