# LaTex

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## 1.Subject: Math and Braille

Laura Eaves blindmath@nfbnet.org
Sun May 16 2004
Hi all --
I read through the Nemeth reference book I ordered from National Braille Press and found myself swimming to keep all the symbols straight. I know a lot of care was probably taken to keep the various codes unique, but there are a few things that are still ambiguous -- such as how to tell the difference between an equal sign and a Greek letter kappa. One thing that disappointed me a bit was that Nemeth is quite different from computer Braille. But reflecting further on it, I can see where it would have to be. It just adds to the amount of memorization.
I know from mail on the various lists (maybe this one) that there are standardizations taking place for braille math codes. Is the Nemeth code as presented in the reference book I'm reading pretty standard, or is the standard still changing? (I don't know if I saved the mail about standards that I saw a while back.) Does each transcribed book have its own variation of Nemeth to represent certain constructs? Perhaps a closer look at chpi.org would answer my questions...
My purpose is to improve my braille skills now that I can't read print any longer. I don't know what that will lead to -- perhaps future employment or volunteer activities, or just background reading.
I've noticed several persons on this list talking about using latex (spelling incorrect?) to turn in their assignments for math courses. Where can I read more about this?

### Responses:

Steve Jacobson blindmath@nfbnet.org
Sun May 16 2004
Laura,
There were several versions of Nemeth Code during its early development, particularly in the 1960's and 1970's, but it has been pretty standard for some time now. As you have read on other lists, there is something called the Unified English Braille Code or UEBC that has been under development for some time now and which was recently adopted by the International Council on English Braille (ICEB) as being ready to be considered as a standard. This code includes another math code. As I understand it, the Nemeth code has only been consistently recognized as a math braille code here in the United States while some other codes have been used in other English-speaking countries. For this reason, other countries seem to feel more strongly than we do here in the U.S. that a new braille math code is needed. You could, therefore, see other math codes particularly if you look at very old books or books produced in other countries, but text books produced in the United States should be fairly consistent. You will also read some pretty heated discussions here and there as well about the UEBC.
It is probably a bit overwhelming to read a Nemeth reference book. I would speculate that most sighted people would be overwhelmed if they were confronted with trying to understand all print symbols use in mathematics all at once. Some math symbols are very specific too certain kinds of math and will rarely are used by persons taking a general math requirement. In other words, to sit down and learn any math code all at once, even in print, will be challenging. Also remember that the Nemeth code was established much earlier than the computer braille code, and since the Nemeth code was not an international standard, it stands to reason that it probably would not be followed closely in the computer braille code..
Part of me believes that it would be very nice indeed if there could be more consistency between codes and that we need to have a standard math code for all of English braille. I also don't regard the Nemeth Code to be the best possible code, even though I regard its creator highly. Math code development tends to be pulled in several directions. Should there be a closely relationship between print and braille symbols or is it more important that braille math symbols be concise? To what length do we go to make a math code fit seamlessly into literary braille. These questions really don't have obvious answers. I am, therefore, left with the concern that my kids will have to learn some kind of new code which, in the end, won't really resolve all that much.

kestrell blindmath@nfbnet.org
Sun May 16 2004
Having the same copy of the National Braille Press book on Nemeth as you do, I can say that only a small percentage of those signs are used up to and including college algebra. A large portion of the remaining signs have to don with calculus, trig, physics, etc. Perhaps the best approach would be to identify which symbols are relevant to which math subjects and then focus on those, adding the necessary Braille characters as needed. The NBP's guide to computer braille keeps the material pretty manageable, in my opinion, though it is confusing that sometimes the same symbol has different braille characters in each code. I've found the best thing to do is just keep the reference guide with me while I am working and, by being able to refer to whichever character when I need it, slowly everything gets memorized.

Laura Eaves blindmath@nfbnet.org
Sun, May 16 2004
Hi Kes --
Yes, well I know some of the symbols come from physics and chemistry and such.

In my print reading days I did advanced math and thus saw most the symbols listed in the Nemeth manual. There is one problem with the reference manual in my view -- Being new to braille math and familiar with print math, if I'm reading a braille textbook and run across a symbol I don't know, it seems like it would be hard to find in the meaning of the braille symbol as the reference book is tailored more for transcribers than blind persons... Anyway, thanks for the reply. I'll just have to get hold of a textbook in Braille and see how it goes.

boesd blindmath@nfbnet.org
Sun May 16 2004
Hi All,
The Nemeth Code at first glance seems overwhelming. I have kids that start learning it very young and it is so much easier than when we have to learn the whole code in one semester. But the more I teach it the more sense it makes and it is really not so hard to use. Use the parts you need for the specific math you are learning and as you move through it is all seems to make sense. It really does help to have someone help you through each new part of the code and the formatting that goes with it. I like this list serve as I think we can all help one another.

John J. Boyer blindmath@nfbnet.org
Sun May 16 2004
Laura,
Nemeth is by far the best math code available. It is standardized. Transcribers follow it closely. There are rules for creating symbols that aren't in the code, and I have used them occasionally. Other than that, we follow the Nemeth Code exactly.
The equals sign kappa thing is one of the amusing quirks of the code. It arises because there are only 64 braille characters. You just have to use context. Equal signs are almost always preceded and followed by a space. Having to rely on context is familiar to braille readers, but it can drive people who are coming to braille from print crazy.

Roger Stiller blindmath@nfbnet.org
Mon May 17 2004
I have been teaching Blind and Visually Impaired students here at Kent State Univ. for three years. Nemeth is the only choice for me because I don't read Braille and can only decipher it with slow and careful effort. I use Scientific Workplace or Scientific Notebook to prepare materials for students (produces a LaTeX document) and the Duxbury Translator (Duxbury has the MAVIS translator imbedded in it) to emboss the Braille for students. As a result Nemeth is the code of choice and I hope no change will generally be made. All my students who read Braille know Nemeth. I have the Nemeth Dictionary published by APH to assist if we hit a snag with a symbol set a student doesn't understand and to understand Braille in general terms I have "Braille: A Code for Success" a tutorial available from the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped. It was available free from the NFB as I recall. I have a student typist do most of the typing. One book we are working on is Musser's "Mathematics for Elementary Teachers" published by John Wiley and Sons, Inc. The publisher sent us the text in MS Word but of course the math expressions were not readable by JAWS, so the typist is going through it and typing Sci. Workplace for the math and inserts a reference to those in the text for JAWS to read and puts the Braille in an Addendum. The diagrams are being done in "puffy paint" and included in the addendum.
Of course the stumbling block is the back translation from Braille to instructor since we don't read Braille. The student has to read it aloud to us. Our computer science guys are working on a back translator from time to time. It isn't a big project or steadily ongoing. I did understand that the New Mexico State Univ. group (they developed MAVIS) was working on such but funding ran out and the lead investigator retired. Any news on this front would be interesting.

Laura Eaves blindmath@nfbnet.org
Mon May 17 2004
Hello Roger --
Thanks for your interesting reply. One request: Could you please put replies at the beginning of the email instead of after the quoted text of what you're replying to? This makes it a lot easier to read with a screen reader.
But back to math and braille: So what you're saying is that you have software called Scientific Notebook or Scientific Workplace that generates latex for use by Duxbury? How do your students turn in their homework? Do they write it in latex?  Just curious. Thanx again.

John J. Boyer blindmath@nfbnet.org
Mon May 17 2004
Roger,
I totally missed your original message, because after plodding through to the end of Laura's message I just didn't notice it. I've had some experience with Scientific Notebook. It's a good piece of software. For our transcription operation here we use MegaDots, which has its own math entry language and is an all-in-one solution.

Neal Kuniansky blindmath@nfbnet.org
Wed May 19 2004
If the student worked in an accessible Latex editor, then the student could print out their work for the sighted reader, and run it through DBT WIN for the braille reader.
Please contact me off list neal@duxsys.com if there is a particularly accessible Latex editor. We can try to make sure that DBT WIN is happy with its files.
DBT WIN 10.5 will back translator UEBC math that was originally translated to braille via DBT WIN. I realize this is but a step along the path. As noted before, it will currently translate to Nemeth, BAUK (used in the UK), UEBC, and French braille math. In fact the same Duxbury "print" math file can be translated to these other math codes by merely selecting a different translation language.
As also has been noted braille is by its nature ambiguous. Thus translating form an ambiguous state, braille, to a relatively exact state, print, is an interesting challenge. One that must be solved!

