Reading Aloud with Microsoft Word

Microsoft Word has a new trick up its sleeve, and it should help anyone who struggles with the written word. The new feature is called Read Aloud, and it’s a significant improvement on the previous text-to-speech offerings in Word.

Image result for microsoft word read aloud

Most of us can look at a word and immediately tell whether it’s spelt wrong. Or look at a sentence and tell whether it’s structured correctly. However, some people struggle with these things. Which is the main reason why Microsoft has upped its text-to-speech game with Read Aloud.

Microsoft Word Can Now Read Your Documents Aloud


Read Aloud is a new feature which has arrived as part of the latest Office 365 updates. Read Aloud does exactly what you’d expect it to do, with Word reading your document back to you. However, Word can now highlight each word as it’s read aloud right from within your workflow.

In its blog post detailing all of the new Office 365 updates Microsoft states that Read Aloud “makes it easier to recognize and correct errors as you write, improving reading and editing accuracy for everyone, especially users with learning disabilities such as dyslexia.”

Read Aloud, which is listed under the Review tab, is currently only available to Office Insiders. However, Microsoft promises it will become widely available to the general population “later this year”. Which, in Microsoft parlance, means anytime between now and December 31st.

Let’s Make Typos a Thing of the Past

Not everyone will need to make use of the new Read Aloud feature in Word. However, for those who struggle with spelling for whatever reason, this is sure to be useful. And if Read Aloud makes typos a thing of the past then people like myself will be able to sleep more soundly.

The Ctrl Key in Word Allows You to Master the Paragraph

Slow Tech News Cycle = A Tech Tip!

In order to create professional looking documents, you need to understand the formatting tools. All of these great Microsoft Word formatting tools are a mouse-click away – on the Ribbon. For instance, you can format blocks of neat paragraph with the Paragraph group on the Home tab. But we often overlook another important tool that could speed up our work across a multi-page Word document.

The shortcut key.

The time it takes you to remove one hand and reach for the mouse adds up across the day. Keyboard ninjas know the time-saving benefits of shortcut keys. Microsoft Word has lots of them.

Some shortcuts are essential, and then you can tie some of them to muscle memory with a bit of practice each day. Here are a few paragraph-formatting commands you should exercise with because manipulating a paragraph into shape is the basic job on any document.

Use the Ctrl key to call them up.



The Paragraph dialog box gives you more fine-tuned controls. But these shortcut keys can be time-savers in their own right.

Are you on solid ground with Microsoft Office shortcut keys? Can you quickly format a paragraph with confidence?  If you can master this tip you will begin to master the formatting of your document.

Quick Tip – Changing the Default Font in Word

New feature here at the West Chester Technology Blog. I will be posting “quick tips”regularly that hopefully will help you with your everyday interactions with the technology we all use. If you have ideas on topics that you would like covered please contact me.

Microsoft Word arrives either out of the box or now by download with a default font. The font Microsoft decided on was Calibri (size 11). However this is not always the best choice and we often find ourselves changing the font for each individual document we work on.

Did you know that you can change the default font and size? This will save you time if you tend to change the font and size to the same choice each time, or the majority of time.

Change default font settings In Word 2013 and 2010:

Step 1: Open Word 2013/2010 program.

Step 2: Simultaneously press Ctrl + Shift + F key to open Font dialog.

Step 3: Here, select your favourite font, font style, font size, and color.

Change Word 2013 2010 default font and font size

Step 4: Finally, click Set As Default button. When you see the following dialog box, please select the second option labelled All documents based on the Normal template and then click OK button to save new settings.

Change Word 2013 2010 font and font size default settings

Note that you can change default settings of Page Layout as well. To do so, switch to the Page Layout tab and then click on the expand button to change default settings.

OK I hope that if Microsoft’s chosen default font is not your go to font you will now take a few moments to change the default font to your favorite one.

Office on iPad Update

The new Microsoft Office Apps For iPad are sitting on top of the App Store charts just a couple of days after their release on the iOS platform.

Microsoft made a long waited for move porting the Microsoft Office suite to the iOS platform. The apps are now among the highest grossing on the App Store with four major apps, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, as well as being some of the most popular free apps downloaded.

Microsoft Word for iPad is also ranked as the number five in the top grossing app charts where Excel is also ranked as twelve.

All of the new Microsoft apps can be downloaded for free on the iPad but require an Office 365 subscription for the full use. You can view documents and presentations for free, but the creation and editing requires purchasing a Office 365 subscription.

Office 365 subscription is available at a $9.99 per month or $99 per year.

Microsoft Office apps for iPad / iPhone can be downloaded for free from the App Store and require an Office 365 subscription for full features. You can download the apps from the links provided.

