Exploring the Accessibility Features of Microsoft Word: Can it Read Aloud?

Last Updated: Feb 2, 2024 by

Microsoft Word is a widely used word processing program that offers a variety of features to make document creation and editing easier. But did you know that it also has accessibility features that can assist those with reading difficulties? In this article, we will explore the read aloud feature of Microsoft Word and how it can benefit users.

What is the Read Aloud Feature?

The read aloud feature in Microsoft Word is a text-to-speech tool that reads the text on a document out loud. This feature can be helpful for those with reading difficulties, visual impairments, or learning disabilities. It can also be useful for proofreading and editing purposes, as hearing the text can help identify errors that may have been missed while reading silently.

How to Use the Read Aloud Feature

To use the read aloud feature in Microsoft Word, follow these simple steps:

  1. Open the document you want to have read aloud.
  2. Click on the “Review” tab at the top of the screen.
  3. In the “Review” tab, click on the “Read Aloud” button in the “Speech” section.
  4. The read aloud feature will begin reading the document from the beginning. You can pause, stop, or adjust the speed of the reading using the controls in the “Read Aloud” toolbar.

Customizing the Read Aloud Feature

The read aloud feature in Microsoft Word also offers some customization options to make it more user-friendly. These options can be accessed by clicking on the “Read Aloud” button and then clicking on the “Settings” button in the toolbar.

In the settings menu, you can choose the voice and language of the reader, as well as adjust the speed and volume of the reading. You can also choose to have the words highlighted as they are read, which can be helpful for those who benefit from visual cues while listening.

Limitations of the Read Aloud Feature

While the read aloud feature in Microsoft Word can be a useful tool, it does have some limitations. It may not be able to accurately pronounce certain words or phrases, especially if they are not in the language selected. It also does not have the ability to read images or tables, so these elements will be skipped over during the reading.

Other Accessibility Features in Microsoft Word

In addition to the read aloud feature, Microsoft Word also offers other accessibility features such as text-to-speech for selected text, voice commands, and the ability to change the font and background color for easier reading. These features can be found in the “Ease of Access” section of the “Settings” menu.


In conclusion, the read aloud feature in Microsoft Word can be a helpful tool for those with reading difficulties or visual impairments. It can also be useful for proofreading and editing purposes. While it does have some limitations, it is a valuable feature to explore for those who may benefit from reading assistance.

Have you used the read aloud feature in Microsoft Word? How has it helped you? Let us know in the comments.

Gulrukh Ch

About the Author: Gulrukh Ch

Gulrukh Chaudhary, an accomplished digital marketer and technology writer with a passion for exploring the frontiers of innovation. Armed with a Master's degree in Information Technology, Gulrukh seamlessly blends her technical prowess with her creative flair, resulting in captivating insights into the world of emerging technologies. Discover more about her on her LinkedIn profile.