## 2.Subject: LaTex and PDF output under Windows

Jamal Mazrui empower@smart.net
September 19, 2007
I'm researching the potential of adding LaTeX support to EdSharp for typesetting math or other content, with PDF as the resulting exported format.  From what I've read so far, it appears that the best open source distribution of LaTeX for Windows is called MiKTeX, located on the web at http://sourceforge.net/projects/miktex/ the direct download URL for the current version is http://prdownloads.sourceforge.net/miktex/basic-miktex-2.6.2742.exe?download I've installed it, and converted the CHM help files to structured text, posted in the archive an http://www.empowermentzone.com/miktxdoc.zip
If anyone has experience using LaTeX with a Windows screen reader, I'm  interested in learning about this or other tools and techniques that you would suggest.
Jamal

### Responses:

M.Whapples
mwhapples@aim.com
September 19, 2007
I am willing to discuss LaTeX and the use of screen readers, but are there some particular points you wish to cover as LaTeX is so big and covers so many topics? (Ex.. is there particular document types, editors to write LaTeX in, viewing output, extending LaTeX, etc.) For editing LaTeX there is the latex-access project http://latex-access.sf.net which has some scripts to make jaws speak and braille LaTeX source code more correctly. If you wish to extend LaTeX  output, then you could go the route of tex4ht which comes with miktex, which  I thinks uses a combination of various languages such as C, java, css, etc.  Alternatively you could look at the plasTeX project http://plastex.sf.net which is a LaTeX system written in python and can be extended in python (as I did with my braille translator BrlTex http://brltex.sf.net. For viewing  output, there is more than PDF (thankfully), as there is things tex4ht which can output to mathml which can be read with a screen reader in internet explorer when the math player plugin is used. There is no current decent way to access maths in PDF.

## 3. Subject:  LaTeX and Braille

Angie Matney arm4r@virginia.edu
April 17, 2008
When I was in grad school, I found the combination of braille and LaTeX to be indispensable. I used a braille display, and this made it easy to consult my notes while I was lecturing. Because I would use LaTeX to prepare materials for my students, we could all be looking at copies of the same thing. I don't think LaTeX should be taught to young children in the place of braille. The number of symbols that need to be produced might be daunting. I think that perhaps middle school might be a good age for introducing LaTeX.
Angie

## 4.Subject: Could anyone brief the issue of LaTex? What is it, and how may I find out about it and its applications?

Roni Mathew  mathew.roni@gmail.com
July 28, 2008
Thank you.
Roni Mathew

### Response:

Jared Wright wright.jaredm@gmail.com
July 28, 2008
LaTeX is a document markup language and document preparation system. It is widely used amongst mathematicians, scientists, and other professionals working with technical documents, because the quality of its typesetting allows for very precise, very specific documents to be created. For blind users, it has the advantage of being a typesetting approach rather than being a WYSYWYG editor such as Microsoft Word. Whereas the latter has a graphical user interface that is just waiting to baffle a screen reader or even end user, the former's commands are all text at the beginning, and thus it is very practical for someone using a screen reader to use effectively. More at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LaTeX

## 5.Subject: How does a blind person go about learning LaTex for college?  Is there a blind friendly online course?

EDWARD ieshaham@gmail.com
July 28, 2008
How does a blind person go about learning LaTex for college?  Is there a blind friendly online course?
Edward

### Response:

Jared Wright wright.jaredm@gmail.com
July 28, 2008
Because LaTeX is primarily text based, most training materials will be Accessible. I personally used http://www.maths.tcd.ie/~dwilkins/LaTeXPrimer but your choices are many. Just do some Googling.
Jared

## 6.Subject: LaTex, Nemeth Code, and Chatty Infty

Billy Baer poohbaer@comcast.net
June 8, 2009
Hello,
I very much appreciate the feedback I've received thus far regarding my previous questions. However, I could use any suggestions regarding the following:
1) Does anyone know of any online, distance learning, tutorial, software, etc., to learn LaTex and the Nemeth Code? I do want to mention that I am proficient in Grade 2 Braille.

### Response:

Gaylen Kapperman gkapperman@niu.edu
June 8, 2009
Bill, if you use a Braille Note or have access to one, Humanware sells a Nemeth code tutorial developed by Gaylen Kapperman and Jodi Sticken. The field test results show that it is very effective. Good luck to you.

## 7.Subject: LaTex to Nemeth?

Mary J Ziegler maryz@MIT.EDU
August 27, 2009
Hi.  I recently joined this list to learn ways to better to make math accessible to blind students at MIT.  Today, I have a very specific question: What's the best path to convert a LaTex document to Nemeth Braille?   We have both Duxbury and the Tiger Software Suite, but neither seems to be able to translate the LaTex to Nemeth. Is it possible with one of these applications? Both mention the use of either Scientific Notebook (Duxbury) or MathType (Tiger): is there a way to do it through those applications? FYI - While our long term goal is to have our students learn and read LaTex directly, as it's used widely here anyway, for students that are not up to speed on LaTex and already read Nemeth, I'd like to be able to emboss in Nemeth. Can anyone advise me on what's doable here, and, if yes, how? Thanks in advance,
Mary J. Ziegler
MIT Information Services and Technology (IS&T)
ATIC Lab Room 7-143
617.258.9328
maryz@mit.edu

### Responses:

Michael Whapples mwhapples@aim.com
August 27, 2009
Hello Mary,
As you said Duxbury does claim to support translation from LaTeX, but in my experience when translating to British Braille it really didn't work well and it sounds like you are getting a similar outcome for Nemeth. Here are some of the issues I found, only a very limited subset of the LaTeX commands were actually supported, certain parts of LaTeX could result in Duxbury just stopping translation at that point (I can't remember whether this was due to poorly coded LaTeX or a particular command), unknown parts of LaTeX didn't warn the user of Duxbury about the unknown LaTeX and the Braille may contain nonsense at that point or worse it may just lack that part of the document (IE. the Braille would be valid but the content would be incorrect so the reader wouldn't have a clue from the document alone that something is missing), and I am sure there were plenty more problems which would just get tedious to list here. Even the documentation which comes with Duxbury is lacking for the LaTeX support part, it tells you to use scientific notebook to prepare the LaTeX but even SN will produce LaTeX not supported by Duxbury. As you may have guessed, Duxbury isn't a system I would even consider for producing maths Braille from existing documents.
I don't know about the Tiger products for producing actual Braille output, but as I understand it you would need to convert the LaTeX document to word format. I am sorry I don't know of what software would be suitable for this, it may be that mathtype includes a feature for importing LaTeX but I think I will have to say you will either need to look around for yourself or wait for another list member to say how this conversion may be done. One thing you should consider when taking this route is that as you have the extra step of converting the LaTeX to word format, errors may be introduced at this step and so may not be a fault of the Tiger software, so try a few conversion applications, or may be even try a few documents originally created in word and mathtype before passing judgment on the Tiger software. I did see the dotsplus side of the Tiger software and was very pleased with the output it produces. Dotsplus seemed easy to learn and if you only want this to be something to fill in until the student knows LaTeX so that they can work directly in LaTeX then this may be good.
I am not so familiar with software to produce nemeth as I live in the UK so use the British Braille code, but here are some suggestions of various software packages which may be of interest.
Liblouisxml can produce nemeth Braille output, however this takes mathml input so you would need to use a LaTeX to mathml translation application ( tex4ht or ttm). Again like with the conversion to word document format from LaTeX you may want to try a few LaTeX to mathml conversion packages (having tried both tex4ht and ttm I can say they do produce different output, although they both seemed to work reasonably well for me).
While on the topic of mathml, it may be worth you considering to convert the LaTeX documents to that anyway as then the documents can be made accessible on the web (eg. internet explorer users can use mathplayer with a screen reader like window-eyes or JFW).
Although you said about wanting to translate the document for embossing, the following may be useful should the students have a Braille display (I would highly recommend they consider one if they will be working directly in LaTeX and maths). Anyway the website is http://latexaccess.sf.net and this can be used with JFW to have Braille and better speech output while editing LaTeX (it isn't designed for document translation as it doesn't deal with numbering references, etc.). Hope some of this is useful.

