Office 2003 and 2010 both offer thousands of symbols to insert into documents. However, if you were to go into the symbols option (Alt+I, then S in Office 2003) and (ALT+N, then U in Office 2010), you will see that Jaws cannot talk the majority of the symbols. However, Office 2010 offers an additional feature that has become invaluable.
Every week or so, we go through the list of symbols the students need for math class. Last week one of my students needed the angle for her geometry class. We first located it by following this path: Alt+N, then U, then M for more options, ALT+F to font, sy and down arrow to symbols and enter to open the symbols, TAB into the symbols options, down arrow to the angle and hit enter and close. Yes, an angle inserted into the document, but more importantly, it also inserted into the "20 most used symbols box." Check it out. ALT+N, then U to symbols, there in the first spot is the angle. Now JAWS will call it symbol 208. Fine for now as everyone works on accessibility issues. The student knows as they arrow around their document that symbol 208 ABC is angle ABC. JAWS will talk everything within those 20 symbols, so no sighted person is needed after the initial insertion of the 20 most needed symbols.
So the sighted person helps the blind person insert the 20 most needed symbols and the blind person now becomes independent in the class in typing our their work. Go back and insert the Greek pi π, then try inserting other symbols and notice how JAWS will talk everything within the 20 most used symbols.
Another additional feature with the symbols is when you open the symbol box, look down or TAB to the bottom and it will give you the shortcut key for the symbol, for example, if you hit these numbers and letter, using WORD, then do an Alt+X, it will turn into a pi: 03C0, Alt+X =try it, then go back and discover other shortcut keys for other symbols.
Another fast way to insert these symbols: smiley face, black smiley face, heart, diamond, club, spade, bullet, white bullet and hollow dot, is using the alt key with the numpad: alt1, alt2 and so on…try them out ☺☻♥♦♣♠•◘○
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