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Create an accessible Office document

Accessibility Options dialog box

The Accessibility Options dialog box, with the Sound tab selected. You can open this dialog box from Windows Control Panel.

People who are deaf or hard of hearing will probably have SoundSentry or a similar device set up to tell them whenever the computer makes a noise. For instance, SoundSentry shows a visual warning when playing an audio clip on a Web site or during a Microsoft PowerPoint® presentation.

There are also several software programs that have built-in functionality for viewing closed captions. For instance, you can play a closed captioned DVD on Windows Media Player. See Windows Media Player Help for more information.

Be aware of all the places where sound might be used, so that you can deal with it appropriately. This includes:

  • PowerPoint presentations; audio clips and sound effects.
  • E-mail attachments; audio or video clips.
  • Web pages; like the audio at the start of this course.

Then remember our golden rule for accessible documents and don't convey information by sound alone. For example, if you are sending an e-mail attachment that plays a sound file, then include a text transcript in the message. Although a lot of people will listen to the sound file, anyone who is hard of hearing can read the text. It's not necessary to avoid using sound altogether, but simply to provide a textual description or equivalent for that sound.

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