Troubleshoot Narrator problems

Here are solutions to some common problems with Narrator.

Note that Narrator is not available in all languages.

  • Narrator doesn't read what I expect it to read.

    Narrator provides basic screen reading capabilities that allow you to use Windows when you don't have a more full-featured screen reader. Narrator is not designed to read content in all programs. For more information about screen readers and other assistive technologies, go to the Microsoft Accessibility website.

  • Narrator does not pronounce some words correctly.

    Because some words are difficult for the software to convert to speech, Narrator might occasionally read the wrong words.

  • Narrator does not read notifications or the contents of some folders.

    Narrator cannot read notifications because they cannot be selected. For the same reason, it cannot read the contents of some folders.

  • I can't hear any text read aloud.

    There are three things you can try:

    • Make sure that your speakers are connected properly. If you're not sure how to do this, check the information that came with your speakers.

    • Make sure that the speaker volume is turned up sufficiently and your speakers aren't muted.

    • Make sure that your sound card is properly installed and the drivers are updated.

      To check for a sound card

      1. Open Audio Devices and Sound Themes by clicking the Start button Picture of the Start button, clicking Control Panel, clicking Hardware and Sound, and then clicking Sound.

      2. Your sound card is listed on the Playback tab.

        If you don't have a sound card installed, you'll have to get one for Narrator to work.

      To determine if the sound card is working

      You must be logged on as an administrator to perform these steps.

      1. Open Device Manager by clicking the Start button Picture of the Start button, clicking Control Panel, clicking System and Maintenance, and then clicking Device Manager. Administrator permission required If you are prompted for an administrator password or confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation.

      2. If the sound card has a yellow question mark next to it, the sound card might not be working. Try reinstalling the sound card driver. For more information, see Update a driver for hardware that isn't working properly.

      3. If the sound card appears twice in the list, you might have a ghost device. If so, delete the list entry with the question mark.

  • Narrator does not read some Help topics.

    Narrator cannot read the text that appears below collapsed headings in Help topics. To read the text of Help topics with collapsed headings, tab to the Show all link at the top of the topic and press ENTER to expand all the topics. Then press CTRL+SHIFT+SPACEBAR to have Narrator read the window again.

  • The INSERT key doesn't work as expected when Narrator is running.

    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.