How to Use the Speak and Read Aloud Commands in Microsoft Word to Make it Read to You?

It sounds a bit disbelieving, isn’t it? But it’s totally possible, trust me… You are not in some distant past era hoping every damn thing to be an impossible feat, and especially when you have Microsoft technology to impress you with its every new launch, having someone to read to you your contents is definitely possible.

To be precise, the speaker feature in Microsoft Word, Outlook, PowerPoint, etc was initially added to the 2003 version.  It was known as Text to Speech feature, and it still performs much the same as it performs now. The setup procedure and its usage has become considerably simple, and that’s the only exception you can discover in the new version of MS Word.

In this article, the contents that we will discuss regarding the Text to Speed feature are:

  • How to Incorporate Speak button at the Quick Access Toolbar
  • How to Use the Speak Button Feature to Hear your Text
  • How to Choose the Read Aloud Command
  • How to Modify the Speech Preferences

#1: How to Incorporate Speak Button at the Quick Access Toolbar

In this portion of the discussion, we will tell you how to add the speak button to the quick access toolbar which will give you quick access to have your text read to you.

Step 1: Firstly, open a Word document and go to the “Customize” arrow atop on the quick access toolbar.

Step 2. Choose “More Commands” from the context menu.

Step 3. Now; off the Word Options Window select “Customize Quick Access Toolbar” from the left-hand side list of tabs.

Step 4. On the right-hand side, click on “Chosen Commands from” panel, and locate the “Speak” command.

Step 5. Choose the command and click on the “Add” button in the center of the screen.

Step 6. Finally, click on the “OK” button to save the change.

How to Use the Speak and Read Aloud Commands in Microsoft Word to Make it Read to You? (1)

Now you can see, the Word has added the Speak button at the end of the Quick Access Toolbar. So now you are ready to use it.

#2: How to Use the Speak Button Feature to Hear your Text

Now before you want MS Word to read out to you your chosen texts, you should better check your sound devices and speakers to avoid any misfortune.

Step 1. Once you are ready, highlight any paragraph using the cursor, or the entire document by pressing “Ctrl + A”.

Step 2. Click on the “Speak” button at the quick access toolbar, and the reading session begins. If you want to stop it, click on the button again. No pause or continue buttons have been incorporated yet. You may have it in the future version who knows.

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#3: How to Choose the Read Aloud Command

Apart from the method mentioned above, there is another way you can have MS word read out to your texts. This is done by using the “Read Aloud” button.

Just go to the “Review Tab” and click on it and click on the “Read Aloud Button”.

One of the benefits of using this command over the Speak command is that you don’t have to highlight your texts to begin the reading session.

Just place your cursor next to the line or word where you wish the Reading Aloud command to begin and click the “Read aloud” button. The reading session will become instantaneously.

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Secondly, if you click the “Read aloud” command to stop and click it again, it starts from that point on instead of starting over from the beginning. This was not possible with the Speak button previously.

So basically you have a pause feature with this command.


#4: How to Modify the Speech Preferences

Suppose, you want some change to be rendered to your Speech performance, like output device, speaker choice, sound quality, sound preferences, etc. then you have to go to the Window’s Control Panel to bring about the necessary changes. It does not happen specifically in Word but in Windows settings, keep that in mind.

So, how to do it? Read the steps given below:

Step 1. First, click on the “Start” button, then “Windows System” and finally “Control Panel”.

Step 2. In the “Control Panel” Operating Window, choose “Ease of Access”. Click on “Speech Recognition” and then select the “Text to Speech” tab and the Speech properties working tab will open up.

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Step 3.  Now under the “Voice Selection” tab either select “MS David Desktop” for a male voice or “MS Zira Desktop” for a female voice.

Step 4. Click on the “Preview” button to check if the voices are working fine or not, and then finalize your selection by applying the change.

Step 5. In order to adjust the pace of the voice, be it normal, slow, or fast, use the slider under the “Voice speed” option.

Step 6. Choose the “Audio Output” tab to check out the Sound Preferences and “Advanced button” to choose or change the output devices.



Text to speech conversion feature in Microsoft word has really facilitated users to check the contents audibly which is much more of a convenient way than reading out manually. As a personal adviser, I would recommend you to prefer the Read aloud command opposed to the Speak button because it gives you the option to pause the reading session, which is fundamentally not incorporated in the Speak button feature.

Read the article properly, and if you have got any personal suggestions, you are free to add it to the comment section below.

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