What's New in OpenBook 9

This page describes the new features and improvements available in OpenBook version 9. To go directly to the OpenBook 9 download links on this page, choose OpenBook download links. See Enhancements and Improvements in OpenBook for a list of enhancements in the current release.

OpenBook 9 supports 64-bit and 32-bit versions of Windows® 8, Windows 7, Windows Vista® and Windows 2008 Server, and 32-bit versions of Windows XP and Windows 2003 Server operating systems.

OpenBook 9 New Features and Improvements

Fast Optical Character Recognition (OCR)

OpenBook 9 features the fastest and most accurate text recognition available. Place a document on a scanner or under the PEARL® camera and OpenBook begins to read and display the recognized text on the screen within seconds of acquiring the image.

PEARL Portable Reading Camera

OpenBook 9 and the new PEARL camera provide the ultimate in portable acquisition and reading, making capturing text images faster than ever before - enabling you to snap a picture and begin reading in a matter of seconds. The convenient page guide helps you align your documents so you capture a good image every time. Place paperback books sideways and the PEARL will capture two pages at a time. For larger books, such as text books, align the spine of the book at the edge of the guide to capture single pages at a time.

OpenBook captures up to 20 pages per minute. OpenBook’s built-in motion detection prevents snapping a picture until a page is turned and is perfectly still. The PEARL is designed to capture great images in standard room lighting. If the room is unusually dark, the built-in LED light can be turned on to provide additional lighting.

Use PEARL as a Video Magnifier

OpenBook 9 includes a new Camera View that displays a live image on your screen of the item currently under the PEARL camera. This allows you to use PEARL as a video magnifier and perform various short-term tasks where you may require a magnified view such as magnifying the serial number on a CD or a set of instructions on the outside of a box. The Live View and captured Exact Views feature the ability to change zoom levels and the Virtual XY table to visually read through the text. Camera View is activated through the View menu, or you can press CTRL+SHIFT+V to cycle between Text View, Exact View, Split View, and Camera View.

Enhanced Customization Using Workflows

All of the commonly-changed settings for acquiring and processing have been consolidated into the new Workflows feature. The new workflows replace the previous Scanning Modes, retaining similar names, but providing greater functionality.

OpenBook 9 includes the following pre-defined workflows:

  • Acquire and Read – Acquires a single image, places it at the end of the current document, and automatically moves to and begins reading the newly acquired text.
  • Acquire in Background – Allows users to read pages that have already been acquired, while continuing to acquire single images in the background. Newly acquired text pages are placed at the end of the current document, but the user is not moved to the newly acquired pages.
  • Multipage Automatic – This workflow uses the feed from a document feeder, a timer, or the motion detection with the PEARL camera to continually add new pages until commanded by the user to stop. New text pages are placed at the end of the current document, but users are not automatically moved to the new text.
  • Multipage Prompt for Pages – This workflow is the same as the Multipage Automatic workflow, but prompts the user to initiate each new image acquisition.
  • Mail Sorter Preview – Use this workflow to help you more efficiently sort mail by replacing the current page with the new one.
  • Poetry and Recipe – This workflow acquires a page, retaining the line breaks from the original text. Turning on Extra Pause at Line Breaks on the Speech Setting Page makes reading and understanding recipes and poetry even easier.
  • Acquire Image Only – Acquires a page and saves it as an image file.

As each workflow has its own collection of acquisition and process settings, you can modify the behavior of one workflow without affecting the others. For instance, modifying a setting in the Acquire in Background workflow will not change anything in the Acquire and Read workflow. When you begin a page acquisition, the currently active workflow is used to acquire the image and add the recognized text to the document.

In addition, you can also create your own custom workflows to suit your needs. For example, if you speak a second language like Spanish, you could create a new workflow called "Acquire and Read - Spanish" and select this workflow when you need to acquire and read documents created in Spanish.

OpenBook contains several Specialty workflows that are available when the user takes advantage of features built into OpenBook rather than acquiring an image from a scanner or the PEARL camera.

