Better Emails: Proof-listen (instead of proof-read) in Outlook

By: standss , Jan 25th, 2012

How many times have you used Outlook to send out emails with correctly spelt but the wrong words in them?

The mistake I have personally made more than once is “I look forward to jeering from you” instead of “I look forward to hearing from you”… h and j are next to each other on the keyboard!

These mistakes are easy to pick up if you use Outlook’s built-in (but well hidden) feature that will read the email aloud to you.

Windows already has the ability to read text back to you. Here’s how you can add a button inside Outlook to read out selected text to you.

The following tip works in Outlook 2010 only.

How to add the button

  • Create a new email.
  • Right Click on a blank area of the Ribbon
  • Click Customize Quick Access Tool Bar
  • Choose Commands not in Ribbon in drop down

Word Options

  • Scroll and select Speak
  • Click Add
  • Click OK

Outlook will add a new button to your Quick Access Tool Bar as shown below.

Speak icon

How to use the button to get Outlook to read the email aloud to you

  • Create a new email
  • Type some text
  • Select the text that you want read out to you.
  • Click the new button that was added in the previous steps.
  • Outlook will read the email out to you.

Next Steps

You may also want to add the “Speak Selected Text” button to your Inbox so that you read emails that you are reading in your Reading Pane. Go to your Inbox and follow the steps above to add the button.

Finally you can also open an email that you have received and follow the same steps so that you can hear any email that you have received or already sent.

This simple tip has improved the quality of my emails… it’s so some much nicer to hear from customers instead of being jeered at.

2 Replies to “Better Emails: Proof-listen (instead of proof-read) in Outlook”

  1. The “Speak” command does not appear in my 2007 Outlook. Tried searching for a reason, but none found.

  2. Hey Gerry, it appears that there was a mistake on our part, this feature seems to be available in Outlook 2010 only. Apologies

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