How to make PDF documents accessible to screen readers (NVDA, JAWS)

9 February 2017

In this tutorial, we’ll take a quick look at the accessibility features of FlowPaper. FlowPaper Elements has the ability to convert PDF documents into interactive publications and makes sure that the text is readable by the most popular screen readers such as JAWS and NVDA. It does this by converting the PDF document into HTML5 snippets that are readable by the screen reader software. Many PDF documents are fragmented in their texts and Elements also makes sure that words are not “chopped up” into pieces that make them hard to read for screen readers. For example, the word banana may be represented in a PDF in single characters (“b”-“a”-“n”-“a”-“n”-“a”) as opposed to kept as a word, making it hard to listen to when read out by a screen reader.



Getting started

To get started. Download the desktop publisher from our download page and click the “Import PDF” button to import an existing PDF document. You can also choose to select a number of documents if you want the desktop publisher to join them together.



Selecting project type

The  next step is to select project type for our publication. Make sure you select the second project template (“Elements – Flat”) since this is the viewer we want to use. Only the Elements viewer supports screen readers fully at this stage.




Choosing font conversion

Choose a font conversion method that suits your publication. We recommend using the fonts in the PDF per default but you can also choose to import them from a URL or to match the fonts from our font library to different fonts.




Turn on the accessibility features

Now that we have our document imported, it is time to turn on the accessibility features available. Make sure you have switched on “Improved Accessibiltiy” under “Behaviour” on the left hand side of the publisher as well as “Text to Speech” under controls on the right hand side. Turning on the “text to speech” on the right hand side will give you a speech icon in the tool bar of the viewer that you can click on to hear the current page read out using the built in screen reader of the browser.




Publish and Listen

Now that we have our document prepared – its time to publish and listen to the result. Click the “Publish” button in the top right corner to finalize your publication. Click the “View in Browser” button to preview the publication in your preferred web browser. Click the speech button to test each page read out or use your screen reader to read out each open page in the publication.

Convert PDF to EPUB3 with fixed and reflowable layout

8 February 2017

There are a range of tools available for converting PDF documents to ePUB3 on the market today, but very few actually preserve the layout and fonts of your documents in a way which makes them useful for professional publications. In this tutorial we’ll go through the basics of converting a PDF document using the FlowPaper Desktop Publisher.

To get started, simply download the desktop publisher from our download page and create a “free/trial” account to log in. You should see the desktop publisher grid once this is done.



Importing your PDF

Click on “Import PDF” in the top and select the PDF document that you would like to convert when the import PDF dialogue appears.**




**Choosing ePUB template


ePUB3 supports both fixed and reflowable layouts. Our next step is to choose a layout model that suits our document. The rule of thumb is that graphical or complex publications should typically use the fixed layout. Books and more textual publications should typically use the reflowable layout format. We will use the fixed layout format for this demonstration.





Choose how to import your fonts

The desktop publisher is able to handle fonts in 3 different ways. It can either import the fonts from your PDF, switch to similar fonts or use fonts from a url. The default choice here is to use the fonts in your PDF document. We’ll select “Use fonts in the PDF” for this demonstration. This option preserves all fonts so that they look just like in your PDF document.





Preview and edit the imported result

You can now preview edit your document before exporting it as a ePUB3 publication. The buttons “Preview” and “Edit” in the top right corner allows you to edit and preview each page. You can also add links, images and videos to the publication.





Prepare your final copy

Once you’re happy with how the publication looks, click the “Publish” button in the top right corner. This will take you to the final publishing dialogue which prepares the final ePUB file for you. Finalize by clicking the “Publish” button.


Voila! your ePUB file is ready to be distributed. Here’s a preview of our test ePUB file in Apple iBooks:

FlowPaper 2.5.3 Release Notes

1 February 2017

We’re pleased to announce our newest version of FlowPaper with a number of what we think are great improvements. The focus during January has been to implement a new compression and flatten mode for Zine which is now available in the desktop publisher. This new mode flattens the PDF and makes it possible to zoom to infinite levels on all devices and platforms.

