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How to make the computer talk using Windows Narrator in Windows 8.1

How to make the computer talk using Windows Narrator in Windows 8.1

Method 1: Using the 'Ease of Access Center' in the Control Panel

This method has more configuration options than Method 2, but it is recommended for users with a keyboard and/or a mouse – the interactive elements are small and therefore difficult to tap. If you are using a tablet or a phone, you will probably prefer Method 2.

To open the 'Ease of Access Center' in the Control Panel

  • Press the 'Windows' key + U.

Or

  • Move the mouse pointer to the upper right hand corner of the screen to reveal the charms.
  • Click on the 'Search' charm – the one with the magnification glass icon.
  • Type the query 'Ease of Access Center' in the search box (Fig 1).
  • Click on the button 'Ease of Access Center'.


Figure 1: Using the search to go to the Ease of Access Center


Figure 2: Ease of Access Center

To start Narrator

From the 'Ease of Access Center':

  • Click 'Start Narrator’ under 'Quick access to common tools' or press ‘Alt’ + ‘N’.


Figure 3

  • Once you turn on Narrator you will see the Narrator icon appears in your taskbar (Fig 4).

The Narrator icon (a screen with a speech bubble) in the taskbar.
Figure 4: On the far right, the Narrator icon in the taskbar (a screen with a speech bubble)

  • Click on the Narrator icon in the taskbar to open the Narrator Settings window. (Fig 5).

The Narrator Settings window with sections for: General, Navigation, Voice, Commands, Minimize, Exit.
Figure 5: Narrator settings

To open Narrator automatically when Windows starts

From the Ease of Access Center:

  • Click ‘Use a computer without a display’ under 'Explore all settings'.
  • Click ‘Turn on Narrator’ under 'Hear text read aloud' (Fig 6).
  • Click 'OK'.


Figure 6

To configure Narrator

From the 'Narrator Settings' (Fig 5):

  • Click 'General'.
  • Check or uncheck the settings that you prefer.
  • Click 'Save changes'.

Options available:

  • Alt + L to lock the Narrator key (Caps Lock) so you don't to press it for each command
  • Alt + C to hear characters as you type
  • Alt + W to hear words you type
  • Alt + R to select Read out voiced Narrator errors
  • Alt + H to highlight the Narrator cursor
  • Alt + P to select Play audio cues
  • Alt + U to read user interface hints and tips
  • Alt + A to select Lower the volume of other apps when Narrator is running

Method 2: Using the Ease of Access Center in the PC settings

This method is recommended for users with touch enabled devices such as tablets or phones.

To open the 'Ease of Access' section in PC settings

From a computer with a keyboard and a mouse

  1. Move the mouse pointer to the upper right hand corner of the screen to reveal the charms.
  2. Click on the 'Settings' charm – the one with the cog icon.
  3. Click on the link 'Change PC settings'.
  4. Click on the button 'Ease of access' (Fig 7).

From a touch enabled device

  1. Swipe in from the right hand edge of the screen to reveal the charms.
  2. Tap on the 'Settings' charm – the one with the cog icon.
  3. Tap on the link 'Change PC settings'.
  4. Tap on the button 'Ease of access' (Fig 7).

PC settings, which includes 'Ease of Access' (second option from the bottom).
Figure 7: PC settings

To start Narrator

From the Ease of Access section (Fig 7):

  1. Click or tap on 'Narrator' link in the left-hand column.
  2. In the right-hand column, turn on Narrator (Fig 8).
  3. Next, turn on 'Start Narrator automatically' to open it every time Windows starts.


Figure 8

Note: If this does not work it could be because your computer settings cannot be changed due to local IT policies - contact your local IT support for further help.

Created on: January-17-2017

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