Windows Narrator is a built-in screen reader and text-to-speak tool that helps users complete common tasks. Although it is designed for the visually impaired, anyone can use Narrator as it has a wide variety of configuration options.

How to turn on the speech output

By default, Narrator is turned off because most users do not want to use it. So if you want to enable it, do the following:

  1. click beginthen go to Settings> Ease of use.

  2. Select in the menu on the left teller.

  3. Turn on the switch below Use speech output.

If you check Allow the keyboard shortcut to start the speech output, you can use the … Win + Ctrl + Enter to turn it on and off.

If this is your first time using Narrator, click Open the speaker home page to access the Welcome to narrator Menu. With it you can access the settings and learn more about its functions. We recommend opening Quick Start and go through the guide to familiarize yourself with its features.

You can check too Guide for storytellers, This will take you to a webpage with complete information on how to use this feature.

How to configure the settings of the speech output

Let's take a look at the settings available and how you can change them to improve the Narrator user experience.

Start options

You can decide when you want Windows 10 to start Narrator for you and other users, and how your system manages Narrator when you use it.

When Narrator is turned on, the default is caps Lock and Insert are used by Windows 10 as teller Key. So when you see a keyboard shortcut that does the teller Key, it actually is caps Lock or Insert.

Personalize the narrator's voice

  • Choose a voice. Use the drop-down menu below Choose a voice to choose a voice you like. If none of them suit your needs, you can add more voices to Narrator.
  • Change speech speed. You can use the slider or the Speaker + + (the plus key on your keyboard) and Speaker + – (the minus key on your keyboard) to increase or decrease the speech speed.
  • Change pitch. Use the slider to control it.
  • Change the loudspeaker volume. You can use the slider or the Speech + Ctrl + +(Plus) and Speech + Ctrl + – (minus) key combinations for controlling the volume of speech.

In order for Narrator to work better, you should check Turn down the volume of other apps when Narrator is speaking and choose where to hear the Narrator voice when using a bluetooth speaker, headset, or other audio device.

Change what you hear as you read and interact

  • Change the level of detail that speech provides through text and controls. You can use the drop down menu to set it or use the Speaker + V Keyboard shortcuts.

When you select the first level, Narrator reads the text aloud without giving any details about the text. It doesn't advertise links or describe text formatting, so it's a good choice if you're looking to read articles or books.

At level 5, Narrator gives you full details about the text. It mentions the font, size, list type, bullet style, and more. This level is useful when editing or proofreading a document.

Speech output is set to level 3 by default.

  • Change how capitalized text is read. You can use the drop down menu or the Speaker + 4 Keyboard shortcut to decide how Narrator reads capitalized text. There are also additional settings you can use, such as: B. Narrator highlights formatted text or reads extended details such as help text on buttons.

You can also decide how much context Narrator provides for buttons and other controls, why you can't perform a particular action, or when to provide details about it.

Change what you hear as you type

You can decide which keys you want to hear as you type, e.g. B. whether the voice output should read letters, numbers, words, navigation keys, function keys, shift keys and additional keys during input.

Choose Keyboard Settings

You can change the keyboard layout and the other teller Key. If you want to use Narrator to type, you should click. to adjust Insert so you don't accidentally use a keyboard shortcut when you press caps Lock.

You can choose Create your own keyboard shortcut to further configure the keyboard settings for speech output.

Use Narrator cursor

Make sure, that Point the Narrator cursor activated to know which part of the text is read by the screen reader. You can experiment with the other options and see which works better for you.

Windows 10 offers Narrator many configuration options to give users a powerful tool. You can even use your braille display with speech output.

Related: How to Get Your Computer to Read Documents to You

How to have the speech output read for you

After you turn on Narrator, you can use it at any time. You only have to activate the function in a file, document or web page. Place your cursor over the area where you want Narrator to start reading and press Caps Lock + R. If you want to stop reading, press Ctrl.

How to use scan mode

You can use scan mode to read documents or web pages faster. To turn it on, press Speaker + space bar. Then use the Above and Low Buttons for reading the content of a website or app. When you come across an element that you want to use, such as: For example, a link or button in an app, press Enter or Space bar.

Scan mode is disabled in edit boxes so that you can type. When you have finished typing, press Above or Low to exit the edit field and continue using scan mode.

If you are using Google Chrome, Firefox, Microsoft Edge, Mail or Outlook, the scan mode will be activated automatically.

Scan mode has many shortcut keys that you can check on Microsoft's website.

Start speaking

Our guide will show you how to use Narrator, from the basic features to some of the more complex ones. Microsoft is constantly updating the screen reader to improve the user experience, so you can provide feedback to Microsoft by pressing Speech + Alt + F while the speech output is being performed.

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About the author

Matthew Wallaker
(35 published articles)

Matthew's passions lead him to become a technical writer and blogger. As a graduate engineer, he likes to use his technical knowledge to write informative and useful content.

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By Matthew Wallaker

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