Word, Excel and Powerpoint 2010 onwards have the Accessibility Checker tool. This ensures that all documents are in a correct format to be read by screen readers. Persons with disabilities such as those with visual impairments use a screen reader which reads the text to the reader.
Images, shapes and graphics in the document need Alt text adding to them which is a description of the image or shape. This enables the screen reader to give a description of the image to the listener. Any formatting issues which the listener may find hard to comprehend, and content that needs organising correctly will be pointed out by the accessibility checker and amendments can be made to the document so it is easily read by the screen reader including captions for audio and video files etc.
For Excel documents alternative text needs adding to images and objects and specifying table headers.
Accessibility Checker is also available on Powerpoint which will apply to persons with hearing and visual impairments as Powerpoint presentations are both audio and visual documents. Fingertips can add closed captions to videos and audio to aid helping people who are hard of hearing in order that they can access the content. The STAMP add in allows Fingertips to give a description of the audio and video in the presentation.
Fingertips can create talking books in Word. Documents need to be saved in Open XML format then saved as Daisy XML in order that it can be converted into DTB (Daisy Digital Talk Book). This extension is compatible with many screen readers.
Hear written text aloud- TTS
TTS stands for text to speech. This function is available in Word 2010 and can be installed from the tool bar and will read your document to you. This is a nice tool for anybody with visual impairments or simply for persons who would rather listen to text rather than read it.
Add Speak to the Quick Access Toolbar
You can add the Speak command to your Quick Access Toolbar by doing the following:
- Next to the Quick Access Toolbar, click Customise Quick Access Toolbar.
Quick Access Toolbar Speak command
- Click More Commands.
- In the Choose commands from list, select All Commands.
- Scroll down to the Speak command, select it, and then click Add.
- Click OK.
- When you want to use the text-to-speech command, click the icon on the Quick Access Toolbar.
Convert text to speech
After you have added the Speak command to your Quick Access Tool, you can hear single words or blocks of text spoken by highlighting the text you want to hear, and then clicking the Speak command.