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Using Voice and Sounds : Letting Your Computer Do the Talking, Creating a Sound File

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1. Letting Your Computer Do the Talking

Windows Vista provides a program called Narrator that actually speaks to you! Narrator can describe aloud the items that are currently displayed on your screen, and it can even read long blocks of text. Narrator has some limitations, but it can be very useful in the right circumstances. Of course, for Narrator to work, your computer must have a sound system.

Listen to Narrator

1. Start Narrator from the Start menu to display the Narrator dialog box.

2. Select this check box if you want Narrator to speak aloud each keystroke you make so that you can verify that you’re pressing the keys you want.

3. Select or clear any of the check boxes to make Narrator work the way you want.

4. Choose Voice Settings to open the Voice Settings dialog box.

5. Adjust the reading speed, volume, and pitch of Narrator’s voice. Click OK when you’ve finished.

6. Press Alt+Spacebar, and choose Minimize from the Control menu to minimize Narrator when you’ve adjusted all the settings to your satisfaction.

7. To close Narrator, keep pressing Alt+Tab until Narrator becomes selected, and then click the Exit button in the Narrator dialog box.


Tip

Narrator works very well with the speech-recognition program, but it’s designed primarily to work with the keyboard, so use the Tab key to move around in a dialog box, or use keyboard shortcuts to activate commands. To temporarily stop Narrator while it’s reading or describing something, press the Ctrl key. To have Narrator describe the contents of a window at any time, press Ctrl+Shift+Spacebar. To hear a description of the layout, press Ctrl+Alt+Spacebar.


2. Creating a Sound File

You can record your own Windows Media Audio (.wma) file from a variety of sources, depending on the equipment you have on your computer. These sources can include live or recorded music, narrations, or notes. Once you’ve recorded it, a .wma file can be played back using Windows Media Player or Windows Media Center.

Record Sounds

1. Start Sound Recorder from the Start menu.

2. Click the Start Recording button, and record the sounds you want.

3. Click Stop Recording when you’ve finished. If you’ve completed the recording, use the Save As dialog box to save the sound file with the name you want in the location you want.

4. If you want to continue recording to the same sound file, click Cancel in the Save As dialog box.

5. Click Resume Recording, record what you want, and then click Stop Recording when you’ve finished. Use the Save As dialog box to save the file with the name and in the location you want.

6. Close Sound Recorder when you’ve finished.

Tip

To adjust the recording volume of your microphone, click the Start button, type sound in the Search box, and click Sound to display the Sound dialog box. On the Recording tab, double-click your microphone, and adjust the settings on the Levels tab.


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