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Alameda County, CA,

How to Use the ReadSpeaker Listen Function

What is ReadSpeaker

Pages on this site are equipped with ReadSpeaker, a feature that allows the text on this website to be read out loud to you. It provides assistance if you have trouble reading text online. By having the text read out loud to you, you can understand the information on the website more easily. As a user you donít have to download anything.

How does it work?

Listen to the main content

The Listen button is located at the top of the content area on the page. You simply click the Listen button to listen to the webpage's content. You can also use your keyboard to activate and control the ReadSpeaker Listen feature. For more information, go to the Keyboard Controls section of this page.

A control panel will appear (see image below) and ReadSpeaker automatically starts reading the text of the webpage out loud.

Image of expanded ReadSpeaker button

In the control panel you can:

  • Pause/restart the reading
  • Stop the reading
  • Use the progress bar to navigate in the audio
  • Adjust the volume
  • Click the settings icon to adjust the behavior of the service
  • Click the download icon to download the audio file
  • Close the control panel

Listen to selected text

You can select a part of the text that you want to listen to and then press the pop-up Listen button sample of pop-up ReadSpeaker buttonthat appears next to the mouse pointer. When you click the pop-up Listen button, a control panel will appear and ReadSpeaker will automatically start reading the text you have selected.


In the settings menu you can:

  • Choose whether you want to have the text highlighted while read
  • Choose style and colors for the highlighting
  • Choose whether you want the reading speed to be slow, medium, or fast
  • Choose whether you want the page to scroll automatically to follow the highlighted text
  • Choose whether you want the pop-up Listen button to be shown when text is selected

Keyboard Controls

The Basics

To start the ReadSpeaker player using keyboard controls:

  • In Internet Explorer: While holding down the ALT key, press L, release both keys then press ENTER.
  • In Firefox: Hold down both SHIFT and Alt plus L.
  • In Chrome: Hold down both SHIFT and Alt plus L.
  • In Safari: Press the CTRL key together with L.
  • In Opera: Pressing SHIFT and ESC together lists all access keys available on the page. You then press the key. So to start ReadSpeaker on a site you press SHIFT ESC simultaneously, release them then press L.

You can pause the audio by pressing ENTER.

Once you have activated the Listen control panel use Tab (forward) and SHIFT + Tab (backward) to navigate to each of the panel functions. Press ENTER to activate the selected function. Control panel function are, in order of appearance:

  • Play / Pause (this is a toggle between states)
  • Stop
  • Progress bar / slider
  • Volume
  • Settings
  • Download
  • Close panel (this will also stop the audio)

The Progress Bar / Slider Function

You can use the progress bar / slider to move forward or backward through the audio. To do this, once you have tabbed to the slider and activated it by pressing ENTER, use the FORWARD and BACK ARROW keys to move the slider. (If you have paused the audio, you must back-tab twice and select ENTER to begin playing at the new audio location.

Volume Function

To adjust the volume, once you have tabbed to the function and selected ENTER to activate it, use the Up and DOWN ARROW keys to adjust to desired level.