  • Recognize Image File – This is a specialty workflow that is only used when you open an image file such as a JPG or TIFF image.
  • Acquire in Word – This is a specialty workflow that is only used when selecting the Acquire Using OpenBook feature from within Microsoft Word.
  • Freedom Import Printer – This is a specialty workflow that is only used when opening a file through the Freedom Import Printer.
  • PDF File – This is a specialty workflow that is only used when you open a PDF document.

Recognition Strategies

With the new recognition strategies, you no longer have to try and guess which OCR engine you should use to process a particular document. Simply select from one of the available strategies; Fastest, Balanced (selected by default), or Most Accurate, and OpenBook will use the appropriate OCR engine combinations suitable for that particular strategy.

To change the default strategy so it applies to all workflows, open the Workflow settings properties page (ALT+G, O) and navigate to the Strategy, Language, and Secondary Language combo boxes. To change the strategy for a particular workflow, modify or create a new workflow and on the Process page, clear the Use Default Strategy check box. Then, select a strategy, or change the recognition language. When this workflow is active, OpenBook will instead use the strategy you configured for that workflow instead of the default.

RealSpeak Solo Direct Synthesizers

OpenBook 9 includes RealSpeak™ Solo Direct synthesizers from Nuance® Communications. These new synthesizers work exclusively with Freedom Scientific products.

Several RealSpeak Solo Direct voices are included on a disk that ships with OpenBook, but several others are available for download from our Web site. RealSpeak Solo Direct voices are installed to a shared location and installed voices can be used by OpenBook, MAGic® and JAWS®.

To listen to samples of languages and dialects, and download these voices, go to the Freedom Scientific RealSpeak Solo Direct Voices Web page.

Note: OpenBook currently supports left to right reading languages.

Check for Updates

Choose Check for Updates Available from the OpenBook Help menu to search for new versions of the software on the Web. OpenBook then checks to see if any updates are available and displays a list for you to choose from. The list of updates includes the file size as well as the specific version OpenBook will be updated to. You can then choose to download and install any of the new software versions in order to keep OpenBook up-to-date. This feature helps Freedom Scientific make minor changes and improvements to OpenBook much more frequently.

Internet access and administrative rights are required to check for updates. Checking for updates is available for the English version of OpenBook only.

Acquire Menu Replaces Scan Menu

The Scan menu from prior versions is now the Acquire menu. Many of the same options are still available; however, they now refer to acquiring instead of scanning. For example, Acquire a Page, Acquire and Replace Current Page, and Acquire and Insert New Page. You can also set the active workflow through this menu.

To open the Acquire menu, press ALT+Q, or click Acquire on the menu bar. Alternatively, press the APPLICATIONS Key to access the Acquire context menu which contains the same options as the Acquire menu.

Split Facing Pages

The Split Facing Pages feature of OpenBook separates two pages acquired in a single image from the scanner or PEARL into two separate pages in the document. This feature can be toggled on as part of the settings of a workflow or toggled on as needed for the current workflow. To toggle it on temporarily, activate the Split Facing Pages item in the Acquire menu. To set it within a workflow, check the Split Facing Pages check box located on the Process page of the settings for a particular workflow.

Table Reading Order

In addition to the ability to recognize documents containing columns, OpenBook 9 recognizes most tables. By default, OpenBook organizes tables by row. Users have the option within workflows to set the workflow to organize tables by column. While organization by rows makes most tables read well, you may wish to change the setting and re-recognize the page to fully understand some tables.

This option is workflow specific and is located on the Process page of the Workflow properties multipage dialog box, accessed by opening the Workflow Settings properties page (ALT+G, O) and selecting the Modify button.

Preserving Line Breaks in Recognized Documents

OpenBook can retain line breaks in the recognized text where they actually appear in the original document. Retaining the actual line breaks can greatly improve the flow when reading certain types of documents. The built-in Recipe and Poetry workflow utilizes this setting to make it easier to read through these types of documents and understand the context in intent of the author.

Note: When acquiring a page containing columns and this item is checked, if Recognize Columns is enabled, line breaks are preserved for each column. If OpenBook is set to ignore columns, line breaks are only preserved after the rightmost column.