John Gardner john.gardner@orst.edu
August 27, 2009
Hello Mary.  As Michael Whapples has pointed out, Duxbury can import only fairly simple Latex.  My advice is to buy the Tex2Word application available from http://www.chikrii.com/products/tex2word/about/ for about $50 and use it to convert Latex to MS Word format. Equations are converted to MathType equations, and these documents will then be translated by either Duxbury or the Viewplus TSS. As founder of ViewPlus of course I would advise you to use TSS. If you have a modern update, the Nemeth Braille should be really excellent. Direct any complaint to me. The Tex2Word software does a pretty good job of transforming Latex from such things as Arxiv. Latex that uses personal or obscure macros will probably need to be expanded before they will transform, but that will be true for anything that inputs Latex and outputs something else. We ran some fairly demanding tests a few years ago and were very impressed by the quality of transformation. If there are minor errors, they will be obvious in the Word document and can be fixed before the braille translation step. Neal Kunianskyl neal@duxsys.com August 28, 2009 I find I disagree with John's opinion of the DBT Latex to Nemeth braille translation quality and ability. The current shipping version of DBT WIN is 10.7 SR1. If you experience problems with the quality of Nemeth translation with any of our products please let me know. That is how it improves. Our braille translation products support virtually every braille embosser made and many languages. FYI, we are working with Mary to find out what her problems are and to get them corrected. We are already looking at a sample file. Please feel free to contact me off list with any concerns or thoughts directly at neal@duxsys.com Sincerely, Neal Kuniansky Email: Neal at duxsys.com TEL:+1 978-692-3000 FAX: +1 978-692-7912 URL: http://www.DuxburySystems.com Duxbury Systems, Inc. The name for Braille since 1975. 270 Littleton Road, #6 Westford MA, 01886 USA Lisa Bongiorno Lisa.Bongiorno@dhs.state.nj.us August 28, 2009 You can use the software Scientific Notebook, but be careful. You still have to carefully review all your work once you translate it into Duxbury - and sometimes the translation is incorrect. I personally, find it easier and faster to do a six-key entry using the Nemeth Code in Duxbury. Roopakshi Pathania r_akshi_tgk@yahoo.com August 28, 2009 Hi Mary, You could also give LaTeX to MathML a try. MathML can be read aloud with any screen reader and can also be displayed on a Braille display, though I don't have any idea about its quality. 2 programs for translating TeX to MathML are: 1. TTM http://hutchinson.belmont.ma.us/tth/mml/ 2. TeX4ht http://www.cse.ohio-state.edu/~gurari/TeX4ht/ Caryn Navy caryn@duxsys.com August 30, 2009 Hello all. I invite anyone who is experiencing problems with the LaTeX to braille processing in Duxbury's DBT to send me one or more samples of the problematic LaTeX files. My email address is caryn@duxsys.com this discussion thread on the list started with a message from Mary Ziegler. It was very helpful that Mary sent a copy of a problematic LaTeX file for us to examine at Duxbury. A frequent item in this LaTeX file that was causing problems in the braille was the use of a pair of dollar signs on a separate line, to start or end set off mathematical notation. I think this may be common in files created with InftyReader. I sent Mary a revised file to be used by DBT's LaTeX importer, to take care of this problem. Since that was just on Friday, Mary hasn't had a chance to get back to us on the results yet. This file is not in our shipping software, DBT 10.7 SR1. But I'd be happy to send it to other DBT users who need it, even if you are using a current demo copy of DBT. It's really important for us to learn about things that aren't working right. Imagine that your teacher says, "Are there any questions about problem 14?" If you and your classmates are totally confused about problem 14 but nobody raises their hand, perhaps because they are too discouraged, that doesn't help the students or the teacher. But if a student speaks up about problem 14, that can help the whole class. In the case of producing braille from LaTeX with DBT, you can be helpful to the larger community by sending us your problem files. Thanks very much. Caryn Navy Duxbury Systems Phone: (978) 692-3000, ext. 310 E-mail: caryn@duxsys.com Web: www.duxburysystems.com back to top ## 8. Subject: A Wiki for Math Tricks Roopakshi Pathania r_akshi_tgk@yahoo.com August 28, 2009 Greetings all, I wish that when I had started doing higher level Mathematics, such a website had existed. As it is, I regularly visit this site to refresh my Mathematical problem solving skills. The site has many articles on techniques and general strategies used to solve a wide variety of Math problems. It is a collaborative effort, similar to Wikipedia. The articles have LaTeX alt tags.http://www.tricki.org/ back to top ## 9.Subject: MathType to LaTeX Jose Tamayo jtblas@hotmail.com October 7, 2009 Hello Folks, Does anyone know of a tool that can convert MathType to LaTeX? I am looking for both free and commercial tools. Regards, Jose Tamayo ### Responses: Neil Soiffer Neils@dessci.com October 7, 2009; From MathType (5.0 or later I think), you can get LaTeX. Go to Preferences: Translators and select LaTeX or the version of TeX you want. From then on, all of your copies will produce LaTeX. Or if you want to do the conversion in your word document, use the MathType menu/ribbon in Word and choose "convert equations" and select LaTeX (or the version of TeX you want) from the list. If you have MathType 6.5, you can choose "toggle TeX" to flip the equations between TeX and MathType. Neil Soiffer Senior Scientist Design Science, Inc. www.dessci.com back to top ## 10.Subject: Does anyone here have experience with converting LaTex to Nemeth using DBT? Jose Tamayo jtblas@hotmail.com October 7, 2009 Does anyone here have experience with converting LaTex to Nemeth using DBT? ### Responses: Sarah Jevnikar sarah.jevnikar@utoronto.ca October 10, 2009 Thanks to the good people at AccessiSoft, this guide might help. 1. Open the file in SN 2. Control A 3. Control C 4. Open a new page 5. Control V 6. Save the file in SN (not sure why, but the file can now be opened in DBT after doing this) 7. Close the file and open in DBT and translate and adjust spacing as needed. SN = Scientific Notebook back to top ## 11.Subject: What would you recommend for a blind-friendly LaTeX editor? Helen Popper hellen.popper@gmail.com November 9, 2009 Thanks, Helen ### Responses: Jason White Jason@jasonjgw.net November 9, 2009 Emacs with the Auctex package installed, preferably running under Linux with Emacspeak providing speech output, or your favorite braille display. Alternatively, Vim with vim-latex suite installed if you prefer the Vi editor. I personally like Emacs, but on the other hand I am also drawn to the way in which Vim uses the keyboard, so I tend to straddle the Vi/Emacs divide somewhat. My first experience with Vi wasn't positive: no documentation and no one to help. Unlike Vim, the original Vi editor had no online manual or tutorial. Emacs, on the other hand, had both a tutorial and a manual and it helpfully told you how to read those when it started up - so not surprisingly the path into Emacs was relatively easy. Later on, I learned Vim to find out what those enthusiastic Vi supporters were so passionate about, and grew to appreciate its features and especially the layout of commands on the keyboard, which makes editing really easy and efficient. Michael Whapples mwhapples@aim.com November 9, 2009 I tried using vim and I had some documents to help me learn it (not the vim documentation) but I never really got on with it. I do see what people might like about the use of the keyboard (none of all that stretching and trying to get the correct 3+ key combination). I guess the bit that kept catching me out was the different modes, let your mind wonder for a second and then find out what mode you are in (the Braille display being positioned at the cursor gives nothing away, it looks the same in any mode). It’s probably just a habit you should get into if using vim, press escape before doing anything if you are unsure what mode you are in (escape puts you back to the command mode), a habit I never picked up. Jason White jason@jasonjgw.net November 9, 2009 That's definitely the habit to cultivate, but if you're in insert mode, "insert" will be displayed on the bottom line of the screen, which you can check before starting to type. Also, if you're in command mode and type esc it will remain in command mode. There is, in addition, a lot of consistency in the keyboard commands that makes them easier to remember, for example the way in which cursor movement commands are combined with delete (d) and change (c) to modify text - and you can always specify a number to tell it how many characters/words/lines/sentences/paragraphs to act upon. On the negative side, it isn't extensible in the way that Emacs is; there aren't extensions for everything from reading e-mail to managing appointments, and dozens of other applications as are available in Emacs. Michael Whapples mwhapples@aim.com November 9, 2009 Hello, One editor which is said to be very good (it’s still on my list of want to learn but never quite get round to it) is emacs. I know this is very easy to set up and get running on linux and I believe it is possible on windows although I haven't tried emacs on windows. Also if you do choose to use emacs, then may be look at emacspeak (http://emacspeak.sf.net). Emacspeak is meant to be much better than using a screen reader with emacs as it is working from within the editor and so can gain more information about what is going on. Alternatively if you want something more windows like then try edsharp (I don't have the URL to hand, I think it has been mentioned on this list before so try looking in the archives). P. R. Stanley prstanley@ntlworld.com November 9, 2009 I use TextPad 4.7 and very occasionally notetab. UltraEdit is very good too but for me TextPad is the most efficient of the three. P. R. Stanley prstanley@ntlworld.com November 9, 2009 I use TextPad 4.7 and very occasionally notetab. UltraEdit is very good too but for me TextPad is the most efficient of the three. Jason White jason@jasonjgw.net November 9, 2009 I believe it is possible, but it might have limitations, and emacspeak might not be able to run. I don't know for sure, since I am not a Windows user and I'm really not at all interested in Windows. Alex Hall mehgcap@gmail.com November 9, 2009 It may have been said before, but I have heard that EdSharp http://www.empowermentzone.com/edsetup.exe can handle LaTeX well, and Jaws will speak it understandably using the scripts that come bundled with the EdSharp installer. Just throwing it out there. Even if it is no good for LaTeX, it is still a great editor, designed for blind users from the ground up. qubit lauraeaves@yahoo.com November 10, 2009 I had the opposite problem -- I learned vi before using a WYSIWYG editor, and I had a lot of trouble with command mode being merged with insert mode. Now I think both are equally tolerable...*smile* What I sometimes need is a DWIM editor that will anticipate and correct my common mistakes...but then it would have to look into my brain and I don't think it belongs there.*just kidding* -- One error though that I wish would autocorrect is typing "the" as "hte" or "teh", which I almost never want -- and if my editor did fix that one, I would take care not to use any of those permutations as variable names...Happy editing. Sina Bahram sbahram@nc.rr.com November 10, 2009 Just so you know, my editor does do exactly that correction. I just use outlook 2003's basic editor ... The non-microsoft word one. It's called autocorrect, and I love it. qubit lauraeaves@yahoo.com November 10, 2009; Where do I look to find this editor? I have Office 2003 but never use Outlook -- I'm still using OE -- pounding that nail with a rock, I know... Can it be used outside of Outlook? Thanx. qubit lauraeaves@yahoo.com November 10, 2009 PS: I looked in the start menu and in program files and could not find anything remotely similar to "autocorrect". Oh well. Sina Bahram sbahram@nc.rr.com November 10, 2009 Word does this as well. Type I in a sentence without capitalizing it ... The second you hit spacebar, the I gets capitalized. Start a sentence and don't capitalize the first letter: same thing. Misspell common words like the one you illustrated of t e h instead of t h e, and watch what happens. Auto correction might need to be on, but it's on my default in word, and for outlook 2003, I just instruct it to use the plain text editor. Make sure you've downloaded the sounds for office 2003, so that you can hear the auto correction occur as you're typing. qubit lauraeaves@yahoo.com November 10, 2009 Hi -- just as an aside, there was documentation around for vi from the beginning I think -- I remember learning vi in college and there was a detailed man page that listed concisely all the commands and gave examples of creating macros. (Yes, there is a mapping facility in vi that is reminiscent of macros. I tried it by typing different behaviors to an unused keystroke (can't remember which now). But I found I seldom needed it Andrew Stacey andrew.stacey@math.ntnu.no November 10, 2009 I have used emacs under windows using Cygwin. I understand that there are native binaries as well. I have no idea about emacspeak, though. The only irritation I found with emacs under Cygwin wasn't emacs' fault but was because I couldn't figure out how to redefine my keyboard the way I wanted to. Needless to say, I switched back to