Microsoft to Help Disabled Access Office Documents

Microsoft has released a software add-in to help those who have difficulty reading printed documents to turn Word documents into audio files.

The "Save as DAISY XML" add-in makes it easier to create audio books from text files, and was developed by Microsoft, Sonata Software, and the Digital Accessible Information System (DAISY) Consortium as an open-source project. It can be downloaded for free, and is compatible Microsoft Word 2007, Word 2003 and Word XP.

The add-in allow users to save Open XML-based text files as DAISY XML, which in turn can converted into the DAISY Digital Talking Book (DTB) format using another software tool, Pipeline, the latest version of which was also released Wednesday.

A DTB Book includes an audio narration of part or all of the source text, and files to synchronize the narration with markings in the text and make moving from one file to another smoother, according to the DAISY Consortium.

The DAISY Consortium was formed in 1996 by talking book libraries to help the transition from analog to digital talking books, the underlying technology has its origins in Sweden.

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