Out Loud for Outlook: Speech Recognition & Synthesis (Nathan Carlson)

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Nathan Carlson developed a creative solution for Outlook 2007 using Visual Studio 2008 (codename Orcas).  The Out Loud for Outlook project started as a dogfood testing project last summer.  For those of you unfamiliar with the dogfood testing practice at Microsoft, it's a term for testing our own products in real-world solutions while they are still in beta so we can personally experience any problems or bugs.  The dogfood tests helped us find and fix dozens of bugs.

Out Loud for Outlook allows you to create a new Outlook rule that reads your designated email out loud when it triggers.   You can also use voice commands with a good microphone to open and navigate through your emails.

Nathan recently updated the solution to run on the release version of Visual Studio 2008.  The Out Loud for Outlook source code is available for download on the new Code Gallery site. 

The sample demonstrates:

  • Basics of developing an Outlook 2007 Add-in.
  • Consuming Outlook events.
  • Accessing e-mails.
  • Creating a Custom Action for Outlook rules.
  • Using Speech Synthesis.
  • Using Speech Recognition.
  • Years ago, like back in the Outlook 97 or 2000 days I wrote a macro for Outlook that triggered on new mail.  It would use text to speach to read me the sender name and subject line of every new email.  It drove my office mate crazy but it was really handy not to have to switch to Outlook to see my new mail (this was before I dedicated a second monitor to Outlook).  

    I called the macro Outspoken.  I never did update it to work on Outlook 2003 or newer.

    I'm going to have to download this sample and see if I can annoy my new office mate with it. :-)

    Steve Hiner

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Out Loud for Outlook: Speech Recognition & Synthesis (Nathan Carlson)