Linux as soon as I was able to. Jason White jason@jasonjgw.net November 10, 2009 The other issue is that on Linux, at least, if you run Emacs under X it will start a GUI rather than a console session. As I understand it, Windows always runs a graphical interface, and it is therefore possible that the native binaries could operate as a GUI and there might be accessibility problems in that case. Irritation I found with emacs under Cygwin wasn't emacs' fault but was because I couldn't figure out how to redefine my keyboard the way I wanted to. Needless to say, I switched back to Linux as soon as I was able to. That's the way to go. Lloyd Rasmussen lras@loc.gov November 10, 2009 Most of Cygwin runs in text mode at the Windows Command prompt, giving you a BASH shell. Emacs runs in text mode. There are limitations with screen readers in command prompt mode; I often use the mouse cursor of Window-Eyes to read parts of the screen, and haven't tried to get productive in this environment. W-E does track the Cygwin cursor. You can also run Xemacs in the Cygwin environment. This runs in a graphical mode which Window-Eyes treats like a Windows application, complete with reasonable reading of the alt-key pull-down menus. I have heard of someone running Emacspeak within Cygwin, but I think it would be fairly hard to set up. Michael Whapples mwhapples@aim.com November 10, 2009 The alternative for working in Cygwin would be to use some of the Unix screen readers which might work better as they are designed for the text environment. As an example those using a Braille display could use brltty and for speech you could use YASR. One thing to note is that some Linux screen readers (IE. speakup) will not work in cygwin as they work so closely with the Linux kernel. My personal opinion is that if you are going to go through the bother of installing cygwin you may as well try Linux. Using Linux itself will open the possibility of things like speakup (which I feel is the best text mode Linux screen reader). Roopakshi Pathania r_akshi_tgk@yahoo.com November 11, 2009 Hi, Yep, it is possible to run Emacs and in all probability Emacspeak under windows as others have already beaten me to say that. For those interested: Here are the instructions for installing Emacs on Windows. http://www.claremontmckenna.edu/math/ALee/emacs/emacs.html Here is the appropriate FAQ. http://www.gnu.org/software/emacs/windows/big.html Note that MinGW –an open source collection of tools- is recommended by a lot of people for building Emacs package. http://www.mingw.org/ Slightly old and incomplete Instructions for running Emacspeak under Windows are given on this page. http://home.vr-web.de/~gerhard.stenzel/emacspeak/install-win32.html A great deal has change since then. Here is what the developer of Emacspeak has to say about this topic. http://www.cs.vassar.edu/~priestdo/emacspeak/list.archive.2004/msg00151.htm lI haven’t tried to run Emacs and Emacspeak under Windows since I believe that Windows is not the right platform for this. I am planning to buy a Netbook with Windows 7 on which I will try to run Linux as a virtual machine. back to top ## 12.Subject: Versions of LaTex that work with JAWS Christine Szostak szostak.1@osu.edu March 21, 2010 Dear All, I want to start learning LaTeX and was wondering if any Windows users could recommend versions whose text editors work nicely with JAWS. Many thanks and have a wonderful end of the weekend, Christine Christine M. Szostak Graduate Student Language Perception Laboratory Department of Psychology, Cognitive Area The Ohio State University Columbus, Ohio szostak.1@osu.edu ### Response: Pranav Lal pranav.lal@gmail.com April 15, 2010 Hi Christine, One editor that you could start with is edsharp from http://www.empowermentzone.com/edsetup.exe I do not know if it provides LaTeX specific help but I suspect it can be configured to compile LaTeX and it can certainly render LaTeX using jaws in an easy to understand form The other option is math type with Microsoft Word. back to top ## 13.Subject: LaTex to Braille Calvin James Smith calvin.smith@reading.ac.uk April 15, 2010 Dear all, Does anyone know of a means of converting tex (LaTeX) files into a braille output? A blind student will be joining the Univerrsity soon to study Mathematics and I need a means of ensuring access to our materials for them. Many thanks in advance. Best,Calvin Dr Calvin James Smith Teaching Fellow Department of Mathematics University of Reading Whiteknights, PO Box 220 Reading, RG6 6AX Tel: +44 (0)118 378 5013 ### Responses: Sarah Jevnikar sarah.jevnikar@utoronto.ca April 15, 2009 HI Calvin, Firstly, thank you very much for being proactive and helping your student access materials this far ahead of the start of the school year. I, and I’m sure many others on this list, were left on our own to find materials, so your question is both refreshing and encouraging. To be of some assistance to you, does the student have access to the Duxbury Braille Translator? Opening LaTeX files in Duxbury, translating them to Braille (brf format) produces reliable math Braille. That might not be the only way, but I hope it helps somewhat. Jose Tamayo jtblas@hotmail.com April 15, 2010 Hi, If the student knows Nemeth Braille, then they can use Duxbury to translate to Nemeth. The Tiger Software Suite can also convert from MathType tone meth Braille if the documents and assignments have been prepared in MSWord using the latest MathType version. Keep in mind that the University will have to purchase one or more of the software packages I have mentioned. Tiger Software Suite ships with any printer that View Plus sells. you may also purchase Tiger Software suite separately. MathType is developed by Design Sciences and can be used to prepare and later convert assignments using Tiger Software Suite or any software package that handles MathType. Duxbury Translator is developed by Duxbury Systems. Michael Whapples mwhapples@aim.com April 16, 2010 Hello, Firstly great to see you considering this before the student starts. I note from your email you are in the UK, this possibly raises other issues as quite a bit of work which is done in this area happens over in the US and so is targeted for the US. Let me explain a bit more. Braille is not a universal system, although it’s based on the same ideas, different countries do have different codes and sometimes students used to one code may have difficulty understanding another Braille code. One Braille code I know has been mentioned already in response to your question is Nemeth which is the North American maths Braille code. Here in the UK we have a different code known as BAUK. Although BAUK may be the British code, some in the UK do learn the Nemeth code because of being able to read material produced in the US. This leads to the question, which Braille code does the student read? If I proceed answering assuming that the student reads UK Braille, your options may be a bit more limited. Some have suggested Duxbury, which some seem to suggest works for Nemeth, but my personal experience whilst studying Physics was not good for using it to produce UK Braille maths. Another alternative, although it will mean converting to word format or MathML, is to either use liblouisxml (it’s on Google code, or a Google search will find it), or use one of the Tiger systems (the Tiger software suite can either translate to British Braille or dots plus). I don't know for sure, but I suspect that the Tiger Software suite uses liblouisxml for the translation, and I haven't given it significant testing for reliability (however liblouisxml is open source so those with an interest can improve it). Dots plus on the other hand, while not being standard Braille (it breaks from the six dot standard and uses tactile graphical symbols and 2d layout), is meant to be easy to learn (particularly for those who have used print in the past as the tactile symbols are based on the print characters) and should be reliable as it’s a simple font substitution. On the down side, dotsplus does need an embosser capable of dotsplus (tiger printers are the main one suggested) and the student probably will have to get used to the system (on reflection I think maybe I should have spent time learning another system when going to university, may it have been reading dotsplus or Nemeth, at the time there really wasn't good enough British Braille support). Another alternative would be make the LaTeX very simplified (IE. strip out as many commands not needed for the meaning and try and make it as human readable as possible) and may be the student could learn some LaTeX (it is likely LaTeX could be useful to them for writing documents anyway. I have to say that reading LaTeX is not something I generally recommend except as a last resort. Also the simplification of the LaTeX I feel is quite important as when reading a document the thing the student should be doing is understanding the content of the document, not understanding what the LaTeX means. Hope that gives you some ideas. Susan Jolly easjolly@ix.netcom.com April 16, 2010 You've gotten some good information here but I do think it is essential to contact the student and find out what he or she has been using in the past. If the student has gotten into University one would assume that they have already developed an effective means of learning maths and are proficient in at least one method. This is not a simple or straightforward question and there are actually a number of possibilities. Michael is perfectly correct that the odds are that if the student is from the UK, he or she is more familiar with the BAUK braille maths than with the extremely different US Nemeth maths. However there is always the possibility that the student uses spoken maths rather than braille maths. And in any case, there is the separate issue of access to diagrams, graphs, etc. The visually-impaired students with whom I'm familiar who have attempted to learn a new methodology simultaneously with starting college have done quite poorly. I would almost liken it to going to college in a foreign country where one does not know the language and attempts to learn the language at the same time as starting one's studies. Michael Whapples mwhapples@aim.com April 16, 2010 I think Susan raises an interesting question, one which I am unsure really what the answer is. The question of whether a student should learn a new system when they move on to university. I guess it really depends on the student (their background and how well they pick up new stuff). Using myself as an example, I had gone to specialist school from about the age of 11, so for school work I had really good support (no problem getting good quality Braille) and so I really was able to concentrate on studying and did very well. When I moved onto university I had a big step in getting support (the specialist knowledge wasn't there to check the Braille, even if the university had been prepared to proof read it), so how realistic was it to continue working as I had in the past. Well I personally came to the same conclusions as Susan has laid out, what worked for me in the past had served well, why put on extra load of having to learn a new way of working. Looking back now, I wonder whether that really was the right choice, I found the course hard to keep up with and while other things may have impacted on my final grade, I do feel that access to written material may have played a part. As my education up to university has been very good and most of the first year in my course had been focusing on bringing people all to the same level (so not introducing a huge amount of new stuff for me), I wonder whether I should have used that opportunity of the first year to really learn something like dotsplus which may have served me better in the following years. I can understand that this may not be such a possibility for others if there school education isn't so good and so need the first year to bring them up to the same standard, so removing that "easier" first year. I also generally feel that you only really effectively learn something like Braille when you start using it practically, so a student having a gap year to learn the new system might not really help (others give your views). Also yes I very much back up the idea of discuss things with the student, in a way they really are the expert here (they know what they use, they know what tends to work for them, etic, unfortunately disability services don't always have much knowledge in specialist areas such as maths). qubit lauraeaves@yahoo.com April 16, 2010 I think there should be a course for blind students to take prior to or in parallel with regular classes that covers the access methods used in math courses at that university. I think it is unrealistic to expect most students to just learn it on their own as they take math courses -- it's like taking a course without taking the prerequisites. It can be done, but it's not a good idea. I think the math teachers should put together a 1 credit hour class and give assignments in that class with examples of math where the student has to turn in homework. I was still using cctv's when I was in college and not braille. I keep wanting to go back to my old major and perhaps continue in it but I feel illiterate about braille math. I only know a little Nemeth code. I really wish DotsPlus would become the standard as it is a good union of spatial layout and braille symbols. Latex is good for preparing material for the instructor to grade. Even if the instructor isn't versed in latex he/she can process it and see the print math. I also think that preparation is not just for the student. If a blind student signs up for a class, the instructor may have a little homework to do to prepare. Just my$0.02