Microsoft Word for iPad [Direct Link]
Microsoft Excel for iPad [Direct Link]
Microsoft PowerPoint for iPad [Direct Link]
Microsoft Office Mobile for iPhone [Direct Link]

Office for iPAD Has Arrived

It’s official! Microsoft has indeed launched a version of its Office suite of productivity apps for Apple’s iPad. This was officially announced by Microsoft at an event in San Francisco earlier today.

The app suite, which comprises WordExcel and PowerPoint. The apps are more full-featured than their counterparts on iPhone, with extensive editing tools. However and here is the catch. You will need to be an Office 365 subscriber to use all of them. Non-subscribers can still view and present documents, but they will not be able to create documents.

The Office for iPad apps will look familiar to Office users, complete with tables, Microsoft fonts and the dreaded Ribbon, which has pop-up menus that appear when you tap an icon. The iPad version includes some unique features as well including a custom numeric keypad and table recommendations in Excel. It also has a built-in connection to OneDrive. The iPad apps also support real-time collaboration within documents, which Microsoft earlier rolled out.

I found that you need to install Word, Excel and PowerPoint individually but that’s OK. No need of wasting space on your iPad if you only need one or two of these apps. Because of this you will need to search Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel and Microsoft PowerPoint in the App Store. You do receive an option after downloading one of the Apps, like Word to install the other applications afterward.

Of course the idea here for Microsoft is that they will get more subscribers to their Office 365 cloud service. Office 365 for Home is $99/year and you can learn more here.

I will write a full review of the new app soon.

Word Tip: Clear That Format

Many times when you copy text from another source (document, webpage etc), the formatting of that particular text never comes out the way you want it to. This happens because the copy command basically copies not only the text but also the various formatting done to the text (bold, underline, font size, hyperlinks etc).

However, the formatting can easily be removed with a single click in a Word document. Microsoft Word’s latest 2013 version and all previous versions provide a very simple way to remove formatting on a selected text.

“Clear Formatting” is Only a Button Away

To remove formatting, select the text you want the formatting to be done on and hit the ‘Clear Formatting’ button on the top navigation bar. This will convert the selected text to its original unformatted form.

Shortcuts for “Clear Formatting”

And there’s an even faster way to remove formatting, with the help of shortcut keys. Simply select the part of the text you want formatted, and press CTRL + Spacebar to remove all character formatting (font size, font styles, colors etc) and CTRL + Q to remove all paragraph formatting (text alignment, bullets, numbering etc).

Word Tip: Using the Many Paste Features

One of the most common things computer user’s do is cut, copy and paste stuff. When you’re cutting or copying from one place in a document to another, there’s not much to the story; when you’re cutting or copying text from a website perhaps, to a Word document on the other hand, things get a bit stickier, because sometimes you do want the copied text to look as it did on the website, and sometimes, you just want it to fit in seamlessly with what you’re already writing.

Microsoft has not been blind to this and did give us some options for cutting, copying and pasting in Word 2007 with the Paste button on the main ribbon. Recognizing that what they’d done so far wasn’t enough, Microsoft went a step further with Word 2010 by giving users a much better preview of what they’ll get when choosing a particular option.

Word 2010’s new Paste feature can be accessed two different ways; the first is by clicking the right mouse button in the spot where you want to paste something.

Note: You’ll only get all the Paste options shown if you have previously highlighted and copied some text from another source that has non-standard text in it.

The other way is by clicking on the Paste icon on the main ribbon:

Note: In order to get all of the icons to show up in the drop down menu, you first have to copy some non-standard text from another source.

Note the Set Default Paste option that has been added to the bottom of the drop down menu:

Clicking on it brings up a window for setting the defaults for a myriad of Word options:

We only need to look at the defaults for Cut, copy and paste:

Setting defaults for when you paste something, is actually a bigger deal than it might seem. Say for example you have grown used to using Ctrl-C and Ctrl-V for copying and pasting stuff from websites into your Word documents; normally the default is to paste what has been copied in its natural state, i.e. with all the web formatting in place.

If you change the default for Pasting between documents to Keep Text Only, you can save yourself the extra step of having to strip out the formatting manually.

At any rate, once you’ve got your defaults set the way you want, using the Paste feature works the same regardless of which way you access it. To use it, first copy some formatted text and/or graphics from a web site:

Next, open or resume working on a document in Word, then pick a spot in your document to paste the stuff you copied by clicking in the document; then, click the Paste icon. You should notice right away that things look different; instead of word choices, there are now icons.

To see how these icons work, slide your mouse slowly over the different options. Moving from left to right the icons represent: Keep Source Formatting, Merge Formatting, and Keep Text Only. You should be able to see what the pasted material will look like in your document as you move your cursor over the three icons.

Keep Source Formatting:

Merge Formatting:

And finally, Keep Text Only:

To actually paste in the copied material, click on the one you want and the copied material will be pasted into your document in the format you chose (in this case, Keep Source Formatting).

The new icon based Paste tool with preview should make cutting, copying and pasting a much easier task for anyone that does a lot of moving text around from different applications into Word.