moderated Re: JAWS will not read a PDF book!


How old is the book (or, more accurately, the PDF of the book)?  There still exist tons of image scanned PDFs made in the early days when OCR was not a standard part of doing a scan conversion to PDF.  It sounds like your wife is sighted, and a quick test as to whether this is an image scanned PDF versus one with a text layer is to open it in the PDF reader of your choosing then do a search on some dirt common word, like "the," or to search for a word that can be seen on the screen as she's looking at it.  If the search turns up nothing, you've got an image scanned PDF.  If that's the case, I suggest the following:

Using Tracker Software’s PDF-Xchange Viewer to OCR Process Image Scanned PDFs


The question of OCR scanning Image Scanned PDFs that one knows contain text comes up again and again.  If you don't want to invest some huge amount of money in a fully dedicated specialty OCR suite there is an excellent option available for free from Tracker Software:  PDF-XChange Viewer.


The OCR functionality supports a base language set of English, French, German and Spanish. Additional language extension packages are available, at no cost, here.

This software is not 100% accessible, but what you need to perform an OCR scan on an Image Scanned PDF is.

You have nothing to lose but a few minutes time to test out either PDF-XChange Viewer (which uses the "old Windows interface style" and I know to be accessible for running OCR) or the free edition of PDF-XChange Editor to check out whether it suits your needs.  I personally prefer PDF-XChange Viewer.  Here are the step-by-step instructions I wrote for a client who was a grad student who kept having old image scanned PDFs assigned for reading by various professors on how to OCR process them using PDF-XChange Viewer:

Used when you receive a PDF that was scanned without Optical Character Recognition.  For reading stick to Adobe Reader or other reader of your choice as PDF-XChange Viewer is not 100% accessible.

1.     Open PDF-XChange Viewer from your start menu or the desktop.

2.     Hit ALT+F, O  to open a file.  You’ll need to know where it is and navigate there in the Open Dialog, then select it and open it.

3.     Hit CTRL+SHIFT+C to perform optical character recognition on the file.  This will be quick for small files, 20 pages or less, but will take some time for very large files, hundreds of pages.  Listen for the process to complete.  If you’re dealing with a very large file this could take a very long time.  Small files are done in under a minute, often in seconds.

4.     Hit ALT+F, S to save the file over itself with the OCR text now included.  If you wish to save the file under a different name and keep the original use ALT+F, A to Save As to do this instead.

Once you have done the OCR processing and saved the file afterward, the text layer is a permanent part of that PDF file, and does not have to be processed again.

If this book is 537 pages long, it will take several minutes for the OCR processing to complete, at a minimum.  A lot of the "how long" depends both on the size of the document itself and its layout.


Brian - Windows 10, 64-Bit, Version 21H1, Build 19043  

It is better to be hated for what you are than to be loved for what you are not.

           ~ André Gide

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