A while back, I blogged about the fact that Windows’ Narrator does not work correctly with Word 2007. Windows 7’s Narrator doesn’t work correctly with Word 2010, either. However, there’s some good news. Excel has had a Speak Cells feature for quite some time (I’m not sure how far back, but I know it was in Excel 2007, and I think it was in Excel 2003). In any event, Word 2010 has added a Speak command to its repertoire, as well. So, even though Narrator continues to not work, Word 2010 users now have a working method for hearing their documents!
How to put Speak onto your Quick Access Toolbar (QAT).
At the right end of the QAT, click the dropdown arrow, and choose More Commands, as shown.
In the Customize Quick Access Toolbar dialog box, set Choose commands from to All commands. In the list, click on Speak, and then click the Add button to add it to the list on the right, as shown. Finally click the OK button.
Now, you should see the Speak button on your QAT, as shown below. To use it, simply select the text you want to hear, and click on the Speak button. While it’s speaking the selected text, you can shut it up by pressing Esc, or by clicking the Speak button again, which becomes while it’s talking.
Assign a Shortcut key to the SpeakStopSpeaking Command
You can, of course, assign a keystroke, if you prefer. After all, if you have limited vision, you might find a keyboard shortcut somewhat more accessible than using the QAT. Here’s the keyboard-only way to do this—or, feel free to use any other method you’re comfortable with:
- Press Alt+F, t, c, Alt+T. This will open the Customize Keyboard dialog box.
- Press Alt+C, a, a. This selects All Commands in the Categories box.
- Press Alt+O, t (this takes you to Commands starting with “t”), PageUp four times (takes you to the SpacePara1 command), Down arrow three times (takes you to the SpeakStopSpeaking command).
- Press Alt+N (takes you to the Press new shortcut key box.
- Press the key(s) you want to assign to the SpeakStopSpeaking command.
- Press Alt+A (assigns the keystroke).
- Press Esc (dismisses the dialog box).
Your assigned key is a toggle that toggles the speaking of selected text on/off. You can, of course, use the Esc key to interrupt speech.