Using the Speak Feature in Office 2010

Using the Speak Feature in Office 2010

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The Professor

A Lesson by The Professor

Using the Speak Feature in Office 2010

Hello Students,

  Our lesson today is about using an exciting new feature in Office 2010 called Speak!

  In a previous lesson we discussed Using the New Mini Translator in Office 2010 which provides quick translations of individual words or selections of text on mouse hover. It also makes it easy to hear text-to-speech playback of the original text through the Play and Stop buttons.

The Speak feature in Office 2010 enables text-to-speech in OneNote, Outlook, PowerPoint, and Word. By default, Speak is not present on the Ribbon, so you will need to add it to either the Ribbon or the Quick Access Toolbar.   Note, you may want to use text-to-speech playback without turning on the Mini Translator or with the keyboard instead of the mouse.

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Speak requires a text-to-speech engine matching the language of the text.  You can see your installed text-to-speech engines in the Control Panel:

More information about your available text-to-speech engine can be found in the Control Panel 

Excel also supports text-to-speech playback through Speak Cells in the Ribbon or Quick Access Toolbar.

Let’s begin by adding Speak to the Quick Access Toolbar:

1. Start by launching Word, and open the Backstage View by clicking on the File button.

The Options dialog can be launched from the Backstage View

2. Click Options and navigate to the Quick Access Toolbar tab.

3. In the Choose commands from: drop-down menu, select Commands Not in the Ribbon.

4. Select Speak from the scroll box and click Add > >.

The Speak button can be easily accessed by adding it to the Quick Access Toolbar

5. Click OK, and the Speak icon will now appear in the Quick Access Toolbar.

 The Speak button will appear in the Quick Access Toolbar

 

You can also add Speak to the Ribbon by using the following steps:

1. Start by launching Word, and open the Backstage View by clicking on the File button.

The Options dialog can be launched from the Backstage View

2. Select the Customize Ribbon tab in Options.

3. In the Choose commands from: drop-down menu, select Commands Not in the Ribbon.

4. Create a custom tab or a new group by clicking New Tab or New Group (You can rename the Tab or the Group using the Rename… button)

5. Select Speak from the scroll box and add it to your custom Tab and Group by clicking Add > >.

You can create your own customized Ribbon through Options

6. Click OK, and the Speak icon will now appear in the Ribbon.

The Speak button is available in your customized Ribbon Tab

Speak is now ready for text-to-speech playback, when the cursor is within a word or you have selected some text!

Click Speak to begin text-to-speech playback. Clicking the button during speech will cancel playback.

Word supports custom keyboard shortcuts for commands. This allows you to use Speak without adding it to the Ribbon or the Quick Access Toolbar. In the Customize Ribbon menu click Customize…, select the All Commands category, and bind the SpeakStopSpeaking command to the hotkey of your choice.

Choose your own shortcut key for Speak by customizing your Ribbon

 

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Speak is disabled until you select text whose language matches one of your installed engines. Click Speak to begin text-to-speech playback. Clicking the button during speech will cancel playback.

Speak is off until you have selected some text in the correct language. Click Speak to begin text-to-speech playback. Clicking the button during speech will cancel playback.

 

Try using Speak to listen to your email.

If you have questions, I’m always available – just leave a note below and I will respond as soon as I can!

The Professor

 

The example companies, organizations, products, domain names, email addresses, logos, people and events depicted herein are fictitious. No association with any real company, organization, product, domain name, e-mail address, logo, person, or event is intended or should be inferred.

Comments
  • This feature should be available as default.

    I wish the applications could distinguish different languages and use appropriate TTS. Listening to English words with a Japanese TTS is not very useful (and vice versa), you know.

  • I tried the feature and it works well with text. However, it can’t read the Alt Text in pictures. I just want to make sure that this is not an error of some kind.. Is it supposed to read text only?

    Thanks

  • Quite a few languages are available here:

    http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=f704cd64-1dbf-47a7-ba49-27c5843a12d5&displaylang=en

  • I press 'Speak' and nothing happens. I tried selecting the whole thing, putting the cursor at first and last of the sentence. But still doesn't help.  Anyone knows what the heck the problem is ?

  • Remian, in order for this feature to work, you will need to download a text-to-speech (TTS) engine in the language or languages that you want the feature to work in. You may download a TTS from the link below.  TTS’s are available for different languages. For instance, if you wish to hear the sound play for Japanese Text then you will need to install the Japanese TTS Engine.

    Hope that helps. If it doesn't, please post again.

    office.microsoft.com/.../helppreview14.aspx

  • Is there a way to slow the voice down? I'm using this with a dyslexic student and the voice is too fast and difficult to understand. Changing the voice speed in the Narrator in the windows control panel doesn't help.

  • Change the speed in Control Panel > Text to Speech.

  • There is no Control Panel in Excel 2007. please help

  • Go to Start Menu, Control Panel, Ease of Access, Speech Recognition, Text to Speech

  • This is an excellent tool for my dyslexic learners but the voice is very robotic. Is there a way this can be changed?

  • I am using MS Outlook.  The speak function normally works well.  All of a sudden it has stopped working in Outlook, but still works in the othe MS programs.  Can you help me?

  • Why won't it continue reading. It only reads about 4 paragraphs and then stops every time. I'm selecting the whole 16 page document and it keeps stopping. Annoying!

  • I have Win8.1 with 3 voices to select from, but the speak function refuses to switch to the one that I have selected in the Control Panel's Text-to-speech. Can anyone help?

  • I have not been able to get Speak (Word 2013, Win 8.1) to read more than about 750 words, no matter how much larger an selection I make. Is that an absolute limit (which seems unduly small), or is there a way to get Speak to read a larger selection?
    Thank you.

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