There’s a little known tool in Excel that will convert your text into speech and read your worksheet to you. It’s called Excel Speak Cells and not many people know about it because you won’t find it in any of the tabs on the Ribbon.
It sounds like a gimmick, but it’s not just for fun like the card I created below, it’s actually a genuine feature in Excel and it has some useful ‘business’ applications and some fun ones (read to the end for an idea on how you can have some fun with your colleagues, or at their expense, while it's quiet over the holiday season)!
How to Turn On Excel Speak Cells
Because you won't find the Speak Cells tools anywhere in the Ribbon, to turn them on you need to add the icons to your Quick Access Toolbar.
1) Right-click on the Quick Access Toolbar and select Customise Quick Access Toolbar
2) Choose from All Commands
3) Select the 5 Speak Cells icons and add them to your Quick Access Toolbar
4) You’ll now see the Speak Cells icons in your Quick Access Toolbar
5) The Speak Cells icons in left to right order will:
a. Speak Cells - Dictate the information in the cells selected in your worksheet either by columns or rows
b. Stop Speaking Cells – will stop Excel speaking
c. Speak Cells on Enter – will dictate the cell after you press enter
d. Speak Cells by Columns – Will dictate the information one column at a time based on your selection
e. Speak Cells – Speak Cells by Rows – Will dictate the information one row at a time based on your selection
What is Excel Speak Cells Good For?
1) In the days before Excel's Speak Cells it used to take two of us to accurately troubleshoot a reconciliation error in one of our worksheets. One person would read the numbers and the other person would tick them off.
Now with Excel’s Speak Cells it’s a one person job.
Remember to use the Stop Speaking Cells button if you find an error.
2) Check your input as you type it with Speak on Enter.
3) Have Excel read your text back to you to check for typos that are hard to find. I often type ‘you’ instead of ‘your’, but it’s difficult to find when I proof read my own work.
4) Make a greeting card like mine above. Note: I used a macro to activate Speak Cells when the button is clicked.
5) Have a bit of fun when it’s quiet during the festive season. Turn on Speak on Enter on a colleagues PC while they’re out at lunch and then watch the confusion as Excel speaks everything they enter into their worksheet.
Now, please forward this on to your friends and colleagues who are working this holiday season and let them have some fun with it and spread the holiday cheer.
Then come back and share your funny story in the comments.