by April 12, 2002 0 comments

Comment in words 
Inserting comments in Word is a powerful feature that you can use when reviewing a document. These comments can be written or spoken. A florescent yellow highlighting of the concerned area indicates that a comment has been inserted. For inserting comments, select the text you want to comment on, go to the Insert menu and choose Comment. This will open another window at the bottom of the screen for typing in your comment. In Office 2000, this window also has a small button with an audiocassette-like icon. Clicking on this invokes a sound recorder, which lets you record your comment using a microphone. In Office XP, from your toolbar click on the drop-down arrow on the new comment icon and choose Voice Comments to launch the sound recorder. Once inserted this comment is depicted by a small speaker icon. Click on this icon to hear the comment.

In office applications, sound is referred to as an object

Your clips
MS Word lets you insert sounds, audio clips or your own recordings into your document. To do this, go to the Insert Menu and select Object. If you want to record a sound to insert, say a small narration, then choose Wav sound from Create New tab. This will open the Microsoft Sound Recorder. After recording, close the sound recorder, and your sound will be inserted. A small speaker icon on your document will indicate this. 

If you don’t want to record a clip, but want to insert an existing sound file on your system, then under the ‘Create from File’ tab in the same window, browse to the location of your sound clip. The procedure for inserting audio clips is the same for MS Excel. 

Let your presentations speak 
This is one application where audio can make a world of difference to your work. You can add audio narration to your presentation slides and leave them running unattended at a show or exhibition. You can add snazzy audio effects to make your presentations more pronounced in front of your clients. 

Audio CDs in

Open your presentation in Normal Mode and in the slides tab on the left choose the slide from which you want the CD to start playing. From the Insert menu, click on Movie and Sounds and choose Play CD audio track. 
You can now choose the track and the exact track time from which to start and stop the playback. You can also put the track/clip into a loop so that it keeps playing your selection over and over again. This feature can be used at presentations kiosks and exhibitions where people come and watch your presentations. 
The above procedure is the same for both Office 2000 and Office XP.

Music, sound effects on slides
You can have cool sound effects between slides transitions, or even music with each slide to suit the message you want to convey through a particular slide. 

On the left Slides tab, choose the slide to which you want to add the music or sound. From the Insert menu, click on Movie and Sounds and choose Sound from file. Now browse to the location where your sound file is. You will now get a message asking you if you want the file to play automatically during the slide show. If you want to record your own sound and insert it then choose Record Sound from the menu. 

The same procedure holds true for PowerPoint 2000/XP.

The effects option lets you choose a predefined sound or even insert your own sound file

Sound to animation
Open your presentation and select the text or object to which you want to add sound. Make sure that some sort of animation has already been applied to it. Next, click on the Slide Show menu and choose Custom Animation. In the Custom animation pane, click on the drop-down arrow next to the name of the animation and choose Effect Options.

You can now choose a pre-defined sound from a drop-down list or even insert your own sound file by browsing to its location. An added feature in MS PowerPoint XP is that you can even adjust the volume for each of your sound effects. 

Slides that narrate 
Narration is a background voice-over to accompany a slide show. Adding narration to your presentations can be useful for Web-based presentations, self-running presentations in kiosks or exhibitions, etc. The method is similar to what has been explained earlier about adding sound clips. For each slide you’ll have to record a narration and insert it as a sound file. Also, you can make the sound file run automatically when a slide comes up. Once you have inserted the appropriate sound files in each slide, make sure you do a few test runs to make sure the narration for one slide finishes before the next slide comes up. If not, you’ll have to adjust your slide timings until you get it right.

Also, as mentioned earlier, make sure your sound files are embedded into your presentations or you will have to copy each sound file along with your presentation. 

Sachin Makhija

Software: Text To Mp3

Better-Text to Mp3 let’s you covert text files to MP3s, WAV or WMA formats. This feature can be used to convert lengthy Web pages, novels or stories into audio files, which any one can listen to later. You can even stream these audio files to your network, so that any one can tune in and listen to them.

It places an icon on the desktop after installation. The interface is divided into three sections–one for showing text files, second for wave files and the third for MP3 files. Start by adding a text file in the text files pane by clicking on the Text menu and choosing Add files. You can place a text file (.txt), Word document, Web page, or even an XML document. A neat feature of the application is that it has a built-in text parser for DOC, HTML and XML files, so only the text in these documents will be converted to audio. All other formats are opened in ASCII format, so if you open say a RTF, you’ll also get a lot of junk characters. For these files, it’s better to copy the text to the clipboard and then add it to the Text-To-MP3 application. Once you copy text to clipboard, go to the Text Menu and choose Add text from clipboard. 

Click on the black arrow icon after adding text files. This opens a menu from where you can choose to convert all added files into a single file or convert each file into individual audio files. Take your pick and it will convert them to MP3 or WAV depending on your selection and will appear under MP3 files section or the WAV files pane. By default, all converted files are stored in C:\Program Files\TextToMp3\Books. You can change this from the Options>Setting menu under the Player tab. 
Before converting your text into audio files, you can choose from the different voices, and select the voice speed. This can easily be done from the drop-down menu on the top toolbar. Additional options are available under the Options menu to select things like the bit rate for converting, the output file type (left, right, mono, stereo, etc), the default directory for storing converted files and more.

Software: Please Read

ReadPlease 2002 is a simple text-to-speech application reads text from documents, Web pages or e-mail. Once installed, it creates an icon on your desktop, which can be used to launch it. To have any text read out to you, just copy and paste it in the ReadPlease window. 

It also has a speed slider, which can be dragged up and down to increase or decrease the speed at which your text is read out. Below the slider is a voice changer, which can toggle between various pre-installed voices in the application. There are advanced options under the Tools menu. Here, you can adjust the default speed and pitch for the pre-installed voices under the Voice settings tab. Under Startup tab, you can choose to start ReadPlease when Windows starts, and also define some text that you want it to read out every time it is started. Under the Appearance tab, you can change things like text and background color.

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