Matthew Matthew_2010@charter.net
April 16, 2010
I'm curious, if this is so important, why aren't high school teachers doing some of this preparation with their students? Surely they know what the student can expect as I'm assuming they too have been college students also. Shouldn't these blind schools insure college preparedness?

Sarah Jevnikar sarah.jevnikar@utoronto.ca
April 17, 2010
Good question, Matthew. We've talked on this list before that students who are blind studying math are still not encouraged to do so as much as they would be in other areas, and it is almost not expected of them to study math. Not cool, I say, but it seems to be the reality at present.

You mentioned students being poorly prepared at their school for the blind. Mainstreamed students need equal prep; I like the idea of a transitional course or something like that.

Peter Lachenbruch Peter.Lachenbruch@oregonstate.edu
April 17, 2010
As a sighted person, I don't have a great deal of insight, but after 45 years of teaching statistics, I am teaching my first blind student. And he is teaching me. I have worked with our disability access services - they took the text I am using and are converting it to Braille as we go. I have worked with my student and he has led me through the issues we'll be dealing with: extra time on exams, exams administered on a computer, etc.
I find that I need to explain graphical methods more clearly - "the cluster of points looks like a football" - I hope this concept gets across. At any rate, greater description of graphics is obviously needed. Some work by John Gardner's company will be helpful when we get it - he showed me some tactile graphics that was great for me and I hope for my student.
I see no reason for discouraging blind students from mathematics - much of it doesn't require visual dexterity. Equations seem to be the pain in the neck, but I just took a survey that was talking about using verbal cues for math. I suspect I did abysmally...

## 14.Subject: LaTex with NVDA

Michael Chen m11chen@gmail.com
Wed May 4, 2011
Hi all,
Just wanted to introduce myself to this list and ask for some suggestions. I am a university student who recently lost my sight in an accident. Previously, as a sighted student, I studied Physics and Aerospace Engineering at the University of California, San Diego. I have been completely blind since three years ago, whence I started to learn to use the computer again with the help of a screen reader. I have used JAWS, but currently my primary screen reader is the open-source NVDA. I don't know how to Braille, but I would like to learn maybe in the near future.
I am planning on returning to the university in fall of this year to finish my degrees, but as I am now blind, I need some help in finding the right assistive software for my technical fields of study. I have done some research on LaTeX, and this seems to be what most are suggesting for replacing traditional pencil and paper for the presentation and manipulation of mathematical formulae which can easily be compiled into the more readable and visually acceptable formats to exchange printed contents with sighted students and professors.
Can anyone suggest a good and user friendly LaTeX editor which works well with NVDA and can also convert and print out easily readable math content? Also, what would be a good place to start, either website or book or some other documentation, that I can get my feet wet learning the basics of LaTeX? Thanks.

### Response:

Hi
TeXNic Center seems to be relatively accessible, at least with Jaws,once you have turned the "screen reader users" setting on (undertools). This is just a TeX editor/compiler/debugger.
The downside to using an editor like that, to me, is that one has to mark up the text itself using TeX, which is great for scientific reading but can be a bit cumbersome when embedding a few math formulas inside a larger non-scientific document.
For that using MathType with Word, in TeX mode (you can input formula in MathType using TeX and you can convert all MathType formulas inside a Word document to TeX by selecting the text and using alt-backslash) is a decent option that allows you to write the text in easy-to-use Word, but paste in TeX formulas for the math content, or type them in directly.
There is a Wiki book on LaTeX that Michael Waples, a member on this list, pointed people to at last year's ICCHP. http://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/LaTeXhth

## 15.Subject: Compiling and Debugging LaTex Documents

Alysha anjeans@att.net
July 18, 2011
Hi list,
I've had relative success teaching myself to read LaTeX content, but I'm now trying to work on figuring out the best ways to write mathematical documents as well. I was wondering what you have found to be the most accessible ways of doing this. I've started playing around a bit with TeXnicCenter, and I've found most of its features to be pretty easy to use. Unfortunately though, writing code is never as easy as reading it, and I've found it difficult to read error messages and figure out which lines they reference when compiling my documents. The only way I've found of doing this in my short time of experimenting is to open the log file, but I still don't see line numbers there, and it's full of tons of information which I don't particularly understand.
My initial thoughts were to practice writing entire documents in LaTeX, but I think I remember someone mentioning a way to use MathType and Word and only enter the equations themselves in LaTeX. Have any of you had better success with this method? Do you know any other tips that might be helpful?

