Technical Guide Installation and Troubleshooting

Notes  for  System  Administrators

STEMReader is a program that reads maths aloud in English. It is most similar to text-to-speech software, but rather than text, it translates mathematic mark-up (MathML) into English speech.

OS Compatibility

STEMReader runs exclusively on Microsoft Windows, and the majority of testing and optimisation has been focussed on Windows 7 and 10.

STEMReader runs in a browser window. It is a webpage wrapped in a window provided by AppJS (a javascript library). It presents as, and looks like, a standard Windows Application.

STEMReader uses a C# interface to access the SAPI voice engine within Microsoft Windows.

It registers a protocol handler within the registry, which means html links formatted as <a href=”stemreader:'<mathml>…'”> are opened by STEMReader when clicked. This functionality has been tested in Chrome and Internet Explorer. It is likely that the first time that such a link is activated, a security warning pop-up will open; this may be something that network administrators need to accommodate if network users are not permitted to dismiss such warnings.

By virtue of being a containerised webpage, STEMReader may run on Macs, but it cannot read maths aloud, and use of Macs is unsupported by the STEMReader team at this time.

Screenreader Compatibility

STEMReader has been tested for compatibility with the following screen-reader programs:

  • JAWS
  • NVDA

Compatibility in this case means that both programs run simultaneously without incident, and that the default shortcut keys for both programs don’t clash. Note, due to lack of support for Javascript applications in SuperNova, it is not currently compatible with STEMReader.

Whilst using a screen reader, the user will need to use their screen reader to start STEMReader and navigate the interface. The text transcript can be read aloud via STEMReader. However, users may prefer to turn off automatic reading in STEMReader, navigate to the text transcript and then use their screen reader to hear the text.  STEMReader will then need to be closed using the standard short-cut key ‘Alt-F4’. STEMReader does not (and cannot) automatically open and read mathematics – it must be instigated by the user.


STEMReader allows users to use any voice that they make available to it. Standard Microsoft Windows installations have two or three voices by default. With Windows 8 or later this includes a British voice. If other voices are downloaded and installed, STEMReader can use them.

Troubleshooting: Certain voices read strings passed to them in different ways. For instance, during
testing, “10000” was read correctly as “ten thousand” by most voices, but as “one thousand zero” by
another. If STEMReader is not reading correctly, it is advisable to try a different voice.


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