I’ve mostly transitioned from Office to Google Docs, but OneNote has remained part of my arsenal because it’s one of the best note-taking apps around. Now Microsoft is releasing an add on called Learning Tools to make sure it’s just as useful for students with learning disabilities too.
The toolbar shows up next to other menu items on the Ribbon, and contains a few notable features.
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For instance, it can recite text and highlight the current word at the same time, and defaults to wider character spacing to make words easier to decipher. You’ll need an internet connection for the computer to read items aloud (it uses Bing, obviously).
As with a book reader, you can then adjust details like line and font spacing, but it goes much deeper. For instance, OneNote can automatically divide words into syllables, or even highlight the verbs and subjects and other elements of syntax in a passage, which should be particularly useful for people learning English.
To make things even more accessible, the company has created a new font for this purpose called Fluent Calibri as well.
Though it’s still only a beta, Learning Tools is available for OneNote 2013 and 2016 starting today. No word on when it’ll see a wider release, but it’s definitely a neat feature to have, even if it’s not quite as exciting as Minecraft.