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C# for Programmers, 2/e

© 2006
pages: ~1350


This tutorial introduces Microsoft Agent—a technology for enhancing Windows applications and Web pages with interactive animated characters that can speak to users and respond to user input via speech synthesis and speech recognition. Download the code examples for this tutorial here.

[Note: This tutorial (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7) is an excerpt (Section 17.14) of Chapter 17, Multimedia and Graphics, from our book C# for Programmers, 2/e. These articles may refer to other chapters or sections of the book that are not included here. Permission Information: Deitel, Harvey M. and Paul J., C# FOR PROGRAMMERS, ©2005, pp.692–706. Electronically reproduced by permission of Pearson Education, Inc., Upper Saddle River, New Jersey.]

Introduction to Microsoft Agent
Microsoft Agent is a technology used to add interactive animated characters to Windows applications or Web pages. Microsoft Agent characters can speak and respond to user input via speech recognition and synthesis. Microsoft employs its Agent technology in applications such as Word, Excel and PowerPoint. Agents in these programs aid users in finding answers to questions and in understanding how the applications function.
The Microsoft Agent control provides programmers with access to four predefined characters-Genie (a genie), Merlin (a wizard), Peedy (a parrot) and Robby (a robot). Each character has a unique set of animations that programmers can use in their applications to illustrate different points and functions. For instance, the Peedy character-animation set includes different flying animations, which the programmer might use to move Peedy on the screen. Microsoft provides basic information on Agent technology at
Microsoft Agent technology enables users to interact with applications and Web pages through speech, the most natural form of human communication. To understand speech, the control uses a speech recognition engine-an application that translates vocal sound input from a microphone to language that the computer understands. The Microsoft Agent control also uses atext-to-speech engine, which generates characters' spoken responses. A text-to-speech engine is an application that translates typed words into audio sound that users hear through headphones or speakers connected to a computer. Microsoft provides speech recognition and text-to-speech engines for several languages at
Programmers can even create their own animated characters with the help of the Microsoft Agent Character Editor and the Microsoft Linguistic Sound Editing Tool. These products are available free for download from
This section introduces the basic capabilities of the Microsoft Agent control. For complete details on downloading this control, visit

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