Quick Tip: Add Speak to the Word Quick Access Bar

With a little clicking and a lot of scrolling you can add any command to the Word Quick Access Bar.

Not too long ago, I received an email asking me if there was a way to make Word say text out loud without using a third-party application. I had not looked at this feature in a long time, but there is indeed a Speak command in Word. However, it is not on any ribbon and is buried deep within the thousands of available commands in Word.

The best solution in these situations is to too add the command for the feature you are looking to use to the Word Quick Access Bar.

Note: the screenshots in this article are from Office 2010, but they could just have well been from Office 2013 - the steps are the same for any ribbon-based version.

Quick Access Bar

The steps are not difficult, but there is likely to be a bit of scrolling. First, start Word, left-click the Quick Access Bar options button (it's the down arrow), and then click the More Commands item. (Figure A)

Figure A


Click the dropdown arrow under the Choose commands from section and change the selection to read Commands not in the Ribbon. Scroll down the list until you find Speak, as shown in Figure B.

Figure B


Click Speak and then click the Add button to add it to your Quick Access Bar, as shown in Figure C. Click OK when you are done.

Figure C


While you are viewing the list you might want to add other features that are not listed in any Ribbons. This process will work for any command.

As you can see in Figure D, there is now a speak button on my Word Quick Access Bar.

Figure D



Mark W. Kaelin has been writing and editing stories about the IT industry, gadgets, finance, accounting, and tech-life for more than 25 years. Most recently, he has been a regular contributor to,, and TechRepublic.


Just what versions of word does this work with??



To make myself more efficient with Word, I have the following commands in my Quick Access Toolbar:

Save, Save As, Save All (separator), New (separator), Show All, Spelling (separator), Open, Open Recent (separator), Close (separator), Envelope & Label Wizard (separator), Undo, Redo (separator), Quick Print, Print Preview.

The separators are to group related or similar commands and to cut down on mousing errors, as I have my monitor resolution set as high as it will go.  I have similar arrangements in each of the Office applications, as closely as they can be, and arranged in the same order, so I can work faster in the entire suite.  Each application has some unique commands, like Slideshow from the First Slide in PowerPoint, but Save and Save As are always first and Print Preview is always last.

As for "lost" commands, I can't speak - when customizing the Quick Access Toolbar, I always select "All Commands" from the "Choose Commands From" drop-down.  I've found everything I needed that way.

Mark W. Kaelin
Mark W. Kaelin moderator

Are there lost commands you have been looking for in Word that might be good candidates for the Quick Access Toolbar?

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