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Read text aloud in Windows XP with Narrator

Narrator is a text-to-speech utility for users who are blind or have impaired vision. Narrator reads what is displayed on your screen: the contents of the active window, menu options, or the text you have typed.

Narrator is designed to work with Notepad, Wordpad, Control Panel programs, Internet Explorer, the Windows desktop, and Windows setup. Narrator may not read words aloud correctly in other programs.

Narrator has a number of options that allow you to customize the way screen elements are read.

  • You can have new windows, menus, or shortcut menus read aloud when they are displayed.
  • You can have typed characters read aloud.
  • You can have the mouse pointer follow the active item on the screen.
  • You can adjust the speed, volume, or pitch of the voice.

The accessibility tools that ship with Windows are intended to provide a minimum level of functionality for users with special needs. Most users with disabilities will need utility programs with more advanced functionality for daily use.

  • To open Narrator, click Start, point to All Programs, point to Accessories, point to Accessibility, and then click Narrator.
  • To open Narrator using the keyboard, press CTRL+ESC, press R, type narrator, and then press ENTER.
  • Narrator is not available for all languages and is only supported on the English version of Windows XP.
  • An easy way to start Narrator is to press the Windows logo key (Windows logo key) + U. Narrator is set to start by default when Utility Manager starts. However, Narrator may not start if your computer does not have text-to-speech program capability.
  • Utility Manager enables users to check an Accessibility program's status and start or stop an Accessibility program. Users with administrator-level access can designate to have the program start when Utility Manager starts. Users can also start Accessibility programs before logging on to the computer on by pressing the Windows logo key (Windows logo key) + U at the Welcome to Windows dialog box that appears when Windows starts.

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