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Read Aloud in Word for Mac

Word 365 and Word 2019 for Mac have the same Read Aloud option that’s in other Word releases.  Word 2016 and earlier have other options to speak the words in a document.

Word 365 and Word 2019

Read Aloud starts from the Review menu.

That opens a control panel with the usual options.

Back – jumps back to the start of the current or previous paragraph.

Play / Pause

Forward – goes forward a paragraph.

Settings – change the reading speed and voice.

Keyboard shortcuts

CTRL + Option + Space  Start Read Aloud  

Option + Space    Play or pause

Option + up arrow Skip to start of previous paragraph

Option + down arrow  Skip forward to start of next paragraph

Voice Selection

The voice selection is according to the language setting of the Word paragraph.  The voices themselves come from the Mac OS.

Go to System | Accessibility | Speech to choose a language and voice pair, see below for more.

Word 2016 for Mac and earlier

For earlier versions of Office on Macintosh computers, the speaking is entirely done by the macOS not Office for Mac.

Some people prefer the Apple ‘speak selected text’ method and use its Speech option instead of Read Aloud in Word 365/2019.

To enable speech to text, go to System Preferences | Accessibility and look for the Speech   

Speak selected text when the key is pressed – lets you choose a shortcut key.

Voice Selection

The speaking voice for Word comes from the MacOS Accessibility options, whether you use the Word 365/2019 Read Aloud or the Speech options in MacOS.

Go to System Preferences | Accessibility | Speech, select the voices pull-down list

Select an available voice or choose Customise for more.  Scroll down to see the many options available.

As you’d expect, there are plenty of choices for US English among many.

We were tempted to try ‘Fiona’ a Scottish English voice.

Warning!  Voices can take up a lot of disk space (a GB or more) which can be a concern on Mac laptops which are often chronically short of  space.

Save some disk space by unchecking the ‘Upgrade to enhanced quality’ option available for some voices.

Read Aloud a doc in Word for iPhone or iPad
Excel Mobile Read Aloud in iPhone and iPad
‘Tell me’ help now in Mac Office 365 with the same limitations


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