Here are the most important changes for this release:

  • New import dialogue for Zine in the Desktop Publisher that presents a number of new options including the ability to overwrite previously imported PDFs and
    the ability to flatten PDFs file when importing them. The flatten mode reduces their size and improves speed dramatically, similar to how the Elements viewer already works.
    The flatten import option also improves zoom for all mobile devices to infinite levels and stays sharp at all zoom levels.
  • The Zine import mode in the desktop publisher will now ask if you want to overwrite existing publications if a PDF with the same name has previously been imported (Desktop Publisher)
  • Improved rendering accuracy in flip book mode for Elements to avoid pixel rounding when flipping pages (Desktop Publisher)
  • Improved accuracy for Elements in texts that are starting with negative x-adjustments (Desktop Publisher)
  • Improved accuracy for measuring standard font (Helvetica, Times, etc.) widths in Elements publications (Desktop Publisher)
  • Updated the video player for self hosted videos (Zine, Elements)
  • Fixed an issue related to Safari not fitting some pages properly in Zine for differently sized publications (Desktop Publisher)
  • Fixed an issue where two-fold publications were coming through with the incorrect height specified causing added links to be mispositioned
  • Fixed an issue where two-fold publications were not adjusting their TOC (bookmarks table) properly (Zine, Elements)
  • Fixed an issue where two-fold publications were not rendering the correct number of pages in Elements (Desktop Publisher)
  • Fixed a regression issue related to two-fold publications adjusting their sizes incorrectly causing some images to appear in incorrect places (Zine)
  • Fixed a few issues related to the cloud upload sometimes not providing feedback on progress (Desktop Publisher)
  • Fixed an issue where the publisher would use the wrong standard font (Times, Helvetica etc) in certain cases (Elements, Zine)
  • Fixed an issue where the search abstract would unnecessarily shrink the viewer (Zine)
  • Fixed an issue where ‘Disable Mouse Wheel Zooming’ would still prevent the default event from firing (Zine)
  • Fixed an issue where two-fold publications would not adjust their link targets properly in Elements publications (Elements)
  • Fixed an issue where adding annotations to certain publications would cause the text on their subsequent pages to be missing (Zine)
  • Fixed an issue where obfuscated/read-only publications would become corrupted when applying new import settings in the desktop publisher (Elements)

FlowPaper 2.5.2 Release Notes

28 December 2016

This is a smaller follow-up build to version 2.5.1 that contains a few corrections and fancy new shadows for our Zine users. Please find a compacted version of our changes below:

  • Fixed an issue related to textlayers not being enabled on iOS and Android devices for the annotations viewer (CLASSIC)
  • Improved 3D shadows for Zine (Desktop Publisher, web server packages)
  • Fixed an issue where TOC wasn’t reprocessed properly when re-opening publications (Desktop Publisher)
  • Fixed an issue where custom page labels were not being shown properly in the fisheye navigator (Desktop Publisher)
  • Upgraded three.js to version 79 (Zine)
  • Added additional checks for missing PDF files in the Zine conversion process (Desktop Publisher)
  • Corrected various form validations and reported prcessing issues for the Desktop Publisher
  • Fixed an issue where it wasn’t possible to click apply after rearranging the TOC items (Desktop Publisher)
  • Fixed an issue where user selections were causing the browser to jiggle when panning in zoomed in mode for Zine inside the desktop publisher (Desktop Publisher)
  • More cloud control functionality deployed the the commercial account area

FlowPaper 2.5.1 Release Notes

7 December 2016

We trust that everyone is busy to wrap up their projects before x-mas with only 2 weeks left before holidays start. Our latest release touches all our products. We have also spent some time during November to touch up our web site as we have a number of things rolling out in relation to our cloud service that needed a better shape and form in order to be easier to access. We will be releasing Zine first and follow on with Classic being released shortly after.

  • Fixed an issue where the cloud upload was using the custom output directory instead of the source directory causing the upload to fail in some cases (Desktop Publisher)
  • Improved the ‘Show folder’ functionality in the desktop publisher so that it now brings the folder to front in Windows (Desktop Publisher)
  • Fixed an issue where the font conversion cloud service wasn’t able to convert some documents with very large number of fonts (500+) (Desktop Publisher)
  • Fixed an issue related to invisible text being incorrectly displayed in certain Elements publications
  • Added social sharing to the FlowPaper Elements viewer (Desktop Publisher)
  • Improved transition zoom animation for Elements so that it is smoother (Desktop Publisher)
  • Improved zoom speed in Elements significantly (Desktop Publisher)
  • Option to include download of the original PDF added to Elements (Desktop Publisher)
  • Improved the ability to sign in to the desktop publisher even if our servers would be down (Desktop Publisher)
  • Fix applied that prevents page from scrolling when mouse wheel zooming into Elements Publications (Desktop Publisher)
  • FlowPaper account area updated (Web Site)
  • Performance improvements for Zine related to Chrome 54 and its latest changes to will-change and the re-rasterization of transformed objects (Zine)
  • New design on our web site (Web Site)
  • Improved caching on our cloud services (Web Site)
  • Further improvements to printing to make sure printed pages fit on one page size (A4, A3 etc) (Zine, Classic)
  • Added the ability to add your logo to the viewer for commercial license holders (Zine)
  • Fixed an issue where zooming into Elements publications when included inside an iframe would cause the parent window to resize (Elements)
  • SSL support added for our cloud service
  • Fixed an issue related to PDFs with uppercase “.PDF” which were not displaying properly in some scenarios (Desktop Publisher)
  • Fixed an issue for desktop Safari related to zooming and defaulting to HTML4 for desktop Safari when available (Zine)
  • Fixed an issue related to text selection having incorrect behaviour on IE11 edge (Zine)

