Learning Tools in Word

Learning Tools are designed to help you improve your reading skills by boosting your ability to pronounce words correctly, to read quickly and accurately, and to understand what you read.

We know from research that reading requires the following abilities:

  • Decoding: The ability to pronounce words the right way.

  • Fluency: The ability to read quickly and accurately.

  • Comprehension: The ability to understand what you read.

Learning Tools in Word can help you develop and enhance your reading abilities.

Note: For more information about the research related to reading, see Learning Tools to improve reading and writing skills.

What's new for Learning Tools

New to Word is the ability to use Learning Tools features while you edit or write your document. Learning tools adds visual changes, so you can feel confident working on your document and know that it will print as normal and coauthors can still edit the document in the original view.

Available to subscribers in Version 1707 ( Build 8326.2058)

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Note: This feature is only available to Office 365 subscribers who have joined the Office Insider program. If you are an Office 365 subscriber, make sure you have the latest version of Office.

Learning Tools in Word 2016 provides the following tools to assist with reading fluency and comprehension. 

  • Read Aloud lets you hear your document and see each word highlighted simultaneously in your document.

    Note: Read Aloud doesn't support RTL languages. Read Aloud reads text in the default speech language of your operating system. For information about how to add additional text-to-speech voices, see How to download Text-To-Speech languages for Windows

  • The Syllables command shows the breaks between syllables of words in your content. This can help improve word recognition and pronunciation.

    Note: Syllabification is available for Basque, Brazilian, Bulgarian, Catalan, Croatian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, English, Estonian, Finnish, French, Galician, German, Greek, Hungarian, Icelandic, Italian, Kazakh, Latvian, Lithuanian, Norwegian (Bokmål), Norwegian (Nynorsk), Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Serbian, Slovak, Slovenian, Spanish, Swedish, Turkish, Ukrainian, Welsh languages. Text must be set correctly. For more details, see set language preferences. If the text is set to an unsupported language, it won’t be syllabified, even if the text should be supported. Example: If English text is copied into a Chinese document, the English text must be selected and set to English; otherwise, the text won’t be syllabified.

  • The Text Spacing command increases the spacing between words, characters, and lines. This can help you to scan text easily and also aids reading fluency.

    Note: Text spacing is available for all languages except those written with complex or connected scripts. For example, Arabic isn't supported.

  • The Column Width command can be used to change the width of the line length. This helps to reduce the adverse effects of visual crowding and allows improved focus and comprehension on words and characters in a text-rich document.

  • Page Color can be set to be Sepia (pale yellow page with print feel), Inverse (black background with white text) which makes the text easy to scan and consume, or left at None.

New to Word is the ability to use Learning Tools features while you edit or write your document. Learning tools adds visual changes, so you can feel confident working on your document and know that it will print as normal and coauthors can still edit the document in the original view.

  1. On the View tab, in the Immersive group, select Learning Tools.

    Learning Tools on View Tab

    Learning Tools

    This will switch to Word's Web Layout view with Learning Tools features automatically enabled. Text Spacing and the Narrow Column Width features are automatically applied the first time you visit this view.

  2. Do any one or all of the following, depending on how you want to focus on the content in your document:

    • Set the Page Color to be Sepia (pale yellow page with print feel), Inverse (black background with white text) which makes the text easy to scan and consume, or leave at None.

    • Select Column Width to change the width of the line length. In this view there are four options: Very Narrow, Narrow, Moderate, or Wide. Use the setting that works best for you.

    • Select Syllables to show the breaks between syllables of words in your content. While in this editing mode, you can type and make edits to your document and the syllable marks will appear in real time as you type or add content.

    • Select Read Aloud to hear your document read aloud and see each word highlighted simultaneously in your document. If you start typing while Read Aloud is on, the narrator will pause so that you can make edits, and you can then easily resume narration once you've made the desired changes.

Note: Read Aloud is also available in Word's Review tab, so you can use the narrator feature in any of Word's views; you do not need to be in the Learning Tools view to use this feature.

Read Aloud in Word allows you to hear your document out loud and see each word highlighted simultaneously in your document. Choose Review tab and select Read Aloud to start listening to your document.

You can use the following buttons that appear on the top right corner of your screen to control the reading.

