[Athen] Converting Math Books

Joseph Polizzotto jpolizzotto at htctu.net
Thu Jan 25 12:32:19 PST 2018

Hi Cassandra/ ATHEN List:

I’ve been thinking more about the use of EquatIO by alternate media specialists and faculty to create accessible Math documents, and I think there are a couple of other considerations to make:

- Can the MS Word document we have created with EquatIO (Pictures of Math with LaTeX alt-text) be used by a BVI student?

- If not, what process of conversion might this type of MS Word document have to undergo for a BVI student to access it?

- Which math workflow can an alt media specialist or faculty member could easily use for both the R and W and BVI end users, and not duplicate efforts?

I still agree that it might be easier to create math using Read and Write’s EquatIO tools but I am not so sure how the resulting document will benefit the BVI student or the alt media process we use on his behalf.

In this connection, I also wonder if it is possible to “back translate” the Picture of Math with LaTeX alt-text (which EquatIO) to just LaTeX so that you could go in different directions from there. And again, I would want to do this for the entire document, not just one equation at a time.

Thanks all,


Joseph Polizzotto

HTCTU Instructor


<http://www.htctu.net/> www.htctu.net

From: athen-list [mailto:athen-list-bounces at mailman13.u.washington.edu] On Behalf Of Cassandra Tex
Sent: Wednesday, January 24, 2018 4:33 PM
To: Access Technology Higher Education Network <athen-list at u.washington.edu>
Subject: Re: [Athen] Converting Math Books

Hi Joseph,

Thanks for your insights. I was thinking of EquatIO primarily from the faculty or alternate media specialist’s perspective.

Perhaps I’m missing something, but I was thinking that if EquatIO was used, MathType would not be needed. I was thinking that a possible workflow to create DOCX files using EquatIO for Windows could be:

Import math document from ABBYY into MS Word

Use EquatIO to input the math equations one-by-one. EquatIO has several ways one can enter math equations: using TeX, handwriting, prediction, or voice

Read with Read&Write toolbar

Am I missing something with EquatIO??

Agreed, Central Access Reader’s ability to read math is great, but I think it would so much quicker to write an equation in EquatIO than using MathType. Trying to find a way to leverage the different input methods of EquatIO.

Just a thought…


From: athen-list [mailto:athen-list-bounces at mailman13.u.washington.edu <mailto:athen-list-bounces at mailman13.u.washington.edu> ] On Behalf Of Joseph Polizzotto
Sent: Wednesday, January 24, 2018 4:17 PM
To: 'Access Technology Higher Education Network' <athen-list at u.washington.edu <mailto:athen-list at u.washington.edu> >
Subject: Re: [Athen] Converting Math Books

Hi Cassandra:

I am familiar with EquatIO and it is indeed a move in the right direction.

Here’s my two cents:

For a student with a learning disability like dycalculia, EquatIO offers a rich, multisensory environment that enhances their learning experience. Inputting math via voice and then hearing it read back can be very helpful for retaining math concepts and for learning how to “speak math”. Hearing the math problem read out loud in line with the surrounding text can contextualize the math better as well.

I like the emphasis on TeX math because it offers another method for students with visual impairments to author math documents and share them with their instructors (if they know TeX!).

The TeX integration can also be leveraged by the alternate media specialist to convert short math documents into an accessible format for LD students. Here’s a possible workflow to create DOCX files using EquatIO for Windows:

1. Import Math document from ABBYY into MS Word

2. Create MathType equations

3. Use Toggle TeX button in MathType to convert MathType equations to TeX math

4. Insert TeX equations (one-by-one?) into EquatIO editor to convert

5. Read with R&W toolbar

If you are using EquatIO for Google Docs, I would add an extra step (after 3) of uploading the Word file into Google Docs.

I could think of other workflows if you have LaTeX files or Infty Reader, because it strikes me that this workflow is too time-consuming. Since EquatIO’s emphasis is on reading TeX math, I would rather use Infty Reader and output to LaTex, convert the LaTeX file to DOCX, and then work on converting the LaTeX equations one by one with EquatIO for Windows.

I’d also like to see a TeX batch converter integration with EquatIO for Windows to eliminate the need to convert one equation at a time. Wouldn’t that be nice?

On that note, what happens if you try using the the Auto-LaTex Equations <https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/auto-latex-equations/iaainhiejkciadlhlodaajgbffkebdog?hl=en-US> Chrome extension to convert all your LaTeX equations in a Google Doc into pictures, and then try reading the Doc with Read and Write Toolbar?

For now, anyway, I agree with Steve that Central Access Reader + DOCX + MathType or OMML equations is the EASY button.


