[Athen] JAWS problem with RTF

Dann Berkowitz dann at digilifemedia.biz
Mon Feb 1 07:03:37 PST 2010

Hello everyone,

You all may recall that a couple of weeks ago I asked a question about JAWS having problems reading RTF documents that were created in/saved through Microsoft Word. Well, what we have discovered is that at some point in the past three to six months Microsoft released an update to its Microsoft Word product line that is at the root of the problem. In laymans terms this update caused issues with the carriage returns at the end of text lines that JAWS for Windows relies upon for verbosity control (specifically the "pausing" at the end of each line). As far as we can tell it is an issue with JAWS versions 8.0 and above and MS Word Versions 2003 and above or any combination of these.

My business partner Adam Randazzo developed a simple tool to fix this problem and describes it better than I can in the next portion of this email.

----- Forwarded Message -----
From: "Adam P. Randazzo" <adam at digilifemedia.biz>
Sent: Monday, February 1, 2010 7:51:23 AM

Here is a tool that should fix the problem. Simply take a rtf file as an input and click fix. A file will be made called (fileName).fixed.rtf This file should work now using Jaws. Please let me know and confirm that this works. If it works its great! If not back to the drawing board, but this is a start and a show of good faith to make this right.

To let you know the problem. It did not actually have to do with the conversion process at all it has to do with the way Jaws now interacts with RTF. RTF uses a soft return or a line feed to go to next line to help preserver formatting. Jaws does not read this as a line feed it actually does not read it at all. Therefor when the end of line does not have a punctuation Jaws will merge it with the next word on the next line. It sees nothing separating it. So for example if we have


Jaws would read it as "Word1Word2"

In rtf the line feed code is /line this comes at the end of every line I simply told it to place a space before the /line this will cause the last word of the line to have an extra space before the next line. When Jaws sees this it will now read the last word then a space before it tries to read the next word.
The tool I have built does this all for you automatically.
Please confirm it does work as planned.

This is a wider problem with JAWS.

----- End Forwarded Message -----

All in all I am amazed that within the span of less than a month we as a company - and Adam in particular - were able to identify a problem with the software products of two major companies and develop a solution for an individual client. I have to assume that locating and fixing such an issue would have taken either Freedon Scientific or Microsoft far longer. In fact, from now on each and every RTF conversion that we perform for clients will be run through this tool and we will offer to each of our clients as well as other interested parties for no charge. It should be avialbe for download from our website soon.

Cheers --- Dann

Daniel Berkowitz
Digilife Media, LLC
809 E. Bloomingdale Avenue
# 261
Brandon, FL 33511-8113

phone: 978-914-4601
fax: 813-689-4328 [please include Digilife Media #261 on cover sheet]
e-mail: dann at digilifemedia.biz
web: www.digilifemedia.biz

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