Watch a video about how to hear text read aloud with Narrator. (To view captions in your language, tap or click the Closed captioning button Closed Captioning button.)

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.

Note

  • 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).

Starting Narrator

There are different ways to start Narrator. These are the four ways many people prefer:

  • On a keyboard, press the Windows logo key Windows logo key +Enter.
  • On a tablet, press the Windows logo button Windows logo key and Volume Up button together.
  • On the sign-in screen, tap or click the Ease of access Ease of Access button button in the lower-left corner and choose Narrator.
  • Swipe in from the right edge of the screen, tap Settings, and then tap Change PC settings.
    (If you're using a mouse, point to the upper-right corner of the screen, move the mouse pointer down, click Settings, and then click Change PC settings.)
    Tap or click Ease of Access, tap or click Narrator, and then move the slider under Narrator to turn it on.

Tips

  • If you want to get started right away, press Caps Lock+F1 after you open Narrator, or tap the touchscreen three times with four fingers. This will show you all of the Narrator commands.

  • If you want to use Caps Lock to capitalize letters while you're using Narrator, press the Caps Lock key twice in quick succession.

Exiting Narrator

There are also different ways to exit Narrator. These are the two shortcuts many people prefer:

  • On a keyboard, press the Windows logo key Windows logo key +Enter.
  • On a tablet, press the Windows logo button Windows logo key and Volume Up button together.

New touch gestures

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.

Use this touch gesture To do this
Use this touch gesture

Swipe in from the right edge with one finger

To do this

Open the charms (Search, Share, Start, Devices, Settings)

Use this touch gesture

Swipe in from the left edge with one finger

To do this

Switch apps, snap them to the side, and close them

Use this touch gesture

Swipe in from the top or bottom edge with one finger

To do this

Show app commands like Save, Edit, and Delete

Note

  • The press and hold gesture isn't supported in Narrator.

New keyboard shortcuts

Windows 8.1 and Windows RT 8.1 have new keyboard shortcuts too. Here are a few helpful ones.

Use this keyboard shortcut To do this
Use this keyboard shortcut
Windows logo key‌ Windows logo key+C
To do this

Open the charms (Search, Share, Start, Devices, Settings)

Use this keyboard shortcut
Windows logo key‌ Windows logo key+Z
To do this

Show app commands like Save, Edit, and Delete

Use this keyboard shortcut
Windows logo key‌ Windows logo key+period
To do this

Snap apps to the side

Use this keyboard shortcut
Windows logo key‌ Windows logo key+Tab or Alt+Tab
To do this

Switch apps

Narrator settings

You can change settings for Narrator in PC settings. To find these settings:

  1. Swipe in from the right edge of the screen, tap Settings, and then tap Change PC settings.
    (If you're using a mouse, point to the upper-right corner of the screen, move the mouse pointer down, click Settings, and then click Change PC settings.)

  2. Tap or click Ease of Access, and 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. You can choose whether Narrator starts automatically each time you sign in.

Voice

  • 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. You can choose whether Narrator will 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.

