Meet the Automater: A HUGE Time-saver in k3000

Written by the Kurzweil Blog Team

If you aren’t familiar with the Automater, it’s a huge time saver. For educators working with multiple large pdf files, or college students charged with reading voluminous books, it reduces admin work by enabling user to queue up PDF and TIF for conversion into KESI.

The Automater is a program that was first used by institutions who offer a scanning service to their students. It was designed for mass conversion of files captured by a high-speed scanner into .KES format. If you have a high speed scanner, it is often more efficient to use that scanner’s software to scan your material rather than use kurzweil 3000 (k3000). The result of the scanning process is a set of TIFF files. The k3000 Automater simplifies the process of converting those scanned TIFF files to .KES files. The Automater also converts PDF files—an addition that opened up new possibilities for educators and students and created a source to supply massive amounts of new content to the library.

When is the Automater Helpful?

You should use the Automater when you have a high-speed scanner and a textbook that you’d like to convert to .KES format, or a file/series of files from a publisher (in a PDF format) containing images for each page of a book that you’d like to convert to .KES format. TIFF and PDF are the formats supported by the k3000 Automater since they allow for multiple page images in a single file.

  • When starting from a textbook, run the textbook through the high-speed scanner and use the image capture software provided by the scanner manufacturer to capture images to 300-DPI PDF or TIFF files.
  • If you have several multi-page PDF files that were received from the publisher they can be placed into the directory specified as the “Source Hierarchy” in the Automater program.

What is great is the time it saves. If you wish to queue the process up before lunch break or leave your machine on overnight, you can return to find your files converted where they should be. The Automater will grind through all the PDF and TIFF files it finds in the Source Hierarchy, converting each to a KES file by running it through Kurzweil 3000 and placing the resulting file in the appropriate directory in the Destination Hierarchy. Once there, they can easily be saved into the Universal Library.

How Do I Begin Using the Automater?

The Automater files are not installed by default. First, you will need to download the Automater here:

Next, follow this step-by-step guide (or watch the video at the end):
1. Create a “source” folder on your hard drive (or elsewhere on your system), and place the TIFF and/or PDF files into it.
2. Create a “destination” folder on your hard drive (or elsewhere on your system). This is where you want Kurzweil 3000 to place the converted KES files.
3. Run the Automater.exe on a computer that has Kurzweil 3000 installed. The Kurzweil 3000 Automater dialog box will appear.

       4. Specify the folder which contains the TIFF and/or PDF files in the Source Hierarchy box, and the folder which you would like to use for the KES files in the Destination Hierarchy box.

You also use Browse to find the folders on your system or over your network.

Note: If the Source folder contains a TIFF file and a PDF file with the same name, you will only get one .KES file in the Destination folder.

5. Specify or browse to the folder which you would like to use for the KES files in the Destination Hierarchy box.

6. If you want, you can use Command Arguments to instruct the Automater to perform additional tasks, such as deleting the source file after conversion.

  • The default command argument -in:^S -out:^D -x , simply takes the source path and file name (^S) as input, and outputs it to the destination path and file name (^D). “-x” indicates the end of the command line.

7. Click OK.

  • When the Automater is done converting the files, it waits for more files in the Source folder.
  • To stop the Automater, click Cancel.
  • You can add more files to the Source folder while the Automater is converting existing files. You do not need to restart; it checks the source folder every few seconds for additional work.
  • The Automater remembers the Source and Destination hierarchies you specify, so the next time you use it, these hierarchies appear in their respective boxes.
  • If Kurzweil 3000 is configured to use the Ask for User at Startup option, you should use the -user:name command option. If you don’t, you will be forced to log on each time the Automater begins to convert a file in the Source folder.

Now that your documents are set up let it run! Go grab a cup of coffee or, if you have a lot of files, let the Automater run overnight. By the time you return your files will be converted…it’s that simple.

Let’s Try it! Follow Along with the How-to Video:


Are you ready to take it for a spin?

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