Hear text read aloud

You can hear full pages read aloud with Chromebook’s built-in screen reader, or hear parts of a page, including specific words, read aloud with Select to Speak.

Listen to all text

To have pages read aloud to you, turn on your Chromebook’s built-in screen reader:

  1. At the bottom right, select the time. Or press Alt + Shift + s.

  2. Select Settings Settings.
  3. At the bottom, select Advanced.
  4. In the 'Accessibility' section, select Manage accessibility features.
  5. Under 'text-to-speech', turn on Enable ChromeVox (spoken feedback).

Note: You can turn Chromevox on or off from any page by pressing Ctrl + Alt + z. Learn more about how to use the built-in screen reader.

Listen to part of a page

To select specific text on a page to be read to you, turn on Select to Speak.

Step 1: Turn on Select to Speak

  1. At the bottom right, select the time. Or press Alt + Shift + s.
  2. Select Settings Settings.
  3. At the bottom, select Advanced.
  4. In the 'Accessibility' section, select Manage accessibility features.
  5. Under 'text-to-speech', turn on Enable Select to Speak.

Step 2: Select and hear text

  1. To select what text you’d like to hear:
    • Press and hold the Search key Search and click a line of text.
    • Press and hold the Search key Search and drag the pointer over an area of the screen.
    • ​Highlight the text and press the Search key Search + s.
    • At the bottom right, near the time, select Select to Speak Select-to-speak. Then select a line of text or drag the pointer over an area of the screen.
    • On a touchscreen: At the bottom right, near the time, tap Select to Speak Select-to-speak. Then tap a line of text or drag your finger over an area of the screen.
  2. Your Chromebook will read the section aloud and each word will be highlighted.
  3. To stop Select to Speak while it’s reading, press Ctrl or the Search key Search. You can also select Stop Stop Select-to-speak.

Change the colour of highlighted text

If you are using Select to Speak, each word will be highlighted as it's spoken. You can turn off highlighting or change the colour of the highlighted words.

  1. At the bottom right, select the time. Or press Alt + Shift + s.
  2. Select Settings Settings.
  3. At the bottom, select Advanced.
  4. In the 'Accessibility' section, select Manage accessibility features.
  5. Under 'text-to-speech', select Open select-to-speak settings.
  6. Choose a colour for highlighted words.
    • ​Optional: To get the strongest contrast, we recommend using green or pink, especially if you’re using high contrast mode.
  7. Optional: To turn off highlighting, select Highlight each word as it is spoken.

Change the language or voice

  1. At the bottom right, select the time. Or press Alt + Shift + s.
  2. Select Settings Settings.
  3. At the bottom, select Advanced.
  4. In the 'Accessibility' section, select Manage accessibility features.
  5. Under 'text-to-speech', select text-to-speech voice settings.
  6. Customise your text-to-speech voice:
    • Change the volume: Under the 'Speech Properties' section, choose the rate, pitch and loudness.
    • Change the language: In the 'Preferred Voices' section, choose the language that you'd like to hear.
  7. Choose the type of voice. By default, Chromebooks have two speech engines with voices: Chrome OS TTS and eSpeak. In the 'Speech Engines' section, select Settings, then choose a voice.
    • Note: Chrome OS TTS voices have a more human-sounding quality and are very responsive when navigating. eSpeak voices have a more computer-generated sound and are available in a wider variety of languages.

Buy personalised voices

You can buy voices through Acapela to personalise the voice that reads text aloud to you on your Chromebook. In addition to the voices available by default, you can choose from 100+ voices and 30+ languages.

  1. Go to the Chrome Web Store and search for Acapela TTS Engine
  2. Select Add to Chrome and then Add extension.
  3. At the bottom right, select the time. Or press Alt + Shift + s.
  4. Select Settings Settings.
  5. At the bottom, select Advanced.
  6. In the 'Accessibility' section, select Manage accessibility features.
  7. Select text-to-speech voice settings.
  8. Under 'Speech Engines', next to 'Acapela TTS Engine', select Settings.
  9. Select the voice(s) that you want to purchase.
  10. Return to text-to-speech voice settings and under 'Preferred Voices', choose the voice that you want to use.
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