Recently, I was working with someone who was sight impaired. I was actually supposed to be the one helping out, but ended up being the beneficiary of some new information. I love learning about new features and love seeing them aid someone so powerfully!
While I was teaching this friend about keyboard shortcuts in Excel, she mentioned the she heard of an Excel element called “Speak Cells”. Since I had not tried out that feature before, I immediately told her that we should test it out. In her Excel 2010 version, we found the built-in “Speak Cells” audio feature in Excel. It can help you proofread numbers and other data by actually sounding out the numbers for you. You can choose to have the information repeated by column or by row.
In order to enable the feature, you can add the “Speak Cells” icons to your Quick Access Toolbar. The Quick Access Toolbar is at the top left of your Excel window. If you click the down arrow to the right of the Quick Access Toolbar, you can then select More Commands. When the dialog box opens, look for the Choose Commands area and click the drop down arrow next to Popular Commands. Choose All Commands. Make sure and take a look at all of the great items in the All Commands list. You might find a few more things to add to your Quick Access Toolbar.
Next, scroll down the list on the left side until you see the commands for Speak Cells. You will want to add several icons within the Speak Cells group including: Speak Cells, Speak Cells - Stop Speaking Cells, Speak Cells by Column, Speak Cells by Row, and Speak Cells on Enter. Adding all of these icons will increase your flexibility in using the Speak Cells feature. To select the desired icon(s), double-click each of the icons to move them over to the right list that shows the items on your Quick Access Toolbar. When you have added them all, click OK.
I really like using the Speak Cells on Enter, especially to proofread. To use that feature, just click on the Speak Cells on Enter icon in the Quick Access Toolbar. When you click on a cell and hit the enter key, it will speak the contents of that cell to you. Just make sure you have your speakers turned on or your headphones on! Enjoy using your new “Speak Cells” feature!