This option is workflow specific and is located on the Process page of the Workflow properties multipage dialog box, accessed by opening the Workflow Settings properties page (ALT+G, O) and selecting the Modify button. This setting is enabled by default in the Poetry and Recipe workflow.

Extra Pause at Line Breaks

The new Extra Pause at Line breaks feature compliments the preserving line breaks. The extra pause is added during a SayAll to allow users to easily distinguish line breaks when OpenBook is reading through the text. This is especially helpful for separating the information about ingredients in recipes or hearing the natural pause that would be expected in poetry. The setting can be found on the Voice Settings page of the Settings dialog box.

Inserting Pages

With the exception of the Mail Sorter workflow, all factory workflows place the newly acquired text at the end of the current document. Occasionally in the process of acquiring pages, pages are missed or do not recognize well. To insert pages into the current location, open the Acquire Menu and choose Acquire and Insert New Page. From this submenu, you can choose to acquire a page and have it added to the current document either before or after the current page. If you wish to replace the current page press CTRL+SHIFT+F4 or select Replace Current Page from the Acquire menu.

Start Speaking Automatically

This new check box lets you specify whether OpenBook automatically begins reading recognized text starting when the first acquired page is recognized. If you clear this item, you will then need to use OpenBook’s reading commands or begin a Say All (INSERT+DOWN ARROW) in order to read the new page.

This option is workflow specific and is located on the Process page of the Workflow properties multipage dialog box, accessed by opening the Workflow Settings properties page (ALT+G, O) and selecting the Modify button. For instance, this option is selected in the Acquire and Read workflow, but cleared in the Acquire in Background workflow.

Position the Reading Cursor after Recognition

OpenBook allows you to determine where the reading cursor is placed after an acquired page is added to the document. Selecting Move to New Page moves the cursor to the top of the newly recognized page. If you want to be able to continue reading at your current position in the document even after the new page is added, select Remain at Current Reading Position.

Note: If the Start Speaking Automatically check box is selected and OpenBook is currently not reading when a new page is added to the document, you will be moved to the top of the newly acquired page where OpenBook will automatically begin reading.

These options are workflow specific and are located on the Process page of the Workflow properties multipage dialog box, accessed by opening the Workflow Settings properties page (ALT+G, O) and selecting the Modify button.

Enhanced Progress Notifications when Acquiring Images

OpenBook provides the following audible notifications during the acquisition process:

  • Scan Initiated – If you are using a scanner and this check box is selected, OpenBook says "Scan Initiated" when you press F4 to begin acquiring an image. This announcement is not spoken if you are acquiring from the PEARL camera.
  • Acquisition Tones – When this check box is selected, OpenBook will play a tone as the image is being acquired.
  • Image Acquired – When this check box is selected, OpenBook plays a camera shutter sound to indicate it has acquired the image and is ready to begin processing.

These settings can be configured independently for each workflow. They are also available in the Photocopy dialog box (ALT+C, P).

Continue Working While Pages are Processing

With OpenBook 9, you can now continue working in a document as pages are acquired and recognized. For example, you can type a letter in one document while acquiring the pages of a book into another.

Status Bar Displays Acquisition and Processing Information

Since OpenBook 9 no longer displays a dialog box while acquiring and recognizing pages, the progress of the current workflow as well as the number of unprocessed images is now displayed in the status bar at the bottom of your screen along with the position of the reading cursor. For instance, Line 20 of 87, Page 2 of 10, 8 Unprocessed Images, Processing page 3. Press INSERT+PAGE DOWN to read the status bar.

Pending Pages Included during Save

Choosing to save a document while there are still pending pages waiting to be recognized, will save both the unprocessed content along with the processed pages. This means that if you have acquired 200 pages, but you need to close and save the document while there are still 100 unprocessed images, OpenBook will save the 100 processed pages as well as the 100 images waiting to be processed. The next time you open the document, OpenBook will automatically resume processing images.

Note: If you save a PDF that is currently being processed, only the processed content is saved. This is because OpenBook processes PDF files differently from other image types.

