Make Excel Stop Talking


Q. Thanks for your tip on teaching Excel to speak the numbers in a spreadsheet ( JofA , Dec.03, page 91). It really was keen. However, how do you turn the darn thing off? I keep clicking on the off button, as you advised, but I can’t get Excel to shut up!

A. My apologies. I should have warned you. Excel’s on-screen instructions are incomplete when it comes to describing how to turn off its speech engine, and I failed to provide an alert about that.

Here’s how to get Excel to stop its chatter: First evoke the Speech toolbar by clicking on Tools , Speech and then on Show Text To Speech Toolbar …bringing up this toolbar.

Now, here is where Excel provides incomplete clues about turning it off. If you click on the far right icon ( Speak On Enter ), you’ll see it acts like a toggle switch. Each click on the icon toggles the speaking function on or off. But the only alert you get that it’s on or off is Excel’s spoken message; so listen carefully. The text doesn’t change: The text continues to read Speak On Enter .

I also should note that the speech function is available only on Excel 2002 and later versions.



Year-end tax planning and what’s new for 2016

Practitioners need to consider several tax planning opportunities to review with their clients before the end of the year. This report offers strategies for individuals and businesses, as well as recent federal tax law changes affecting this year’s tax returns.


News quiz: Retirement planning, tax practice, and fraud risk

Recent reports focused on a survey that gauges the worries about retirement among CPA financial planners’ clients, a suit that affects tax practitioners, and a guide that offers advice on fraud risk. See how much you know with this short quiz.


Bolster your data defenses

As you weather the dog days of summer, it’s a good time to make sure your cybersecurity structure can stand up to the heat of external and internal threats. Here are six steps to help shore up your systems.