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LaTeX Document Preparation/Typesetting System

 

There is so much material out in cyberspace on using LaTeX that I doubt that anyone could finish it all in several lifetimes if they started reading today.

However, "the source" is:  https://www.latex-project.org/

Have at it, guys.  This is a great example of where the Chat group can shine for technical discussion that really is not, in any meaningful sense, NVDA-related.

Sarah k Alawami
 

I've actually  ben trying to learn this language for a few years now figuring I could write my next book with it. But even though it looks like markdown, and that I know a bit, I just cant rap my head around any pattern especially when it comes to the beginning of writing the what ever it might be. I believe I did start reading that link a few years ago and got frustrated.

 

Sarah,

           Unfortunately, I know about as much about LaTeX as I do about Chinese opera - next to nothing.  I only noticed this evening that the LaTeX thread that was on the main group was a revival from the dead of a very, very old topic.

           With any luck you'll get traction on this one.

saustin@...
 

Brian, first of all, thank you so much for doing this.

To me, and for the particular application I am looking for, LaTeX is very meaningfully associated with NVDA.   I "reads" LaTeX math files; to my limited knowledge, other screen readers are not.   I have not tried JAWS yet; I'm bringing on a blind person to test JAWS with LaTeX.

I'm sure I'm preaching to the choir on this, but there is a strong association between the "types" of files and the particular screen reader that will read them.   The NVDA-LaTeX combination is a special one.  It is effective, potent, and because it uses NVDA, is free, which matters a lot to those with disabilities -- and those who support them -- who suffer financial difficulties because of their disabilities.  Even if JAWS works, it is expensive.  It is the fact that I can download NVDA on a student's computer for free that is part of the accessibility equation.

I do hope it is appropriate to allow the very specific discussion of the combination of LaTeX and NVDA to continue here.   

Again, thank you so much -- for this and everything!

molly the blind tech lover
 

I’m thinking of using LaTex to submit math homework to my teachers, as they can not read braille.

 

From: chat@nvda.groups.io <chat@nvda.groups.io> On Behalf Of saustin@...
Sent: Thursday, March 7, 2019 8:41 AM
To: chat@nvda.groups.io
Subject: Re: [chat] LaTeX Document Preparation/Typesetting System

 

Brian, first of all, thank you so much for doing this.

To me, and for the particular application I am looking for, LaTeX is very meaningfully associated with NVDA.   I "reads" LaTeX math files; to my limited knowledge, other screen readers are not.   I have not tried JAWS yet; I'm bringing on a blind person to test JAWS with LaTeX.

I'm sure I'm preaching to the choir on this, but there is a strong association between the "types" of files and the particular screen reader that will read them.   The NVDA-LaTeX combination is a special one.  It is effective, potent, and because it uses NVDA, is free, which matters a lot to those with disabilities -- and those who support them -- who suffer financial difficulties because of their disabilities.  Even if JAWS works, it is expensive.  It is the fact that I can download NVDA on a student's computer for free that is part of the accessibility equation.

I do hope it is appropriate to allow the very specific discussion of the combination of LaTeX and NVDA to continue here.   

Again, thank you so much -- for this and everything!

saustin@...
 

Molly, may I be so forward as to ask, are you blind?

The PDFs produced by LaTex are beautiful, and read by NVDA.    My question to you is, how you, as a blind person, if you are blind, are writing the files.  

It is as important to be able to be a producer of accessible material as it is to be a consumer of it.  That's how people get jobs.

Sarah k Alawami
 

If you do that you can use pandoc to convert that into pdf documents. I use pandoc all the time and it works wonders and is grate. I use it to convert my books as well that i write, well, I use leanpub to, but I use pandoc for testing and seeing how it will format etc.

Take care

On 7 Mar 2019, at 6:38, molly the blind tech lover wrote:

I’m thinking of using LaTex to submit math homework to my teachers, as they can not read braille.

 

From: chat@nvda.groups.io <chat@nvda.groups.io> On Behalf Of saustin@...
Sent: Thursday, March 7, 2019 8:41 AM
To: chat@nvda.groups.io
Subject: Re: [chat] LaTeX Document Preparation/Typesetting System

 

Brian, first of all, thank you so much for doing this.

To me, and for the particular application I am looking for, LaTeX is very meaningfully associated with NVDA.   I "reads" LaTeX math files; to my limited knowledge, other screen readers are not.   I have not tried JAWS yet; I'm bringing on a blind person to test JAWS with LaTeX.

I'm sure I'm preaching to the choir on this, but there is a strong association between the "types" of files and the particular screen reader that will read them.   The NVDA-LaTeX combination is a special one.  It is effective, potent, and because it uses NVDA, is free, which matters a lot to those with disabilities -- and those who support them -- who suffer financial difficulties because of their disabilities.  Even if JAWS works, it is expensive.  It is the fact that I can download NVDA on a student's computer for free that is part of the accessibility equation.

I do hope it is appropriate to allow the very specific discussion of the combination of LaTeX and NVDA to continue here.   

