Read Aloud with Magnifier

by Eric Wyatt
(last updated June 29, 2020)

Many people, as they use their computer, find it easier to have the contents of their screen read back to them. For some it might be a matter of the text is too hard to read, either it's too small or it doesn't have enough contrast. For others, it might be that they process information better as it's read to them.

Whatever the reason might be, Windows 10's Magnifier utility can help you out. I have covered the magnifier utility before in our Getting to Know the Ease of Access Center and Using the Magnifier articles. The new Windows 10 May 2020, or 20H1 update, brings with it a new read-aloud feature of the Magnifier. This add-on is incredibly easy to use, and if you have ever enabled Magnifier it is invoked using a key command and mouse click.

To use this feature, you first need to open the Magnifier dialog box. To do this press Win++ (in other words, hold down the Windows key and then press the Plus key). This opens the Magnifier dialog box. (See Figure 1.)

Figure 1. Magnifier dialog box.

Next, you have two options to start reading:

  • Start at current cursor location. To start reading wherever your cursor is located, press Ctrl+Alt+Enter. This results in the computer reading aloud the text following the point where your cursor is located.
  • Start reading wherever you want to start. With the Magnifier dialog box open, you can choose where to start reading by pressing and holding the Ctrl+Alt keys as you click the left mouse button on the spot you want to start reading. Again, your computer will start reading to you.

The use of the Ctrl+Alt keys is referred to as "modifier keys" and Windows allows these keys to be changed in the Magnifier portion of the Ease of Access section of the System Settings dialog box. You can access this by following these steps:

  1. Press the Windows key and type (without quotes) "Ease of Access" then pressing Enter. Windows displays the Ease of Access section of the Settings dialog box.
  2. Click on Magnifier in the left section of the Settings dialog box to display the magnifier settings.
  3. Scroll down to the Reading section and, in the "Choose a Modifier Key" dropdown box, choose among four options that work best for you. (See Figure 2.)
  4. Figure 2. Options for Magnifier reading Modifier keys.

  5. Close the Settings dialog box.

There are four choices available to you in step 3. The choices are:

  • Ctrl+Alt (default)
  • Caps Lock
  • Insert
  • Caps Lock or Insert

The last option enables reading by pressing either Caps Lock OR the Insert key.

While reading you can use your keyboard to control certain reading capabilities. These controls are listed below

Control Result
Modifier key(s)+K Read the next sentence
Modifier Key(s)+H Read previous sentence
Any key or mouse click Stop reading
Modifier key(s)+Enter Start, pause, or resume reading
Modifier key(s)+Left mouse click Read from wherever mouse pointer was clicked.

Now regardless of why you might need the information read out loud to you, you are able to quickly enable the reader function found within the Magnify utility.

 This tip (13778) applies to Windows 10.

Author Bio

Eric Wyatt

Eric Wyatt is a swell guy (or so his friends tell him). He is a formally trained designer and branding expert, bringing a wide range of skills to his Tips.Net articles. ...

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