Reading by columns and rows
Text to Speech is not just useful when entering new data in your spreadsheet. You can also use it to verify the accuracy of ranges that have already been entered into a worksheet. To have the program read back the entries in a cell range, follow these steps:
- Position the cell pointer in the first cell of the range whose values you want to verify with Text to Speech.
- If the Text to Speech toolbar is not displayed in Excel, choose Tools → Speech → Show Text to Speech Toolbar.
- Click the Speak Cells button (the first one) in the Text to Speech toolbar.
As soon as you click this button, Excel automatically selects all the cells it can identify as a single range in the region around the cell pointer. It then starts reading the entries out loud across the rows of the range as it moves down the columns.
- (Optional) To change Text to Speech's direction from across rows to up and down columns, click the By Columns button.
If you catch a mistake, click the Speak Cells button to temporarily halt the reading of the rest of the range and then move the cell pointer to the appropriate cell and edit its contents. To resume reading the remaining cells in the range, click the Speak Cells button again.
Don't use the arrow keys to move the cell pointer, or you'll collapse the cell selection, reducing it from the current range down to the current cell. Instead use Tab, Shift+Tab, Enter, or Shift+Enter to move the cell pointer and to complete the cell edit. (Refer to Table 12-1 for more on using Tab, Shift+Tab, Enter, or Shift+Enter to move the cell pointer.)
When Excel reaches the last cell in the selected range and reads its contents, Text to Speech automatically stops and takes the program out of Speak Cells mode. If you want to turn off Text to Speech before it reaches the last cell, click the Stop Speaking button.