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.
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
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.
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.