Setting Default Windows 10 System Voice




Some Windows 10 programs, such as Apple’s iTunes application, rely on the Windows 10 default system voice when applying voice accessibility to older iPod Nanos.  You can change the voice that iTunes and apps like it use in Windows 10 by following the procedure below.  As with prior Windows versions, text to speech translation ability is built into the operating system, and so, is free to the Windows user; that is, you pay nothing more for it specifically.  The biggest differences between this procedure in Windows 10 as compared with Windows 8, are the following:

  • Accessing the Control Panel from the start button no longer requires clicking the Settings item first, as Microsoft now provides direct access to Control Panel  right on the Start button context menu.
  • The Hazel voice has disappeared from the Speech Properties dialog box.

Otherwise, the Windows 10 and Windows 8 procedures are essentially the same.  In this document, we’ll run through the Windows 10 version of how to change the default system voice below.

 

The Procedure

Go to the Windows 10 Task Bar.  Ours is located vertically at the left edge of the screen.  However, you can choose the location of your task bar as well as whether it’s always on the screen, or only appears when you mouse over the screen’s edge.  So yours may be oriented differently.

 

Picture of the Windows 10 Task Bar Start Button, pointed at by the pink arrow.
Windows 10 Task Bar Start Button, pointed at by the pink arrow.

 

Right click the Start button on the Task Bar, to reveal the Start Button Context Menu.

 

Picture of the Windows 10 Start Button Context Menu, results from right-clicking the Start button on the Task Bar.
Windows 10 Start Button Context Menu, results from right-clicking the Start button on the Task Bar.

 

Locate the Control Panel item,   on the Start Button Context Menu.

Picture of the Windows 10 Start Button Context Menu with Control Panel item circled in pink.
Windows 10 Start Button Context Menu with the Control Panel item circled in pink.

 

The Windows 10 Control Panel window opens as shown next.

Picture of the Windows 10 Control Panel with the Ease Of Access Item highlighted, the pink arrow.
Windows 10 Control Panel with the Ease Of Access Item Highlighted.

 

Left Click on the Ease of Access Center  option in the Control Panel window, as highlighted by the pink arrow in the previous picture.  Picking this option produces the Ease of Access Center dialog box, shown next.

Picture of the Windows 10 Ease of Access Center window, with the Optimize for Blindness option circled.
Windows 10 Ease of Access Center window, with the Optimize for Blindness option circled.

 

Go to the “Use the Computer without a display” option, described as “Optimize for Blindness.”  The “Use the Computer Without a Display” window results, as follows.

Picture of the Windows 10, "Use Computer Without a Display," Window, with the, "Set Up Text To Speech," Option Highlighted.
Windows 10, “Use Computer Without a Display,” Window, with the, “Set Up Text To Speech,” Option Highlighted.

 

Go to the Setup Text To Speech option, as circled in pink in the previous picture.  The Speech Properties window appears with the following arrangement.  We’ve circled the “Voice Selection” area in pink, in the next picture.

Picture of the Windows 10, "Speech Properties," Dialog, with "Voice Selection," Option Highlighted.
Windows 10, “Speech Properties,” Dialog, with “Voice Selection,” Option Highlighted.

 

Pick the Default System Voice    from the Voice Selection pull-down menu, circled in the previous picture.   There are two voices listed in our particular installation (David, and Zira).  We picked the Zira voice, as illustrated below.

Picture of the Windows 10, "Speech Properties," Window, with the Zira Voice Selected.
Windows 10, “Speech Properties,” Window, with the Zira Voice Selected.

 

Note that upon clicking the voice you want in the list, and if you have your computer speakers turned on and up, you’ll hear a sample of that voice played through them.  You can sample each voice in the list by selecting it as described.

 

Press the Apply button.  You have now changed your computer’s default system voice.  iPods that utilize iTunes et al that rely on this voice in generating their voice menus while syncing will now speak with this voice after you’ve resynced them.

 

Close the Speech Properties Window.  Press the Okay button to do that.

 

Close the Ease of Access Center window.

You’re done.  Enjoy text-to-speeching with your iPod.

 

References

 

Revision History

  • 2015-11-10: Added more appropriate tags.
  • 2015-10-01: Added appropriate tags.
  • 2015-08-21: Originally published.