Did you know that Microsoft Word can read aloud to you?
This speak function was added way back in 2003 and is simple to use and set up. You can add the speak command to your Quick Access Toolbar, or you can select the Read Aloud command.
Adding the Speak button
Follow these simple steps to add the Speak button to your Quick Access Toolbar:
- Click the Customize arrow on the Quick Access Toolbar
- From the dropdown menu, select More Commands
- On the Word Options screen >Customize the Quick Access Toolbar, locate the Choose Commands From box and scroll down to the Speak command
- Select the Speak command, click the Add button in the middle of the screen, then click OK
- Word adds the Speak command to the Quick Access Toolbar at the end, and you’re ready to go
All you then have to do is make sure your system’s speakers are switched on, highlight a paragraph of text, and click Speak.
Word reads any text that’s highlighted. To read the whole document, press Ctrl+A. There is no pause and continue option, so click the button to start reading and then again to stop.
Read Aloud command
The main benefit of Read Aloud over Speak is that you don’t have to highlight the text (place your cursor where you want to start reading and click Read Aloud). Plus, when you stop (i.e. clicking the Read Aloud button a second time), and then start again it picks up from where you left off. In effect, it gives you the pause feature not available with Speak.
To use Read Aloud select the Review tab > Read Aloud button.
The actual settings for your Speak preferences are in the Windows Control Panel:
- Click Start > Windows System > Control Panel
- Select Ease of Access > Speech Recognition > Text to Speech, and the Speech Properties dialogue window opens on the Text to Speech tab
- Under Voice Selection, choose MS David Desktop for a male voice or MS Zira Desktop for a female voice
- Click the Preview button to listen to each voice, then make your selection
- Use the slider under Voice Speed to adjust the pace (slow, normal, or fast) of the reader
- Click the Audio Output button to define the Sound preferences
- Click the Advanced button to select or change the output device
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