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Read a book

Thorium provides visual reading and audio playback. In order to ensure that you can find your way around the the publication, Thorium also offers many navigation options as well as the possibility to add bookmarks or to search within the publication.

Moving around in a book
Learn how to move with agility thru a book. Fast forward and backward to next or previous chapter, page or content. Navigate thru table of content, landmarks and reference pages.
Where am I?
Know where you are in a book.
Zooming on images
Since 2.3, Thorium has an image zoom feature (epub only). To zoom on an image you can select the image (a magenta focus outline will appear around it) and activate zoom by clicking with the mouse or tapping it with the finger. Access to image zoom via keyboard is currently not possible. If the image is also a link or if the book your read is in a fixed layout format, you will need to hit the Shift key in order to enter the image zoom feature.
Search in a book
You can use Ctrl + F keys to access the search field. Enter your search term. By clicking on the Search button, you get Back and Next buttons to navigate between occurences. The number of matches found is a link that will open a List of results in the right panel. Each match displayed is a link you can Activate to go to the place of the book where the expression you are looking for was found.
Mark a page or a passage
Add a bookmark The bookmark button allows you to add a custom bookmark. A bookmark can be a fixed point or a text selection. Only one fixed point bookmark is possible per page (book pages or calculated pages in case there is not page reference in the book). But you can place as many texte selection bookmark as you want. When you add a Bookmark a notification appears to inform you that the Bookmark was Added or Deleted.
Reading settings
In the reading interface use the Preferences button (): the options are revealed. Reading settings can be saved or reset by using buttons Save and Reset located in the menu Settings, submenu Configuration of the Reading window. Major settings are available for EPUB Reflowable, Fixed Layout EPUBs and PDF formats just don’t allow personalisation of appearance. Most Fixed Layout EPUBs will allow to open Image view for zooming on a page.
Read mathematics
Since 2.3 Thorium Reader supports mathematical formulas in MathML natively thanks to Chromium. MathJax module is incorporated and may be of use for interoperability and accessibility needs. If you make use of the MathJax module you might be interested by MathJax documentation. Previous versions rely on the MathJax module. This last one requires memory resources so it is not automatically activated when you open Thorium. To activate it when reading a book, go to the menu Reading settings, at the bottom of the Display tab you will find a checkbox MathJax.
Text to Speech (TTS)
Thorium 2.3 TTS reads page numbers by default which might result in a too verbose earing experience. The skipability option in readaloud parameter does not affect TTS reading as expected. This is fixed in 2.4 alpha continuous test build and will be shipped in 2.4 release. Text-to-speech is launched using the speaker button in the middle of the toolbar, or by using the keyboard shortcut Ctrl + 2. Play and pause can be controlled with the keyboard shortcut Ctrl + 2.

1 - Moving around in a book

Learn how to move with agility thru a book. Fast forward and backward to next or previous chapter, page or content. Navigate thru table of content, landmarks and reference pages.

The navigation options can be very different from one book to another. Thorium allows the following. The navigation options can be very different from one book to another. Thorium allows:

  • Move forward and backward in the reading
  • use table of contents, reference points and pagination (which must be included by the book’s producing organization)
  • go to previous and next navigation points
  • move backward and forward in the history of navigation actions

history navigation: jump back & forward to reading points (new in Thorium 2.2. EPUB only)

While reading, user has the power to navigate from one point to another using Navigation panel or following a link into the publication. This activates jump back (Ctrl + backspace) and jump forward (Ctrl + Shift + backspace) buttons on the bottom left of the reading window. Use this buttons to find a precedent place and return to the last place.

History Navigation takes into account user interactions, including clicks on bottom timeline, TOC, bookmarks, landmarks, where am I headings, go to page. It does not takes into account search previous and next and list links.

Move forward and backward

To navigate forward and backward in the content of the book you can use the arrows on your keyboard or click on the navigation arrows located at the bottom right of the reading interface (Previous content buttonNext content button).

It is possible to move between chapters using Ctrl + Previous page (Page Up) (previous chapter) and Ctrl + Next page (Page Down) (next chapter) or Ctrl + Shift + ALT (except on MacOS) + (previous chapter) and Ctrl + Shift + ALT (except on MacOS) + (next chapter).

The table of contents

The table of contents represents the architecture of the book as defined by the book’s producing organization.

The first level titles are indicated without margin, those with subtitles (or second level title) are presented with a lightgray background. The sub-headings are shifted from the margin to the left and a vertical line makes it easy to know to which level of title they belong.

With NVDA
You can use the title level navigation functions (NVDA + H) to explore and move through the table of contents.
Screenshot, table of contents: Titles Level 1 Cover, Title, Copyright, Dedicae, Exergue, Introduction, The Mark of Four; Title Level 2 Deduction elevated to a science.

Landmarks

Good-quality digital books have markers that allow you to identify and quickly reach the main parts of a book.

