Fred’s Head from APH, a Blindness Blog

Fred’s Head, offered by the American Printing House for the Blind, contains tips, techniques, tutorials, in-depth articles, and resources for and by blind or visually impaired people. Our blog is named after the legendary Fred Gissoni, renowned for answering a seemingly infinite variety of questions on every aspect of blindness.

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Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Read PowerPoint Presentations to Your Group with PowerTalk

Have you ever had to use PowerPoint for a presentation at work? You created the slides and had no problem reading them when they were on the computer, but now you can't see them on the large screen during your presentation.

Maybe you are a sighted presentor and your audience is visually impaired or blind and you are uncomfortable reading all the text associated with your presentation. You want to make things accessible for your audience, you just don't like to read aloud. What can you do?

PowerTalk will read aloud the text included in any Windows PowerPoint (2000 or later) presentation, at least through Windows XP. This is a great tool for anyone who is unable to narrate or read his or her own presentations.

PowerTalk is straightforward to download and install, and it is just as easy to use. All you do is right-click on the shortcut to a presentation and then select "Narrate with PowerTalk". PowerTalk reads both the text that appears on the screen as well as hidden text that is attached to images. Helpfully, PowerTalk waits for text to appear and for animations to run their course before speaking the text.

PowerTalk automatically uses your default Windows voice. So, if you use PowerPoint extensively, it might be worth your while to purchase a high quality voice. These readily available downloads normally cost about US$30.

PowerTalk is a completely free open source add-on that will make life easier for the visually impaired presentor. Click this link to learn more or download PowerTalk: http://fullmeasure.co.uk/powertalk.

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