Solution: Using OmniPage for OCR


Paul Martz <skewmatrix@...>
 

A while back, I mentioned I was using OmniPage scanning into MS Word as an
OCR solution to read printed material. Someone asked if I might post some
information on how to do this with JAWS, and I've finally gotten around to
doing a write-up. Here it is.

OmniPage itself definitely has some accessibility issues. My process avoids
this entirely, because I don't use OmniPage directly. Instead, I use the
OmniPage add-in through MS Word. This add-in is installed in MS Word as part
of the OmniPage installation process. So, install Office first, then
OmniPage, and the add-in should be installed by default.

I'm using a Canon CanoScane LiDE 210 scanner with MS Office 2010 and
OmniPage 18.

After a one-time configuration step described later in this email, reading a
printed page is quite easy and very accessible. The steps are as follows:
1. Place your document on the scanner.
2. Open MS Word.
3. Activate the Acquire Text button. To do this:
3 a. Hit Alt-Y to get to the Omnipage menu in the ribbon UI.
3 b. Hit down arrow, then right arrow. Acquire Text should be selected.
Hit space to activate.
4. Your scanner will scan the document, OmniPage will perform OCR, and the
text will be loaded into MS Word at the current cursor location.
5. This process leaves window focus in an unknown state. To return focus to
the MS Word document, I perform the following steps as a workaround:
5 a. Open the start menu, then hit escape.
5 b. Hit Alt-tab to put focus in the MS Word document.
6. The cursor is at the end of the scanned text. Go to the start of the
scanned text, (e.g., hit Ctrl-Home), then issue the JAWS Say All command,
(JAWS-key down arrow).

If you have multiple pages and want to scan all of them before reading,
simply repeat steps 3 through 5 as needed before proceeding to step 6. In
other words, make sure you leave the Word cursor at the end of the text you
just scanned, then scan the next page, and the new text will be added after
the previous page's text.

After this process is done, you have the option of saving the MS Word
document, or simply discarding it.

As you can see, the process is fairly straightforward and quite accessible.
The only issues are actually Windows issues, namely focus, and the inherent
difficulties of navigating the ribbon UI.

To configure the OmniPage add-in to acquire text from the scanner, do the
following:
1. Open the Acquire Text Settings dialog. To do this:
1 a. Hit Alt-Y to get to the Omnipage menu in the ribbon UI.
1 b. Down arrow, right arrow, and down arrow to the Acquire Text Settings
button. Hit spacebar to open the dialog.
2. There are five tabs with different options. Ctrl-tab through them as
needed.
3. On the Output Format tab, you probably want to set Formatted Text instead
of plain text. But this is optional and up to you.
4. On the Direct OCR tab:
4 a. Select the Draw Zomes Automatically checkbox.
4 b. Uncheck the Proofread OCR checkbox.
4 c. Change the Image Source pulldown menu to Scan.
5. On the Scanner tab, uncheck Prompt For More Pages, if you intend to
primarily scan single pages. This is optional and depends on your usage.

Note that the OmniPage menu has two buttons. One is Acquire Text Settings,
which you should only need during the one-time setup, and the other is
Acquire Text, which you use to scan a page. It's unfortunate that the
buttons are named similarly, so listen to JAWS carefully and make sure you
activate the button you want.

I hope this info is helpful. If anyone has any issues with OmniPage
accessibility, I'll be glad to try to help. Post here or email me directly.
-Paul

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