How to Hear a Document with Speak in Word

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.

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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:

Windows Speak 1
The Speak icon on Quick Access Toolbar

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:

Windows Speak 2
More Commands option

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:

Adding the Speak option to the Quick Access Toolbar

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:

  1. Access the Control Panel via the Cortana search bar. Just enter Control Panel, then click the button in upper left hand corner.
  2. Click Speech Recognition
  3. Click Text to Speech

Word Speak is making use of a little-appreciated Text to Speech part of Windows.  See following image:

Windows Speak 4
Text to Speech dialog

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:

Windows Speak 5
Selecting Text to Speech at Windows startup

I have found TechSavvy.Life blog posts extremely helpful. Check them out for posts on smart phone apps, Macs and PCs!

I Would Like to Hear From You

Please feel free to leave a comment. I would love hearing from you. Do you have a computer or smart device tech question? I will do my best to answer your inquiry. Please mention the device, app and version that you are using. To help us out, you can send screenshots of your data related to your question.

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Author: Raymond

I am Raymond Oglesby, an Information Technology (IT) specialist with 30 years in the field. I have taught Microsoft Applications and troubleshot computers in 15 countries and many States. My career was focused on mainframes and desktops from application development to implementation. I have written hundreds of programs for various architectures. I decided to start a blog to share my knowledge and experiences with you. I plan on updating this blog at least twice a week about smart phone apps to Windows. Please feel free to leave a Comment or Tweet. I would love to hear from you. Do you have a computer tech question? I will do my best to answer your inquiry. Please mention the app and version that you are using. To help me out, you can send screenshots of your data related to your question.

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