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.

  1. To open Narrator click the Start button Picture of the Start button, and then, in the search box, type Narrator. In the list of results, click Narrator.

  2. Use the keyboard shortcuts in the following table to specify which text you want Narrator to read:

    Use this keyboard shortcut To do this
    Use this keyboard shortcut

    Ctrl+Shift+Enter

    To do this

    Get information about the current item

    Use this keyboard shortcut

    Ctrl+Shift+Spacebar

    To do this

    Read the entire selected window

    Use this keyboard shortcut

    Ctrl+Alt+Spacebar

    To do this

    Read the items that are selected in the current window

    Use this keyboard shortcut

    Insert+Ctrl+G

    To do this

    Read a description of the items that appear next to the currently selected element

    Use this keyboard shortcut

    Ctrl

    To do this

    Stop Narrator from reading text

    Use this keyboard shortcut

    Insert+Q

    To do this

    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.

    Use this keyboard shortcut

    Insert+W

    To do this

    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.

    Use this keyboard shortcut

    Insert+E

    To do this

    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.

    Use this keyboard shortcut

    Insert+R

    To do this

    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.

    Use this keyboard shortcut

    Insert+F2

    To do this

    Select all of the text that has the same formatting as the character at the cursor

    Use this keyboard shortcut

    Insert+F3

    To do this

    Read the current character

    Use this keyboard shortcut

    Insert+F4

    To do this

    Read the current word

    Use this keyboard shortcut

    Insert+F5

    To do this

    Read the current line

    Use this keyboard shortcut

    Insert+F6

    To do this

    Read the current paragraph

    Use this keyboard shortcut

    Insert+F7

    To do this

    Read the current page

    Use this keyboard shortcut

    Insert+F8

    To do this

    Read the current document

Note

  • 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.

Show all

Choose which text Narrator reads aloud

  1. To open Narrator click the Start button Picture of the Start button, and then, in the search box, type Narrator. In the list of results, click Narrator.

  2. 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.

Change the Narrator voice

  1. To open Narrator click the Start button Picture of the Start button, and then, in the search box, type Narrator. In the list of results, click Narrator.

  2. 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.

Start Narrator minimized

  1. To open Narrator click the Start button Picture of the Start button, and then, in the search box, type Narrator. In the list of results, click Narrator.

  2. 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.

Turn off Narrator

  1. To open Narrator click the Start button Picture of the Start button, and then, in the search box, type Narrator. In the list of results, click Narrator.

  2. Click Control whether Narrator starts when I log on.

  3. Clear the Turn on Narrator and Turn on Audio Description check boxes and click Apply.