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Read Aloud feature not working in Word [Fix]

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Read Aloud is a handy feature in Word and other Office apps that enables you to convert text to speech and listen to the document text. This feature is only available in Office 2021/19, and Microsoft 365. Some users have reported that the Read Aloud feature is not working correctly in Microsoft Word. Now, why this problem may occur and how you can fix it, let us find out in this post.

Read Aloud feature not working in Word [Fix]

Why is Read Aloud greyed out in Word?

If the Read Aloud function is greyed out in Word, it might be caused due to using an outdated version of Word. Besides that, some add-ins might be interfering with the functioning of the app and causing the problem. You might also face this issue if the Word app is corrupted.

There can be other reasons why the Read Aloud feature might not work in Word. These causes include the fact that the document is corrupted, incorrect volume mixer settings, and headset issues. Now. if you are also unable to use Read Aloud in Word, use the solutions we have discussed to fix the issue.

Read Aloud feature not working in Microsoft Word

If the Read Aloud feature is not working correctly in Microsoft Word, you can use the following methods to fix the issue:

  1. Initial checklist.
  2. Close Word and restart it.
  3. Use the Speak feature instead of Read Aloud.
  4. Run Word in safe mode.
  5. Set the correct Volume Mixer settings.
  6. Update Microsoft Word.
  7. Check if the document is corrupted.
  8. Repair Microsoft Word.

1] Initial checklist

Before you try using some advanced troubleshooting methods, make sure it is not some generic issue causing the problem. Here are some tips you need to take care of:

  • You first need to check whether your PC is on mute or not. Make sure you have a high volume and then try using the Read Aloud feature in Word.
  • If you are using a headset, make sure it is in proper working condition. You can unplug the headset and then check if you are able to listen to the document text or not. If yes, it is most likely that your headset is at fault.

2] Close Word and restart it

A simple restart works in many cases. So, you can simply restart the Word app and then check if the problem is resolved. To do that, make sure to completely close all the running instances of Word on your PC. Here’s how:

  • First, open Task Manager using Ctrl+Shift+Esc.
  • Now, close all Microsoft Word processes using the End task button.
  • Once done, restart Word and check if you are able to use the Read Aloud function.

 See: Microsoft Word won’t open on Windows PC.

3] Use the Speak feature instead of Read Aloud

If you can’t use the Read Aloud function in Word, you can try using the Speak function. The function is similar to Read Aloud. It converts the selected text to speech and reads it aloud. However, you have to manually add this function. Here are the steps using which you can do that:

  • First, open Word and click on File > Options.
  • In the Word Options window, navigate to the Customize Ribbon.
  • Now, under the Choose command from the drop-down menu, choose All Commands.
  • After that, scroll down and select the Speak feature.
  • Next, under the Customize the Ribbon section, select the desired tab (e.g., Review) where you want to add this feature.
  • Now, click on the New Group button and name this group as preferred.
  • Finally, select the Speak feature, click on the Add button, and press the OK button to save changes.

You can now see if the Read Aloud function is working properly now.

Read: Word or Excel hyperlinks are slow to open.

4] Run Word in safe mode

open word in safe mode

It could be a problematic third-party add-in that you have installed in Word causing the problem. To check if that is the case, you can try running the Word app in safe mode without any external add-ins and see if it helps. Here’s how to do that:

  • First, press Win+R to evoke the Run command box and type the following command in the Open box:
    winword /safe
  • Once done, hit the Enter button and let Word open in safe mode.

If the Read Aloud feature is working fine in safe mode, you can be sure that your add-ins are the main culprit. Hence, to permanently fix the problem, you can disable or remove your add-ins in Word using the below steps:

Disable add-ins in Word

  • First, click on the File menu in Word and choose Options.
  • After that, navigate to the Add-ins tab and press the Go button available next to the Manage COM Add-ins option.
  • Now, deselect the add-ins you want to turn off.
  • For permanently removing add-ins, you can select them and press the Remove button.
  • Once done, click on the OK button to apply new changes.

Read: Word cannot complete the save due to a file permission error.

5] Set the correct Volume Mixer settings

Your Volume Mixer settings might be preventing you from hearing the text using the Read Aloud feature in Word. Windows lets you set up volume levels for the system and apps. If your volume mixer settings are incorrect, this problem is likely to occur. So, in that case, you can configure the right volume mixer settings and see if it helps. Here’s how you can do that:

First, right-click on the volume icon on your taskbar and choose the Open volume mixer option. Next, make sure the volume is set high and the correct output device is set for apps. See if the problem is resolved now.

6] Update Microsoft Word

Update Microsoft Office 365

If you are using an older version of Microsoft Word, it might be a reason for this issue. Some users have reported that this problem is likely to occur in a version of Word that is lower than 2206. So, update the app right away and then open it to check if the issue is resolved.

To update Microsoft Word, click on the File > Account option and click on the  Update Options drop-down button. Next, choose the Update Now option and let your Office package install the pending updates for Office apps. Once Word and other Office apps are updated, relaunch Word and check if you can listen to the Read Aloud feature.

See: How you can compress and reduce the size of a Word document.

7] Check if the document is corrupted

In case the above solutions didn’t work, there are chances that the issue is caused because your document is corrupted. If so, you can repair the corrupted document and then check if the issue is fixed. Here are the steps to fix a corrupted Word document:

  • Firstly, click on the File menu and select the Open option.
  • Next, tap on the Browse button and choose the document with which the problem is occurring.
  • After that, click on the small downward arrow icon which is present inside the Open button.
  • Now, click on the Open and Repair option and then let Word repair and open the target document.
  • Once done, try using the Read Aloud feature and see if the problem is resolved.

8] Repair Microsoft Word

Repair Microsoft Office 365

The issue could be very well facilitated if the Word app is corrupted. Hence, if the scenario is applicable, you can repair your Office package to fix the issue.

In case the problem remains the same, you might need to uninstall and reinstall Microsoft Office to fix the issue.

Hope this helps.

How do I get Read Aloud to work on Word?

To enable and use the Read Aloud feature in Word, you can go to the Review tab and click on the Read Aloud option under the Speech group. Alternatively, you can also try opening the Read Aloud function using the Ctrl + Alt + Space shortcut key and see if it works.

Now read: Word is Slow to open and run and Lags when typing.

Read Aloud feature not working in Word [Fix]



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