Microsoft Previews Office Accessibility Enhancements
New features include improved Editor functionality that assists users with dyslexia, a high-contrast mode in Excel and an expanded Accessibility Checker.Microsoft is working on new features that make it easier for people with dyslexia and the visually impaired get work done in its Office productivity software suite. Among the new capabilities that the software giant is releasing this quarter across its Office ecosystem is an improved Editor tool for Word. Announced last month, Editor tackles writing flaws like wordiness, redundancy and other issues that typically slip by the software's existing spelling and grammar tools and diminish the quality of one's writing. According to John Jendrezak, accessibility lead and partner director of program management of Microsoft Office Engineering, early users with dyslexia are already reporting an improvement in writing with Word. The company has more tweaks in the works, he added. "More Editor enhancements are coming in the next few months for Word on PCs—all inspired by the needs of people with dyslexia and beneficial for everybody. In particular, Editor will make it easier to choose between suggested spellings for a misspelled word. Synonyms or definitions will be shown alongside suggestions and it will be possible to have both read aloud," wrote Jendrezak in a blog post.
In Excel Online, users with visual impairments will be able to interact with their spreadsheets with less eyestrain on Windows PCs with high-contrast mode enabled. The browser-based software now boasts more visible cell-selection outlines and charts that adhere to a high-contrast theme's colors, among other improvements.