FlowPaper 2.5.0 Release Notes

25 October 2016

Our newest release of our Desktop Publisher is here! We’re especially excited to finally announce version 2.5.0 as it includes things that we know many of you have been requesting for quite a while. The big item in version 2.5.0 is that it supports integrated cloud hosting which will allow you to upload and share publications using our cloud service (powered by Amazon S3 + CloudFlare). This service was built with the people in mind who do not have any hosting set up yet or simply do not want to set up their own hosting to share their publications. You’ll find this new method for sharing your publications after clicking on the “Publish” button in the top right corner of the desktop publisher. You can find more details about this service on our download page.

Here’s the full list of changes in this release:

  • Fixed an issue where encrypted Zine publications would load corrupted images on some web servers
  • Fixed an issue where the viewer was being show too early causing the size of the viewer to be incorrectly calculated (Zine)
  • Fixed an issue where the viewer would not fit its width after performing a search even if FitWidthOnLoad was set (Classic)
  • Removed unintentional hover shadow on links (Zine)
  • Increased max zoom factor for touch devices (Zine)
  • Fixed an issue where sub pixel rounding would cause blurryness in Elements publications under Chrome on Windows (Elements)
  • Fixed an issue where two fold publications were not being adjusted properly in Flash mode (Zine)
  • Fixed an issue where the last page of publications with odd page numbers would still show the nav bar (Zine)
  • Fixed an issue where the bottom (fisheye style) thumbnails would not resize back to their original size in certain scenarios (Zine)
  • Added the ability to set page animation style to each Zine publication in the publisher (Zine)
  • Annotations viewer now using the annotated PDF to trigger print for better printing quality (Annotations)
  • Moved video snapshots, backgrounds and images into images/ for publications created for Zine in the Desktop Publisher for consistency and improved resource sharing (Zine)
  • Improved cross domain image loading for Zine to avoid security exceptions being thrown if images are located on a different server (Zine)
  • Fixed an issue related to differently sized pages (Classic)
  • Added the ability to upload and share publications on FlowPaper cloud (Powered by Amazon Web Services) (Desktop Publisher)
  • Added additional checks for the output size in Zine to avoid some publications from creating too large outputs when split into individual files (Desktop Publisher)
  • Improved the way the Desktop Publisher processes the output formats to avoid reprocessing formats that are already created (Desktop Publisher)
  • Fixed an issue for two fold publications which were using incorrect dimensions for their thumbnails (Zine, Desktop Publisher)
  • Fixed an issue where all pages would not be republished properly on Windows in some scenarios (Desktop Publisher)
  • Desktop Publisher now supporting proxy settings. Supply the “–[email protected]:address:port” parameter to the Desktop Publisher if you want to start it with proxy support (Desktop Publisher)
  • Fixed an issue where having the sharing dialgoue open would still cause the viewer to flip pages in some cases if corners were clicked (Zine)
  • Fixed a few issues for Elements where it wasn’t possible to edit the TOC properly for publications with no TOC as start (Desktop Publisher)

We’re releasing Zine at the beginning of this week, with Classic following shortly after.

FlowPaper 2.4.9 Release Notes

5 September 2016

We hope all of you on the northern hemisphere had a good summer, we have been super busy to rebrand our product and to also provide you with a new fresh build. We know some clients have had to wait for this longer than usual due to the extra work we had to do when changing product name from FlexPaper to FlowPaper, but we feel that we’re back on track now and should be quick to respond to requests going forward. We’re sorry for any inconvenience in this.

There are a couple of interesting new features this month, mainly the ability to create web publications for Adobe Cordova (PhoneGap) and greater control over individual elements in FlowPaper Elements. This area will be further expanded in the coming months. We’re rolling out our desktop publisher first this week with the server builds for Classic and Zine following shortly after.

