Turn On Speak Selected Text in Microsoft Word (All Versions)
by Avantix Learning Team | Updated September 10, 2021
Applies to: Microsoft® Word® 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019 or 365 (Windows)
In Microsoft Word, you can have Word speak or read a document to you. You will need to add the Speak command to your Quick Access Toolbar or the Ribbon to use this feature. Once you’ve added the command, simply click Speak and Word will read the selected text aloud. This feature is available in all versions of Word (2010 and later).
For those with Word 2019 or 365, there is also a new Read Aloud feature on the Ribbon as an alternative to Speak.
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Note: Buttons and Ribbon tabs may display in a different way (with or without text) depending on your version of Word, the size of your screen and your Control Panel settings. For Word 365 users, Ribbon tabs may appear with different names.
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Adding Speak to the Quick Access Toolbar
You will need to add Speak to the Quick Access Toolbar (or the Ribbon) to use it.
It’s usually easier to work with the Quick Access Toolbar if you display it below the Ribbon. If the Quick Access Toolbar is above the Ribbon, click the down arrow to the right of the Quick Access Toolbar and select Show Below the Ribbon from the drop-down menu.
To add Speak to the Quick Access Toolbar:
- Click the down arrow to the right of the Quick Access Toolbar. A drop-down menu appears.
- Select More Commands. The Word Options dialog box appears. The Quick Access Toolbar category should be selected on the left.
- From the drop-down menu at the top of the dialog box below Choose commands from, select All Commands.
- In the list of commands, click Speak.
- Click Add.
- Click OK. The Speak command will be added to the Quick Access Toolbar.
In the example below, Speak has been added to the Quick Access Toolbar in the Word Options dialog box:
Speaking selected text
To speak selected text:
- Select the text you want to be read aloud. To select the entire document, press Ctrl + A to select all.
- Click Speak on the Quick Access Toolbar. Word will read the selected text (your sound must be turned on for your device).
- To turn off Speak, click the Speak again.
The voice used by Speak is set by default in your Windows Control Panel settings.
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