Keyboard commands

Use this keyboard shortcut To do this
Use this keyboard shortcut

Ctrl

To do this

Stop reading

Use this keyboard shortcut
Windows logo key Windows logo key +Enter
To do this

Exit Narrator

Use this keyboard shortcut

Caps Lock+Space

To do this

Do primary action

Use this keyboard shortcut

Caps Lock+Right arrow

To do this

Move to next item

Use this keyboard shortcut

Caps Lock+Left Arrow

To do this

Move to previous item

Use this keyboard shortcut

Caps Lock+Up arrow

To do this

Change view

Use this keyboard shortcut

Caps Lock+Down arrow

To do this

Change view

Use this keyboard shortcut

Caps Lock + A

To do this

Change verbosity mode

Use this keyboard shortcut

Caps Lock+F1

To do this

Show commands list

Use this keyboard shortcut

Caps Lock+F2

To do this

Show commands for current item

Use this keyboard shortcut

Caps Lock+F3

To do this

Jump to next cell in row

Use this keyboard shortcut

Caps Lock+Shift+F3

To do this

Jump to previous cell in row

Use this keyboard shortcut

Caps Lock+F4

To do this

Jump to next cell in column

Use this keyboard shortcut

Caps Lock+Shift+F4

To do this

Jump to previous cell in column

Use this keyboard shortcut

Caps Lock+F5

To do this

Read which row and column Narrator is in

Use this keyboard shortcut

Caps Lock+F6

To do this

Jump to table cell

Use this keyboard shortcut

Caps Lock+F7

To do this

Read current column

Use this keyboard shortcut

Caps Lock+F8

To do this

Read current row

Use this keyboard shortcut

Caps Lock+F9

To do this

Read current column header

Use this keyboard shortcut

Caps Lock+F10

To do this

Read current row header

Use this keyboard shortcut

Caps Lock+F11

To do this

Toggle touch mode on/off

Use this keyboard shortcut

Caps Lock+F12

To do this

Toggle keystroke announcements

Use this keyboard shortcut

Caps Lock+Z

To do this

Lock Narrator Key

Use this keyboard shortcut

Caps Lock+X

To do this

Pass keys to app

Use this keyboard shortcut

Caps Lock+V

To do this

Repeat last phrase

Use this keyboard shortcut

Caps Lock+Page Up

To do this

Increase voice volume

Use this keyboard shortcut

Caps Lock+Page Down

To do this

Decrease voice volume

Use this keyboard shortcut

Caps Lock+Plus

To do this

Increase voice speed

Use this keyboard shortcut

Caps Lock+Minus

To do this

Decrease voice speed

Use this keyboard shortcut

Caps Lock+D

To do this

Read item

Use this keyboard shortcut

Caps Lock+F

To do this

Read item advanced

Use this keyboard shortcut

Caps Lock+S

To do this

Read item spelled out or read detailed reading for Japanese or Korean

Use this keyboard shortcut

Caps Lock+W

To do this

Read Window

Use this keyboard shortcut

Caps Lock+R

To do this

Read all items in containing area

Use this keyboard shortcut

Caps Lock+Q

To do this

Move to last item in containing area

Use this keyboard shortcut

Caps Lock+G

To do this

Move Narrator cursor to system cursor

Use this keyboard shortcut

Caps Lock+T

To do this

Move Narrator cursor to pointer

Use this keyboard shortcut

Caps Lock+Tilde

To do this

Set focus to item

Use this keyboard shortcut

Caps Lock+Backspace

To do this

Go back one item

Use this keyboard shortcut

Caps Lock+Insert

To do this

Jump to linked item

Use this keyboard shortcut

Caps Lock+M

To do this

Start reading

Use this keyboard shortcut

Caps Lock+Close bracket

To do this

Read text from start to cursor

Use this keyboard shortcut

Caps Lock+0 (zero)

To do this

Read text attributes

Use this keyboard shortcut

Caps Lock+H

To do this

Read document

Use this keyboard shortcut

Caps Lock+U

To do this

Read next page

Use this keyboard shortcut

Caps Lock+Ctrl+U

To do this

Read current page

Use this keyboard shortcut

Caps Lock+Shift+U

To do this

Read previous page

Use this keyboard shortcut

Caps Lock+I

To do this

Read next paragraph

Use this keyboard shortcut

Caps Lock+Ctrl+I

To do this

Read current paragraph

Use this keyboard shortcut

Caps Lock+Shift+I

To do this

Read previous paragraph

Use this keyboard shortcut

Caps Lock+O

To do this

Read next line

Use this keyboard shortcut

Caps Lock+Ctrl+O

To do this

Read current line

Use this keyboard shortcut

Caps Lock+Shift+O

To do this

Read previous line

Use this keyboard shortcut

Caps Lock+P

To do this

Read next word

Use this keyboard shortcut

Caps Lock+Ctrl+P

To do this

Read current word

Use this keyboard shortcut

Caps Lock+Shift+P

To do this

Read previous word

Use this keyboard shortcut

Caps Lock+Open bracket

To do this

Read next character

Use this keyboard shortcut

Caps Lock+Ctrl+Open bracket

To do this

Read current character

Use this keyboard shortcut

Caps Lock+Shift+Open bracket

To do this

Read previous character

Use this keyboard shortcut

Caps Lock+J

To do this

Jump to next heading

Use this keyboard shortcut

Caps Lock+Shift+J

To do this

Jump to previous heading

Use this keyboard shortcut

Caps Lock+K

To do this

Jump to next table

Use this keyboard shortcut

Caps Lock+Shift+K

To do this

Jump to previous table

Use this keyboard shortcut

Caps Lock+L

To do this

Jump to next link

Use this keyboard shortcut

Caps Lock+Shift+L

To do this

Jump to previous link

Use this keyboard shortcut

Caps Lock+Y

To do this

Move to beginning of text

Use this keyboard shortcut

Caps Lock+B

To do this

Move to end of text

Use this keyboard shortcut

Caps Lock+C

To do this

Read current date/time

Touch commands

If you have a new PC that supports four or more contact points, you can use touch commands to control your PC.

Use this touch command To do this
Use this touch command

Swipe left/right with one finger

To do this

Move to next or previous item

Use this touch command

Swipe up/down with one finger

To do this

Change move increment

Use this touch command

Tap or drag a single finger

To do this

Read what's under your finger

Use this touch command

Double-tap with one finger

To do this

Activate primary action

Use this touch command

Triple-tap with one finger

To do this

Activate secondary action

Use this touch command

Swipe left/right/up/down with two fingers

To do this

Scroll

Use this touch command

Tap with two fingers

To do this

Stop Narrator from reading

Use this touch command

Double-tap with two fingers

To do this

Show context menu

Use this touch command

Hold with one finger and tap with a second

To do this

Activate primary action

Use this touch command

Hold with one finger and double-tap with a second

To do this

Activate secondary action

Use this touch command

Swipe left/right with three fingers

To do this

Tab forward and backward

Use this touch command

Swipe up with three fingers

To do this

Read current window

Use this touch command

Swipe down with three fingers

To do this

Start reading explorable text

Use this touch command

Tap with three fingers

To do this

Change verbosity mode

Use this touch command

Double-tap with three fingers

To do this

Read Text Attributes

Use this touch command

Hold with one finger and tap with two other fingers

To do this

Start dragging or extra key options

Use this touch command

Swipe left/right with four fingers

To do this

Move Narrator cursor to beginning / end of unit

Use this touch command

Swipe up/down with four fingers

To do this

Turn zoom on/off

Use this touch command

Tap with four fingers

To do this

Show commands for current item

Use this touch command

Double-tap with four fingers

To do this

Toggle search mode

Use this touch command

Triple-tap with four fingers

To do this

Show Narrator commands list

Note

  • 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 apps. For more info about screen readers and other assistive technologies, go to the Microsoft Accessibility website.




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