1.3 Rendering Documents

This section assumes that AS TE R has been installed and initialized —see Appendix A.1 for details of the software and hardware configuration. At this point, text within any file being visited in Emacs (in general, text in any Emacs buffer) can be rendered in audio. To listen to a piece of text, mark it using standard Emacs commands and invoke read-aloud-region5. This results in the marked text being audio formatted using a standard rendering style. The text can constitute an entire document or book; it could also be a short paragraph or a single equation from a document —AS TE R renders both partial and complete documents. This is the simplest and also the most common type of interaction with AS TE R.

The input may be plain ASCII text; in this case, AS TE R will recognize the minimal document structure present —e.g., paragraph breaks and quoted text. On the other hand, (LA)TEX markup helps AS TE R recognize more of the logical structure and, as a consequence, produce more sophisticated renderings.

Browsing the Document

Next to getting AS TE R to speak, the most important thing is to get it to stop speaking. Audio renderings can be interrupted by executing reader-quit-reading6. The listener can then traverse the internal structure by moving the current selection, which represents the current position in the document (e.g., current paragraph), by executing any of the browser commands reader-move-previous, reader-move-next, reader-move-up or reader-move-down.

To orient the user within the document structure, the current selection is summarized by verbalizing a short message of the form “<context> is <type>”, e.g., moving down one level from the top of the equation

        i = n(n+-1)-
1<=i<=n        2

AS TE R speaks the message “left hand side is summation”. The user has the option of either listening to just the current selection (reader-read-current) or listening to the rest of the document (reader-read-rest). Chapter 5 gives a detailed overview of the browser.

Examples of Use

AS TE R can be used to: