Brief Introduction to Microsoft Narrator
Screen fatigue is real. If the last year has taught us anything, it’s that even those who have perfect eyesight sometimes experience headaches and even body aches from sitting in front of our screens too long working on things we usually would do in person.
A possible solution for some is use of a screen reader. Many users do not want to install any third-party options. For those individuals, Microsoft Narrator is an option.
Microsoft Narrator is the built-in screen reader for Windows. It is a free resource that is continuously under development by Microsoft.
Why Don’t More People use Narrator?
Although Narrator is an excellent tool to have in your toolbox, it is not as powerful as a program like JAWS or even NVDA. Additionally, Narrator is developed to work with Microsoft products, so it doesn’t have as much functionality outside of the Windows and Office environments.
In short, Narrator is an excellent tool for short-term use or as a supplement (such as using it to install a third-party screen reader or resolve issues with one in a pinch). It may one day evolve to a point where it gives other screen reading software some competition but as of now, it should be used in conjunction with or as a backup for other software.
Narrator can be launched in a few different ways
Start Narrator with a Key Command
The user can turn Narrator on and off by using the shortcut key Control + Windows + Enter. Narrator will begin speaking and you may be presented with a dialogue informing you that Narrator has been activated. The dialogue may also give you information on how to proceed to get help using Narrator. To continue running Narrator, press Enter, Escape, or click OK with your mouse.