Can PowerPoint speak aloud & read the text in my slideshows?

Yes, with the Speak command (aka Text to Speech feature)

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Rob Schultz/IDG

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Can PowerPoint speak aloud and read the text in my slideshows? Yes, it can. Using the Speak command, also known as the Text to Speech (TTS) feature, PowerPoint can read the text in your slideshows and in your notes out loud.

Be advised, however, that there is not a pause and continue feature with Speak. This is available only with the Read Aloud command, which is available in Word and Outlook, but not yet in PowerPoint or Excel.

Add the Speak command to the Quick Access Toolbar

1. Click the Customize arrow on the Quick Access Toolbar.

2. From the drop-down menu, select More Commands.

3. On the Word Options screen > Customize the Quick Access Toolbar, locate the Choose Commands From field box and select All Commands.

4. Scroll down to the Speak command, select it, then click the Add button in the middle/center of the screen, and click OK.

5. PowerPoint adds the Speak command to the end of the Quick Access Toolbar, and now you’re ready to listen.

01 add the speak button to quick access toolbar JD Sartain / IDG Worldwide

Add the Speak button to Quick Access Toolbar

Click the Speak command button to hear your text

1. Ensure that your system’s speakers or sound devices are turned on.

2. Highlight a section of text inside the applicable slide, or highlight the notes beneath the target slide, and then click the Speak command button.

3. PowerPoint reads the highlighted text or notes on the selected slide.

4. Click the Speak command button once to begin the reading session, then click it again to stop.

NOTE: The Speak command cannot automatically read an entire presentation. You must select the text in each text box on every individual slide you want read. If you require continuous audio in your presentation, use the Insert tab > Audio (from the Media group)> Audio on My PC. Note that you must first record and save the audio file before you can add it to your slideshow.

02 highlight specific text click speak listen JD Sartain / IDG Worldwide

Highlight the specific text, click the Speak command, then listen

Change Speak preferences in the Control Panel

The Speak preferences are defined in Windows, not in PowerPoint.

1. Click Start > Windows System > Control Panel

2. Select Ease of Access > Speech Recognition > Text to Speech, and the Speech Properties dialog window opens on the Text to Speech tab.

3. Under Voice Selection, choose MS David Desktop for a male voice, or MS Zira Desktop for a female voice.

4. Click the Preview button to listen to each voice, then make your selection.

5. Use the slider under Voice Speed to adjust the speaking pace (slow, normal, or fast) of the reader.

6. Click the Audio Output button to define or set up the Sound preferences.

7. Click the Advanced button to select or change the output device.

03 change speak preferences in windows control panel JD Sartain / IDG Worldwide

Change Speak preferences in Windows Control Panel

Once PowerPoint is doing the talking for you, you'll be ready to check out the Speak features in Word, Outlook, and Excel.

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