This is actually pretty neat, and you can do so without any 3rd party tools. Thanks to the new Text to Speech feature in Office 2010, as well as the improved Speech Recognition feature in Windows 7.
Here is how:
1. Customize the Quick Access Bar to add Speak icon to your Outlook.
Click the little down arrow in the tiny toolbar right next to the Outlook icon at the top left corner of your Outlook Window, and go to More Commands…
2. Select All Commands from the Choose commands from dropdown list, scroll down the item list to locate Speak, and click Add button to add to the list. And click OK once the Speak icon shows up at the right panel list.
You will now see the Speak icon appears in the Quick access bar at the top of your Outlook Window.
To use, simply highlight the text, and click this little Speak icon. And the voice will come out of your speaker automatically.
A few notes though:
- It uses the Speech Recognition features in Windows 7 so you can change the settings in Control Panel to adjust the voice and speed.
- It works well in Vista and Windows 7 but not so well in XP because the version of Speech Recognition used in Vista and 7 is much better than the first version introduced in XP.
- It only works on Outlook 2007 and later.
- And it also works in Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote, version 2007 and later.