How did I not hear about this sooner?
Did you know that Microsoft Word (the 365 version) has a Proof Reading tool where it “Reads Aloud” for us? Apparently, it’s been around for a couple of years now. [ insert pained groaning sounds ]
I write a lot, both for work and as a hobbyist story author and for the longest time was frustrated that the words in my mind struggled to get past my typing fingers, first via an old-school typewriter in high school and later on an early PC and multiple computers ever since.
It was as if my fingers had a mind and sense of grammar all their own and cooperation with established rules of English was something they would occasionally deny.
Then a peer blogger, mentioned that Word has this neat new feature to read text out loud. I jumped right on it and gave it a try. Not perfect, but good enough to be great and now I use it for almost anything I want to have correct the first time.
Now, it’s common for me, to use Word to check: my story blog posts, articles for work, even emails to my management. It’s simple.
- If not in Word already, copy and paste the text into a Word document,
- Position the cursor where you want it to start reading,
- Mouse to: Review Tab -> Read Aloud and click,
- This displays a small control box in the upper right. Click on the right-arrowhead to Play.
- Pause the reading, make corrections in-flight, reposition the cursor and continue,
- A robotic voice begins.
- Copy and paste your polished results back to where you need them; your email editor, your blog editor, whatever.
- Send or share with a new higher degree of confidence that fewer typos will survive for the whole world to see and laugh at.
I was amazed at how many errors easily scream out to be corrected. And no, I’m not going to tell you how many I found when checking this short article.
I’m tempted to begin to go back to even my older stories and see how many typos have been hiding right in plain sight from me while not hiding at all from my readers. Ugh.
I did a quick search and sure enough, there are other tools we can purchase separately to do this also, but what’s built into the MS Word license my employer provides me with is fine for me.
If you write and want your readers to see more accurately what you MEANT to write, you need this tool.
If you’ve known about this for a long time now – shame on you for not telling me . . .