Excel Video 144 takes a quick break from functions to show you how to get Excel to read to you. There’s a text to speech feature in Excel that can come in handy when you’re trying to enter data from Excel into a different program on a second monitor. You may also find this feature makes a great April Fools’ joke on an unsuspecting colleague.
The icons you need aren’t in the ribbon, so I’ll show you how to add them to the quick access toolbar either just above or below the ribbon. I’ll add four icons, Speak Cells, Speak Cells—Stop Speaking Cells (it’s a goofy name, but it does keep all of the commands together in the alphabetical list), Speak Cells by Columns and Speak Cells by Rows. Once the icons are added, simply highlight the cells you want Excel to read, click Speak Cells by Columns or by Rows to set the direction for Excel to read, and then click Speak Cells. To stop reading, click Stop Speaking Cells. The narration isn’t Hollywood, but it does the job. If you don’t like the voice, you may have some options in Control Panel to adjust it.
The more I think about it, the best April Fools’ joke may be to add Speak Cells on Enter to the quick access toolbar and run that. Every time your colleague hits Enter, Excel will read the cell back to them. As penance for your joke, invite your colleagues to join Excel Users and watch these videos. They’ll save a ton of time using Excel and they’ll be better prepared next April 1.
I hope you find this trick helpful. We’ll go back to financial functions next time. I look forward to seeing you then.