Choose Acquisition Source

Since OpenBook 9 can now acquire images from either a scanner or the PEARL camera, the Scanner Selection dialog box under the Advanced menu has been expanded and renamed to Device Selection. When you open this dialog box, you will now be able to select either Scanner, or PEARL as the acquisition source. If the PEARL is not currently connected, Scanner is your only choice. If you choose Scanner, you will then be able to select the appropriate scanner driver as in prior versions.

New Default Installation Folder

By default, OpenBook 9 is installed to C:\Program Files\Freedom Scientific\OpenBook9.0. The OpenBook library is now stored in C:\Program Files\Freedom Scientific\OpenBook\9.0\users\default\library. To quickly access the default library, go to the OpenBook 9.0 program group and select the My OpenBook Documents shortcut.

Internet License Manager Authorization

OpenBook 9 now features the same Internet License Manager (ILM) authorization used in JAWS and MAGic. You will no longer be prompted to enter a serial number during OpenBook installation. Instead, the first time you launch OpenBook, you will need to activate the program. Otherwise, OpenBook will run in 40-minute demo mode and you will need to reboot your computer in order to continue using OpenBook.

Using this new authorization method, you can quickly activate OpenBook over the Internet. If you do not have an Internet connection, you can activate by telephone, fax, or with the assistance of a trusted third-party. ILM authorization is also available for network licenses. For network authorization, you designate a computer on your local area network (LAN) to be your license server. The license server has a fixed number of tokens that it can distribute to any computer on the network to authorize OpenBook. After the user quits OpenBook, the token is returned to the license server and is ready to be reassigned.

Changed Increase and Decrease Zoom Level Keystrokes

The keystrokes for increasing and decreasing the zoom level have been changed to CTRL+PLUS and CTRL+MINUS. Press and hold these commands to continuously zoom in or out until you reach the desired zoom level. The keystrokes used in prior versions to set the zoom to a particular percentage have been removed. Zooming is available in the Exact View, the Exact portion of Split View, or in Camera View.

New Zooming Options

Since you can adjust the zoom in both Exact View and Camera View, the Zoom Exact View submenu under the View menu has been renamed to Zoom View. The following options are now available:

  • Zoom In – Incrementally increases the zoom level.
  • Zoom Out – Incrementally decreases the zoom level.
  • Page Width – Instantly zooms enough so the width of the image is in the window. This is the default for Exact View.
  • Page Height – Instantly zooms enough so the height of the image is in the window. This is the default in Camera View.
  • Default – Instantly zooms to the default setting.

Virtual XY Table in Exact View and Camera View

When an image is not entirely visible on the screen in Exact View or Camera View, you now have the ability to pan the image up, down, left, or right in order to visually read all of the text. Incremental panning instantly jumps to a new position and stops while Smooth panning continuously pans an image in a particular direction until you press a keystroke to stop, change the panning direction, or when you reach the edge of the image. You can also adjust the speed of smooth panning.

In Camera View, you have the added ability to wrap to the next line while panning forward.

New Image View Settings for Exact View and Camera View

A new Image View Settings properties page has been added to the Settings menu (ALT+G, W). Here you can set the default zoom level for Exact View and Camera View as well as configure smooth panning options. In addition, you can change the background color for the Exact View or the Overlay color and transparency in the Camera View.

Masking Settings Now Included in Visual Settings

All Text View masking settings have been moved to the Visual Settings properties page (ALT+G, V). There is no longer a Masking Settings item in the Settings menu.

Apply Low Vision Colors to Exact View Images

Previously, changes made to the text and background colors through the Low Vision menu or the Visual Settings properties page would only apply to the Text View, or the Text View area of Split View for open documents. The new Two Tone option allows you to also apply text color changes to the Exact View, or the Exact View area of Split View, as long as the Exact View is a color or grayscale image. To enable Two Tone, open the Visual Settings properties page and check the Use Two Tone for Exact View check box, or select Two Tone from the View menu.

Support for Selecting Text in Exact View

You can now select text in Exact View just as you would in Text View. You can select text using all of the normal text selection keystrokes, copy it, and then paste into an editable document within OpenBook or another text editor.

