Windows 10 – Narrator

Narrator is Windows’ built in screen reader which can be accessed to describe on screen text and icons and assist with using apps, email and web browsing for those who are blind or have low vision.

Getting Started

  • A quick way to get started is to press the Windows Logo Key + Ctrl + Enter. Narrator will start to describe the current screen focus. Press the same keyboard combination to turn Narrator off.
  • Another way to start Narrator is to press Windows Logo Key + Ctrl + N. In the Ease of Access, Narrator section, toggle the Narrator button to on.
  • Settings > Ease of Access > Narrator > Hear text and controls on the screen > Narrator
A screenshot showing the narrator button is enabled on a Windows device
Fig.1 Narrator button enabled.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Narrator can also be started through the Ease of Access Centre in the Control Panel. Press the spacebar to select the highlighted ‘Start Narrator’ tool.
  • Control Panel > Ease of Access Centre > Make your computer easier to use > Start Narrator
A screenshot showing the start narrator tool in the Ease of Access Centre on a Windows device
Fig.2 Start Narrator tool in the Ease of Access Centre.

            

 

 

 

 

Viewing Narrator settings

  • Press Windows Logo Key + Ctrl + N to view the Narrator settings in the Settings app.
  • Settings > Ease of Access > Narrator
A screenshot showing the narrator settings on a Windows device
Fig.3 Narrator Settings.

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

  • Here you can set a number of options. You can start Narrator automatically when the computer starts up.
  • Settings > Ease of Access > Narrator > Hear text and controls on the screen > Start narrator automatically
A screenshot showing the start narrator automatically setting on a Windows device
Fig.4 Start Narrator automatically setting.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • You can choose from a default selection of male and female voices, set the voice speaking rate and determine voice pitch placement in the Voice section.
  • Settings > Narrator > Voice > Choose a voice/Speed/Pitch
A screenshot showing the voice settings of narrator on a Windows device
Fig.5 Narrator voice, speed and pitch settings.

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • The tab keys and cursor keys (sometimes referred to as the arrow keys) can be used to perform simple keyboard navigation to move around the apps and web pages.

For a comprehensive list of additional Narrator keyboard shortcuts refer to the Microsoft Accessibility pages.  Here are a few to get started with

 

Narrator Keyboard Shortcuts
Windows logo key + Ctrl + Enter Start or exit Narrator
Caps lock and Esc Exit Narrator
Windows logo key + Ctrl + N Open Narrator Settings
Ctrl Stop reading
Caps lock and Right arrow Move to next item
Caps lock and Left arrow Move to previous item
Caps lock + F1 Show Narrator commands list
Caps lock + F2 Show commands for current item
Caps lock + Page up or Page down Increase or decrease voice volume
Caps lock + Plus (+) or Minus (-) Increase or decrease voice speed
Caps lock + D Read item
Caps lock + W Read window
Caps lock + R Start reading
Caps lock + M Start reading a document

Fig.6 Narrator Keyboard shortcuts.

 

Please click here to read about the Magnifier in Windows 10.

Please click here to read about Vision options with Windows 10.