Here’s the list of changes that were made during August:

  • Fixed an issue related to the color selector not withdrawing after changing annotations tool (Classic)
  • Fixed an issue related to fitting the page horizontally when the page is rotated caused incorrect fitting (Classic)
  • Fixed an issue where a rotated page with annotation marks would rotate the text inside the marks as well (Classic)
  • Fixed an issue where clicking on text selection note multiple times after selecting color would cause misselection in selected color (Classic)
  • Fixed an issue where the zoom slider wouldn’t be re-enabled on touch enabled desktop browsers when switching to two-page and back to portrait (Classic)
  • Small adjustments to the Elements viewer and its text spacing routine for evenly spaced out text fragments (Elements)
  • Fixed an issue where going from 10 pages to all pages in preview when working with two-fold publications in Elements caused one of the pages not to render properly (Elements)
  • Fixed an issue where one of the Zine styles (with the toolbar in the bottom) would misposition the toolbar (Zine)
  • Updated our php sample scripts to use mysqli for PHP 7.x and higher (Classic)
  • Fixed an issue where coming out of full screen using the toolbar button in IE11 would cause the viewer to be incorrectly resized (Zine)
  • Mobile/Desktop and Tablet controls now have their own settings section under controls allowing further controls on which buttons that are visible (Desktop Publisher)
  • Improved clipping pdfs imported into FlexPaper Elements
  • More text animations added to FlexPaper Elements (Desktop Publisher)
  • Fixed an issue where the bookmarks (or outline) would not be resolved properly in Elements mode and EPUB mode (Desktop Publisher)
  • Fixed an issue where some sub sets of standard fonts were not being converted (Elements)
  • Fixed an issue where matching similar fonts didn’t produce matches in the final copy (Elements)
  • Fixed an issue where mouse wheel scrolling would cause the page to scroll if the viewer was smaller than the viewport (Zine)
  • Fixed an issue where searching using an empty string would generate an error in the viewer (Classic, Zine)
  • Fixed an issue where navigating quickly next was not coherent with navigating quickly to previous pages (Classic)
  • Fixed an issue where entering page numbers in the print dialogue wasn’t possible when text annotations were shown behind the dialogue (Classic)
  • Fixed an issue where the publisher was unable to open the publication in some cases and generating the error UnexpectedResponseException(0) (Desktop Publisher)
  • Added the ability to move around text elements in the publisher (Elements mode)
  • Added the ability to animate individual text elements (more animation settings and modes are coming up shortly!) (Desktop Publisher)
  • It is now possible to export and distribute web publications as Adobe PhoneGap applications using Elements (Desktop Publisher)

Making PDF documents interactive online

17 August 2016

What if your PDF could do this when published online?


Making PDF documents interactive has been an active subject for a long time, but in reality, there are very few options out there offering the possibility to add interactivity to existing elements in PDF publications. Our Elements PDF viewer repurposes the PDF document and maintains control over each element in the publication so that existing content can be animated.

Our upcoming version of FlowPaper will feature a rich set of animations and interactivity that can be used for your publications. The animation above shows how you can add interactivity to existing PDF content and keep text sharpness.

See more live examples here

Converting PDF to flipbook without loosing focus

15 August 2016

As Google is progressing further and further away from flash the transition for many publishers taking their PDF web publications to the web is becoming something of increasing importance. While there are many services out there offering conversion of PDF to various HTML5 formats, very few of them actually offer real conversion. At best, they convert documents to bitmapped versions. With FlowPaper Elements, PDF documents are not bitmapped, they’re actually converted to real, crisp elements that stay sharp on all devices and sizes. This post illustrates a few things we do as part of this converting the PDF documents. You can see an example of a converted PDF flipbook publication below:

image </figure>

How to convert your PDF documents to a HTML5 friendly format

To convert a PDF to a web friendly HTML5 flipbook, a few steps needs to be taken.

1. Fonts need to be converted to web friendly fonts

This means that all glyphs and characters needs to be adjusted to a format that is indexable by search engines and stays sharp on all devices. The fonts need to be converted to either woff, ttf and with a fall back eot.

2. All layers of the PDF needs to be flattened

To optimise the viewing experience for devices with slow CPU, only visible layers should be visible.

3. Visible text should be real sentences and rows

In a PDF, each character can be individually positioned in the document. While this may give a greater sense of accuracy, it also decreases performance significantly. By converting visible sentences and texts to real, actual sentences and rows, performance is improved greatly.

