How to Use Google's Text-to-Speech Feature on Android

Use Google TTS to read out text messages and more

What to Know

  • On an Android phone, tap Settings (the Gear icon) and then tap Accessibility > Select to Speak.
  • Tap the Select to Speak toggle switch to turn on the feature. Select OK to confirm permissions.
  • Open any app, and then tap Select to Speak > Play to hear the phone read the text aloud. Tap Stop to end playback.

This article explains how to use the Google text-to-speech feature on Android so that you can have texts read out loud. It includes information on managing the language and voice used for reading text aloud. Instructions apply to Android 7 and up.

How to Use Google Text-to-Speech on Android

Several accessibility features are built into Android. If you want to hear text read aloud to you, use Select to Speak.

  1. Swipe down from the top of the phone, then tap the gear icon to open the Device Settings.

  2. Tap Accessibility in the Settings menu.

  3. Tap Select to Speak.

    How to open Accessibility features in Android settings

    If you don't see Select to Speak, tap Installed services to find it.

  4. Tap the Select to Speak toggle switch to turn it on.

  5. Tap OK to confirm the permissions your phone needs to turn on this feature.

    How to enable Select to Speak on Android
  6. Open any app on your phone and tap the Select to Speak icon in the lower-right corner of the screen. Depending on the version of Android, it's a person-shaped icon or a speech bubble.

  7. Tap the Play icon. The phone starts at the top of the screen and reads everything you see. If you only want some text read aloud, highlight the text, then tap the Select to Speak icon.

    Tap the Left Arrow beside the Play button to see more playback options.

  8. Tap Stop to end playback.

    Android Select to Speak playback options

For a screenless experience, set up and use Talkback, which also allows you to control your phone with your voice.

How to Manage Android Text-to-Speech Voices and Options

Android gives you some control over the language and voice used to read text aloud when you use Select to Speak. It's easy to change the language, accent, pitch, or speed of the synthesized text voice.

  1. Swipe down from the top of the screen, then tap the gear icon.

  2. Tap General management.

    The placement of features can vary in different versions of Android. If you don't find it here, use the search icon.

  3. Tap Language and input.

    How to access Language and input settings on Android
  4. Tap Text-to-speech.

  5. In the menu that appears, adjust the Speech rate and Pitch until it sounds the way you want.

  6. To change the language, tap Language, then choose the language you want to hear when text is read aloud.

    How to change Text to speech settings on Android

Use Select to Speak With Google Lens to Translate Written Words

You can use Select to Speak to read simple text, such as signs you find in the real world, which is great if you don't speak the local language. Open the Google Lens app and point at the text. Google Lens reads the text it sees aloud in the language you selected, acting as an on-the-fly translator.

  • How do I turn off Google text-to speech on Android?

    To turn off text-to-speech, go to Settings > Accessibility > Select to Speak and tap the toggle switch to turn it Off.

  • How do I use text-to-speech in Google Docs?

    The Android text-to-speech feature works in the Google Docs app, but on a computer, you must download the Screen Reader extension for Chrome. Then, go to Tools > Accessibility settings > Turn on Screen Reader Support > OK, highlight the text, and select Accessibility > Speak > Speak selection.

  • How do I convert speech-to-text in Google Docs?

    To use voice typing in Google Docs, place your cursor in the document where you want to begin typing, then select Tools > Voice Typing. Alternatively, you can also use a keyboard shortcut Ctrl+Shift+S or Command+Shift+S.

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