Microsoft Word for Windows has a “text to speech” or Speak feature to read back a document. It’s hiding away behind the Ribbon but works fine once you’ve found it. We are going to add the icon to the Quick Access Toolbar (QAT) for easy accessiblity. Lets explore how to do this.
This is for Microsoft Word 2010 through latest version
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Speak button can be put on the Quick Access Toolbar (QAT) or Ribbon. Refer to below image for the Speak icon on QAT:
While in Word, select some text or Ctrl + A for the whole document, then click the Speak icon. If there’s no selection, clicking Speak will say the current word at the cursor.
Add the Speak Icon
You’ll find Speak on the Commands not on the Ribbon list. The easiest choice is adding it to the Quick Access Toolbar. Just click on the Down Arrow in the Menu Bar and select More Commands. See below image:
The Quick Access Toolbar will be displayed. Select Commands Not in the Ribbon from the drop down box and locate the Speak command. Next, click the Add button to add the command to the Quick Access Toolbar. Click OK when finished. Refer to below image:
Now it’s on the Quick Access Toolbar. Just select some text and click the Speak icon.
Change the Voice
To access the controls for Speak or Read Aloud:
- Access the Control Panel via the Cortana search bar. Just enter Control Panel, then click the button in upper left hand corner.
- Click Speech Recognition
- Click Text to Speech
Word Speak is making use of a little-appreciated Text to Speech part of Windows. See following image:
That means the Speech options available depend somewhat on the version of Windows, not Office. Some of the options are:
Voice Selection – the English language options are “David” or “Zira” – male or female.
Preview Voice – click to hear the current voice.
Voice speed – faster or slower than the Normal setting.
To start the Speech at Windows startup, click the Speech Recognition tab and checkmark Run Speech Recognition at startup. When finished, click OK. See below image:
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