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

Setting Windows 10 Voice, Text to Speech

Some Windows 10 programs, such as Apple’s iTunes app, rely on the Windows 10 default system voice when applying voice clips to older iPod Nanos.  You can change the text to speech 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.





Setting Windows 10 Voice Instructions

1. 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.

2. Right Click the Start Button on the Task Bar

This reveals the Start Context Menu.

Picture of the Windows 10 start button context menu, results from right-clicking the Start button on the task bar.
The Start button context menu, results from right-clicking the Start button on the task bar.

3. Find the Control Panel Item to Continue with Setting Windows 10 Voice

It’s on the Start Button Context Menu.

Screenshot of the Start button context menu with Control Panel item circled in pink.
The Start Button context menu with the Control Panel item circled in pink.

The Windows 10 Control Panel window opens as shown next.

Screenshot of the Control Panel with the Ease Of Access Item highlighted, the pink arrow.
The Control Panel with the Ease Of Access Item highlighted.




4. Left Click on the Ease of Access Center  Option

Find this 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.

Screenshot of the Ease of Access Center window, with the Optimize for Blindness option circled.
The Ease of Access Center window, with the Optimize for Blindness option circled.

5. Go to the Use the Computer Without a Display Option

Described as Optimize for Blindness.

Then, the Use the Computer Without a Display window results, as follows.

Screenshot of the -Use Computer Without a Display- window, with the, "Set Up Text To Speech," option highlighted.
The -Use Computer Without a Display- window, with the, “Set Up Text To Speech,” option highlighted.

6. Go to the Setup Text To Speech Option to Continue with Setting Windows 10 Voice

Find the Setup Text To Speech item circled in pink in the last picture.

The Speech Properties window then appears as shown next.  Note that we’ve circled the Voice Selection area in pink.

Screenshot of the -Speech Properties- dialog, with the -Voice Selection- option highlighted.
The -Speech Properties- dialog box with the -Voice Selection- option highlighted.

7. Pick the Default System Voice   

Choose the default system voice from the Voice Selection pull-down menu, circled in the last picture.   There are two voices listed in our demo here (David, and Zira).  We picked the Zira voice, as shown next.

Screenshot of the -Speech Properties- window, with the -Zira- voice selected.
The -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.





8. 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.

9. Close the Speech Properties Window to Continue with Setting Windows 10 Voice

Press the Okay button to do that.

10. Close the Ease of Access Center Window

11. Done with Setting Windows 10 Voice !

Finally, Enjoy “text-to-speeching” on your Windows 10 computer.

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References for Setting Windows 10 Voice

  1. Setting Speech Options in Windows    from Microsoft.  Note that this URL currently describes how to do this in Windows 7.  There are some differences in Windows 10, and the procedure given above accounts for these.

Revision History

  • 2019-05-28: Added key phrase targeting for ‘Setting Windows 10 Voice’, deleted ad code, and added more links and tags.
  • 2015-11-10: Added more appropriate tags.
  • 2015-10-01: Added appropriate tags.
  • 2015-08-21: Originally published.
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