### Response:

July 18, 2011
Alysha
I haven't used Texnic center recently (haven't had the need to write much math lately), but I believe you can turn on visible line numbers in the editor window, which makes debugging much faster and easier. I also think you can step through the LaTeX code one line at a time withf9 or f10, and you'd get the error message for that line as you step through, which will help you locate the error more quickly. The downside is, of course, that you have to write up a lot of LaTeX commands to format the text. It's beneficial if you want to have complete control over the look of the document, and you can do some very neat things with LaTeX like automatic numbering, bibliography and create a slide show with relative ease. But if you just want to use TeX to create math, but want to use a regular editor otherwise, I believe Word with MathType is your best shot. MathType will cost you $57 (academic discount) or$97 (retail), and I had minor issues getting the macros to work in my Word 2007 when I set it up, though I, or someone on this list, could definitely help you get it sorted.
There is a 30 day free trial so you can experiment with it. You just insert a math object through the MathType menu on your word manubar, paste in the TeX code (or write it) for the math, and you should be good.

## 16.Subject: Powerpoint question

Ryan Thomas rlt56@nau.edu
Tue Aug 16 2011
Hello all,
Does anyone know how to insert Greek characters into word, or more importantly, into the text of powerpoint slides.  I use things like sigma a lot, but I tend to write it out.  I need to know a better way of writing symbols like Greek letters and square root signs for my students.  The problem is classes start soon and I don't have a lot of time or money to learn or buy a new program.  Also, does anyone know of any good powerpoint and Jaws tutorials online?  I could really use them.

### Response:

Jonathan Godfrey a.j.godfrey@massey.ac.nz
Tue Aug 16 2011
Hello Ryan et al.,
I've used an add-in for power point in the past called TexPoint which allows two forms of input which both use LaTeX.
The simple Greek letters and single characters could be inserted by typing the single LaTeX code. \alpha, \beta etc. This does not work for square roots and the like however.
A separate equation box was needed for anything that could not be generated from a simple look up table. In statistics I use an x with a bar on top of it quite often for example.
The problem with manipulating objects in power point then gave me grief. On top of this, TexPoint as I obtained it is no longer freely available.
Another alternative does exist, but some expenditure on MathType will be required.
Now that I know I can create MathType objects by entering LaTeX I do have a solution, but my investigation today suggests my installation of power point and MathType 6 will not let me use the LaTeX entry method in power point. This just means entering the material in word and cutting and pasting a bit. Certainly the MathType based versions of objects means I can enter an x-bar in the right place without having multiple power point objects flying around.
Ultimately, my suggestion is to use MathType 6, with LaTeX entry to create the necessary equations/elements. Whether you do this in word or power point may depend on your version of power point, but I suspect the different behaviour is a MathType feature rather than a power point one.
Jonathan

Thu Aug 18 2011
Hi,
I am about to start school on Monday and I was wondering about doing math in the notepad application that comes with all computers. More specificly how to do things like fractions, square, square-routes, and also how to find a list of the different math signs and how to use them with a regular qwerty keyboard and a computer using Jaws.
Thanks,
Daria

### Responses:

Richard Baldwin Baldwin@dickbaldwin.com
Thu Aug 18 2011
See http://cnx.org/content/m37433/latest/?collection=col11294/latest

Ben Humphreys brh@opticinspiration.org
Sun Aug 21 2011
Daria
I've been struggling with this same question myself. Here is what I've found so far.
On first glance, the simplicity of entering and reading back math in Notepad seems compelling given the learning curve, complexity, and drawbacks of the alternatives. But Notepad falls apart very quickly because:

1. It is not a word-processor. Therefore, support for fonts, special characters,equations, and other useful formatting is missing.
2. There is no agreed-upon structure for defining equations. So a screen reader will not read them back to you in the way you'd like. For example: x^2 would not be pronounced "x squared"
3. Without an agreed upon protocol for entering equations, your content is stuck in Notepad forever, never able to be repurposed for the web or as a PDF viewable by others.

Another approach, using Microsoft Word with its built-in equation editor or the more powerful Mathtype add-in sounds interesting. This method has the benefit of producing good looking equations, special symbols, pretty formatting, sharing documents with others, and being rendered to MathML for the web. MathML is interesting because, in theory at least, JAWS will read equations like a human, so x^3 is pronounced "x cubed" etc.
However, as best I can tell, Equation editor and Mathtype are not accessible with JAWS. And while the MathReader add-in for IE is supposed to allow JAWS to read MathML on web-pages, it does not work with IE9 (or in my experience IE8) and certainly not with Firefox. That may be changing soon but I wouldn't hold my breath if my homework depended on it.
Then there is the Nemeth code. The problem here is that only a fraction of students know it and no mainstream math or science teachers know it. So even if the student can make use of Nemeth, it's going to require an extra translation step to convert back to a format an instructur can read and grade.
The best solution I've identified so far is called Latex. It's a document markup language that can be run through a document preparation program to render output to many formats, such as PDF, MathML, your printer, or whatever format comes next. It's used by many folks in math and engineering to produce technical documents, papers, and textbooks. It may very well be used by your math instructor to render his or her own assignments.
Latex allows you to write ordinary text files containing English words for math symbols. For example:

sqrt{4} = 2.

Latex positions and sizes the square root symbol for you when the output is rendered.
Latex may be entered in any text editor, including Notepad, but there's a compelling reason for blind folks to use the Edsharp editor. Pressing F12 while in Edsharp turns on "Process Latex" mode. This mode allows JAWS's SayLine method to read equations like a human would, so for example: x^2 is pronounced "x squared." Cool!
Here's a sample Latex file:

\documentclass{article}
\begin{document}
I am a math homework assignment.
1. I am x squared:
$x^2$
2. I am a polynomial:
$4x^3 + 3x^2 + x - 1$
3. The circumference of a circle is:
$C = 2 \pi r$
4. I am a fraction:
$\frac{3}{64}$
5. I am a sample sum:
$\sum_{i=1}^{+\infty}$
\end{document}

Note that equations are surrounded by dollar signs so Latex knows to italicize them and make other adjustments appropriate to equations. Symbols are preceeded by a \ character. Parameters to functions such as \frac are surrounded by curly braces { and }. Superscripts are preceeded by ^ and subscripts aare preceeded by _.
Paste everything between the \Document... and \End{Document} including those lines into edsharp, hit F12, and enjoy having things pronounced nicely by JAWS. Save the file to test.tex for rendering in the next step.
To render the above Tex document, you'll want to download MiKTeX, a standard Latex distribution for Windows. Go to http://miktex.org/2.9/setup and search for
Once MiKTeX is installed, run a command prompt, change to the directory where your test.tex file is stored and type: pdflatex test
This should produce a test.pdf file which should be rendered beautifully for turning into your instructor or other sighted users.
P.S. I realize this last part about running a command prompt and changing directories may be confusing to the typical Windows user and I believe there is a drag-and-drop method which can be used instead. More on that another time.
Other areas for research include the possibility of entering Latex commands directly into Microsoft Word equations. And how to plot graphs on a cartesian coordinate system for printing and producing tactile drawings. At present, SVG and Iveo seem like only part of the solution.
Ben

Sun Aug 21 2011
Has anyone tried jscl mEditor for this purpose. It was designed as a math editor. I have only got it to work on my Mac because it is in Java and sofar I have not got the Access Bridge working with 64 bit machines. I have done all the instructions from orical for the new bridge but it still doesn't work maybe because I don't have 32 bit java installed as well as 64 bit but that would be stupid. Anyway about mEditor it is supposed to be a math editing platform with everything that entails. It also has commands to output to mathml and it seems accessible on the mac but I have not had time to really work with it. I just put in a couple of simple equations and then had to get back to work.
Here is the link to it if you have access bridge running give it a shot. http://jsclmeditor.sourceforge.net/

Sun Aug 21 2011
Hi,
Is There anyone in the Raleigh Durham area who might be willing to teach the LaTeX mark-up language?I am a high student, a sophomore to be precise. I am totally blind and taking first year algebra.
Any help that could be tendered would be greatly appreciated.
Thank you,
Daria

