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Hearing text read aloud with Narrator
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Narrator is a screen reader that reads text on the screen aloud and describes events like error messages so you can use your PC without a display.
Narrator is available in English (United States, United Kingdom and India), French, Italian, German, Japanese, Korean, Mandarin (Chinese Simplified and Chinese Traditional), Cantonese (Chinese Traditional), Spanish (Spain and Mexico), Polish, Russian and Portuguese (Brazil).
There are different ways to start Narrator. These are the four ways many people prefer:
Swipe in from the right edge of the screen, tap Settings, then tap Change PC settings.(If you're using a mouse, point to the top-right corner of the screen, move the mouse pointer down, click Settings, then click Change PC settings.) Tap or click Ease of Access, tap or click Narrator, then move the slider under Narrator to turn it on.
If you want to get started straight away, press Caps Lock+F1 after you open Narrator or tap the touch screen three times with four fingers. This will show you all of the Narrator commands. If you use a Japanese 106/109 keyboard, press Ctrl+Alt+F1 to get started.
If you want to use Caps Lock to capitalise letters while you're using Narrator, press the Caps Lock key twice in quick succession.
There are also different ways to exit Narrator. These are the two shortcuts many people prefer:
Windows 8.1 and Windows RT 8.1 have new actions and new locations for common commands. Here are a few important gestures to get you started.
Swipe in from the right edge with one finger
Open the charms (Search, Share, Start, Devices, Settings)
Swipe in from the left edge with one finger
Switch apps, snap them to the side, and close them
Swipe in from the top or bottom edge with one finger
Show app commands like Save, Edit and Delete
The press and hold gesture isn't supported in Narrator.
Windows 8.1 and Windows RT 8.1 have new keyboard shortcuts too. Here are a few helpful ones.
Snap apps to the side
You can change settings for Narrator in PC settings. To find these settings:
Swipe in from the right edge of the screen, tap Settings, then tap Change PC settings.(If you're using a mouse, point to the top-right corner of the screen, move the mouse pointer down, click Settings, then click Change PC settings.)
Tap or click Ease of Access, then change any of the following settings.
Hear what's on the screen
Narrator. Use this slider to turn Narrator on or off.
Start narrator automatically. Use this setting to have Narrator start automatically each time you sign in.
Choose a voice. With this drop-down menu you can select different types of voices in Narrator, if they're available in your language.
Speed. You can change the speed of the voice with this slider.
Pitch. You can change the pitch of the voice with this slider.
Sounds you hear
Read hints for controls and buttons. Use this setting to have Narrator read hints about how to interact with common items such as buttons, links, list items and sliders.
Characters you type. You can choose whether or not Narrator reads each key you enter
Words you type. Choose whether or not Narrator reads the words that you type.
Lower the volume of other apps when Narrator is running. This option makes other apps quieter so it's easier to hear Narrator.
Play audio cues. This option turns on the extra sounds that Narrator plays when you do certain actions.
Cursor and keys
Highlight the cursor. This option lets you show or hide the box that highlights where Narrator is on your screen.
Have insertion point follow Narrator. This option lets you show or hide the box that highlights where Narrator is on your screen.
Activate keys on touch keyboard when I lift my finger off the keyboard. If touch mode is available, you can turn this setting on so you can type faster using the touch keyboard. With this setting, you can drag to search for the item you're looking for and lift your finger to press the key.
If you use a Japanese 106/109 keyboard, use Ctrl+Alt instead of Caps Lock in the following keyboard commands.
Do primary action
Caps Lock+Right arrow
Move to next item
Caps Lock+Left Arrow
Move to previous item
Caps Lock+Up arrow
Caps Lock+Down arrow
Change verbosity mode
Show commands list
Show commands for current item
Jump to next cell in row
Jump to previous cell in row
Jump to next cell in column
Jump to previous cell in column
Read which row and column Narrator is in
Jump to table cell
Read current column
Read current row
Read current column header
Read current row header
Toggle touch mode on/off
Toggle keystroke announcements
Lock Narrator Key
Pass keys to app
Repeat last phrase
Caps Lock+Page Up
Increase voice volume
Caps Lock+Page Down
Decrease voice volume
Increase voice speed
Decrease voice speed
Read item advanced
Read item spelt out or read detailed reading for Japanese or Korean
Read all items in containing area
Move to last item in containing area
Move Narrator cursor to system cursor
Move Narrator cursor to pointer
Set focus to item
Go back one item
Jump to linked item
Caps Lock+Close bracket
Read text from start to cursor
Caps Lock+0 (zero)
Read text attributes
Read next page
Read current page
Read previous page
Read next paragraph
Read current paragraph
Read previous paragraph
Read next line
Read current line
Read previous line
Read next word
Read current word
Read previous word
Caps Lock+Open bracket
Read next character
Caps Lock+Ctrl+Open bracket
Read current character
Caps Lock+Shift+Open bracket
Read previous character
Jump to next heading
Jump to previous heading
Jump to next table
Jump to previous table
Jump to next link
Jump to previous link
Move to beginning of text
Move to end of text
Read current date/time
If you have a new PC that supports four or more contact points, you can use touch commands to control your PC.
