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There are many reasons to listen to an email, such as proofreading, multitasking, or increased comprehension and learning. Outlook makes listening possible by using the text-to-speech (TTS) ability of your device to play back written text as spoken words.  

There are multiple tools for listening to your emails in Outlook: 

  • Read Aloud reads all or part of your email.

  • Speak reads only the text you've selected. Speak is available for Windows only. For more information about Speak, see Use the Speak text-to-speech feature to read text aloud.

  • Speech is a built-in accessibility feature of MacOS. When you set up Speech preferences in your Mac system preferences, you can select text and have it read by pressing a keyboard combination you’ve defined.

Turn Read Aloud on or off in Outlook

  1. Select File > Options > Accessibility.

  2. Under Application display options, select or clear the Show Read Aloud checkbox.

    Options for Read Aloud

Let Outlook read your messages to you

On the Home tab, select Read Aloud. The Read Aloud controls appear in the upper right and is playing by default.

Select Read Aloud

  • To pause Read Aloud, select Pause.

  • To move from one paragraph to another, select Previous or Next.

  • To exit Read Aloud, select Stop (x).

Change Read Aloud settings 

Select the gear icon in the controls at the top right.

Read Aloud settings

  • Use the Reading speed slider to change the reading speed.

  • Under Voice Selection, select the voice you want.

Keyboard shortcuts 

You can easily control Read Aloud using the following keyboard shortcuts in Windows: 

CTRL + Alt + Space

Start Read Aloud

CTRL + Space

Play or pause Read Aloud

CTRL + Left Arrow

Skip to start of previous paragraph

CTRL + Right Arrow

Skip forward to start of next paragraph

Alt + Left Arrow

Decrease reading speed

Alt + Right Arrow

Increase reading speed

Increase reading speed 

Listen to your documents with Speak 

Speak is a built-in feature of Word, Outlook, PowerPoint, and OneNote. Speak reads aloud only the text you select. Read Aloud reads the entire document starting from your cursor location like an audiobook.  

To use Speak:  

  1. Select a word or block of text in your document.

  2. In the Quick Access Toolbar, select the Speak selected text icon.

Tip: For instructions about how to add the Speak icon to your Quick Access Toolbar, see the help article Use the Speak text-to-speech feature to read text aloud

Supported languages 

Read Aloud uses the proofing language set for the document. To change the language, see the help article Fix text-to-speech reading in wrong language.  

Voices 

Depending on your platform, text-to-speech (TTS) uses software that comes built into your device or through a Microsoft service. The voices available will differ between TTS services. If you’re using Immersive Reader, see the help article Download voices for Immersive Reader, Read Mode, and Read Aloud for more information. 

Our team is working on making voices sound more natural, so keep looking for improvements. 

Troubleshooting 

If you don’t see Read Aloud available, make sure that you’re signed into your Microsoft 365 account, and then try restarting Outlook or logging out and back in. 

Privacy 

Read Aloud doesn’t store your content or audio data. Microsoft uses your content only to provide you with audio results. For more information about experiences that analyze your content, see Connected Experiences in Office.

You can use Spoken Content to hear text in an email, on a website, Word document, and so on. To turn on or off  Spoken Content, follow these steps. 

  1. Select the Apple logo.

  2. Choose System Preferences > Accessibility > Spoken Content.

  3. Adjust the settings there according to your preferences.

Turn Read Aloud on or off in Outlook

Turn Read Aloud on

  1. Select View.

  2. Right-click Immersive Reader > select Read Aloud.

Use Read Aloud for all emails or a single email

Read Aloud reads the entire site starting from your cursor location like an audiobook. When you turn on Read Aloud, the sender, subject, date, and time of each email are read until you select a specific email.

Turn Read Aloud off   

  1. Select View.

  2. Right-click Immersive Reader > select Close Read Aloud.

 Pause and navigate Read Aloud   

 When Read Aloud is turned on, the pause and navigation controls display at the top, center of the site.

          Outlook Web Read Aloud Controls                                                                                                                              

You can also navigate through the read aloud of the document by using the drop-down menu under Immersive Reader.

                                                                                                                                                               Outlook for Web drop down menu of navigating read aloud                                                                                                                                                                

  • To pause Read Aloud, select Pause read aloud.

  • To move from one paragraph to another, select Read previous paragraph or Read nextparagraph.

  • To exit Read Aloud, select Close read aloud.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               

Note: There are no keyboard shortcuts for Read Aloud in Outlook for the Web.                                                                        Adjust the Read Aloud voice 

Adjust voice speed and the type of voice

Voice speed

1. Select Voice options.

2. Under Speed, adjust the slider between Slow and Fast.                                                                                                            

Outlook for Web Read Aloud Voice Options Dropdown

Voice selection

1. Select Voice options.

2. Under Speed, choose a voice by name of voice, language, and country.

Note: To learn about how to add more voices, refer to Download voices for Immersive Reader, Read Mode, and Read Aloud.

Supported languages 

Read Aloud uses the proofing language set for the document. To change the language, see the help article Fix text-to-speech reading in wrong language.  

Voices 

Depending on your platform, text-to-speech (TTS) uses software that comes built into your device or through a Microsoft service. The voices available will differ between TTS services. If you’re using Immersive Reader, see the help article Download voices for Immersive Reader, Read Mode, and Read Aloud for more information. 

Our team is working on making voices sound more natural, so keep looking for improvements.                                                                                                                               

Troubleshooting 

If you don’t see Read Aloud available, make sure that you’re signed into your Microsoft 365 account, and then try restarting Outlook or logging out and back in. 

Privacy 

Read Aloud doesn’t store your content or audio data. Microsoft uses your content only to provide you with audio results. For more information about experiences that analyze your content, see Connected Experiences in Office.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           

Get started with Play My Emails

  1. Select your account picture to open the side menu.

  2. Tap Play.

  3. Complete set up instructions.

  4. Use voice assistance from Cortana.

Use Cortana

  1. To use Cortana with Play My Emails, say "Hey Cortana".

  2. Say one of the following actions.

  • Skip

  • Flag

  • Archive

  • Delete

Personalize Play My Emails

Select Account > Play My Emails.

Select one of the following. 

  • Customize swipe options

  • Keep emails as unread

  • Choose Cortana's voice

  • Ask Siri to Play My Emails

Want more?

Outlook for iOS and Android FAQ

See Also

Office Accessibility Center

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