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Atechability

Atechability Number 14: Processing Of words

We’re hitting the big bosses! That is, the advanced word processors! Read on to find out your options for computers and mobile devices!

Introduction

We covered some basic note taking apps you can use to write very basic material. Now, we are going to discover some advanced word processors. To put it simply, you can write more advanced formatted documents with these programs. In this article, we will look at two free apps, and two paid ones. We will compare the basic similarities and the differences will also be noted under each one.

Google Docs

This word processor is used quite a bit now a days. You must have a google account in order to use it, though. The advantage to this app is you do not need to install any additional software. All you do is go here and you’re good to go! You are presented with a regular web page, where you can browse your files, and create a new one. This app is very accessible with screen readers, and you can press the “Question Mark” (?) key to get the shortcut keys you can use to operate it. There are also iOS and Android apps available. You can also collaborate with others using docs, but it is recommended you inform the collaborators to let you know when they’re going to type. Otherwise, you may be typing over someone else. Of course, your screen reader will notify you of this. You can also do advanced formatting like other word processors.

Microsoft Office

This product is the most commonly used piece of software in the market today. This does require installation on a PC to work, but there is also a much simpler online office app. There are also iOS and Android apps available. Note that this application is a paid app, especially if you wish to unlock all its features. Go here for more information on all the different plans and pricing. In this case, we’re only concentrating on the “Word” portion. Microsoft Word is the most advanced word processor out there. You can create many types of documents, from the basic, to even resumes and books. Word has convenient templates that can help you accomplish these tasks. Of course, you also have all the formatting options you need to create that nice document, especially in school environments. Word has built-in citation tools that students can use to make research papers. This also supports colaboration with others online.

Nemeth Braille Entry

“Wait, what?” Yes, that’s right! Because Microsoft word is quite advanced, it has the capability to do math equations. A sighted person must click on the “Insert” ribbon, and locate “Equations,” and find what they are looking for. If you are using the JAWS for Windows screen reader, you can now input Nemeth into a word document. Nemeth is a special braille notation code, developed by Dr. Abraham Nemeth in 1946, which is used for mathematics and science. It is quite different than the regular braille reading code, due to math’s complexity.

Input An Equation

Before you can write any math, you must have a braille display connected to the computer in order for this to work. It is assumed here that JAWS is already installed on your system. From a blank word document, press “Insert+Space,” followed by the “Equals” (=) key to enter Nemeth entry. Here, you will type on your braille display what you wish the math to be. Once finished, press “Enter.” Your equation will be inserted into the document. If you wish to review or edit the equation, press “Insert+Space,” followed by the “Plus” (“Shift+Equals”) to review your work. Repeat the same equation creation steps to make more than one math operation. Hopefully this functionality can be carried over to other screen readers.

Open And Libre Office

We combined these two word processors into one, due to them both using practically the same code internally. These two suites are similar to the paid Microsoft office one, and they can do the job for advance formatted documents. Of course, the nice thing about this is that they’re FREE! So, for instance, if you have a student, and need to give them something that supports saving things to a thumb drive, printing from home, etcetera, you can download one of these onto their computer. They are both very accessible with screen readers. This is a windows only application. Click here to find out more info about Libre office, and you can click here for Open Office

Duxbury

This is a very accessible, specialized word processor. This is not a suite of applications like the Office apps mentioned above. This application for Windows and Mac is designed to create braille documents for students. To put it simply, think of it as Word, but for the blind in regards to formatting. Braille documents have to have formatting in order for them to be presented correctly. Most of the time, you will see teachers of the visually impaired use this software. Now a days though, students are using this app for basic word processing. You can still print documents to a printer, but you can more importantly, in this situation, send them to a braille embosser. Think of the embosser as a printer, but for braille. No ink is required. There are special gadgets that press on the paper to create said braille, and fair warning, they are LOUD!

Conclusion

As you can see, we got things covered from basic notetaking, to the advanced novel! With all these word processors out in the market, and some having more bells and whistles than others, be assured there is one for your needs! The other best thing is, almost all keyboard commands to control one app like Word have been carried over to the other apps listed here. If you have any questions on choosing the right one for students or yourself, give us a holler! Happy Word processing!