Note the following:

  • Because the Exact View is a graphic image of the original acquired image, you still cannot edit text while in Exact View. You can, however, edit text using Split View which displays the Text View in the upper portion of the screen and allows you to edit the document, while the Exact View containing the graphic image is displayed in the lower portion of the screen.
  • Selecting text by line in Exact View will not always select the same amount of content as in Text View. This is because in Text View, a line is determined by either a hard line break, which you get by pressing ENTER, or when the text wraps at the edge of the window. In Exact View, the line is determined by the rectangle of the word(s).

Low Vision Menu Improvements

The Low Vision menu (ALT+L) features improved and visually appealing graphics.

In addition, the Low Vision Menu now has a separate button to select text and background colors for the spotlight independent of the Text Color and Background.

Setup Standard Launchables

OpenBook no longer searches for and configures standard launchable applications during installation. This greatly reduces the amount of time required to install OpenBook using the Typical installation. To add standard launchables, open the Launch menu (ALT+C) and choose Setup Standard Launchables.

Access OpenBook Keystrokes Directly From the Help Menu

Use the new Keyboard Commands submenu located in the Help menu to quickly look up information about a keystroke. Select either Desktop or Laptop depending on what keyboard layout you are using. This makes it much easier to locate information on a command instead of having to navigate the entire online help system.

Announce Read-only/Edit Mode Status

When a document is first opened, OpenBook will now announce whether the file is in Read-only or Edit mode.

New Dialog Box Information Keystrokes

When you are in an OpenBook dialog box, the following keystrokes are now available:

  • INSERT+TAB – Speaks the current control in a dialog box. It will speak the control label, control type, content of control, status of control (checked or unchecked), and the shortcut access key for that control.
  • INSERT+E – Identifies the default button in dialog boxes.

Improved Alerts When at the Top or Bottom of Documents

If you press UP ARROW from the top line of a document, or DOWN ARROW from the bottom line of a document, OpenBook 9 says "top of Document" or "bottom of document" followed by the current line.

CAPS LOCK Status Now Spoken

When editing text, pressing CAPS LOCK twice quickly toggles ALL CAPS on and off. OpenBook speaks the status of the CAPS LOCK.

Saving to Audio

OpenBook 9 now includes an Audio folder as part of the Library. When you save text to audio, OpenBook saves the audio file to this Audio folder by default.

Support for First Letter Navigation in Color Combo Boxes

You can now use first letter navigation to quickly locate a color in the Text and Background Color combo boxes in the Visual Settings properties page.

Highlight Export Title Spoken

When you export highlights into a new document, OpenBook speaks the title of the document.

Enhancements and Improvements in OpenBook

Enhancements in OpenBook 9.0.1543 (January 2014)

This update resolves issues with opening files created in OpenBook version 5 that contain bookmarks.

Enhancements in OpenBook 9.0.1542 (April 2013)

The following is a list of improvements made between this release and the OpenBook 9.0.1311 posting.

  • You can now install and use OpenBook as well as the PEARL camera on a computer running Windows 8.

Note: If you use OpenBook with a braille display, note that due to changes in Windows 8, the built-in refreshable braille features of OpenBook are not available. In order to have refreshable braille in OpenBook, you must use a screen reader that supports Braille, such as JAWS, while running OpenBook in Windows 8. OpenBook's refreshable braille support is still available in Windows 7 and earlier.

  • Compatibility between OpenBook and MAGic has been enhanced. If you are using MAGic 12.0.3202 or later with OpenBook, MAGic automatically toggles to Speech On Demand™ mode when focus is in OpenBook. This mode allows OpenBook to read and spotlight the text during navigation and SayAll, while still maintaining MAGic's powerful Mouse Echo functionality, letting users move the mouse pointer to text and have the lines automatically spoken.
  • When embossing a document, OpenBook will now include the braille page number in the upper right corner of each page, beginning on the second page. To include the page number on the first page, open the Emboss dialog box and clear the Suppress Braille Page Number on First Page check box. If you decide you do not want to emboss page numbers, open the Emboss dialog box and clear the Braille Page Numbers check box.
  • Improved OpenBook's optical character recognition to provide even greater accuracy when processing documents received from a scanner or the PEARL camera.
  • Addressed issues encountered when searching for and downloading books from Bookshare.org and Project Gutenberg.

