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Do you know anyone with hearing, sight, or reading disabilities? The public beta starts today for two add-ins that help make Office documents more accessible: STAMP and DAISY:
STAMP, the Subtitling Add-In for Microsoft PowerPoint, lets you add closed captions to the video and audio files in your PowerPoint presentations, so no one misses a word of what you have to say.
Save as DAISY for Office 2010 helps you convert Word Open XML files to the Digital Accessible Information System (DAISY) format. DAISY powers digital talking books and compatible software and Braille readers for people with print disabilities or limited vision. This beta supports Office 2003, 2007 and 2010.
You can download the betas now. You can also download the betas directly from SourceForge: STAMP beta and DAISY beta. Try them out and let us know what you think.
Both betas work in all of the languages that Office currently supports.
We're managing both add-ins as open source collaborations through the SourceForge project. We'll announce key development milestones, and the code will be available to anyone who wants it for their own implementations.
Ready to jump right in?
For the DAISY add-in, see Using the Save as DAISY add-in for Word . Here's the DAISY SourceForge info.
Donna Platt, a Seattle-based advocate for people with hearing disabilities, trains emergency personnel on how to help 911 callers who have hearing loss. She's deaf herself. Here's what she expects from STAMP:
"Now that video clips in PowerPoint 2010 can be closed captioned, I'll experience a huge time savings since I won't have to use multiple programs to conduct a presentation for my trainees. STAMP allows me to caption my own videos for 9-1-1 call takers--some of whom might not understand sign language--bridging the gap between our two methods of communication seamlessly."
As for DAISY? Here's what Michael Mello has to say. Michael is an adaptive technology specialist with the Washington State Department of Services for the Blind:
"As an adaptive technology specialist for the Washington State Department of Services for the Blind, I work with blind individuals on all aspects of technology related to their career planning. This includes job site evaluations to determine the level of accessibility of the employer's equipment, software and assistive technology. I also conduct in-house evaluations for clients to determine what software and devices would be an appropriate fit for them.
And, I am blind myself. It is important that I have the same access to complex information as my sighted colleagues have, so that I am able to do my job and help my clients land their dream jobs. Save as DAISY for Office 2010 provides me with the freedom to access many types of information both on my computer and on-the-go via text to speech. I am able to take the same document that I was working on at my computer and transfer it to a DAISY-compatible device to review as if I were working on it in Office 2010 on my computer--even complex files that include tables and photos. Providing the ability for anyone to author content using Save as DAISY for Office 2010 makes it easy for the general public to make information accessible to the blind--this is a valuable productivity resource."
Here are a few more details, plus links to info about more accessibility features in Microsoft Office.
STAMP helps Microsoft PowerPoint 2010 users to quickly and easily add closed captions to any video and audio files included in their presentations, either by creating the captions within PowerPoint or by importing an existing industry-standard Timed Text Mark-up Language (TTML) file. If you don't have access to an existing TTML file but still need to create captions (or adjust imported captions), you can use the simple caption editor STAMP provides.
Find the how-to info here: Sub-titling text add-in for Microsoft PowerPoint (STAMP)
With STAMP you can also subtitle videos or audio files in another language, for example, for a training program. Our own Office Training team is using STAMP to subtitle our training videos for audiences around the world, and to help our subsidiaries localize those videos into many different languages.
At Towson University, professors and presenters are using STAMP to caption educational presentations that help the hearing disabled and others learn more efficiently
People with hearing disabilities can also use STAMP to caption their own videos for those who don't understand sign language, opening up whole new communication possibilities.
We had Save as DAISY add ins for Word 2003 and 2007, thanks to our ongoing partnership with the DAISY Consortium. Now it's Word 2010's turn.
With Save as DAISY for Office 2010, you can transform Word 2003, 2007, and 2010 Open XML documents into accessible multimedia formats for people who can't read print. These formats include synchronized text and .MP3 audio that can be played directly within Windows 7 or DAISY XML, which works with compatible software readers and talking book/Braille reading devices.
Find the how-to info here: Using the Save as DAISY add-in for Word
DAISY Consortium members are already using Save as DAISY for Office 2010 to create digital talking books for business and personal needs.
The DAISY and STAMP add-ins make sense for us practically, ethically, and financially. Word and PowerPoint are crucial communication tools, and with these add-ins, more people can use them. It's as fundamental as that.
But they're far from being the only accessibility features in Office 2010. Microsoft has been investing in accessibility for more than 20 years, and we designed Office 2010 to advance our position as an accessibility leader.
Here are a few of the Office 2010 features that help people create and consume all kinds of accessible content:
Learn more about the accessibility features in Office 2010. That's also where you can download the free DAISY and STAMP add-in betas.
Also check out the Crabby Office Lady blog's recent series on accessibility in Office.
-- Andrew Howard and Holly Thomas