From Excel 2002 onwards Microsoft introduced the Text -To – Specch feature. It is an interesting function once you explore it. You can get Excel to call out back to you the contents of a range of cells, or get it to call out the cell contents as you actually type the data into your worksheet.
You may wonder- when on earth will I use that?. I did too, at first. But after trying it out I realised. I actually use it frequently. If I need data entry double checked- I get Excel to speak it back to me if no-one else is available. This saves time and stress as it is like having a colleague double check my entries.
This Text To Speech feature is still available but some what hidden now from Excel 2007 onwards. It is not altogether obvious where this feature is hiding. It is still available, and with a small bit of preparation you can still avail of its features.
You will need to spend a few minutes putting the feature on your Quick Access Toobar (QAT) so you actually get using it from a convenient location.
Here is how to put the feature on the QAT
- Right Click the QAT
- From the Shortcut Menu select Customize Quick Access Toolbar
- Click the drop down list
- Select Command Not In The Ribbon
- Scroll down to items that begin with speech- should be 5 in total and select all of them
- Add then Ok
The QAT should have 5 new items on it, these are
- Speak Cells
- Speak Cells- Stop Speaking Cells
- Speak Cells by Columns
- Speak by Rows
- Speak Cells on Enter
So, lets get using the feature!
To read a range of cells, select the range and select the Speak Cells Button.
To read the data on entry just select the Speak on enter button.
This is a love it or really hate it feature!
You can tweak the settings of this feature somewhat. If you want to change the voice or its speed there is a small bit of control that you have. Where else would this be but in the Control Panel of Windows.
You will find the settings in the Speech Properties. You can change the speed or choose a different voice.
Give this little known feature a go, strange at first but then strangley useful after a while for double checking data entry.