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Here's what I want:

  • Windows Narrator reads ONLY the text that I specifically tell it to read.
  • If I have not told it explicitly to read some text, it should stay silent.
  • Moreover, after I have told it to read some text, I can click elsewhere, type stuff, generally perform all other tasks, while it obediently continues reading out the text I told it to read.

Right now the problem is that wherever I click, Narrator starts yapping away. I can tell Narrator to read some specific text, but as soon as I try to do anything else, say click some other window, it stops reading what I told it to read, and instead reads what's in that window.

(It would be very surprising if there isn't any way to get the above simple request to work. But then again Microsoft never ceases to amaze.)

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I never found a way to do this in Windows 7 Narrator anyway. I'm not sure if Windows 8 improved on it... – Mufasa Oct 28 '12 at 16:22… this should help. – Sumeet Pujari Oct 29 '12 at 0:36
Drake, this question was never properly answered. I'm looking for the same thing. Did you ever find a solution to this? – BeanBagKing Nov 5 at 14:58
@BeanBagKing Hi, no never found how to do with narrator. Even with Windows 10 it didn't change the behavior described above – Drake Nov 5 at 17:14

2 Answers 2

  1. To open the Narrator press Windows logo key + Enter.
  2. Caps Lock+Ctrl+U to read the current page
  3. Caps Lock+Ctrl+I to read the current paragraph

For detailed list of commands see:

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Using those shortcuts on Firefox text paragraph Narrator says "Not on explorable text". – Drake Nov 5 '12 at 13:26
Firefox is an MSAA application and currently does not implement UI Automation (UIA). A project was started to add UIA support to Firefox, see this blog post for details. Also you can track the progress of UIA implementation on bugzilla – Paulius Uza Nov 5 '12 at 13:56
I've checked out the link you specified and can get Narrator to read everything except the "meat" of the application. So it can navigate menus and toolbars, but can't even get it read the text of a MS Word 2010 Document. Have you actually had success getting Narrator to read anything? – Joel B Feb 5 '13 at 17:09
This does not answer the question. – Kenny LJ Aug 28 at 3:50

It seems like narrator will sometimes read selected text just by selecting it with the mouse. If it doesn't, I try clicking somewhere inside the selected text, which sometimes works. If that doesn't work I try selecting the text again and clicking somewhere outside of the selection.

My current solution:

Within Narrator Settings >> Commands I changed the keyboard shortcuts for:

Read Next Paragraph CTRL+.

Read Previous Paragraph CTRL+,

This way I can select some text and hit these keystrokes to go back and forward between paragraphs.

I also have mapped the "Forward" and "Middle" buttons on my mouse to perform these keyboard combos so I can easily use only the mouse.

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