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Microsoft Adds Read Aloud Feature to Word

1 August 2017

From PC Magazine:

This week Microsoft rolled out a number of new features heading to Office 365. The stand out addition is a feature called Read Aloud in Word, which you’ll eventually find available under the Review tab on the Word menu.

Microsoft offers a range of tools that come under the heading of Learning Tools in Word. They exist to “help you improve your reading skills by boosting your ability to pronounce words correctly, to read quickly and accurately, and to understand what you read.” Read Aloud falls squarely into the “read quickly and accurately” category.

When enabled, Read Aloud allows you to hear any given Word document being read out loud while each word is highlighted simultaneously. By going through this process, Microsoft believes it is easier to recognize and correct errors. And because Read Aloud happens within the existing work flow, it’s easy to rectify each error as soon as it becomes apparent.

Microsoft also views Read Aloud as beneficial for users with learning disabilities such as dyslexia. It should allow for improved reading and accuracy, and ultimately more error-free documents.

Link to the rest at PC Magazine

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22 Comments to “Microsoft Adds Read Aloud Feature to Word”

  1. I may have to try that with my manuscript and see how it mangles my Catmage names.

  2. Sorry MS, still not interested in your rent-to-never-own office.

    Still using word from office 2000, other programs can ‘read’ docs to me if I want them to.

  3. Al the Great and Powerful

    Wow, a perfect example of ‘virtue signalling’ in the wild. Anonymous plays the Luddite card to show how much better they are than the benighted fools using other software. We can all check this off on our internet Life List. Gotta catch ’em all!

  4. I have had mixed feelings about the latest additions to Word. I wish some of my style and diction-blind business colleagues would turn on and pay attention to the latest grammar and style prompts; their emails would be easier to read, but the prompts can be a pain if you have your own sensibilities. I don’t find the controls granular enough to keep the prompts I like and remove the ones I don’t.

    I have not tried Read Aloud. I have hopes. It could be a useful feature, but I’m doubtful. I don’t care for Cortana’s renditions and I imagine the Word feature is based on the same libraries.

    I view subscribing to Office as a necessary evil in this day of continuous assaults on security. Subscriptions give the vendors an opportunity to close the gaps the bad eggs find.

    Thanks ATGAP! I am embarrassed to say that I had not heard of “virtue signalling” before. Good concept. Must watch for it in myself.

    • I have been guilty of this enough times I see it and groan…

    • Al the Great and Powerful

      I know the crime because I’ve done the crime myself, too many times. This was a special case though, it wasn’t mixed up with politics or culture games, it was such a beautiful clear example. Thanks, Anonymous!

      Al the Great and Powerful
      Far out in the Middle of the Pacific Ocean

  5. This must be referring to the online, browser-hosted version because standalone Word has had this feature for ages. I used it with Word 2003. Maybe earlier.

    https://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/office/forum/office_2003-office_install/activating-text-to-speech-in-word-2003/8ce7648d-0597-49b7-bd87-c3b81995cf92

    And yes, it is very useful for picking up typos. More so for checking narrative flow and long-winded sentences are paragraphs.

    • Al the Great and Powerful

      How is it for foreign words? I fear its going to mangle Hawaiian something fierce…

      • I have Word 2007 and I use this feature too. Hawaiian actually might be okay since it tries to pronounce unfamiliar words phonetically and Hawaiian is spelled phonetically. (Not sure what it would do with the ‘ though.)

        They foreign words and place names I use usually get mangled pretty badly since they’re mostly Eastern European. Although I think it’s pretty funny that it pronounces Budapest as BudapeSHt, which is the correct Hungarian pronunciation.

      • I don’t use many foreign words in Word.
        But I can report it gets “spacetime” right.:)

        Most names, too.

        If you have Word it’s easy to test. It’s in the language tools menu. Excel, too, btw.

      • @ Al TGAP

        I’d be more afraid of its mangling Polish! 🙂

        Or French… 🙁

  6. Al the Great and Powerful

    Nice, it works in Win 10 with Office 365! An easy download and setup, and I’ve added it to my Quick Access Tools.

    Its Hawaiian is understandable (although wrong, so I’ll still have to visually inspect those words) enough that it doesn’t throw you out of the listening.

    It is slower speaking then I read, but I see how useful it will be for for picking up typos, checking narrative flow and finding all my long-winded sentences and paragraphs.

  7. Great. The idiots who used to complain about the noise my old IBM keyboard made, while conducting long conversations by standing outside their cubicles shouting at their speakerphones will now be able to annoy people further by having their computer shout their memoranda at them.

  8. Al the Great and Powerful

    This is why I work at home when I’m writing (well, that and the fact that the company doesn’t have a branch office on this island except my spare bedroom) … nobody near, few around to here me except the occasional yard guy or chickens outside the apartment.

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