1 (edited by pitermach 2015-02-01 00:35:49)

Here's something kinda interesting that we discovered. Did you know that there are other screen readers around on Windows apart from the big, popular ones? They are usually somewhat known in the country they were made in, but not really known outside of it. So, in Germany you have Cobra, in Japan you have PCTalker and a few others, Brazil also has one, but its name escapes me. But the one I want to talk to you about is Zhengdu Screen Reader.

What is it and why is it worth it?

Well, it's a screen reader that comes in 2 versions, a free "public wellfair edition" and a "business/commertial edition" which has a few additional features to do with mouse navigation and braille support. 90% of its functions are available for free. You can download it from the link above, keep in mind the site is in Chinese and so you will need either to run it through google/bing or use NVDA's instant translate addon to download it. The program itself, with a few small exceptions, is in English however which is what made a few people and myself look into it further
. In terms of functionality, it's definitely on-par with NVDA, including a few features only available as addons. Even if you don't use it as your main screen reader, if you're a mostly NVDA user like myself it will make an excellent backup. So what does it have going for it? Like I said, it's on-par with NVDA in areas like object navigation or web support. The web support only works with Microsoft controls though, so no Firefox. This is understandable considering firefox's marketshare in China is not particularly high. The one thing it does very well is performance. This  reader is ridiculously light. It bairly uses any CPU (NVDA overhere usually uses around 40-50%), it's very responsive, especially on webpages - big sites like BCT load in 2 seconds and there is absolutely no slowdown even on javascript-heavy sites like Facebook, and speech never stops, even if a program crashes or becomes unresponsive. It also seems not to have issues with more graphical programs like Steam, which very few readers can deal with. While I don't think I will make a switch to it fulltime I'm definitely keeping it around as a backup because all things considered it's extremely impressive. Now, if you decide to try this yourself, here are some instructions and hotkeys. This post will be updated as I find things out (I'm challenging myself to use Zhengdu for a week, and so far it's going quite well)

installation and first time setup

After you download the zip file, extract the installer somewhere and run it. You will start to hear a lot of Chinese speech, which is the license agreement. If you keep your other screen reader on, you will see that the screen has a very standard inosetup installer so just hit enter or alt+N to go on. The program will start installing and play music as it does. This shouldn't take more than a few minutes at most, usually it's just about 30 seconds even on a slow, dual core system with no hyperthreadding. Eventually the music will stop and you will hear more speech. Now you have the finish button and the launch this program checkbox, which is checked by default. When the screen reader launches, it will display the quickstart dialog and start speaking. First, you will probably want to turn the punctuation to a lower setting as by default every single space is announced, as you will have probably noticed by now. Close the quickstart, and press zdsr+Z. The ZDSR key is your modifier, which just like in other SR's can be either insert key or Capslock. This opens its main menu and the first option you land on is ZDSR settings. Go ahead and press enter on it. The various options here should be pretty self explanatory but for now just keep tabbing until you hit the punctuation scheme combo box. Set it to either default or none, and press alt+A to apply your changes. Now you should be able to understand the speech better, and at any time you can go to the voice schemes dialog to change your voice. If, after you hit apply nothing happens, you will have to run ZDSR as admin. By default, it will be installed under c:\Program Files (x86)\zdsr\zdsr_pw\\ (remove the x86 from that path if you're on a 32-bit system. Find ZDSRStart.exe in the list, open its properties, and on the compatibility tab, check "run this program as an administrator". Now it should be able to save its settings properly.


This list will be updated as I find things out.

  • ZDSR+Escape exit

  • ZDSR+F1 keyboard help

  • ZDSR+F5 refresh screen

  • ZDSR+F8 read mouse cursor shape

  • ZDSR+F9 change voice scheme

  • ZDSR+F10 change active soundcard

  • ZDSR+F12 read time, twice read date

  • ZDSR+2 opens cloud, which is all in Chinese and I have no idea what it does.

  • ZDSR+4 toggle magnifier

  • ZDSR+Q read currentCPU usage, twice read memory usage

  • ZDSR+W read webpage or document from the top

  • ZDSR+E clipboard editor

  • ZDSR+Y copy webpage source to the clipboard

  • ZDSR+A append the last spoken thing to the clipboard

  • ZDSR+G cycles between text and graphic mode for something, probably the object navigation

  • ZDSR+Z opens ZDSR menu

  • ZDSR+X copy webpage text to clipboard

  • ZDSR+C copy the last spoken thing to the clipboard

  • ZDSR+V paste from clipboard

  • ZDSR+left/right previous/next character of whatever was last spoken, down rereads the character[/*

  • ZDSR+CTRL+left/right cycles between speech attributes you can adjust, up/down does so

  • ZDSR+Windows+Left/right cycles between other settings that can be adjusted, up/down does so

  • on webpages, all your usual hotkeys to jump around apply. Things like h for heading, k for link, 1-6 for various heading level, f for form fields, e for edit boxes can all be used on their own to go forward, with shift to go back. ZDSR+space toggles between view and edit mode, the ladder turns the hotkeys off so you can type in form fields.

The numpad can be used for object navigation, though I don't understand all of it yet. The easy stuff is that zdsr+various numpad keys act just like flat review, 8/2 moves by row=line, 4/6 moves by column. numpad slash is left click, asterisk is right-click, either of them with zdsr locks the mose button down or unlocks it. In areas where there is a terminal, the numpad keys on their own allow you to read by line/character, with 1/3/7/9 moving b y larger chunks. In other cases, 7 is read to end, 8 reads the window title, 4 and 6 move you by object and 3/9 seem to move you through its children. Again, the mouse clicking commands can be used here.

