accessibility feature in this 23rd release of the 14-year old
community-run open source project
29 April 2014– The Apache OpenOffice project, a Top Level Project (TLP) of the Apache Software Foundation (ASF), announced today
the release of Apache OpenOffice 4.1, now available for free download from http://www.openoffice.org. A highlight of this release is support for the IAccessible2 interface, an open standard for communicating with assistive technologies, enabling more effective use of OpenOffice by persons with visual impairments. Other additions to OpenOffice 4.1 include in-place editing of text fields, interactive crop on
transformed graphics, text selection annotations, support for 64-bit Mac and translations for six new languages.
Apache OpenOffice is the leading open-source office software suite for word processing, spreadsheets, presentations, graphics, databases and more. Apache OpenOffice has been downloaded over 100 million times. It is available in many languages and works on all common computers. It stores all your data in an international open standard format and can also read and write files from other common office software packages. It can be downloaded and used completely free of charge for any purpose.
"After a long wait, OpenOffice 4.1 is finally released!" said Marlin Rodrigues from Brazil. Marlin is one of the early testers of OpenOffice 4.1 as well as a translator of the NVDA screen reader into Portuguese. "This release has great significance for blind people, representing much more than a simple application update. This update will bring long-awaited support for IAccessible2. This means that we will finally have a free, accessible and quality office suite, without relying on the infamous Java Access Bridge! I’ve tested the development and beta versions, and it’s so good in several ways. Finally, we can say that we have the a great office application, with full accessibility and, even better, without hacking or paying a fortune for it!"
David Goldfield, a Computer Technology Instructor who works with the blind, and who also helped test OpenOffice 4.1, explained the significance of IAccessible2: "Computer users who are blind use software packages known as screen
readers, which allow the user not only to hear keys which are typed but
also to use the keyboard to read and review everything which is on the
screen. Before OpenOffice 4.1, a blind user could use OpenOffice only if the
Java Access bridge was installed and enabled. In addition, the user had
to navigate to OpenOffice's accessibility options to ensure that the
built-in assistive technology support was enabled. For some users,
performing these tasks was a challenge. With the new IAccessible2 code, OpenOffice should be accessible to screen readers right out-of-the-box, right when the program starts. Blind users with a screen reader that supports IAccessible2 will be able to
access documents, spreadsheets as well as items which are in the menus
and various dialog boxes without the need to manually enable accessibility or
install any additional components."
Along with feature additions and enhancements, OpenOffice 4.1 includes six new
translations, including Bulgarian, Hebrew, Danish, Hindi, Norwegian Bokmål and Thai, as well as improvements to the existing
Basque, Dutch, German, Lithuanian, Portuguese, Serbian, Spanish and
These and many other enhancements are detailed in the
Availability and Oversight
As with all Apache products, Apache OpenOffice is released under
the Apache License v2.0, and is overseen by a self-selected team of
active contributors to the project. A Project Management Committee (PMC)
guides the Project's day-to-day operations, including community
development and product releases. To learn how to become
involved with Apache OpenOffice, visit http://openoffice.apache.org/get-involved.html.
Apache OpenOffice 4.1 can be downloaded from http://www.openoffice.org/download.
OpenOffice supports Microsoft Windows, Apple OS X and Linux, in 38
languages. Users are encouraged to consult the System Requirements
and Release Notes for additional details.
About Apache OpenOffice
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