Reading Tools Help


You can read Bookshare® books with a number of different reading tools. This page contains specific notes for using the following tools:

Victor Reader Soft Bookshare Edition (free for Bookshare members)

A few tips for users of Victor Reader Soft Bookshare Edition from HumanWare.

  1. Make sure you have the latest version of Victor Reader Soft Bookshare Edition.
  2. You can download the User’s Manual
  3. Make sure you have Internet Explorer 6.0 or later installed.
  4. Always install Victor Reader Soft Bookshare Edition after the screen reader as the Victor Reader Soft installation adds some scripts or files that help the screen reader work properly with Victor Reader Soft. If you must reinstall or even update your screen reader, please reinstall Victor Reader Soft or copy the scripts files from the Victor Reader Soft folder to the appropriate folder for your screen reader.
  5. For Windows 98 and JAWS users, it is known that "Say All" often stops. This is not related to the Victor Reader Soft, so unfortunately it cannot be corrected by HumanWare. It works far better in later versions of Windows.

If Victor Reader Soft Bookshare Edition does not speak the contents of the book, it could be a simple settings change. From the Settings menu choose Audio, then TTS Settings. Is there a Text-To-Speech voice listed? If so, try choosing a different voice. If not, you will need to install a voice. You can purchase a SAPI5 voice from one of the following websites:

To change the font size and color, go to the Settings menu, choose Display, then choose Font. Select New and type a new name describing the font color and size that you plan to choose. Select the color and font settings you want to use and select OK.


READ:OutLoud Bookshare Edition (free for Bookshare members)

A few tips for users of READ:OutLoud Bookshare Edition from Don Johnston.

  1. Make sure you have the latest version of READ:OutLoud Bookshare Edition.
  2. You can read the User’s Manual online.
  3. System requirements: Windows XP or Windows Vista.
  4. Installing READ:OutLoud Bookshare Edition is simple:
    1. When the InstallShield® wizard starts, select Next.
    2. Choose “I accept the terms of the license agreement” and then select Next.
    3. Select Next to install the software in your Program Files directory.
    4. Choose the standard installation and then select Next.
    5. Select Next to install the software.
    6. Select Finish to complete the installation.
    7. Decide if you want a desktop icon by selecting Yes or No.
  5. Make sure you also install the latest version of Acapela. There are two voices in Acapela6: “Heather” and “Ryan.” From the Speech menu choose Voice Settings and select either "Heather 22k" or "Ryan 22k.”



Make sure you have the latest version of the BrailleNote firmware. Some older versions open large Braille files slowly. Visit HumanWare at


Kurzweil 1000

If you have Kurzweil 1000 version 4.0 or above, you can open and read the digital grade 2 Braille files (BRF format) downloaded from Bookshare. If you have Kurzweil 1000 version 6.01 or above, you can open the DAISY format books from Bookshare.

Using the standard features of the product, you can read the books aloud and navigate in a variety of accessible ways including skimming, summarizing and setting bookmarks. The Kurzweil 1000 supports navigation of the DAISY format.

You can also save book files from Bookshare in MP3 audio format, the same as with any text read by the Kurzweil 1000. This gives Bookshare and Kurzweil users the option of listening to the books on convenient, portable MP3 players.

Version 7.0 (and later) of the Kurzweil 1000 has a feature that enables users with an Internet connection to search for, download, open and read the Bookshare books without leaving the Kurzweil 1000. The product requires Bookshare Members to log in to access copyrighted books and asks for your website password before opening the books in the K1000.


Kurzweil 3000

If you are running Kurzweil 3000 version 6.0 or above, you can open DAISY books. You can use the standard features of the product to read and navigate, but the Kurzweil 3000 does not support full DAISY navigation at this time.


MP3 Player

Bookshare’s DAISY Text files are not human-narrated audio and must be heard using speech synthesis. In order to hear Bookshare books on an MP3 player, the DAISY Text must first be converted to MP3 audio. The computer essentially reads the text file in a synthetic voice into an audio format. The loss of DAISY navigation is a major drawback to this approach. Nonetheless, there are undoubtedly many applications that have the capability to perform this function, however, the products that Bookshare is familiar with and can recommend are:



With OpenBook version 6.0 or above, you can open and read the digital grade 2 Braille files (BRF format) as well as DAISY format books downloaded from Bookshare. Using the standard features of the product, you can read and navigate the books. DAISY format books automatically honor the pages of the DAISY format, and enable you to navigate by page. Also, you can save book files in MP3 audio formats and listen to them with a portable headphone MP3 player.

You can also send books to an embosser directly from OpenBook. OpenBook's file exchange with portable notetakers enables you to transfer files to your notetaker and carry them with you.