Enhancements in OpenBook 9.0.1311 (August 2011)

The following is a list of improvements made between this release and the OpenBook 9.0.1308 posting.

  • OpenBook's optical character recognition (OCR) has been improved to provide higher accuracy when scanning complex documents.
  • OpenBook in combination with the PEARL camera now acquires and processes images even faster than the previous version.
  • Resolved problems connecting with the PEARL camera after the computer was brought out of sleep mode.
  • Resolved issues specific to using OpenBook with the Fujitsu fj-5110c scanner.
  • Resolved connection issues with the Plustek OpticSlim scanner.

Enhancements in OpenBook 9.0.1308 (March 2011)

The following is a list of improvements made between this release and the OpenBook 9.0.1305 posting.

  • Resolved a reported issue where newly recognized text was not being automatically read while in Exact View.
  • Say From Cursor (INSERT+NUMPAD 9) now works in Exact View.
  • Files can now be reliably saved to the Desktop.
  • Resolved reported issues when saving BRF files, which overwrite existing files.
  • Users can now set A4 as the default paper size for printing.
  • Resolved a reported issue when Braille is enabled, but no Braille display is attached.

Enhancements in OpenBook 9.0.1305 (December 2010)

The following is a list of improvements made between this release and the OpenBook 9.0.1295 posting.

  • A new topic on setting up and using the PEARL camera is now available from the Contents and Index pages in the OpenBook online help.
  • Resolved an issue searching for and downloading books from Project Gutenberg.
  • If you install OpenBook on a 64-bit machine using the silent install, enabling braille from within OpenBook now works correctly.
  • Resolved an issue in Split View and Exact View where spot lighting the exact view area was failing to start after acquiring an image with the PEARL camera. This was preventing the automatic reading from starting when using Exact View.
  • Resolved an issue in Exact View where the Say From Cursor command, INSERT+PAGE UP, was only reading the word at the cursor.
  • Pressing the HOME or END keys while in Exact View now moves to the beginning or end of the line as it appears in Exact View.
  • Improved page processing when the selected workflow is Acquire and Read or Acquire in Background and OpenBook is set to ignore columns.
  • Improved how OpenBook processes pages when using the Most Accurate recognition strategy.
  • If you configure OpenBook to use a different voice for the Reading and Menu voices, you will no longer hear "page is blank" twice when you encounter a blank page.
  • If you are using a dongle to authorize OpenBook instead of an ILM key, the About dialog box now displays the correct authorization type.
  • Made changes necessary to assist the localization process.

Return to top from Features and Improvements

Download OpenBook 9

The following briefly describes how to download, save, and install the OpenBook 9 release.

  1. Select the download link that appears at the end of this procedure.
  2. When the dialog box opens, choose Save and select a location where you can easily find the downloaded executable file.
  3. Run the executable and follow the talking installer.

OpenBook 9.0.1543 32- and 64-bit English (317 MB)

Note: If your corporate firewall prevents you from downloading files using FTP (File Transfer Protocol), use the HTTP (Hypertext Transfer Protocol) links instead.

Check for Updates

To check for updates after installing a release, do the following:

  1. Open the Help menu.
  2. Select Check for Updates. The update feature determines if you have the most current release. If you do not, select one or more items from the list and then select INSTALL to begin the update. All enhancements since the initial release are included in the update.

FineReader Languages

Select the link below to install additional languages for the FineReader OCR engine. This is only necessary if you download and install OpenBook from the Freedom Scientific Web site. OpenBook must be installed prior to running the installer for the additional languages. Note that these languages are automatically installed when using the OpenBook program CD.

Demo Software

To try a free demo version of OpenBook, select the link from the Download OpenBook 9 section above and run OpenBook in 40-minute demo mode. OpenBook is fully functional for 30 days.

Back to top from OpenBook 9 Download