Reading Text Aloud using the Magnifier Reader


Contrary to popular belief, screen readers are not just for users who are blind. Those with low vision or print disabilities can also benefit.

This guide is focused on using the Windows Magnifier’s Text to Speech (TTS) function for those who do not need or want all the functions of a screen reader.

What is Magnifier Reader

Microsoft has added a reading function to what was formally known as the Magnifier App. Adding this functionality makes it possible to use the mouse and limited keyboard commands to control Microsoft’s TTS option.

What if I Only Want to Hear Text Spoken Without Magnifying it?

Windows Magnifier doesn’t have to be used to magnify the screen while it is open, it just needs to be running. Set the magnification level to 100% (the lowest setting) to activate the reader without magnifying the screen.

Getting Started

First, let’s start the Magnifier Reader.

You can use the keyboard command Windows Key + Plus (to the left of the Backspace Key on many keyboards). This will launch the magnifier as well as increase the magnification level if the Magnifier Reader is already running.

You may also launch the app by opening the Start menu, typing “Magnifier”, then pressing Enter.

The Magnifier Control

The Magnifier App’s controls are fairly simple and straightforward.

The user can click the Plus or Minus buttons to set the magnification size. Remember, if you only want to hear spoken text without magnifying it, you may decrease the magnification percentage to 100% using the buttons on the display or the key commands noted below.

Once magnification is at its lowest (which is 100%), you can start using reading commands without magnifying the screen.

Please note that magnification does NOT need to be at its lowest to use the tool, Magnifier Reader will read text using the reading commands below regardless of the magnification level. If the Reader is used when magnification is enabled, the focus will follow the cursor as the text is read.

Reading Commands

Below are the reading commands used with Magnifier:

  • Start, Pause, or Resume Reading from Cursor Position – Control + Alt + Enter OR Control + Alt + Left Mouse Click

  • Stop reading – Control (recommended)

      • Note: any key can be used, but keep in mind that if working in a Word document or other editable area, the key pressed will be placed in the document where the cursor is located.

  • Read Next Sentence (During Reading) – Alt + Control + K

  • Read Previous Sentence (During Reading) – Alt + Control + H

Magnification Commands

Below are some of the most common magnification commands

  • Windows + Plus – Increases Magnification Level

  • Windows + Minus – Decreases Magnification Level

  • Alt + Control + F – Full Screen Magnification

  • Alt + Control + D – Docked Magnification

  • Alt + Control + L – Lens Magnification

  • Windows + Escape – Exits the Magnifier Reader

Adjusting Settings

Open Magnifier Settings using Windows + Control + M. The Magnifier area of the settings center will open.

Screenshot of Magnifier Settings

Settings and Options

The following are some of the settings and options that can be changed in the Magnifier Settings:

  • Turn Magnifier Reader on or off

  • Change the magnification level

  • Change the increment the magnifier increases or decreases when buttons or shortcut keys are activated

  • Start Magnifier after sign in

  • Change Magnifier view (docked, lens, or full)

  • Choose how Magnifier follows the text, pointer, or cursor

  • Change default location of the mouse pointer and text cursor

  • Change the Modifier Keys (the default is Alt and Control simultaneously)

Changing Speed of Spoken Text

Interestingly, the option to increase or decrease speed of the reader is not located in the settings area. Instead, it is within the magnifier window itself.

  • Once the Magnifier is open and in focus, click the gear at the top right of the window.

  • You will see a popup containing the speed control. Simply move the slider to the left (slower) or right (faster) to adjust the speed.

Screenshot of Magnifier with reader options expanded

Additionally, there is a drop-down where you may pick another installed voice for the spoken feedback to use. You may also click the “Go to Settings” link, which will take you to the Magnifier settings described above.

Key Takeaways

  • Windows Magnifier Reader is a tool that can be used to read text aloud in Windows 10

  • The user does not need to have the magnification options enabled to use the text to speech option

  • As this is not a full screen reading program, key commands and functionality is limited.