Text-Reading Devices that Require Plain ASCII Text

All freely distributable titles (e.g. public domain or Creative Commons licensed) are available for download in plain text and HTML formats in addition to the specialized format (DAISY and BRF). If you use a device that requires books to be in ASCII text format, you can convert either the grade 2 Braille files (BRF format) or the DAISY files into plain text format.

Before making this conversion, remember that under the terms of your Membership Agreement with Bookshare, you may under no circumstances share the books you download from Bookshare with another person. Changing the format for your own use is allowed. In addition, Bookshare’s fingerprinting and watermarking technology, used to identify the source of a digital book, remain in place even if a file is converted to plain text.

To convert a Braille file (BRF format) book to ASCII text, you can use the back-translation feature of the free NFB Trans software, Duxbury Braille Translator, Megadots or other similar products.

Scanning and reading software programs like OpenBook and WYNN from Freedom Scientific or the Kurzweil 1000 and Kurzweil 3000 can open BRF or DAISY files directly, depending on the product. From within these programs you can resave the text in another format such as ASCII text. Please contact the manufacturer directly to find out more about their software.

Finally, if you are comfortable working with Windows files, you can use your web browser (such as Internet Explorer)

  1. Using Windows Explorer, locate the DAISY book file with the .XML extension.
  2. Change the file extension to .HTML by renaming the file.
  3. Open the book file with your web browser.
  4. Use the File Save As command and choose to Save as Type: Text File.

Please note that if you convert a DAISY format book in this manner for use with a device that requires text format, you will lose the great navigation capability that is one of the benefits of the NISO/DAISY standard.


Victor Reader Stream or ClassMate

To transfer Bookshare content to the Victor Reader Stream or ClassMate, the computer must recognize the SD card as a removable drive. You can achieve this two ways:

  • Remove the SD card from the device and inserting it into an SD reader on your computer.
  • Or keep the SD card in the device and connect the device to your computer with the supplied USB cable.

Once the content of the SD card is visible in a folder window, you can proceed with the transfer. Transferring content from the computer to the Victor Reader Stream or ClassMate is simply a matter of copying files from one folder window and pasting them into another folder window.

Be sure the SD card is formatted properly. The advantage of formatting the SD card on the Victor Reader Stream or the ClassMate is that it creates the required folders for you.

  • To format the SD card on the Victor Reader Stream, repeatedly press 7, (the menu key), until the Victor Reader Stream announces "format SD card". Press the pound key (#) to confirm. If the format feature is not available on your Victor Reader Stream, you may want to consider updating it to the latest version.
  • The ClassMate automatically formats the SD card once it is inserted.

When properly formatted the SD card will contain several folders each beginning with "$vr". The two folders that relate to Bookshare content are $vrdtb and $vrtext. The Victor Reader Stream is compatible with both DAISY and HTML formats supplied by Bookshare.

DAISY content needs to be saved in the $vrdtb folder. Each DAISY book, magazine, or newspaper should be saved in its own subfolder under the $vrdtb folder. Each DAISY book is comprised of four file types: .NCX, .OPF, .SMIL, and .XML. Consequently, each subfolder associated with a book must contain those four file types. Each of these subfolders appears as a separate book on the Digital Talking Book bookshelf. When you download and “unzip” Bookshare DAISY content these files are created automatically.

HTML content is stored in the $vrtext folder. As with DAISY content, each subfolder appears as a book on the Text bookshelf. The only required file type is .HTML.

Bookshare recommends using the .HTML content on the Victor Reader Stream or ClassMate because it’s a bit more responsive and takes less space than the DAISY content. Of course, Bookshare files are tiny compared with DAISY audio.



These instructions are for WYNN Wizard 3.0 or later and WYNN Reader 3.0 or later. Earlier versions of WYNN do not work with Bookshare books.

  1. Browse or search for the book you want.
  2. On the book information page, download the book by selecting one of the following:
    • Text format (if available - only for freely distributable titles, e.g. public domain or Creative Commons licensed)
    • DAISY format (for copyrighted books)
  3. Save the book on your computer in a folder of your choice. The file will have a ".zip" extension.
  4. Select the .zip file and choose Extract All from the File menu.
  5. From within WYNN, open the book file:
    • For text format, open the “.txt” file. You can now use all the great functions of WYNN. (This file is only available for freely distributable titles, e.g. public domain or Creative Commons licensed.)
    • For DAISY format, open “.xml” file. You will notice that the writing functions are not available because WYNN thinks this file is a web page. Go on to steps 6-8.
  6. From within WYNN switch to "Text View." It will be a more responsive and more flexible environment than "Exact View."
  7. Save a copy of this file in WYNN format (with the “.wyn” extension).
  8. Close the file, then re-open the “.wyn” file. You can now use all of the great WYNN reading and writing functions with this book.