Again, thank you so much -- for this and everything!

Ryan Mann
 

I looked at Latex a while ago because it seems like a good way for blind people to format documents that get turned in to the light dependent.  I like the style of the language.  The thing I couldn’t figure out is how you would turn your Latex file into a Word document and keep the formatting you expect.  When I googled this the sites I looked at said that there were tools to do this, but the formatting was not guaranteed.  That’s the way I understood it.  A lot of college classes I’ve had asked for assignments in Word format.  Some professors ask for the assignments to be done in certain fonts and font sizes.



On Mar 7, 2019, at 8:40 AM, saustin@... wrote:

Brian, first of all, thank you so much for doing this.

To me, and for the particular application I am looking for, LaTeX is very meaningfully associated with NVDA.   I "reads" LaTeX math files; to my limited knowledge, other screen readers are not.   I have not tried JAWS yet; I'm bringing on a blind person to test JAWS with LaTeX.

I'm sure I'm preaching to the choir on this, but there is a strong association between the "types" of files and the particular screen reader that will read them.   The NVDA-LaTeX combination is a special one.  It is effective, potent, and because it uses NVDA, is free, which matters a lot to those with disabilities -- and those who support them -- who suffer financial difficulties because of their disabilities.  Even if JAWS works, it is expensive.  It is the fact that I can download NVDA on a student's computer for free that is part of the accessibility equation.

I do hope it is appropriate to allow the very specific discussion of the combination of LaTeX and NVDA to continue here.   

Again, thank you so much -- for this and everything!

Sarah k Alawami
 

I woudl take a look at pandoc. It is a terminal based application but give that a try on latex.

Take care

On 7 Mar 2019, at 20:00, Ryan Mann wrote:

I looked at Latex a while ago because it seems like a good way for blind people to format documents that get turned in to the light dependent.  I like the style of the language.  The thing I couldn’t figure out is how you would turn your Latex file into a Word document and keep the formatting you expect.  When I googled this the sites I looked at said that there were tools to do this, but the formatting was not guaranteed.  That’s the way I understood it.  A lot of college classes I’ve had asked for assignments in Word format.  Some professors ask for the assignments to be done in certain fonts and font sizes.



On Mar 7, 2019, at 8:40 AM, saustin@... wrote:

Brian, first of all, thank you so much for doing this.

To me, and for the particular application I am looking for, LaTeX is very meaningfully associated with NVDA.   I "reads" LaTeX math files; to my limited knowledge, other screen readers are not.   I have not tried JAWS yet; I'm bringing on a blind person to test JAWS with LaTeX.

I'm sure I'm preaching to the choir on this, but there is a strong association between the "types" of files and the particular screen reader that will read them.   The NVDA-LaTeX combination is a special one.  It is effective, potent, and because it uses NVDA, is free, which matters a lot to those with disabilities -- and those who support them -- who suffer financial difficulties because of their disabilities.  Even if JAWS works, it is expensive.  It is the fact that I can download NVDA on a student's computer for free that is part of the accessibility equation.

I do hope it is appropriate to allow the very specific discussion of the combination of LaTeX and NVDA to continue here.   

Again, thank you so much -- for this and everything!

saustin@...
 

How I actually found out about NVDA reading LaTeX was through a beautiful PDF document.   Apparently, the mathematicians use it to "write" math, and then export it to a PDF so students could read it.   It was out-of-the-box accessible to NVDA, with both ordinary text AND the math being read by NVDA.   I fell out of my chair.

The program they used to write this beautiful math which can be exported to a PDF readable by NVDA is MikTek https://miktex.org/download  apparently available on Macs and Windows both.

The order of operations was not read correctly, but that was not because of NVDA -- that was because of how it was programmed.   I'm going to learn more on how to write LaTex for the express purpose of using NVDA with it.

What I want to find out too, if molly is able to use MikTek, then we can have students who BOTH produce AND consume accessible material.   I am over the moon excited about this.  NVDA I love you.

Sarah k Alawami
 

Oh, interesting. I'm struggling with how to begin the docunent. I know the thing I was using at least on mac threw errors like somethign was not coded properly. It's ben about 2 years since I last tried though. But it looks basically like markdown, so it shoudl be a bit easier for me to learn.

On 8 Mar 2019, at 12:49, saustin@... wrote:

How I actually found out about NVDA reading LaTeX was through a beautiful PDF document.   Apparently, the mathematicians use it to "write" math, and then export it to a PDF so students could read it.   It was out-of-the-box accessible to NVDA, with both ordinary text AND the math being read by NVDA.   I fell out of my chair.

The program they used to write this beautiful math which can be exported to a PDF readable by NVDA is MikTek https://miktex.org/download  apparently available on Macs and Windows both.

The order of operations was not read correctly, but that was not because of NVDA -- that was because of how it was programmed.   I'm going to learn more on how to write LaTex for the express purpose of using NVDA with it.

What I want to find out too, if molly is able to use MikTek, then we can have students who BOTH produce AND consume accessible material.   I am over the moon excited about this.  NVDA I love you.

