The Key Speaker


The Key Speaker program will speak the text shown on the prediction keys in the Windows 7 On-Screen Keyboard.


The Windows 7 On-Screen Keyboard

Installing the Key Speaker on your computer

To install the Key Speaker, click Install Key Speaker. After clicking on this link, press the "Run" buttons on the first window that appears, and then click the "Next" buttons to continue the installation. Once you've clicked "Close" on the last window to appear, the installation is finished. 


You can then run the Key Speaker program from the desktop shortcut that looks like this:


Key Speaker desktop icon


Once you've finished with the Key Speaker program you can remove it from your computer by going to the Control Panel's Add or Remove Programs, and removing "Key Speaker".


Using the Key Speaker

When you run the Key Speaker program, you will be asked to confirm that you want to start the program. This extra confirmation step appears because the program wants to interact with the On-Screen Keyboard, and that's not a common thing to want to do. The confirmation requires you to be an Administrator at the computer. If you are an Administrator, you can click the Yes button on the "User Account Control" window that appears.


Once you've confirmed that you want the program to run, the following window appears:


Key Speaker window



If you then run the Windows On-Screen Keyboard (OSK) and move the mouse cursor over the predictions keys shown on the keyboard, the text shown on those keys will be spoken. For example, say you use the OSK to type "th" into WordPad. The OSK will show some predictions. If you move the mouse cursor over one of those predictions, the text will be spoken. In the example below, the text "thousand" will be spoken.


On-Screen Keyboard showing predictions



If you want the text for any key shown on the On-Screen Keyboard to be spoken, click the "Read all the keys in the On-Screen Keyboard" checkbox.


If you click the "Read the name of buttons shown in all programs" checkbox, the Key Speaker program will attempt to read the name of anything beneath the mouse cursor. For example, you will hear "italic" if you hover the mouse cursor over the Italic button in WordPad, as shown below. Not all programs expose useful names for the things they show, which means that sometimes the Key Speaker won't be able to say something useful, or even say anything at all.


The Word Pad italic button



The voice used by the Key Speaker program is the default voice on the computer. If you have more than one voice available on your computer, you can change which voice gets used by going to the Control Panel's Text to Speech settings.


Control Panel voice settings