Text to Speech in Microsoft Outlook Email
Text to Speech in Microsoft Outlook Email- Help make your email experience productive and simple
Your Microsoft Outlook emailing experience is about to change. Text-to-speech will revolutionize how you listen to your emails and will make your emailing experience a lot less painful.
Text-to-speech has many benefits, the most important one being convenience. We live in a time where everything is hands-free, this makes something like listening to emails so much easier while on the go. For people that are visually impaired the text-to-speech app can be a helpful tool, as it can easily convert texts like emails, PDFs, docs, and articles into speech.
Lastly, the text-to-speech app allows you to maximize your time, by allowing you to do multiple things for example you can be walking in the park with your dog and listen to your emails.
Various text-to-speech apps are available for Windows, Android and IOS systems. The Microsoft operating system offers built-in text-to-speech that is available across all Microsoft Office applications for example Powerpoint, Microsoft Word, Outlook, OneNote,Microsoft Teams and Excel. It is very easy to customize these applications to access text-to-speech.
Windows 10 offers Narrator, this is an on-screen reader designed for those that are visually impaired. There is no need to download anything, it’s as simple as enabling it. It can read what is on your screen. Narrator can also be used to read and write emails in Microsoft Outlook, as well as browse the internet and read documents.
The way to enable Narrator on your Windows operating system is by accessing your control panel and then clicking ease of access and selecting Narrator and enabling it. It is very user-friendly and can be started and stopped at any time. An easy way to stop or start Narrator is by using the keyboard shortcut Windows logo key + Ctrl + Enter.
On Apple devices, there are also built-in features that can be used to change text-to-speech, which can be used on your iPhone and iPad. It is very user-friendly for example you can change the speaking rate to suit you. Once you have set it up you simply highlight the text you want to read and an icon in the copy toolbar will appear that allows it to be read aloud.
Apple Mac has a built-in feature that also allows you to select the on-screen text and have it read aloud. This feature is very basic, you can choose a male or female voice and the speed of the voice. The Windows built-in app has more features should you be more particular about how your text is read to you.
To access these features on your Apple products you can go to your settings on your iPhone or Ipad and select accessibility, tap on Speak Selection and turn Speak Selection on. On your Apple Mac, you will access this feature in your System Preferences and select Accessibility, and then select speech.
Text to Speech in Microsoft Outlook
As mentioned above it is very easy to enable text-to-speech feature in Microsoft Outlook, with either Narrator or the speak feature. They both do the same thing, if you enable the speak feature in Outlook it will only read your emails, whereas Narrator reads everything on your screen and can become a bit repetitive after a while.
How to enable text-to-speech in Microsoft Outlook
Open Microsoft Outlook.
Next to the Quick Access Toolbar, click Customize Quick Access Toolbar.
Scroll down and click More Commands
In the Choose commands from list, select All Commands.
Scroll down to the Speak command, select it, and then click Add.
The drawbacks of using text-to-speech in Microsoft Outlook
Although the above-mentioned built-in features that come with Windows and IOS are very user-friendly and effective to a certain point, they have their limitations. The speaking feature cannot read PDFs, you will need to download the Adobe PDF reader if you want your PDF to be read aloud. In this case, I would use Speechify, as it can be used across all platforms and offers more features. The speaking feature on Microsoft Outlook also does not pay too much attention to punctuation, the whole email will sound like one long sentence.
Alternatives to Microsoft Outlook text-to-speech
There are a few apps that can be downloaded onto your Windows operating system or your IOS system and can easily be used on your mobile and desktop These apps are for those who are needing a bit more customization from their text-to-speech app.
The first app to consider is Speechify. This is the #1 speech reader app and is very versatile. One of the cool features is that you can select different voices to read back to you. These voices are also natural-sounding voices and don’t typically sound like your AI voices. It can read through docs, articles, PDFs, and email messages.
Speechify is also very accessible, as you can use the free version which includes 10 standard reading voices and the ability to speed up the voices. A paid version is also available at a very reasonable price, which includes a lot more features, for example, 20 different languages, highlighting and note taking, and 30 high-quality voices for the premium package subscribers.
A review from Elizabeth (parent to a visually impaired child) highlights how this app has changed her life. “There are not enough words in the universe to truly express our gratitude for this app! Speechify has made it possible for my daughter (legally blind) to feel successful in doing the things her friends can do. “
How do I make my email read aloud?
Open your Outlook email on your mobile device.
Go to your settings and select play my emails and toggle on Play My Emails.
Play Emails From, select which messages you want to have read aloud for example Spam, Inbox, etc.
What To Play, select whether you want to hear unread emails or emails from the past 72 hours.
How do I convert text to speech?
It’s a really simple step to convert your text to speech. You can write your text or upload a file with text in it from your computer into the dialog box. After that, you can choose a voice that you prefer and you can select the speed that it is read. You can also download it as an mp3 file if you want to listen to a playback file later.