Microsoft Read Aloud Options

Sometimes having something read aloud helps with comprehension. Other times, it may give weary eyes a bit of a break. It may also assist with proofreading or other tasks. Here are some text to speech options that are built in to Microsoft.

Windows Narrator

Reading in Windows 10 and Microsoft Office

You may customize your Narrator experience in the Ease of Access settings (Windows Key + U):

  • Select if you prefer Narrator to be turned on/off or start automatically.
  • Choose a voice: David, Zira, or Mark [English (United States)]
  • Select if you wish to turn on/off Intonation Pauses.
  • Select options for sounds you hear.
  • Select options for cursor and keys.

Windows Key + Enter turns Narrator on/off; Caps Lock + F1 for commands

Microsoft’s Support: Get Started with Narrator guide

(Fair warning: Narrator works significantly better in Windows 10 than in previous versions. It’s not perfect, but it can be a useful tool for some!)

Microsoft Office

Reading Word documents, PowerPoint Slides, Outlook Emails: Speak feature

MS Office Speak icon

To add and use the Office Speak feature:

  1. Go to the Quick Access Toolbar (located at the top left side of each application)
  2. Choose More Commands
  3. Choose commands from: Commands Not in the Ribbon
  4. Choose Speak > Add > Click OK
  5. Highlight the text you wish to hear and click the Speak icon.

Excel provides a few more options: Speak Cells, Speak Cells by Columns, Speak Cells by Rows, Speak Cells on Enter

MS Office Excel Speak options


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