Introducing NimPro 1.2 (02/26/2014)
Improvements over NimPro 1.1 include:
- Complete support for network activation, not just independent activation. (NimPro network installations work like DBT network installations.)
- Works smoothly with a remotely activated DBT.
- Support for custom installations on any drive, not just the default drive (C:).
- Improved output of italic (emphasized) text when exporting .dxp files for DBT.
- Improvements to background image processing and display, with better handling of images with bad data.
- In the NimPro display, the old "word count" has been replaced by a more useful combination of a character counter, word counter, and estimator of the number of braille pages in the selected text.
- Clearer and more consistent font display.
- This release is necessary for NimPro to recognize the latest DBT release, DBT 11.2.
Introducing NimPro 1.1
Duxbury Systems is introducing a new product, NimPro, to read NIMAS files. This product automates many of the common transcriber steps which may be very time consuming. These files can then be exported to DBT (version 11.1 or higher) or to MegaDots (version 2.4 or 2.5).
NimPro is currently available for $295 for licensed DBT 11.1 (or later) and MegaDots 2.4/2.5 users only.
Be aware that some NIMAS files are very large. Dealing with large files requires a lot of memory. We recommend that your computer have 2G of RAM memory in order to deal with large NIMAS files. One of the advantages of NimPro is that it can divide these files into manageable pieces to submit to DBT or MegaDots.
What NimPro Does
- NimPro directly reads NIMAS/Daisy files. Often NIMAS files are huge, and loaded with graphics. You can start the preparation of these files for braille using NimPro.
- NimPro exports to files for DBT and MegaDots, ready for braille production.
- Nimpro exports to Microsoft Word documents with BANA Styles (Braille-ready styles) included as an interim format to present to DBT or MegaDots.
- Nimpro contains automated "wizards" to convert inconvenient and inappropriate text styles into styles that facilitate correct Braille, applied at the user's direction to the pages or sections the user selects.
- NimPro contains style editing commands to allow format changes to individual text elements.
- Nimpro has several ways of handling images. One approach is to render images from the original text into tactile graphics using QuickTac, available free from Duxbury Systems. Another approach is to replace graphic images from the original text with either text or direct Braille. Both approaches are illustrated in the screen shots shown below.
- NimPro lets you divide the document into manageable segments for Braille production.
- NimPro converts all unrecognized text styles into styles understood by DBT and MegaDots.
- NimPro offers easy controls to adjust multiple heading levels to match the needs of Braille output.
- NimPro has controls to adjust automatic list numbering, bold face, and italics.
- NimPro has automatic addition of guide dots on tables of contents.
- NimPro has automatic conversion of the complex mark-up of tables into the correct format for DBT, MegaDots, or MS Word. This includes handling of lists and multiple paragraphs within tables and complexities such as tables nested inside other tables.
- NimPro offers control over the output of page number references.
- NimPro displays sidebars with a grey background to distinguish them quickly from the main text.
- NimPro offers a separate window to display the original document with the complete XML mark-up for user reference.
The following screenshots illustrate what NimPro does and how it is used. For some of the screenshots which fill up the width of the screen, you can click on them to get better resolution. Click the browser Back button to get back to this web page.
The Main Menu of NimPro is:
From the Main Menu, one choice is NimPro User Preferences:
Just from this screen, we see that NimPro handles many aspects of the NIMAS/Daisy file. NimPro can import and manage graphics files. NimPro can export to Microsoft Word documents, and offers a choice of Word Templates. NimPro can launch your e-mail software (to help produce tech support requests). NimPro can co-ordinate with the free QuickTac graphics software.
The other Preference tabs select options for output to DBT and MegaDots.
Saving Selected Text
This next screen shows a lot all at once. There are three main portions of the screen, a column that identifies the section(s) or page number(s) you want to look at. Three sections are highlighted, so we are viewing three sections of the NIMAS document, and the user has just selected the Save Selected Text function from the File Menu. In a center grey column, we see the style names associated with each of the paragraphs.
By way of background, it should be mentioned that a choice in the Edit Menu decides whether you are selecting by page number or by section. This screen shows selection by section.