Susan Jolly easjolly@ix.netcom.com
Sun Aug 21 2011
Hi Dasha,
If you are in high school you shouldn't need to know anything except Nemeth.
Your TVI should be interlining your work so you can focus on understanding math.
Alternatively, I would suggest that you learn to use Nemetex, which was developed by a blind high school student now attending college.  This program automatically converts Nemeth algebra and other Nemeth math that you enter using a braille display to LaTeX so a sighted person can read it.
http://www.accessisoft.com/
Best wishes,
Susan Jolly

Sun Aug 21 2011
Hi,
Just a small problem that needs to be taken in to considderation...Bit of info number one: I go to a private school which does not have a TVI of any type.
Bit of info number two: Braille displays aren't cheap. The only thing I have is an 18 cell RefreshaBraille18 from Aph.
Last bit of info: I start school tomorrow and I'm using a computer for everything else. While I have a braille writer it's hard to find people willing to read math problems and such. I don't mean to be rude but this is what all of the college students in my Ncabs group seem to be learning or using competently as the case maybe. If I let this wait and only learn it a few months before college when nerves are strung as tight as whip-cord and Dsb is giving me grief because I need more technology than most because I am partially deaf with a fairly good chance of being profoundly deaf by 35 well... I don't think not learning would be a good idea right now.
Thank you and I'm sorry if I come across a bit more strongly than perhaps I intend for in truth it is not my intention at all. I just want people to understand that I am not working on a mainstream public school system neither am I making my stand on a field that is level by comparison with what you can think of as just plain vanilla blind although there aren't many of those around.
Again I'm sorry if I come over a bit harsh but this is something everyone, not just blind people but anyone else with a disability needs to understand.
We don't all play the same game, we don't do the same things with our lives, and we most certainly don't get the option of saying that there is one way and only one way to do a thing.
Daria

John Gardner john.gardner@orst.edu
Sun Aug 21 2011
Daria, there is an article on www.access2science about writing math in MSWord with MathType. You need to learn a minimum of Latex to read/write equations in MSWord+MathType, and you seem like a pretty sharp guy. So I guess you should be able to learn how to do this in a few hours of work. At this point you would have a good tool for reading and writing math - in fact the most popular single way of writing scientific papers on earth.
I do agree that you need to learn how to write in pure Latex, but you won't be able to do that in a few hours. However using various templates that have appeared already on this list, you should be able to write minimal Latex documents in a short while too. But compiling and debugging is a longer process. It woulod be great if you can find somebody to provide some local tutoring, but if necessary you can do it on your own. It has been done before.
John Gardner

Sun Aug 21 2011
Thanks John,
I just want to say that I am in fact a girl. It's ok though. I've had something like this mix-up happen before so it's fine. Thank you for all the info. I'll take a look at it this week when I have time to come up for a breath of air that isn't fogged with little bits and pieces of other classwork info.
Again thanks,
Daria

Ben Humphreys brh@opticinspiration.org
Mon Aug 22 2011
Dear Daria,
Given the lateness of the hour, many of the solutions proposed are not going to work very well for you right away.
If you're comfortable with Notepad and can enlist the cooperation of your instructur, I'd like to propose a "home-grown" "quick-and-dirty" solution which will buy you some time.  Here is what I was thinking:

2. Replace x squared with x^2, x-cubed with x^3, etc.
3. Replace square root sign with sqrt
4. Use parenthesis to clarify what sqrt is referring to
5. Use the following characters for your operators: < > <= >= = and
<> as you would in a programming language
6. Use the greek words instead of the symbols, so "pi" instead of trying to insert a pie symbol.
6. And here's the interesting part: Add a series of dictionary definitions for Notepad (using JAWS Ins+D command) for the above. For example:
"^2" becomes "squared"
"^3" becomes "cubed"
"^4" becomes "to the 4th power"
"<>" becomes "is not equal to"
"<=" becomes "less than or equal to"
"sqrt" becomes "the square root of"
"-" becomes "minus" (instead of the usual "dash")

This way, when you have JAWS speak the current line, it will read it like a human would.

7. Another way to keep things clear is to insert a new line in strategic places such as after an equal sign. For example:
x^2 + 4 = 2x - 7
would be easier to read as
x^2 + 4
=
2x - 7
8. For division, I'd put the numerator on the first line, the characters "---" on the 2nd line and the denominator on the third. Further, I'd setup a dictionary definition for "---" to say  "divided by"
If you and your instructor could agree on a small number of rules like this, you could easily exchange homework assignments and tests in this way without any conversion necessary.  Just use a small travel printer to print in class or e-mail via wifi.
This approach will buy you some time and allow you to develop an appreciation for the more sophisticated solutions. And if you don't plan to spend any more time than necessary in a math class of the future, then it's probably "good enough."

Mon Aug 22 2011
Ben,
Thank you. I'll take a look at this more tonight but I appreciate the input. I need to run but thank you again. Daria

Ben Humphreys brh@opticinspiration.org
Wed Aug 24 2011
John,
This turned out to be both interesting and frustrating.
On the interesting side, the Mathtype add-in allowed me to convert my instructor's Microsoft Equation Editor equations to Latex within Word. At that point, the previously incomplete and nonsensical equations were spoken as understandable Latex by JAWS. Now for the frustrating part: Mathtype is riddled with installation and reliability issues, at leastfor me running Windows 7 32-bit and Microsoft Word 2010.
For example, I got errors from Mathtype installation re: inability to remove and install fonts. When launched in Word, I got additional errors regarding inability to install a toolbar in c:\programdata\...
Other times, it would crash Word all-together requiring a hard reboot.
I had to disable User Account Control to overcome these problems and was then able to convert my instructor's equations to Latex.
However, the system then suffered from various reliability issues, such as Skype and Internet Explorer constantly crashing and restarting for no good reason.
After returning to a previously good System Restore Point before the Mathtype installation, these odd problems went away.
It's not definitive proof that Mathtype is to blame. However, I think their dev team is a little behind the curve, not supporting IE9 with Mathreader and I suspect their installation program needs to be upgraded to work with Windows 7's User Account Control and non-privileged security defaults.
Even with all these shortcomings, the ability to convert previously inaccessible Microsoft Equation Editor equations to Latex is so compelling that I think I'll rebuild a Windows XP box with an older version of Word and IE7. I believe such an environment will work better with Mathtype and probably Mathreader as well. The fight goes on to learn math again...

Wed Aug 24 2011
Ben
This is an odd problem you're having. I've run MathType with no problems (I installed it as an admin in Windows 7 32 bit).
You may want to contact Design Science directly, and see if they canassist with some of the installation issues, at lesat those that do not seem to be screen reader related.
What you are experiencing is definitely not what I had to deal with.
I had to enable the MathType macros to work in Word manually through Word's ActiveX options, but that was the only snag I hit along the way.
I know playing with these things is mightily frustrating, but I think you should be able to get a better result and the problems you are describing should not be the default expectation, rather something seems to be wrong and it might be worth a second look/try to see if a simple fix exists.
-B

Neil Soiffer NeilS@dessci.com
Wed Aug 24 2011
I want to echo what Birkir said: hundreds of thousands of people use MathType without a problem (although only a very few use it with a screen reader). If you are having problems, please contact support at dessci.com. We take pride in our responsive support to MathType users. I hope that they will be able to help you resolve whatever problem you are having.
Neil Soiffer
Senior Scientist
Design Science, Inc.
www.dessci.com
~ Makers of MathType, MathFlow, MathPlayer, MathDaisy, Equation Editor ~

Thu Aug 25 2011
Question for Ben on the Notepad/dictionary approach.I certainly understand it has its significant drawbacks, and usually just would be a stop gap solution, or solution for simple math, but I like the simplicity of it.
Is there a way to create a dictionary file of the most common math notations such as x squared etc, and offer it for download, or do peoplehave to make all their own dictionary entries (of course they may want to, but a basic list of the most common symbols and terms might speed up initial development a bit and, hopefully, hgive people more time to evaluate other options).
It's all about choice, and this is the first time I've seen this idea for writing math in notepad, and I find it neat.

