Apps · News

Office 2016: Audio cues promise greater productivity for the blind

Microsoft has introduced sound effects in its Office 2016 apps.

The effects which are designed to help improve the productivity of users who are visually impaired provide audio cues for common tasks.

The feature will roll out over time to users of Excel 2016, Word 2016, Outlook 2016 and PowerPoint 2016 and, by extension, also Office 365.

The effects can be turned on or off by following these steps:

  1. In the File menu, select Options.
  2. On the Ease of Access tab, under Feedback Options, select or clear the Provide feedback with sound checkbox.
  3. If you wish, you can use the original Office sound effects by selecting the Classic theme from the Sound Theme drop-down.

Microsoft also provides the steps below for users who prefer to turn on the effects using the keyboard:

  1. Navigate to the File menu, then select Options. You can use the access keys Alt, then F, T.
  2. Once in the Options window, use the arrow keys to highlight Ease of Access.
  3. Press Tab to move to the Provide feedback with sound checkbox, then press Enter to select or clear the checkbox, which turns the sounds on or off, respectively.

With the sound effects turned on, a user who is blind or visually impaired now have an additional means to know when a wide range of tasks are completed.

The cues offer feedback for tasks such as changes in screen options and successful completion of actions, including sending and deleting a mail or pasting a content.

As with all other feature releases, Microsoft rolls out new improvements to users over time but the process can be sped up.

News · Tips

Tech Briefing 15: Free, paid webinars; tips and news for the week May 1-7, 2017

Welcome to episode 15 of Tech Briefing. It’s a rap up of major developments in assistive and mainstream technology for the weekMay 1-7, 2017.

I’m Ayoola Efunkoya, your guide.

OneDrive is Microsoft’s cloud storage application that comes preinstalled on Windows 8, 8.1 and 10 on PC and mobile, allows you access your files online and offline and backs up the files.

A set of guidelines for using a screen reader with OneDrive by beginners is available at

Also from Microsoft comes Office 365 which offers access to the Office suite of Word, Excel, Note and Powerpoint both online and offline.

V. F. O., the parent company of Freedom Scientific,  is offering a free webinar on May 31, to teach using Office 365 with JAWS. The webinar titled “Office 365 / 2016 – An Introduction” can be registered for at

Other webinars on Word 365, Excel 365, Outlook 365 and PowerPoint 365 to be paid for will take place from August through October this year. Further information is available at

Whether you are a beginner or an advanced user of iOS, you may want to check out this “iOS & VoiceOver Mobile Accessibility Cheat Sheet:”

From Commtech Academy comes a 12-minute lesson on using the Uber iOS App:

Also available from the company is  a Windows 10 Desktop Navigation Introduction:

In other news:

A phishing scam on Thursday May 4 affected about 1 million Google Docs users. The scam claimed to have come from Google Docs.

Users who clicked a link and followed instructions, risked giving the hackers access to their email accounts.

The BBC later reported Google to have said it had stopped the attack “within approximately one hour”, including through “removing fake pages and applications”.

Facebook is almost hitting a 2-billion global monthly user mark.

The company said on Thursday May 4 that the number of people using Facebook each month increased to 1.94 billion, of which nearly 1.3 billion use it daily.

Company founderMark  Zuckerberg said the size of its user base gave Facebook an opportunity to expand the site’s role, moving into TV, health care and politics.

Thank you for your attention. Have a blessed week.