What you need to know
- Microsoft is testing natural-sounding voices on Word for Windows.
- The same improved voices are available on Microsoft Edge and some other Microsoft services.
- Microsoft briefly tested the same voices on Outlook but has temporarily disabled them.
Office Insiders can try out more natural-sounding voices in Microsoft Word for Windows. Microsoft started rolling out the feature (opens in new tab) in testing earlier this week. The improved Read Aloud functionality is already available on Microsoft Edge, and it's now making its way to the desktop Office apps.
The Read Aloud feature can be used to proof documents. Sometimes people miss things with their eyes as they skim over content. Listening to text out loud can make mistakes more obvious. The natural-sounding voices in testing sound less robotic than alternatives. Some people also just prefer listening to content over reading it.
There are 64 new natural-sounding voices available, bringing the total number of voices to 142.
To use the natural-sounding voices, you have to be a Microsoft 365 subscriber and be connected to the internet. Previously available voices do not require an internet connection. You can access the feature by going to Review the clicking Read Aloud.
Microsoft tested the new Read Aloud voices on Outlook as well, but that feature has been temporarily disabled. The new voices are still available in Word for Office Insiders. The natural-sounding Read Aloud voices are available to Office Insiders running Beta Channel Version 2109 (Build 14427.20000) or later or Current Channel Version (Build 14430.20000).
Even for Windows Insiders, some features roll out gradually. As a result, you may not see the new natural-sounding voices at this time.
If you aren't an Office Insider yet, you can check out our guide on how to enroll in the Office Insider program.
Sean Endicott brings nearly a decade of experience covering Microsoft and Windows news to Windows Central. He joined our team in 2017 as an app reviewer and now heads up our day-to-day news coverage. If you have a news tip or an app to review, hit him up at firstname.lastname@example.org (opens in new tab).
Why did they remove the offline Read Aloud feature?
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