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 WindowEyesForOffice.com 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.