There are some things you don’t notice when comparing functions and features in Office Suites and Document Formats. Accessibility is such a thing. How do people who are for example visually handicapped use Office and how do they access document or consume information.
Accessibility is a very important “feature” in Microsoft Office. The capabilities of OpenXML enhance that even further. A great example is the fact that the DAISY consortium has now created a save to DAISY add-in for Microsoft Word.
I do wish that the ODF lobby would stop their politics and start focussing more on making Open Standards work, not for shareholders and politics but for end users, yes meaningfull stuff for end users …
In association with Microsoft, the Digital Accessible Information SYstem (DAISY) Consortium has announced the second version of the Save as DAISY add-in for Microsoft Office Word, available for download over at openxmlcommunity.org. With the integration of DAISY Pipeline Lite, version 2 of the add-in produces a full DAISY multimedia publication with synchronized text and MP3 audio (instead of converting to just a DAISY XML file).
This means it is possible to transform Word documents into accessible multimedia formats for people unable to read print due to a visual, physical, perceptual, developmental, cognitive, or learning disabilities. It generates full text and audio books using the Text-to-Speech service on your PC. DAISY XML files can be read natively by some DAISY players, and the DAISY Pipeline is still available for processing those XML files. A more complete description of the DAISY standards and Word-to-DAISY conversion is available on daisy.org.
Version 1.0 of the add-in was released in May 2008 for Microsoft Office Word 2007, Word 2003, and Word XP. Since the project is open source, the Open XML to DAISY XML Translator source code is also available for download on SourceForge.net.