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Using the 'Speak Selected Text' function in Outlook

The instructions below were written for Outlook 2010 but are almost identical in Outlook 2013.

With Outlook, you can select a passage of text in an email, and hear it spoken through Outlook's voice synthesizer.

NOTE:  Please use headphones when using this feature if you are working near other people.

First you need to add the Speak function to Outlook's quick-access toolbar, like this:

  1. Click Outlook's Customize Quick Access toolbar button Outlook 2010 Quick Access Toolbar options on the top row of the Outlook window.
  2. In the Customize Quick Access Toolbar window, click on More Commands...:

    Outlook 2010 Quick Access Toolbar customizer

  3. In the Choose commands from: list, select All Commands.
  4. Scroll down the list of available commands and click on Speak, then click the
    Add >> button:

    Outlook 2010 Speak command selection
  5. Click OK.
  6. The Speak selected text icon should now be visible in your Quick Access toolbar:

    Outlook 2010 Speak toolbar icon

Now if you select a passage of text in an email, then click the Speak selected text icon, the selected text will be heard:

Outlook 2010 Speak example

To stop the speaking, for example during a long passage of spoken text, click on the Stop speaking selected text icon, which will have replaced the Speak selected text icon during the speaking:

Outlook 2010 Speak stop

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This is question number 2423, which appears in the following categories:

Created by Andy Clews on 14 December 2011 and last updated by Richard Byrom-Colburn on 21 October 2016