Swipe left/right with one finger
Move to next or previous item
Swipe up/down with one finger
Change move increment
Tap or drag a single finger
Read what's under your finger
Double-tap with one finger
Activate primary action
Triple-tap with one finger
Activate secondary action
Swipe left/right/up/down with two fingers
Tap with two fingers
Stop Narrator from reading
Double-tap with two fingers
Show context menu
Hold with one finger and tap with a second
Hold with one finger and double-tap with a second
Swipe left/right with three fingers
Tab forward and backward
Swipe up with three fingers
Read current window
Swipe down with three fingers
Start reading explorable text
Tap with three fingers
Double-tap with three fingers
Read Text Attributes
Hold with one finger and tap with two other fingers
Start dragging or extra key options
Swipe left/right with four fingers
Move Narrator cursor to beginning/end of unit
Swipe up/down with four fingers
Turn zoom on/off
Tap with four fingers
Double-tap with four fingers
Toggle search mode
Triple-tap with four fingers
Show Narrator commands list
Narrator provides basic screen-reading capabilities so you can use Windows when you don't have a more comprehensive screen reader. Narrator isn't designed to read content in all applications. For more information about screen readers and other assistive technologies, go to the Microsoft Accessibility
Windows comes with a basic screen reader called Narrator, which reads text on the screen aloud and describes some events (such as an error message appearing) that happen while you're using the computer.
Narrator is not available in all languages, so if the steps below don't work, Narrator is not available for your language.
To open Narrator click the Start button , and then, in the search box, type Narrator. In the list of results, click Narrator.
Use the keyboard shortcuts in the following table to specify which text you want Narrator to read:
Get information about the current item
Read the entire selected window
Read the items that are selected in the current window
Read a description of the items that appear next to the currently selected element
Stop Narrator from reading text
Move the cursor backward to the beginning of any preceding text that has different formatting. For example, the cursor moves from a bold word to the beginning of a non-bold word that precedes it.
Move the cursor to the beginning of any text that follows it that has different formatting. For example, the cursor moves from a bold word to the beginning of a non-bold word that follows it.
Move the cursor back to the beginning of any text that has the same formatting. For example, the cursor moves from the middle of a bold word to the beginning of that word.
Move the cursor to the end of any text that has the same formatting. For example, the cursor moves from the middle of a bold word to the end of that word.
Select all of the text that has the same formatting as the character at the cursor
Read the current character
Read the current word
Read the current line
Read the current paragraph
Read the current page
Read the current document
The Insert key is used for Narrator commands, so when you press Insert while Narrator is running, you won't be able to insert characters. To use the Insert key to insert characters while Narrator is running, press Insert+I and then the characters you want to add.
Under Main Narrator Settings, do one or more of the following:
To hear what you type, select the Echo User's Keystrokes check box.
To hear background events, such as notifications, select the Announce System Messages check box.
To hear an announcement when the screen scrolls, select the Announce Scroll Notifications check box.
Click Voice Settings, and then make any of the following adjustments:
To select a different voice, click the voice you want to use in the Select Voice box.
For a faster voice, select a number in the Set Speed list. The higher the number, the faster the voice.
For a louder voice, select a number in the Set Volume list. The higher the number, the louder the voice.
For a higher-pitched voice, select a number in the Set Pitch list. The higher the number, the higher the pitch. A higher-pitched voice can be easier for some people to hear.
Select the Start Narrator Minimized check box.
The next time you start Narrator, it will appear as an icon on the taskbar instead of being open on your screen.
To restore the Narrator dialog box to its full size, click Narrator in the taskbar.
Click Control whether Narrator starts when I log on.
Clear the Turn on Narrator and Turn on Audio Description check boxes and click Apply.
Windows comes with a basic screen reader called Narrator that reads text on the screen aloud and describes some events (such as an error message appearing) that happen while you're using the computer.
Open Narrator by clicking the Start button , clicking All Programs, clicking Accessories, clicking Ease of Access, and then clicking Narrator.
Narrator is not available in all languages, so if the steps above do not work, Narrator is not available for your language.
See all support pages for personalisation & ease of access.
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