Free Window-Eyes reading software offered for Microsoft Office 2010 and 2013 users

Microsoft is offering a new way for visually impaired users of its Office software a better way to interact with its tools, thanks to a newly revealed agreement with GW Micro. The two companies announced today that the Window-Eyes screen reading software from GW Micro will now be offered for free for owners of Microsoft Office 2010 and 2013, along with paid subscribers to Office 365. Financial terms of this deal were not disclosed.

The website has more details on this free software offer, which will enable visually impaired users to access Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote and Outlook via computer speech or Braille in over 15 languages. In a press release, GW Micro believes offering better access to software like Window Eyes will become more important in the years to come "as the number of people with age-related macular degeneration and other retinal degenerative diseases increases."

In its own press release, Microsoft stated, "Whether people want to use Office at home, school or work they now have more flexibility and an improved opportunity to take advantage of our latest software innovations." Microsoft Speech Platform will be the default synthesizer for Window Eyes but additional voices can be purchased if the robotic tone of the default is not to the user's liking.

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Not entirely. Window Eyes also has the ability to output braille. You still need a braille display though, but still. Also Window Eyes can be scripted completely to help it interact better with specific (company related?) software. Also, while the narrator has a great voice and works fine for most simple tasks, most blind people I work with prefer a "full size" screen reader because of the flexibility it provides.

3 things ...

1) Isn't something like that already built into windows?
2) Being blind would suck
3) I wonder if blind people are afraid of public speaking?

1) Isn't something like that already built into windows?
it is, but it's like that you are comparing windows wordpad to Microsoft office word. or how about windows media player vs VLC media player. A ScreenReader software is not a joke; although you can read mail and brows websites with the builtin ScreenReader, (not with windows 7's BTW cause it's.... laggy as hell), but for professional use, Blind people use commercial software. We have blind musicians and programmers.

2) Being blind would suck
would it? I don't think so. but maybe it would for you, so enjoy life I guess.

3) I wonder if blind people are afraid of public speaking?
no they're not.

warwagon said,
3) I wonder if blind people are afraid of public speaking?
Honestly, what sort of stupid correlation are you trying to make? Why should they be any more afraid of public speaking compared to those who can see? It's all about how confident you are regarding your material, and blindness has nothing to do with it. Indeed, if anything it might be easier for them because they can't even see the audience and its facial expressions/reactions.

I think JAWS is pretty much the standard and don't know how this compares, but a freebie is always appreciated. Thanks for the info, I'll be sure to pass it along to those who need it.