Use text-to-speech and voice recognition on Windows 11

by Cesar Cadenas
Cesar Cadenas
Cesar Cadenas
Cesar has been writing for and about technology going on for 6 years when he first started writing tech articles for his university paper. Since then, his passion... read more
Affiliate Disclosure
  • Text-to-speech and voice recognition are two great tools on Windows 11 computers that allow you to use your voice to write.
  • Setting both up is easy to do and only takes a few minutes.
  • This guide will go through the process of how to set up text-to-speech and voice recognition.
How to use text-to-speech and voice recognition on Windows 11

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Like Windows 10, Windows 11 computers have a text-to-speech capability. Also known as TTS, text-to-speech allows you to write with your voice. As you speak into a microphone, the computer writes out the text on screen with a combination of text recognition and speech synthesis.

It’s a great tool if you ever have a hard time reading or writing as you can perform a stream of consciousness as you talk. You can overcome writer’s block with this handy tool.

TTS can also help you if you want to generate a voice-over script for videos, check the pronunciation of certain words, or hear text aloud via Microsoft Narrator. Plus, the software is good at adding proper punctuation so you can learn good grammar as well.

What about Voice Typing Tool?

The Voice Typing Tool is the app on Windows 11 that takes advantage of the text-to-speech functionality. The app can be used on any text box like editors, word processors, chat programs, emails, wherever you can write on a computer.

It comes with an auto punctuation feature to accurately and correctly dot your text with the appropriate periods and commands. Voice Typing Tools also supports a variety of languages besides English, including Spanish, Simplified Chinese, and German.

This guide will tackle the other aspects of text-to-speech on Windows 11 besides the Voice Typing Tool. It will show you how to turn on text-to-speech, configure it, and go through some of the features most people may not be aware of.

How can I use text-to-speech on Windows 11?

1. Turn the Narrator option on

  1. Click on the Start menu.
  2. In the Start menu, click on the Settings icon.
  3. In the Settings menu, click on Accessibility.
  4. Click on the Narrator option.
  5. Toggle the Narrator switch to turn it on. Once you do, the Narrator app menu will open.
  6. The Narrator app is now on. To configure it, click OK.
  7. The Narrator settings menu is open. Click on Settings.
  8. In the next window, ensure that keyboard shortcut is turned on.
  9. To change Narrator’s voice, click on the drop-down menu next to Voice and select an option.
  10. You can change the Narrator voice’s Speed, Pitch, and Volume by changing the levels next to their respective configuration.

2. Turn the text-to-speech option on

  1. Click on the Start menu.
  2. In the Start menu, click on the Settings icon.
  3. In the Settings menu, click on Accessibility.
  4. Scroll down and click on Speech.
  5. In this new window, you can toggle Windows Speech Recognition by flipping the switch from Off to On.
  6. Upon flipping the switch, the Set up Speech Recognition wizard will appear where you can set up from your preferences and connect a microphone.
  7. After clicking Next, the wizard will ask you want kind of microphone will you be using. For this guide, Headset Microphone will be chosen, but the instructions are the same.
  8. After choosing your device, select Next.
  9. At this point, the wizard will set up your microphone by asking you to keep the mic at a set distance so it can configure the software. When you’re ready, click Next.
  10. Read the sentence that appears so the software can get a sample, then click Next.
  11. Now you’ve set up the microphone. Click Next to continue.
  12. Click Enable document review to allow your Windows 11 computer to read the document before transcribing to speech. Then click Next.
  13. Here you can select an activation mode. If you choose Manual, then the text-to-speech capability won’t activate until you open the app. If you choose Voice activation mode, the computer will be listen for a command to turn on the feature.
  14. This guide will select Use manual activation mode, then click Next.
  15. In the next window, you can print out a reference sheet filled with all of the commands that Windows 11 text-to-speech recognizes.
  16. If you don’t have a printer set up, click View Reference Sheet to be taken to a page on Microsoft’s website listing out all the commands.
  17. After clicking Next, you can choose to opt in or out of running Speech Recognition everytime the computer turned on.
  18. Windows 11 gives you an opportunity to learn how to use text-to-speech with an tutorial if you want to learn more. Otherwise, skip it.
  19. A new window will appear on the top of your screen which is the text-to-speech app listening to your commands. Press the mic button to turn it on and off.
  20. You can try out text-to-speech by opening Windows Notepad and start speaking to start writing.

3. Configure text-to-speech

  1. Return to the Accessibility panel on the Windows 11 Settings menu and select Speech.
  2. Click Speech under Related settings.
  3. To add more languages, scroll down to Manage voices and select Add voices.
  4. Select a language you want to add or search for one.
  5. Click the box next to the language and select Add at the bottom.
  6. To add a new microphone, click Get started under Microphone.
  7. In the new window, select Cortana can’t hear me.
  8. Select the device you want to add and click Next.
  9. Select Set up the mic.
  10. You will be asked to recite the same setence as before in order to calibrate the new device.

Are there other things I should about text-to-speech on Windows 11?

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Windows 11 has a lot of good native apps, but third-party apps blow what’s on the operating system out of the water. And that’s the case for text-to-speech apps.

There are a lot of them on Windows 11, which also appear on Windows 10. Many of them are carry-overs from the older system to the new one. They help immensely with expanding your vocabulary.

Some are apps like Dragon, which is widely known for its high quality, but there are also some online readers as well that are just as good as the apps.

Some of these online readers include the likes of Ivona and NaturalReader, which can convert PDFs and Docx files for free. There are even paid versions that give extra features like Word Prediction.

And if you’re someone or know someone who struggles with dyslexia, NaturalReader is a great tool for helping people overcome that condition. There are several different apps and services on Windows computers that you should try out if you have dyslexia. KAZ-Type, for example, teaches typing while managing visual stressors and has minimal disruptions.

Feel free to leave a comment below if you have any questions on other Windows 11 apps. Also, leave comments about guides that you’d like to see or information on other Windows 11 features or guides like this.

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