From: athen-list [mailto:athen-list-bounces at mailman13.u.washington.edu] On Behalf Of Cassandra Tex
Sent: Wednesday, January 24, 2018 12:00 PM
To: athen-list at u.washington.edu <mailto:athen-list at u.washington.edu>
Subject: Re: [Athen] Converting Math Books

From: Cassandra Tex [mailto:clt3 at humboldt.edu]
Sent: Tuesday, January 23, 2018 3:04 PM
To: 'Access Technology Higher Education Network' <athen-list at u.washington.edu <mailto:athen-list at u.washington.edu> >
Subject: RE: [Athen] Converting Math Books

Has anybody used the (newish) Texthelp product, EquatIO? I participated in a webinar last week, and it looks promising. It’s free for educators, and works with Windows, Mac, and Google Docs and Sheets, and the resulting documents are readable by Read&Write. As best as I can tell, when you put an equation into a document, the math goes in as an image with the alt text of the image being how one would speak the math.

With EquatIO, you can enter the math in several different ways. For more information: https://www.texthelp.com/en-us/products/equatio/

I’m still trying to wrap my head around a workflow. Just wondering if this will make math easier for us in the future?

By the way, I’m having trouble with EquatIO for Windows…the technical support from Texthelp told me my computer didn’t meet the specs that EquatIO expects to have (which I found odd since I thought I had a pretty high-end machine), but EquatIO seems to be working well in Google Docs.

Cassandra Tex

Assistive Technology Specialist

Humboldt State University

From: athen-list [mailto:athen-list-bounces at mailman13.u.washington.edu] On Behalf Of Noble,Stephen L.
Sent: Tuesday, January 23, 2018 1:30 PM
To: Access Technology Higher Education Network <athen-list at u.washington.edu <mailto:athen-list at u.washington.edu> >
Subject: Re: [Athen] Converting Math Books

Yes...but it isn't so easy. To get Read&Write to read math expressions in a textbook, you'll need to...

1) Create the book so that the end product is HTML where all the math expressions are created as MathML (e.g., use MathType's "publish mathpage" command).

2) Load the book in IE11 on a windows PC which has MathPlayer installed

3) Use the "Read the web" setting in R&W, but be sure to turn off the setting to automatically read the next block of text

You may find it simpler to create the textbook as a Word doc (no need to export to HTLM) where the math expressions are either MathType expressions or native Word OMML expressions (either is fine for consumption), and then have the student use the free Central Access Reader to read the Word doc on their PC. While it doesn't have all the nice features of R&W, it will probably be simpler in the long run.

Hope that helps,

--Steve Noble
<mailto:steve.noble at louisville.edu> steve.noble at louisville.edu
<https://exchange.louisville.edu/owa/redir.aspx?C=CdhMttRtdkSZAY1GqZCRu5k28cp7bNAIPUU6wKc1De8y-_GlninyxASwkrwRp4PfcJ9J6C2iqrk.&URL=http%3a%2f%2flouisville.academia.edu%2fSteveNoble> http://louisville.academia.edu/SteveNoble


From: athen-list < <mailto:athen-list-bounces at mailman13.u.washington.edu> athen-list-bounces at mailman13.u.washington.edu> on behalf of Robert Spangler < <mailto:rspangler1 at udayton.edu> rspangler1 at udayton.edu>
Sent: Tuesday, January 23, 2018 4:09 PM
To: Access Technology Higher Education Network
Subject: [Athen] Converting Math Books

Hello all:

Currently we have a textbook that we are editing and splitting into chapters. It is an engineering book with many mathematical symbols throughout.

Our student workers use Abbyy FineReader for editing the books. Generally, they will convert text by selecting it and choosing text, or selecting it and choosing picture. It is easier to choose picture in a paragraph that contains a lot of symbols; otherwise, they would have to go through and convert all of the symbols as pictures. This, however, results in the paragraph not being readable by TTS.

What do folks do for converting math and engineering books? Our students use Read and Write for reading their books. I think, since most of them have reading disabilities, they primarily use TTS for reading the text but actually look at the math symbols when working out the problems. Is what we are doing now sufficient? Is there actually a way to make Read and Write read out the mathematical symbols? I understand that if this book were being prepared for a blind person such as myself a lot more work would be involved. We have not had to do this yet, but when we do I'm sure I'll be depending a lot on the expertise of people on this list.

Thanks so much!



Robert Spangler
Disability Services Technical Support Specialist
<mailto:rspangler1 at udayton.edu> rspangler1 at udayton.edu
Office of Learning Resources (OLR) - RL 023
Ryan C. Harris Learning & Teaching Center (LTC)
University of Dayton | 300 College Park | Dayton, Ohio 45469-1302
Phone: 937-229-2066

Fax: 937-229-3270

Ohio Relay: 711 (available for individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing)

Web Site: <https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=http-3A__go.udayton.edu_learning&d=DwMFaQ&c=OAG1LQNACBDguGvBeNj18Swhr9TMTjS-x4O_KuapPgY&r=67olWPWhVEsI50vpRdydglG2RHA1T81UHrTuRDeUqW4&m=umwUFIcpmU2sWnC1dtbSCm7sefPAmO290-QeRUnV3rg&s=JnF0mxIT5ZLZQlIOvEPzfSqFJs_otuF4Nu5yXgd2Dno&e=> http://go.udayton.edu/learning

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