Richard Baldwin Baldwin@dickbaldwin.com
Thu Aug 25 2011
Maybe you could create a dictionary using the symbolic standards from a programming language such as JavaScript, Java, C#, or C++. Those standards have been pruned and tuned over many years and are completely accessible to a persons using a refreshable Braille pad and a screen reader. In other words, all of the characters appear on a standard QWERTY keyboard and are on a single line (unlike pdf symbols).
Dick Baldwin

Ben Humphreys brh@opticinspiration.org
Fri Aug 26 2011
Birkir,
I think I'll be in a better position to release a comprehensive list of symbols after trying this approach for a semester in a real math class. It remains to be seen which solution works best in practice: the simple Notepad + dictionary approach, the Nemeth in Notepad approach, the Word + Mathtype approach, or the Latex in text editor approach.
In addition, getting a JAWS dictionary file into a user's system is about as problematic to describe as having the user create their own custom dictionary file. I must get a better handle on distributing JAWS resources, using the Settings Packager I think...
Ben

Susan Jolly easjolly@ix.netcom.com
Sun Aug 21 2011
Hi Dasha,
It is my understanding that even if you go to a private school for K-12, you are eligible for public-supported special services. Perhaps someone on the list knows more about that.
Second, I am aware that braille displays are very expensive.  On the other hand, they are very, very useful, especially so for deafblind people. So I would suggest that you investigate all possible sources of support for getting a larger and more modern braille display.
If you enter Nemeth math on your braille display and print it out directly as ASCII braille (also known as computer braille) without converting it to print, your sighted teacher should be able to read it using the information in this article I wrote.  Also if you would like for your math teacher to contact me, I'm happy to answer any questions about braille or braille math. (I'm a sighted person, former high school chemistry teacher (among other careers) who taught myself braille and Nemeth braille as a volunteer activity after I retired.) http://www.dotlessbraille.org/readnem.htm
I am not trying to keep you from learning LaTeX.  I just don't happen to believe it is the best solution.  Other people on this list feel differently.
Sincerely,
Susan Jolly

Susan Jolly easjolly@ix.netcom.com
Mon Aug 22 2011
Dasha,
You, Ben, and I seem to be miscommunicating.
>From your own perspective, not your math teacher's, do you want to read your math in braille or do you want to hear it in Jaws?
You don't need Ben's "home-grown" solution if you know Nemeth braille. You can simply write correct Nemeth braille math in Notepad using ASCII braille. For example if you write x caret 2, that is x^2, for x squared, it will show up on your refreshable braille display in translate off mode as the right dots for Nemeth braille including dots 45 for the caret. And .k will show up as the right dots for the Nemeth braille equals sign.
(Remember, of course, that since you will be using translate off mode and your teacher will be reading this directly, you will need to write any text as print, not as contracted braille.)
Your teacher can read Nemeth visually just as easily as what Ben is suggesting by using the hints in the article I linked to earlier. Here's the link again: http://www.dotlessbraille.org/readnem.htm
In fact, if Ben is correct about using Jaws dictionary definitions, why not just teach Jaws some correct Nemeth rather than a made-up solution?
Best wishes,
Susan Jolly</>

MAYANK SHARMA mayanks2010@gmail.com
Mon Nov 28 2011
hi all.
I am Mayank, and am doing economics at graduate level.
I have a pretty basic question. I have a txt document where the equations are in LaTex. I am very new in dealing with laTex. I wanted to know from you all how to go about making sense of those equations. is there a particular program I need to instal in order to convert them??
will be waiting for your responses.
kind regards,
Mayank

### Responses:

Tim in 't Veld tim@dvlop.nl
Mon Nov 28 2011
Mayank,
If you can read lateX, you could understand the equations...? I normally just read the lateX source in notepad and use the braille display. Occasionally I'll introduce some shorthand to make it readable, such as doing a replace command to replace \rightarrow with \ra in a document about logic.
What would you want to convert your lateX source to? If we know this someone on the list could probably point you to the right conversion tool.
Tim

Mon Nov 28 2011
I think the best solution ever is read the LaTeX source file. You can find what each command means in some LaTeX wiki, and in my opinion, everything becomes clear.

Michael Whapples mwhapples@aim.com
Mon Nov 28 2011
I don't know that I would always recommend reading documents by reading LaTeX source. Depending on how it was produced depends on how clean it is for reading. I thought in the past this was a view I had formed on old memories which may be had been exaggerated in time, however recently I had to read some basic statistics stuff for a course, the equations were in word using MathType and so I used the macro for showing the equations as LaTeX. While the equations could be read, they were far from readable, excessive number of braces used, lengths of commands requiring scrolling the Braille display even for what should be a very short equation (probably in an official Braille code would be less than half my Braille display), etc, it all just distracted from what I needed to do and that was understand the equation. A quick note to Neil on MathType, while I have said excessive use of braces, I mean this in the context of reading, knowing LaTeX I fully understand why they are there and how they contribute to achieving the correct layout visually when compiled.
As Tim said, it would be useful to know what format might be desired from the LaTeX. If reading the original source, it might be desirable to do some simple substitutions to clean the LaTeX up. Tim, have you considered putting the substitutions you use into a script (eg. python or perl) which you then could let others use?
Michael Whapples

Ben Humphreys brh@opticinspiration.org
Mon Nov 28 2011
Same experience here, converting Mathtype to Latex. Reminds me of the obfuscated and boilerplate HTML created when converting a Word document to HTML vs writing HTML by hand.
Ideally, Mathtype would recursively simplify their Latex conversion before presenting to the end-user.
I have in fact written such a Perl script to do this for Mathtype to Latex conversions produced by my own Math professor. But the pattern matching gets pretty difficult when extraneous curly braces are inserted here and there. One almost needs a gramatical parser to simplify the expressions and THEN do a translation.
Ben

Michael Whapples mwhapples@aim.com
Mon Nov 28 2011
I possibly would say that it would be wrong for MathType to simplify the equations more. My reasoning is that the LaTeX mode of MathType is also for input and removing some of those braces could actually lead to a different visual appearance of the equation.
Its this reason of what happens when the equation is recompiled that I say LaTeX is really a good authoring system but not a reading system IE. what gives good output visually when compiled is not necessarily good for reading and vice versa.
Michael Whapples

Andrew Stacey andrew.stacey@math.ntnu.no
Mon Nov 28 2011
On Mon, Nov 28, 2011 Michael Whapples wrote:
> I possibly would say that it would be wrong for MathType to simplify the equations more. My reasoning is that the LaTeX mode of MathType is also for input and removing some of those braces could actually lead to a different visual appearance of the equation. Its this reason of what happens when the equation is recompiled that I say LaTeX is really a good authoring system but not a reading system IE. What gives good output visually when compiled is not necessarily good for reading and vice versa.>
As an example, the code "x {=} y" and "x = y" display differently whencompiled to PDF but I would imagine that for reading the mathematics then the difference is pretty minimal.
(Quoted originally from Ben)
> > I have in fact written such a Perl script to do this for Mathtype to Latex
> > conversions produced by my own Math professor. But the pattern matching
> > gets pretty difficult when extraneous curly braces are inserted here and
> > there. One almost needs a gramatical parser to simplify the expressions
> > and THEN do a translation.
I've written a few scripts and the like for manipulating TeX documents. My first ones were largely pattern based but I eventually realised that this didn't work and I ended up writing an implementation of TeX's "mouth" and "stomach" in Perl. Even that wasn't great, so I took literally the statement that "the only thing that understands TeX is tex itself" and wrote a class that converts a LaTeX document to some other format. As it works in tex itself then it can understand true LaTeX syntax, including all those horrendous braces. I've not mentioned it before on this list because I don't know what output format would be appropriate for the readers here, and it is very much in alpha/beta (though I use it for writing all my documents that end up on webpages now so it's definitely usable). I only mention it now because of the above about Perl scripts and so I want to save anyone the pain I went through on that route! Anyone interested or intrigued is welcome to contact me off-list.
Andrew

Michael Whapples mwhapples@aim.com
Mon Nov 28 2011
Yes your example is sort of what I was getting at (well at least on a small scale). The impact on reading comes when you start scaling that up, I have had equations which start like {{\frac{{x{… and you can imagine how tracking where you are and what the meaning of any closing brace is can be quite difficult.
Michael Whapples

Ben Humphreys brh@opticinspiration.org
Mon Nov 28 2011
Along those lines of replacing more complex tokens with more simple ones, one could create dictionary definitions in their screen reader so that cryptic Latex commands could be more easily understood, i.e.
\infty becomes "infinity"
\right becomes "right parenthesis"
\frac becomes fraction
Still, the tendency in Latex is to have long sequences of tokens inside one another all preceeded by backslashesand surrounded by a dizzying number of curly braces and in my opinion, this really obfuscates the main concept, which is the equation itself.
I was interested to find "HR Latek" in "Infty Reader" this weekend, described as Human Readable Latex. This sounds like an interesting solution but I'm having difficulty finding more information on it, such as a translator.
I think for the occasional Latex expression, you learn the meanings of the symbols and power through it. If you're reading lots of equations though, a lot of brain cycles could be saved by converting to a more simple format, perhaps MathML then using Math Reader in a browser?
Ben

Pranav Lal pranav.lal@gmail.com
Mon Nov 28 2011
Hi MAYANK,
Grab edSharp from http://www.empowermentzone.com/edsetup.exe and see its laTex mode.
Pranav