Windows 7

Hear text read aloud with Narrator


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

    Ctrl+Shift+Enter

    Get information about the current item

    Ctrl+Shift+Spacebar

    Read the entire selected window

    Ctrl+Alt+Spacebar

    Read the items that are selected in the current window

    Insert+Ctrl+G

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

    Ctrl

    Stop Narrator from reading text

    Insert+Q

    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.

    Insert+W

    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.

    Insert+E

    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.

    Insert+R

    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.

    Insert+F2

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

    Insert+F3

    Read the current character

    Insert+F4

    Read the current word

    Insert+F5

    Read the current line

    Insert+F6

    Read the current paragraph

    Insert+F7

    Read the current page

    Insert+F8

    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

Windows 8.1

Hear text read aloud with Narrator


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

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

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
Windows logo key‌ Windows logo key+C

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

Windows logo key‌ Windows logo key+Z

Show app commands like Save, Edit, and Delete

Windows logo key‌ Windows logo key+period

Snap apps to the side

Windows logo key‌ Windows logo key+Tab or Alt+Tab

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

Ctrl

Stop reading

Windows logo key Windows logo key +Enter

Exit Narrator

Caps Lock+Space

Do primary action

Caps Lock+Right arrow

Move to next item

Caps Lock+Left Arrow

Move to previous item

Caps Lock+Up arrow

Change view

Caps Lock+Down arrow

Change view

Caps Lock + A

Change verbosity mode

Caps Lock+F1

Show commands list

Caps Lock+F2

Show commands for current item

Caps Lock+F3

Jump to next cell in row

Caps Lock+Shift+F3

Jump to previous cell in row

Caps Lock+F4

Jump to next cell in column

Caps Lock+Shift+F4

Jump to previous cell in column

Caps Lock+F5

Read which row and column Narrator is in

Caps Lock+F6

Jump to table cell

Caps Lock+F7

Read current column

Caps Lock+F8

Read current row

Caps Lock+F9

Read current column header

Caps Lock+F10

Read current row header

Caps Lock+F11

Toggle touch mode on/off

Caps Lock+F12

Toggle keystroke announcements

Caps Lock+Z

Lock Narrator Key

Caps Lock+X

Pass keys to app

Caps Lock+V

Repeat last phrase

Caps Lock+Page Up

Increase voice volume

Caps Lock+Page Down

Decrease voice volume

Caps Lock+Plus

Increase voice speed

Caps Lock+Minus

Decrease voice speed

Caps Lock+D

Read item

Caps Lock+F

Read item advanced

Caps Lock+S

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

Caps Lock+W

Read Window

Caps Lock+R

Read all items in containing area

Caps Lock+Q

Move to last item in containing area

Caps Lock+G

Move Narrator cursor to system cursor

Caps Lock+T

Move Narrator cursor to pointer

Caps Lock+Tilde

Set focus to item

Caps Lock+Backspace

Go back one item

Caps Lock+Insert

Jump to linked item

Caps Lock+M

Start reading

Caps Lock+Close bracket

Read text from start to cursor

Caps Lock+0 (zero)

Read text attributes

Caps Lock+H

Read document

Caps Lock+U

Read next page

Caps Lock+Ctrl+U

Read current page

Caps Lock+Shift+U

Read previous page

Caps Lock+I

Read next paragraph

Caps Lock+Ctrl+I

Read current paragraph

Caps Lock+Shift+I

Read previous paragraph

Caps Lock+O

Read next line

Caps Lock+Ctrl+O

Read current line

Caps Lock+Shift+O

Read previous line

Caps Lock+P

Read next word

Caps Lock+Ctrl+P

Read current word

Caps Lock+Shift+P

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

Caps Lock+J

Jump to next heading

Caps Lock+Shift+J

Jump to previous heading

Caps Lock+K

Jump to next table

Caps Lock+Shift+K

Jump to previous table

Caps Lock+L

Jump to next link

Caps Lock+Shift+L

Jump to previous link

Caps Lock+Y

Move to beginning of text

Caps Lock+B

Move to end of text

Caps Lock+C

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

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

Scroll

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

Activate primary action

Hold with one finger and double-tap with a second

Activate secondary action

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

Change verbosity mode

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

Show commands for current item

Double-tap with four fingers

Toggle search mode

Triple-tap with four fingers

Show Narrator commands list