4. The PDF publication needs to be split up into easily downloadable sections

Speed is key. To avoid long download times, the PDF should be split into sections that are quicker to download for the browser.

On top of this, accuracy of course needs to be maintained to the maximum so that the flipbook matches the original publication correctly.

So what does the difference look like between a real conversion and a bitmapped conversion?

To illustrate how big the difference is we have taken this screenshot from a publication converted with FlowPaper elements (right side) and a typical flipbook (left side). You don’t need to be a rocket scientist to see the difference in output.

image </figure>

Want to try with your own PDF? Download the FlowPaper Desktop Publisher and give it a go!

FlexPaper is now FlowPaper (& version 2.4.8 release notes)!

8 August 2016

Auckland based digital software publisher provider, Devaldi has undergone a product brand review and introduces FlowPaper (formerly FlexPaper/FlexPaperViewer) today.

The new product brand identity reflects Devaldi’s commitment to provide the best digital reading experience. FlowPaper is the next generation desktop and server based publisher for the web. It transforms your static PDF’s into editable digital publications that adapts to the device, a true HTML5 viewer using true web fonts. Always delivering crisp sharp text and imagery with a minimum loading time. Compare us and experience the difference!

When FlexPaper was launched about six years ago, Adobe Flash was the standard for viewing PDFs on the web and after its launch, FlexPaper quickly became one of the most used document viewer applications on the web. Our Zine viewer has been much appreciated by our customers along with our Classic viewer. But much has changed during these years  and the step away from Flash and towards HTML5 ended the relevance for FlexPaper in its original form.

FlowPaper is built to make the most out of your static digital content in HTML5 format. This includes a range of publishing options and FlowPaper lets you publish your content the way you want it. FlowPaper includes our well-known Zine publisher, the new Elements format and our Reflow viewer. The variety is set to meet your needs.

We’re also pleased to release our updated version of our publisher this week.

Changes in this release:

  • Fixed an issue related to IE8 not loading some FlexPaper Elements Publications
  • Upgraded to Electron 1.2.5 (Desktop Publisher)
  • Improved accuracy in clipping of text (Elements)
  • Its now possible to track Elements publications using Google Analytics just as with Zine (Elements)
  • The Zine toolbar now floats on top of the publication giving greater reading area than before (Zine)
  • Improved EPUB3 support (for readers such as Adobe Digital Editions) (Desktop Publisher)
  • Changed the way annotations are added to the DOM so that rotation of annotations are improved (Classic)
  • Its now possible to set a custom cover image for EPUB publications (Desktop Publisher)
  • Its now possible to set ISBN for EPUB publications (Desktop Publisher)
  • Fixed an issue where two fold publications would show the incorrect number of pages in the editing section of the publisher (Desktop Publisher)
  • Fixed an issue where links placed on two fold publications would be misplaced when zooming in and then out (Zine, Desktop Publisher)
  • Improved text clipping accuracy for Elements (Desktop Publisher)
  • Improved navigation panels margins slightly for iPhone 5 (Zine)
  • Embedded default color profile for OSX for improved color accuracy (Zine, Desktop Publisher)
  • Implemented partial navigation drag for Elements, slide (Desktop Publisher)
  • Fixed an issue where setting a higher Max Zoom Factor than 500% would cause the viewer to initialize incorrectly (Zine)
  • Fixed an issue where the MixedMode parameter wasn’t being passed on properly when using FullScreenAsMaxWindow (Zine)
  • The TOC editor is now available for Elements (static layout) (Desktop Publisher)
  • Clarified the TouchInitViewMode for Zine. Setting this to ‘Portrait’ when using Zine will result in a forced single page mode. (Zine)
  • Changed default view mode to slide for phone style touch devices (Elements)
  • Performed a number of optimizations for Chrome 52 (Elements)
  • Improved text accuracy for Elements by improved handling of negative movements in text fragments (Elements)
  • Improved support for two fold publications where links were not being adjusted properly in Elements publications (Elements)
  • Added hover link color to links in FlexPaper Elements and pulse-in effect (Elements)
  • Reduced file size of FlexPaper Zine by excluding some previously included image resources (Zine)
  • It is now possible to select local MP4 and WEBM files for self hosted videos and distribute them together with both Zine and Elements (Desktop Publisher)
  • Fixed an issue related to starting on specific pages in smaller sized devices for Elements which caused incorrect page to show up initially (Elements)
  • Fixed an issue related to resizing the Elements viewer causing some pages to go blank for specific scenarios (Elements)