Screenshot, Go to page. Current page: 3. A drop-down menu indicates 3, an editable field indicates Enter page number, a button indicates Go to.

The reference pages

Digital books can have a reference pagination allowing correspondence to the pagination of the printed book.

There is a navigation option to go to the page. When you access it, this option shows the current page.

There is also a keyboard shortcut for this function. Press the Ctrl + Shift + P, then enter the page number in the edit box by typing it or changing the value using the Go to page box.

Screenshot, Go to page. Current page: 3. A drop-down menu indicates 3, an editable field indicates Enter page number, a button indicates Go to.

2 - Where am I?

Know where you are in a book.

The keyboard shortcuts Shift + Ctrl + k allows to get a quick mention of the reading position in the document. This information will be displayed in the notification area at the bottom left of the interface and will be read by a screen reader.

Screen reader’s page location is approximative

Because of inherent limitation in current screen reader technology, Thorium has to estimates the reading location. Consequently the page number anounced by Thorium is not reflecting the place where the screen reader’s is actually reading, the error might be of some sentences.

This screenreader page location issue is known and we are discuting about a way to solve accessible page numbers & page breaks

However NVDA will announce the page break as a separator if it has a title attribute (exemple: <span epub:type="pagebreak" role="doc-pagebreak" id="page_2" class="page" title="2"/> will cause NVDA to anounce “Two, separator”).

Screenshot, notification area, current page 103 - progress = 14/25 (barrel incident) [32%] H1 VII / H2 Barrel incident.

The keyboard shortcut Shift + Ctrl + n will open the table of content Navigation menu centered and focused to the detected heading closest to the reading location.

When you look at the Navigation menu, Thorium shows the current chapter in the table of contents and the current page in the Go to page menu.

Screenshot, reading a book with title VII Barrel Incident. The navigation pane is open, the table of contents shows the title Barrel Incident in a square which indicates that this is the chapter being read.

Access more informations

Use the Information function (Ctrl + Shift + I) to open a panel that displays the title structure and page number.

In addition to the book information, this sign shows at the subheading Progression:

  • the chapter number out of the total number of chapters;
  • the title of the current chapter;
  • the percentage read of the current chapter;
  • the current page;
  • the title structure (h1 is a level 1 title, h2 is a level 2 title, etc.)

Press the Escape key to close the Information panel and return to the text.

Screenshot, progress: 14/25 (barrel incident) [1%] h1: VII
Use Where am I with NVDA

Press the NVDA + F7 keys, and then the tab key until you get the header view. This shows you where you are in the title structure.

Press the NVDA + Enter keys to save the current position. Then Ctrl + Shift + I to place the cursor in the Progress section of the dialog box containing information about the information dialog box. The number of the current HTML document in relation to the the total number of documents, the percentage, the current page and the corresponding section are displayed, with the option of displaying links to scroll backwards and forwards. After closing the dialog, for example by for example by pressing Escape key, it is possible to return to the point through the screen reader link (marked with a double underline) in the main underline) in the main content frame (which can be navigated to with the with the Tab key or with the letter M in navigation mode).

3 - Zooming on images

Since 2.3, Thorium has an image zoom feature (epub only).

To zoom on an image you can select the image (a magenta focus outline will appear around it) and activate zoom by clicking with the mouse or tapping it with the finger. Access to image zoom via keyboard is currently not possible.

If the image is also a link or if the book your read is in a fixed layout format, you will need to hit the Shift key in order to enter the image zoom feature.

To zoom in or out, tab to the + or - buttons and hit enter, use mouse wheel, scroll up and down or pinch and stretch trackpad or onscreen touch gestures.

Once the image is zoomed you can move vertically and horizontally with , , and , by moving mouse while maintaining clic, with usual trackpad gestures or with finger moves on tactile screens.

To close the image zoom view and to return to the reading view, press ESC key, or the X button.

Some restrictions due to ebook design may apply, for example when images are inserted as style (CSS), it is not possible to open the image view for zooming.

4 - Search in a book

You can use Ctrl + F keys to access the search field. Enter your search term. By clicking on the Search button, you get Back and Next buttons to navigate between occurences. The number of matches found is a link that will open a List of results in the right panel. Each match displayed is a link you can Activate to go to the place of the book where the expression you are looking for was found.

Screenshot, the search bar is present above the text, the corresponding text highlighted in green and the Search panel indicates a match

5 - Mark a page or a passage

Add a bookmark

The bookmark button allows you to add a custom bookmark. A bookmark can be a fixed point or a text selection. Only one fixed point bookmark is possible per page (book pages or calculated pages in case there is not page reference in the book). But you can place as many texte selection bookmark as you want.

When you add a Bookmark a notification appears to inform you that the Bookmark was Added or Deleted. The number just after indicates the total number of Bookmarks in the Book after this action.

Reviewing and navigating the Bookmarks

Press the Navigation button (Ctrl + N), then the Bookmarks button. You can change the name of each bookmark, delete bookmarks and move between bookmarks by pressing Enter.