 

I am trying to figure out what it is that appeals specifically about LaTeX except when one is dealing with mathematical content intended for on-paper publication.

NVDA has had an add-on, Access8Math, as well as built-in functionality via MathPlayer for a very long time now.   Equation editor has existed in Microsoft Word for a long while, too, and given screen reader compatibility with Word in general I'd have to believe (though I may be wrong) that it would work with equation editor.  It's certainly worth playing with, that's for sure.

LaTeX files are about as distant from "what you see is what you get" as you can get, simply because of its history as a typesetting language focused on mathematical content, though heaven knows it expanded beyond there.

Perhaps someone here can enlighten me, as I'm really trying to wrap my head around both the need and how LaTeX is a solution for same.

saustin@...
 

Ah, I see.   The issue, at least for me, is that mathematicians seemed to be using it for a long, long time as part of their culture.   They've done this unaware of NVDA or screenreaders; it is just part of their world.  I couldn't answer that part at all.  The thing that excites me -- very, very, greatly -- is that we do not have to RETRAIN the mathematicians to make their work accessible.   They can just keep doing what they were already doing, and we can put in the syllabi that if a student needs accessible Math, to get NVDA.

But there's more.   Apparently, because what they do in LaTeX can also be exported to Braille (IF I'm understanding this correctly) we can actually kill two birds with one stone.

It is this very precious relationship of LaTeX and NVDA that I am so excited about, because we don't have to retrain anyone -- does that make sense?

 

On Fri, Mar 8, 2019 at 05:12 PM, <saustin@...> wrote:
It is this very precious relationship of LaTeX and NVDA that I am so excited about, because we don't have to retrain anyone -- does that make sense?
Not precisely.   I do not know of any specific "very precious relationship of LaTeX and NVDA."   LaTeX files are, pure and simple, text files.  They're almost incomprehensible to someone, including most math students, that do not know how to code LaTeX.   It's a typesetting language that does support the typesetting for mathematics exquisitely, but I would imagine it's the final product, e.g., a PDF or similar, that gets generated that most NVDA users would be looking at.

If you look at the add-on page for Access8Math you will see precisely what does have a tight relationship with not only NVDA, but a variety of math-related realms when it comes to electronic document reading for math.

Sharon Austin <sharon.austin.2017@...>
 

Hi Brian, 

First -- full disclosure.  I do NOT consider myself an expert on screen readers.   I am just an accessibility specialist working to find the best way to support the people who have been tasked with making their documents accessible.  I try to do this in a manner that adds the least burden to what they are already doing as possible, because the easier it is for them, the better the chances they will spend time doing the work of making files accessible.

I also see that I left something important out from the last conversation... these math professors export the LaTex to PDF files.   It is the PDF exported from LaTeX that I was so excited (and still am excited) about.   The professors have  been writing their files in LaTeX for a long, long time, as part of their competency in their field.  They don't expect their students to know LaTeX; they export it to PDFs for the sake of the students.   I was able to read both the math AND the text from these PDF files, directly with NVDA, without any add-ons to it whatsoever.

This contrasts with some other tests I had done with PDFs made with other forms of integration of MathML, which are quite accessible, but take an additional step as the mathematical components are actually images.   For the professors that use other than LaTeX to write files in Math,  I will support them, of course, but it is an additional concern for me to monitor.

Various other "pairs" of "MathML" integrations and screen readers have so far needed add-ins to work -- which is fine, and I can get them to work,  BUT, if I can have something that works out of the box without add-ins, as in the case of NVDA reading both the text and the math on PDF files that were exported from LaTeX, then, it helps greatly in reducing the workload involved in ensuring files are accessible.

I don't know if the fact that I forgot to add that the NVDA is reading PDF files makes a difference to why I'm so excited.  Along with low cost, ease of use -- i.e., out-of-the-box functionality with no add-ins with NVDA -- matters a lot in helping create a "support" environment -- schools, family members, friends -- can all download NVDA without knowing what an add-on is, and share in the working with students who need it.  The support environment matters greatly to me; the easier it is for them, the more likely they are to get involved.

Brian, I absolutely welcome any further feedback or observations you have on this.   Thank you SO much!



On Fri, Mar 8, 2019 at 5:44 PM Brian Vogel <britechguy@...> wrote:
On Fri, Mar 8, 2019 at 05:12 PM, <saustin@...> wrote:
It is this very precious relationship of LaTeX and NVDA that I am so excited about, because we don't have to retrain anyone -- does that make sense?
Not precisely.   I do not know of any specific "very precious relationship of LaTeX and NVDA."   LaTeX files are, pure and simple, text files.  They're almost incomprehensible to someone, including most math students, that do not know how to code LaTeX.   It's a typesetting language that does support the typesetting for mathematics exquisitely, but I would imagine it's the final product, e.g., a PDF or similar, that gets generated that most NVDA users would be looking at.

If you look at the add-on page for Access8Math you will see precisely what does have a tight relationship with not only NVDA, but a variety of math-related realms when it comes to electronic document reading for math.