[Athen] Listening to PDF files on iPad and iPhone

Sean J Keegan skeegan at stanford.edu
Wed Mar 2 10:37:56 PST 2011

> We have a student who would like to listen to PDF
> files on his iPhone and his iPad. What are your preferred
> apps for making this possible?

If the student wants to just listen to the content of the PDF document,
the easiest method would be to extract the text and then convert the
text information to audio. If working on a Mac, then commercial products
like Ghostreader can perform the conversion and dump the file into
iTunes for synchronization with the device. Claro Read for Mac and
Kurzweil 3000 for Mac can also convert the text information into a
iTunes compatible file (but these are a bit more expensive products).

I am sure this could also be automated by using the Automator function
on a Mac. I just have never gotten around to trying out this option.

Note - Ghostreader is very similar to TextAloud.

If the student wants to listen AND view the PDF at the same time...well,
that gets a bit tricky. I have not seen any current apps that will
perform text-to-speech on the PDF document directly. There is the
text-to-speech app called Speak It! for the iPad and iPhone, which
allows the user to copy/paste the document text into the Speak It! app,
which will then read and highlight the text to the user.

The other option would be to convert the PDF document to a DAISY file
and then use a DAISY reader such as VOD (Voice of DAISY) or InDAISY
Reader to read/listen to the document. I have tried the VOD Light
version and it works well, but the InDAISY Reader app looks very promising.

I have put together a Web page on a few apps that I have been following
and testing in the academic environment. I am working on the DAISY apps
right now, so there is no information just yet on those (will be updated
by next week). Here is the site and I will send out a note when I
update the information:

Take care,

Sean Keegan, M.S.
Associate Director, Assistive Technology
Office of Accessible Education - Stanford University

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