Access the list of bookmarks in the navigation area. Select the bookmark you wish to access and press the Enter key. If you have renamed the bookmark, it will be easy to go to several places in the book.

Using bookmarks with NVDA
Windows screen readers use a virtual buffer for reading. To place a bookmark where you are currently reading press the key combination NVDA + Enter, and NVDA will say “activate “. This synchronizes the virtual buffer with the current real location so Thorium can deduce the object on which the cursor is located. Then use Ctrl + B to place a bookmark. A sound notification will inform you of the number of bookmarks in the current publication.

6 - Reading settings

In the reading interface use the Preferences button (): the options are revealed.

Major settings are available for EPUB Reflowable, Fixed Layout EPUBs and PDF formats just don’t allow personalisation of appearance. Most Fixed Layout EPUBs will allow to open Image view for zooming on a page. PDFs can be enlarged using the Zoom sub-menu in the Preferences panel.

Theme

The color of the background and foreground can be changed using one of the three available themes - Neutral, Sepia and Night.

Text

The font size can be increased or decreased using the slider. The font can also be changed. The available options are as follows Default, Old style, Modern, Sans, Humanist, Readable (Dyslexia), Dualspace and Monospace.

By selecting the ... you can enter the name of the font you want to use. To do this, the font must be present on your operating system and you must know its exact name as it is set for the operating system.

Display

You can choose between a page layout with scrolling or pagination, automatic or justified alignment and automatic or on 1 or 2 columns. Here also, MathJax can be activated, for the display of mathematical expressions.

Spacing

Margins, word spacing, letter spacing, paragraph spacing and line spacing can be adjusted.

Readaloud

Provides options for an uncluttered clean view and the ability to skip secondary content (skippability) which may include footnotes or sidebars according to the semantics indicated during the production of the digital book. Split TTS will split the content by sentence for more precise highlighting.

7 - Read mathematics

Since 2.3 Thorium Reader supports mathematical formulas in MathML natively thanks to Chromium. MathJax module is incorporated and may be of use for interoperability and accessibility needs.

If you make use of the MathJax module you might be interested by MathJax documentation.

Previous versions rely on the MathJax module. This last one requires memory resources so it is not automatically activated when you open Thorium. To activate it when reading a book, go to the menu Reading settings, at the bottom of the Display tab you will find a checkbox MathJax.

Screenshot of a complex mathematical formula correctly displayed with the MathJax option checked.

Once MathJax is activated, you can use the contextual menu (right click) on a mathematical formula inserted in MathML format and use the many options proposed such as reading aloud (speech), viewing the semantic marking or copy the formula with its semantic attributes to use it in a compatible editor.

Screenshot of the MathJax context menu showing the Accessibility sub-menu with the Activate option checked.
Read mathematics with NVDA

You can read mathematical expressions tagged with MathML using different NVDA approaches. Although NVDA is already equipped with this feature by applying Math Player, some functions still needed to be improved, especially in Math Player some language support is not provided. You may want to use an addon like MathCAT or Access8Math.

In case of instabilities, we recommend to disable MathJax accessibility features thru context menu.

Using Access8Math:

To install the add-on, navigate to Access8Math webpage and click on “Stable” link to download the add-on.

When reading a EPUB with Math content, Down Arrow to the line containing the equation and place your focus on the equation. Press Enter to activate “Access8Math. This will open a small window containing interaction window” which contains “interactive” and “copy” buttons.

Interaction: This will allow Interaction within the math content. In order to navigate and browse, you can use the Down Arrow to partially explore the subparts in the expression and move or zoom the content between the subparts by using Right and Left Arrows.

Copy: Use the Copy mode to Copy MathML object source code.

Navigation mode commands:

  • Down Arrow: Zoom in on a smaller subpart of the math content.
  • Up Arrow: Zoom out to a larger sub-part of the math content.
  • Left Arrow: Move to the previous math content.
  • Right Arrow: Move to the next math content.
  • Home: Move back to the top of the Entire math content.
  • Ctrl + c: Copy object MathML source code
  • Numpad 1 to 9: Reading the math content into serialized text using NVDA Review Text.
  • Escape: Exit the navigation mode.
  • Ctrl + Alt + m: Switch the provider between Access8Math and Math Player.

8 - Text to Speech (TTS)

Text-to-speech is launched using the speaker button in the middle of the toolbar, or by using the keyboard shortcut Ctrl + 2.

  • Play and pause can be controlled with the keyboard shortcut Ctrl + 2.

  • The playback position can be moved with Ctrl + 1 and Ctrl + 3 for previous and next respectively.

  • A speed control is available when read aloud is selected, with a range from x0.5 to x2.

  • The current sentence is highlighted in light yellow, and each word spoken is underlined in orange.

  • An alternative (simplified) view of the publication is provided through options available in the Settings / Readaloud menu.