Getting Narration through the Ease of Access Center

by Barry Dysert
(last updated October 22, 2018)

In order to get to Narration, press the Win key, type (without the quotes) "Settings", and press Enter. Click the group with the heading "Ease of Access." By default, the Ease of Access settings come up with the Display settings selected, so you want to click "Narrator," which appears about halfway down on the left side of the window: (See Figure 1.)

Figure 1. Choosing Narrator in the Ease of Access Center.

There are a lot of settings you can configure for Narrator. For starters, you can choose to have Narrator start and stop with the shortcut key sequence Win+Ctrl+Enter so that you don't have to go into Settings to turn it off and on. You can have Narrator start before or after sign-in. You can customize Narrator's voice by choosing one of the built-in voices or by adding more voices. And regardless of what voice you choose, you can set its speed, pitch, and volume.

Narrator can be fine-tuned to speak just what you need spoken—not too much and not too little. You do this by enabling or disabling from the following choices:

Hear characters as you type

Hear words as you type

Speak Narrator errors

Hear audio cues when you perform an action

Hear hints on how to interact with controls and buttons

There are six levels of detail that Narrator provides about text, and you can select which level of detail is right for you. They range from "Text only" all the way up to "Layout and animation info."

There are also six context levels that Narrator provides for buttons and other controls. They range from "No context" all the way up to "Full context of old and new controls."

You can adjust the order of context reading for buttons and other controls by setting it to either before or after the controls.

Narrator has its own cursor, which is a graphical representation of where Narrator is focused. You can choose to show or disable the Narrator cursor. You can also have the text insertion point follow the Narrator cursor when on editable text, and you can sync the Narrator focus and system focus. It's also possible to read and interact with the screen using the mouse.

There is a braille system to Narrator, but as of this writing it's still in beta release, so I'll wait until it's out of beta before writing anything about this system.

A final pair of settings allow you (1) activate keys on the touch keyboard when you lift your finger off the key, and (2) lock the Narrator key so you don't have to press it for each command.

 This tip (13576) applies to Windows 10.

Author Bio

Barry Dysert

Barry has been a computer professional for over 35 years, working in different positions such as technical team leader, project manager, and software developer. He is currently a software engineer with an emphasis on developing custom applications under Microsoft Windows. When not working with Windows or writing Tips, Barry is an amateur writer. His first non-fiction book is titled "A Chronological Commentary of Revelation." ...

MORE FROM BARRY

Displaying Hidden and System Files in a Folder

Files (and folders) can be marked hidden so that you don't see them in Windows Explorer. This tip tells you how to ...

Discover More

Undoing a System Restore

Having the ability to restore your system back to when it was working properly is great, but what if, for some reason, ...

Discover More

Copying Data with XCopy

XCopy is a file and directory copy utility built into Windows. If you have a lot of file management to do that can't ...

Discover More
More WindowsTips

Using an On-Screen Keyboard

For people who find it difficult to use a mechanical keyboard, the on-screen keyboard may provide an acceptable ...

Discover More

Volume Conversions

Remembering volume conversions can be tricky. Fortunately, the Windows 10 calculator offers volume conversion capabilities.

Discover More

Using the Magnifier

With high-resolution screens it can be a stretch, at times, to see some small detail on the Windows desktop. Fortunately, ...

Discover More
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WindowsTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.

Comments

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is four more than 6?

There are currently no comments for this tip. (Be the first to leave your comment—just use the simple form above!)


Newest Tips
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WindowsTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.