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How to use Immersive Reader in OneNote

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Immersive Reader is an amazing tool which uses proven techniques to help users read and comprehend texts regardless of age or reading ability. If you have not yet discovered Immersive Reader in OneNote then you are simply missing out.

This feature speaks to me on a personal level. My daughter has had reading difficulties since she started school, this year will be her final year of primary school and I taught her how to use Immersive Reader at the end of 2018. Not only does it help her to read passages which may seem too daunting for her, but it helps her to break words down into syllables, nouns and verbs and gain some clarity on words she does not understand.

Immersive Reader is now available through several different applications including:

  • OneNote Online and Desktop app (more information)
  • Word Online and Desktop app
  • Outlook Online and Desktop app
  • Office Lens
  • Microsoft Edge browser
  • Microsoft Teams

Launch OneNote for Windows 10

In this exercise, I am going to use the OneNote for Windows 10 desktop app. This is available through the Microsoft Store (for free).

Check if you already have OneNote for Windows 10

To see if you already have OneNote for Windows 10, follow these steps:

  1. Click Start and scroll to the O section to see if OneNote is listed
  2. Click to launch OneNote for Windows 10
Select OneNote for Windows 10
  1. The OneNote for Windows 10 app will now be displayed

Download OneNote for Windows 10

If you do not see OneNote for Windows 10 installed then let’s install it now:

  1. Click Start and scroll to the M section, select Microsoft Store
  2. Click the Search button from the top menu bar and search for OneNote
  3. Scroll to the Apps section of the store where you should see OneNote for Windows 10
  4. Click the app to select and then click the Install button
  5. Once the installation is complete you will see a Launch button

Add a text passage to OneNote

  1. Now that OneNote is open, we can add a paragraph into your notebook
  2. Click Add section from the section pane
Add a new section to your notebook
  1. Give the new section a name and then press Enter
  2. You will see an untitled page already in your new section
  3. Place your cursor at the top of the new page, above the date and time and add a title to the page
Enter a page name
  1. Now highlight and copy the following text paragraph. You can highlight and then right mouse click and choose Copy, or highlight and press Ctrl + C on the keyboard

The Murray is the lifeblood of Australia’s farming country, a legendary river that once thundered 1,500 miles from the Snowy Mountains to the Southern Ocean. Now, it’s choking to death in the worst drought for a thousand years, sparking water rationing and suicides on devastated farms. But is this a localised national emergency, or a warning that the Earth is running out of water?
Australian farmers pride themselves on their resilience. They take pleasure in living in a sun-burnt country of droughts and violent rain storms. Conservative and deeply sceptical, many dismiss global warming as hogwash. But with unprecedented water scarcity and the Murray , the country’s greatest river system, on the verge of collapse, warning bells are ringing around the globe.
Financially, the drought is affecting places as far away as the UK , pushing up the cost of bread in British supermarkets as wheat prices reach a 10-year high. Scientists are looking on nervously, wondering if what is happening in Sydney could be the future for other towns and cities around the world.

  1. Return to your page in OneNote, place your cursor anywhere on the page and paste the text using Ctrl + V
The text is now pasted into your page

Launch Immersive Reader

Now we have our text, we will launch the Immersive Reader feature to read this to us.

  1. From the menu bar, select the View tab
  2. Click Immersive Reader from the options
Click the Immersive Reader button
  1. The Immersive Reader will now be launched in full screen
Immersive Reader will be displayed
  1. To listen to the narration, simply click the Play button at the bottom of the screen
  2. You can pause and play the narration as often as you like

Change text preferences

Text preference options allow you to adjust the text size, spacing, font and theme being used by Immersive Reader.

  1. With Immersive Reader active, click the Text Preferences button in the top right corner
Click the Text Preferences button
  1. Adjust these settings as needed

Grammar Options

The grammar options allow you to highlight additional information relating to the text passage including syllables, nouns, verbs, adjectives and adverbs.

  1. With Immersive Reader active, click the Grammar Options button in the top right corner
Click the Grammar Options button
  1. Adjust these settings as needed

Reading Preferences

The reading preferences allow you to enable features such as line focus, picture dictionary and translation tools.

  1. With Immersive Reader active, click the Reading Preferences button in the top right corner
Edit reading preferences
  1. Adjust these settings as needed

Voice settings

Finally you have the option to adjust the voice used for narration. You can speed up or slow down the voice depending on preference. You can also choose between a male and female voice.

  1. With Immersive Reader active, click the Voice Settings button at the bottom adjacent to the Play button
Click the Voice Setting button
  1. Adjust these settings as needed

This should provide you with a great overview of the Immersive Reader features in OneNote. This has been an amazing tool for my own daughter but can also benefit those without reading difficulties. Comment below and let me know how you are utilising Immersive Reader.


4 Responses

  1. Hi,
    I am new to using this application and I already love it.
    I just wanted to know, since I use it for notes about programming. Is there a way I can select a paragraph and mark it so It skips it when it reads my page?

    It’s not really that important but I’d like to know.

  2. Hi,
    I’ve recently tried the OneNote Immersive reader and, while the voice is very good, mine tends to skip the first word of new sentences. Frequently.

    Is there anything I can do to prevent this? The words are not complicated and it will read the same words if they are in the middle of a sentence without any problems.

    Any help would be appreciated, thanks.

    1. Hi Edwin,

      Which version of OneNote are you using? Does it happen if you use Immersive Reader via OneNote online? If you are using OneNote for Windows 10 I recommend you run a Repair (Click Start button, go to Settings. Select Apps then scroll and choose OneNote for Windows 10 then click Advanced Options and choose Repair.)

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