LearningTools Settings
  • Choose the Play/Pause icon to start/stop the narration. Select the Next icon if you want the narrator to skip the current sentence and start reading from the next paragraph. Select the Previous icon if you want the narrator to skip the current sentence and start reading from the previous paragraph. You can change the reading speed and the voice using the Settings menu.

    The Close icon stops narration and exits the Read Aloud mode.

    The narrator starts reading from the position of your cursor in Word's editing views or the top of your page in Word's Read Mode by default, unless you have selected a word, in which case it will start reading from the selected word. You can also select a block of text before starting Read Aloud which will limit the narrator to only that selection.

    You can use the following keyboard shortcuts for Read Aloud:

    1. CTRL+ALT+SPACE:  Start/Exit Read Aloud

    2. CTRL+SPACE:  Pause Read Aloud

    3. ALT+RIGHT:  Increase reading speed

    4. ALT+LEFT: Decrease reading speed

    5. CTRL+RIGHT: Read previous paragraph

    6. CTRL+LEFT: Read next paragraph

    Click the Learning Tools tab, to see the below options:

  • Select Syllables to show the breaks between syllables of words in your content. This can help improve word recognition and pronunciation.

  • Select Text Spacing to increase the spacing between words, characters, and lines. This can help you to scan text easily and also aids reading fluency.

  • Choose Column Width to change the width of the line length. This helps to reduce the adverse effects of visual crowding and allows improved focus and comprehension on words and characters in a text-rich document.

  • Set the Page Color to be Sepia (pale yellow page with print feel), Inverse (black background with white text) which makes the text easy to scan and consume, or leave at None.

Learning Tools in Read Mode can be used only while reading a document.

  1. On the View tab, in the Views group, select Read Mode.

    Read Mode_C3_2017610132925

  2. Or, select Read Mode from the status bar.

    Read Mode Status Bar_C3_2017610132942

  3. From the View menu, do any one or all of the following, depending on how you want to focus on the content in your document:

    Learning Tools Read Mode View tab_C3_201761013307

  • Select Syllables to show the breaks between syllables of words in your content.

  • Select Text Spacing to increase the spacing between words, characters, and lines.

  • Select Read Aloud to hear your document read aloud and see each word highlighted simultaneously in your document.

Note: In Read Mode the Column Width and Page Color options are available only if you have selected Column Layout in Layout.

Related information

Learning Tools to improve reading and writing skills

Read documents in Word

What's new in accessibility for Word

Make your Word documents accessible

New Learning Tools Help Educators Create More Inclusive Classrooms

Tell us what you think about Learning Tools in Word 2016 and suggest improvements

Submit your suggestions at theSuggestion Box for Word for Windows (Desktop Application)

Use Learning Tools in your Word Online document

  1. On the View tab, in the Document Views group, select Immersive Reader.

    Immersive Reader

    Your document opens within Immersive Reader.

  2. You can do one or more of the following in Immersive Reader, depending on how you want to focus on the content in your document.

    • Select Play at the bottom of the window to hear your document read aloud and to see the text highlighted simultaneously. The narrator starts reading from the top of your page by default, unless you have selected a word, in which case it will start reading from the selected word. Select Pause to stop narration.

      Select Voice Options on the top right of the document to change the speed of narration.

      VoiceSettings
    • Text options   

      You can change the appearance of your document by using Text options. The choices you make in text options can help bring more attention to the content and remove visual distraction.

      Set Text Size, Spacing, Font, and Themes that suit your learning needs. You can increase or decrease text size and the amount of spacing between letters and words. The Theme color you select becomes the background color of the document.

      Text Options
    • Parts of Speech   

      Select one or more of the following options:

      • Syllables to break words into syllables.

      • Nouns to highlight nouns in your document in purple.

      • Verbs to highlight verbs in your document in red.

      • Adjectives to highlight adjectives in your document in teal.

        Parts Of Speech

  3. Click the Close icon to exit Immersive Reader.

Related information

Learning Tools to improve reading and writing skills

Read documents in Word

What's new in accessibility for Word

Make your Word documents accessible

New Learning Tools Help Educators Create More Inclusive Classrooms

Tell us what you think about Learning Tools in Word Online and suggest improvements

Send your suggestions to wacltcrew@microsoft.com

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