If the user continued, there would be choices for the file name and the file type. The selected text could be prepared for Word, for DBT, or for MegaDots.
Since NIMAS/Daisy files are designed to hold an entire book, these are often very large. DBT or MegaDots work best when they work with files that match a typical braille volume. Thus an important part of NimPro is producing files in just the right size for DBT or MegaDots to work with.
Changing Styles Manually
There is a toggle in the Edit Menu that allows the user to choose between editing text or editing styles. When you edit by styles, you can give a short code for the style name and quickly move from paragraph to paragraph. In this example, the user is partially done switching from List style to Exercise, and from Body Text to Directions.
It should be noted that while this is a way to change individual styles, there is often a better way.
The Edit Menu has a series of Wizards that allow you to change hundreds of paragraphs in a single stoke.
It should be noted that while this is a way to change individual styles, there is often a better way. The Edit Menu has a series of Wizards that allow you to change hundreds of paragraphs in a single stoke.
Working with Some Text: the Table of Contents
In the screenshot below, first notice the open Edit Menu. You can see the user has chosen "Edit Styles" as illustrated above. In this same menu, however, you can see the list of style editing "wizards" that can apply similar style changes more quickly.
The following screen shows the open View menu, where the user has chosen to view the document "By Section." This makes it easy to select only the specific section of the document that a wizard function should touch, in this instance, the Table of Contents.
Table of Contents Wizard
The next image shows the Table of Contents of David Copperfield. We notice that the styles (shown in the center grey column) use List Style for the Table of Contents entries. This needs to be changed. The user has selected the Table of Contents Wizard from the Edit Menu and now sees the Wizard dialogue shown below. The Wizard options allow the user to change the List style items to TOC items, with additional choices to make global text attribute changes at the same time.
In the screenshot below, you see the one-click result of the wizard. The Table of Contents heading has been marked, and all the entries now have the specific TOC style for higher quality braille output.
The next image shows the Table of Contents in DBT with guide dots already placed correctly.
This next images shows a feature of NimPro which is a bit technical. In the View Menu, there is a choice XML Source ... When you choose this function, you get to see the internal coding of the file. It is quite rare when you would need to do this, but it can be useful when something is not working correctly (for example, if you need to report something to techical support).
NIMAS documents can contain up to six levels of headings. Transcribers often need to reduce that for braille. In the Heading Wizard, the user can see what heading levels are used and indicate which levels to change. The wizard applies the user's changes to the currently selected pages or document sections.
Math as an Image
In some texts, math equations are provided through images. This is a challenge to the braille producer, since all these must be correctly transcribed by hand into the correct text/braille. In Nimpro, when one right clicks on an image, the following menu appears:
- Export ..
- Trace ..
- Replace with text
- Replace with braille
In this example, the user selects Replace with braille
Selecting this option opens a window where one uses six keys as a braille keyboard.
When the user clicks OK, NimPro shows the image replaced by the braille. In DBT or MegaDots, this text comes in as exact or direct braille entry; and thus is produced cell for cell correctly in the final braille.
If the user had selected Replace with text (instead of Replace with braille) from the right click menu, then the newly entered text would be subject to braille translation in DBT or MegaDots.
If an entire math book were done this way using graphic images, it would be very time consuming and frustrating to have to braille in the material for each and every graphic. But, if you had to do it, NimPro offers the most efficient way to perform this task. With NimPro, you can see where the images are, and you can see the image during the time you enter the text or the braille.
Use of QuickTac
As we discussed above, in Nimpro, when you right click on an image, the following menu appears:
- Export ..
- Trace ..
- Replace with text
- Replace with braille
In this example, we select Trace, which brings up QuickTac.
Trace opens QuickTac and provides the selected image as a background for tracing.
Here we see some of the uses of QuickTac to trace the key lines and elements, and to apply labels.
When you save your QuickTac work, NimPro captures it, and the resulting tactile graphic is built into the DBT file. Now, some fine print: MegaDots does not import tactile graphics from NimPro the way DBT can. Further, the ability to produce tactile graphics from DBT (or any software) depends on the precise graphics features of your embosser.
Copyright Duxbury Systems, Inc. Saturday, April 25, 2020