Can Google Docs Read Documents Aloud?

When you’re writing something in Google Docs, you sometimes need to check what your text actually sounds like. Sure, you can ask someone to read it aloud for you, but that’s not always possible.

A better option is to ask Google Docs to read your words back to you. G Suite supports the option of Text-to-Speech, and enabling this feature takes just a few steps.

In this article, we’re going to show you how to do it. Plus, we’ll discuss which tools to use when you need a screen reader that works best for you.

How to Turn On the Screen Reader Feature in Google Docs

If you’re using Google Docs to write or read documents, then you’re probably also using Chrome as your default browser. Google products work best when they’re used in combination.

If you want to get Google Docs to read aloud to you, the first thing you need to do is install ChromeVox. This is a Chrome extension that gives the browser its voice.

Visually impaired users benefit greatly from this app because it’s very fast and reliable. After you’re done adding ChromeVox, you can adjust the settings in Google Docs. Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Launch Google Docs on your computer.
  2. Select “Tools” from the menu bar.
  3. Click on “Accessibility settings”.
  4. Make sure to check the “Turn on Screen Reader Support” and click “OK”.

The “Accessibility” section will appear in your Google Docs toolbar. Now, type a word or a sentence, or open a document and highlight the part you want Google Docs to read.

Then go to the toolbar, select Accessibility>Speak>Speak Selection. ChromeVox will start reading the text to you. Just keep in mind that you have only one document open at a time. Otherwise, the reader might start reading the wrong text.

Google Docs read aloud

NVDA – Desktop Screen Reader

ChromeVox is just one option for a screen reader if you want Google Docs to read aloud to you. It’s a great option if you’re only using the Chrome browser.

But what if you prefer Firefox? Or would just like to have a desktop screen reader that you can use in more than one situation. G Suite recommends NVDA as one of the best accessibility desktop apps.

It’s totally free, and you can use it with both Chrome and Firefox. The NVDA is short for NonVisual Desktop Access, and it’s a fantastic tool that comes with many features.

It supports over 50 languages and has a very intuitive interface. You can visit their webpage to download NVDA – it’s super lightweight and very stable.

Google docs read

JAWS – Desktop Screen Reader

G Suite also recommends the JAWS screen reader, which is short for Jobs Access With Speech. It’s by far one of the most popular screen readers.

It provides text-to-speech conversion and Braille output for the visually impaired. You can use it to read emails, websites, and yes, Google Docs too.

Navigation is easy, and users can do everything with their mouse. It can also help you fill out online forms quickly. Unlike NVDA, JAWS isn’t free, and it will require you to purchase a license even for personal use.

read aloud Google docs

Other G Suite Accessibility Options

There are many incredibly useful options for screen reading for G Suite, which includes Google Docs. But the Accessibility support doesn’t stop with just the tools for reading aloud. There are other types of support too.

Braille Display

This feature is only available if you use Google Docs on your computer. If you’re using the Chrome OS, make sure that you have the latest version of ChromeVox extension installed.

If you want a Windows app or if you’re a Firefox user, NVDA or Jaws will work. To turn on Braille display in Google Docs, follow these steps:

  1. Open a document in Google Docs.
  2. Go to “Tools,” And then “Accessibility settings”.
  3. Click on “Turn on screen reader support” first.
  4. And then click on “Turn on braille support” next.

Typing with Your Voice

Did you know that you can just talk to your Google Docs, and the text will appear on the screen? G Suite has an excellent feature that lets you dictate your words instead of typing them.

Keep in mind that this feature is for now, only available if you’re using Chrome as your browser. Before you start using this feature, make sure that the microphone you’re going to use is turned on.

Once you have that covered, open the Google Docs document and select Tools>Voice Typing. Once you’re ready to say the words, click on the Microphone icon, and you’re all set. Make sure not to rush and try to enunciate your words as much as possible.

Google docs aloud

Google Docs Can Read Aloud and Do So Much More

In terms of accessibility features, Google has come a long way. They’re well aware that many of their users are people with some kind of disability.

For the visually impaired, several options depend on which browser they use and if they need a desktop app. But the Accessibility offers solutions for people who might have a hard time using their arms and hands, hence the dictation option.

Have you ever used any of Google’s Accessibility features before? Let us know in the comments section below.

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