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How to Do Text-to-Speech on Google Docs? The Ultimate Step-by-Step Guide

Different users use Google Docs on different devices. While some may use it on their smartphones, some prefer using the desktop. However, one use case that is common among all users is to use text to speech on Google Docs. Since it is not a highly polished feature inside Google Docs, users find difficulty finding and using it. So, this guide will explain how to use the text-to-speech feature for your Google Docs for every device th at you use it on.

Part 1. How to Use Text-to-Speech on Google Docs on Desktop?

Since most people use Google Docs on their desktop computers, which are either Mac or Windows, we will start discussing how you can use this feature on the desktop version. For illustration purposes, we will use the Google Docs online web app, and here are the detailed steps you must follow for this method to work:

1. Enable screen reader for Google Docs

To enable your screen reader software to speak for Google Docs, you need to enable it first to do that, you will go to "Tools," and there you need to click "Accessibility Settings." Now you will see a pop-up window of Accessibility Settings where you need to checkmark the "Turn on screen reader support" option and finish by clicking "OK."

text to speech google docs accessibility settings

2. Use the accessibility option for doing text-to-speech

Now everything is set up, and you can click the "Accessibility" option from the top of your screen in Google Docs. Now click "Speak" and then choose "Speak Selection." These steps will start text-to-speech of the selected content in your Google Docs, so ensure that you select the text with your cursor before using this step. For an easier experience, you can use the "Ctrl + Alt + X" keyboard shortcut after selecting the text.

text to speech google docs speak selection

Part 2. How to Use Google Docs Text to Speech on Android?

The accessibility features on Android devices allow us to use the TTS feature on the Google Docs app, while there isn't any built-in option. You have to set up the accessibility option in the settings of your device, and then you can read aloud any Google Docs documents by selecting the text and navigating through different parts of the document. Here are the steps to use Google Docs TTS on Android:

1. Go to Accessibility Settings on your device.

To enable this feature, you need to open the settings of your device and head to the accessibility section. There, you will find the "Select to Speak" feature.

text to speech google docs select to speak

2. Turn on Select to Speak

Tap on "Select to Speak" and tap "OK." Doing so will enable the feature for you. Now, you can head to the Google Docs document and select the text that you want to read out loud. After you select the text, there will appear a text-to-speech icon on the lower-right of the screen or the selection will show a circle pop-up. You can use the available one, and your Android device will automatically start speaking the selected text.

text to speech google docs ok button

Part 3. How to Use Google Docs Text to Speech on iPhone?

iPhone offers great accessibility features, and since the Google Docs app does not come with a built-in TTS feature, we can use the accessibility options in an iPhone to read the content of Google Docs aloud with a much easier experience. By default, this feature is turned off, so ensure that you follow all the steps below correctly:

1. Enable Spoken Content settings on iPhone

To do Google Docs text-to-speech on your iPhone, you first need to enable the Spoken Content accessibility settings. So, open settings and search for "Speak Selection." Tap the first option from the search results and toggle the "Speak Selection" feature.

text to speech google docs speak selection

2. Select text in Google Docs and tap Speak.

Now, go to the Google Docs application on your iPhone and open the document of your choice. Tap and hold the text to select it, then set the starting and ending points according to your requirements. As you select some text, you will see a pop-up menu that has multiple options. Use the "Right Arrow" to navigate through different options and tap "Speak" once you see it. The selected text in the Google Docs application will be read aloud now.

text to speech google docs speak button

Part 4. Google Docs Text to Speech Not Working? Fixed!

If the text-to-speech feature is not working for Google Docs, then some possible issues with it can be easily fixed if you know the issue. Here, we have shared some common issues and their fixes that you might be facing.

1. Browser issues

If you are using Google Docs on a browser on your desktop computer, then there are chances that there is a browser issue. The browser you are using could be outdated or incompatible with Google Docs text-to-speech, or there is some extension that is causing the conflict. The best solution to this issue is to try it with a different browser to ensure where the issue lies.

2. Device audio settings

Have you done all the settings perfectly but are still unable to hear the text-to-speech voice? Chances are that you have a device audio settings issue. Sometimes, we unknowingly turn the audio off or mute it completely. The quick fix is to turn on the audio volume all the way up and play some other audio to ensure that the speakers are working fine.

3. Network problems

Google Docs works online, and a stable internet connection is vital for all of its features. So, if TTS is not working, it could be because of bad network connectivity. Reconnecting to the network or trying a different internet connection will solve the issue.

4. Accessibility settings issue

The TTS feature from Google Docs relies on Accessibility settings, and if you don't have set that up for your device, the feature will not work. So, ensure that your accessibility settings are set up to allow text-to-speech and aloud reading of the content.

Part 5. Bonus Tip: How to Do Text to Speech for PDF?

While TTS works on Google Docs for basic text documents, it is not possible to use it on PDF documents with Google Drive. Even if you do the conversion, you will lose formatting, so you need a smarter and better tool. The best choice in this case is UPDF, which provides you with the text-to-speech feature on your Mac and iOS devices. So, you can download it on your Mac for free and follow the steps below to use this feature.

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1. Open PDF in UPDF on Mac

Open UPDF software on your Mac and click the "Open File" option to locate and open the desired PDF document in it. When the PDF opens in reader mode in UPDF, it will be ready to be read aloud.

text to speech google docs open file updf

2. Select text and right-click to select the "Start Speaking" option.

Use the cursor and drag it over the text to select it. The selected text will be highlighted, and when you have selected all the desired text, you may tap on the trackpad with 2 fingers to open the options menu. This dropdown menu will contain a "Start Speaking" option. Once you click it, UPDF will start text-to-speech on the selected content in your PDF document, and it's that simple.

text to speech google docs start to speak updf

Other Advanced Features

UPDF not only helps you with text-to-speech but brings a lot of other features as well. Those features from UPDF include:

  1. Built-in UPDF AI chatbot helps in translating, explaining, and summarizing content in PDF
  2. UPDF OCR feature quickly converts scanned documents into editable text PDF documents
  3. UPDF Cloud stores manages, and syncs your PDF files across all your devices
  4. The TTS feature in UPDF supports working on scanned documents
  5. UPDF supports 2-way conversion for PDF documents
  6. With UPDF, you get complete editing control of your documents.

With these features and many others, all your requirements regarding working on PDF documents are easily met.

Video Tutorial on How to Read PDF Aloud on Mac

Final Words

Google Docs is one of the best platforms for working on text documents within a collaborative environment. However, it may not be very productive for everyone, considering the reading time and energy it takes. That's where text to speech on Google Docs can be a very helpful feature, but the problem is that most users don't know how to utilize it.

With the detailed guide for different devices shared above, we hope that now you can do text-to-speech on any Google Docs file regardless of the device you are using. The only type of file that is not supported here is PDF since you may lose PDF formatting if used in Google Docs for reading aloud. So, you may use UPDF by downloading it for free for performing text-to-speech on any PDF file.

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