Apps known to work well

App support is excellent. Mozilla apps also can be used but all the webpage navigation commands won't work. Other things known to work include Skype, all Windows apps, office suite word/excel/powerpoint, iTunes, twitter clients (nugget/tween/twblue), Total commander, Miranda NG, Megairc, puTTY, the Windows command prompt, TeamTalk, Steam, Studio recorder, the Pure basic IDE, notepad2...That's just the stuff I tried.
So, that's it for now. I would seriously give this thing a try, I was very positively surprised. It also seems to come with an RSS reader which looks very capable and I'll need to play with it more.

The twins of Mammon quarrelled. Their warring plunged the world into a new darkness, and the beast abhorred the darkness. So it began to move swiftly, and grew more powerful, and went forth and multiplied. And the beasts brought fire and light to the darkness. - from The Book of Mozilla, 15:1

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Just curious, but what synths does it have? Like, does it have eloquence, vocolizer, etc? Or does it have it's own synths? Sorry if you've menschened this before and I didn't notice.


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Here's the manual translated from Simplified Chinese to English using Google Translate.

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4 (edited by brad 2017-10-11 12:39:35)


This sounds interesting, but I got an error when running the program. something about this program needs elivating? The error is in Chinese and I can't translate it.

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That usually means it needs to be run as an administrator, unless this is a totally non standard situation. I'll certainly have to try this myself later when its not 1:30 AM.


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I'm actually really impressed with this one and the synths used are really good for a free version. The speech you get is a synth called skyvoice which has some English voices and Chinese ones, better stick with the English voice. It'd actually be good to make an effort to get this one popular among all the common screen readers, sense I believe this one should be on that list and if we can do that we could also get in touch with the dev and tell them that a lot of people use and love this screen reader and that there are mozilla users using it so they can add firefox support. This is also the first ever paid screen reader company to give users a free version with no strings attached, which is more than can be said of most screen readers. There's nvda but that's free all around. Window eyes, well it's free but you need to pay for office, so I can't consider that one a free version with no strings attached. Zdsr is the only one I've seen to release a paid version and give users a completely free version too.

I'm the only adventure at c: master hahahaha I have unlocked just about everything!

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Hi, can someone please post a direct link to get this? I can't seem to figure out how to run this through google translate. Thanks a lot in advance.

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Hi guys.
I would like to try this screen reader, but I do not think that supports windows 8.1.
in manuals only talked about Windows 7, XP.
someone already tested in Windows 8?
if someone test in Windows 8, do me a favor and tell me if works well.

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Hi twinn92.
thanks for the translations of the manuals.
good work.

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I'm running it on the Windows 10 technical preview, so even newer than 8.1 and I'm not seeing any problems.

The twins of Mammon quarrelled. Their warring plunged the world into a new darkness, and the beast abhorred the darkness. So it began to move swiftly, and grew more powerful, and went forth and multiplied. And the beasts brought fire and light to the darkness. - from The Book of Mozilla, 15:1

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It sounds similar to how Cobra is with updates,

Although Cobra works on Windows 8.0 and later, they are not natively supported.

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waw,ok pitermach.

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please give a direct download link here. I tried downloading it with bing translator, but when I click on the download link I get some news articles.

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Do I can use Sapi 5 with it?

Raduvay se, raduvay
Raduvay se domaki ne
Kolko liste po gorach
Tolko zdrave na taz kyshcha

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All of you that asked for a direct link, here you go. Will give you two files. The screen reader
https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/199 … .4.9.1.exe
and a modified config that you can import and get English right on the fly.
https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/199 … ettings.zd
Install Zhengdu then run the screen reader. Tab to import then locate the config file you downloaded. You should get ENglish speech now.

I'm the only adventure at c: master hahahaha I have unlocked just about everything!

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THe screen reader works with windows 8.1. Spi4 and sapi5 voices are supported.

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The brazille screen reader that was talked long ago on the Global Voice, is called "Dosvox."
Not to be confused with either Chromevox, or DOSBox.

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I love it already! Thank you very much for sharing. Do you think you can do a podcast over it so that more blind people can be aware of it?

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Hi Trenton.
the screen reader national product of Brazil it is called:
vv. Virtual vision.


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Hi, the zip file that was given to us for the English settings seems to have a password associated with it. Is there any way to get that? thx.

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hi keyIsFull
thanks for the typ.

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Use my link, and just hit the import button don't need to do anything with the settings file other than import

I'm the only adventure at c: master hahahaha I have unlocked just about everything!

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The file in your link is a zip file. It's not seen as a file to import with ZD.

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Hi pitermach.
I can not browse web content / net with hot keys.
I press single keys such as:
h, K, F, e, C, R, but nothing happens.
        How  you do to navigate with the hot keys?
I would like to know how to change a TTS engine to use a voice with the Portuguese language.
I don't have voices in the Portuguese language in the engine sapi.5.
I use the voice of the language inglish Catherine, but do not know how to switch to a Portuguese language.
which engine TTS that give the chance to change the language to Portuguese.
the config of the voices are a bit confusing for me.
please help me if you can.

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Make sure you're using internet explorer
Also make sure that you have the language in the settings dialog set to english, and punctuation set to default
THen hit the voice options button and find the voice list and choose a portuguese sAPI5 voice if you have one

I like to sleep, Sleep is good,
This is how I do it: Lie on a nice warm cozy bed, and dream dreams about how to rule the world!
Follow @TheGreatAthlon5 on twitter for humorous facts and game updates!
If you like my posts, thumb me up!

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