Where in the world have the Text to Speech Options gone in Windows 7?

May 8, 2009 at 8:05 pm | Posted in Microsoft, text to speech | 4 Comments

One thing I was curious to investigate was whether they’d made any changes to the text to speech functionality and Narrator in Windows 7.

The first problem I ran into was where had they moved the text to speech options. There’s no longer a Text to Speech applet in the Control Panel. If you view the Control Panel by Category you have to first click on the Ease of Access category.

Ease of Access Category in the Control Panel

Then you need to select Ease of Access Centre.

Ease of Access Centre

You’re then presented with the following confusing dialog, ironically titled Make your computer easier to use.

Make your computer easier to use

You need to select Use the computer without a display.

Use the computer without a display

Now click on Set up Text to Speech.

Text to Speech options in Windows 7

This is the same familiar dialog that’s been around since Windows XP. No changes here and unfortunately it’s now been buried in the most obscure location.

Now there is a quicker way to access the Text to Speech settings dialog but it’s even less intuitive than the above, if that’s possible.

Text to Speech Large Icon View

First you will need to switch your Control Panel view from Category to Large icons or Small icons. Then click on the Speech Recognition applet – yes I know speech recognition is the opposite to text to speech, bare with me.

Text to Speech option from the Speech Recognition options

You can see in the left column there is a Text to Speech link, kindly included for wayward travellers. This will bring up the text to speech options. It’s much quicker to access but so unintuitive, you’ll have a hard time remembering it.

Microsoft really need to bring back the Text to Speech applet and display it in the Control Panel when viewing by Large or Small icons. Here’s hoping they add this back in before the final release of Windows 7.

I was also hoping that they would have included a male voice as well as the female voice, Microsoft Anna, that comes with Vista. Many people have complained that they lost the male voice, Microsoft Sam, when moving from XP to Vista, even though Microsoft Anna sounds a lot better than Microsoft Sam. Microsoft, I hope you’re listening.



  1. There’s an easier way to navigate to the oxymoronic “Make your computer easier to use” window: rather than opening the Control Panel, simply use the WinKey + U shortcut. This has been around since Vista.

  2. Thanks for the tip! It saves at least 3 clicks.

  3. Well, we’re getting closer to optimal at least. I’ll pass your feedback on to the Win7 RTM team. We’re all trying to make things as available as possible!

  4. Where in the world have the Text to Speech Options gone in Windows 7? .Thanks for nice post.I added to my twitter.

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