Using the Immersive Reader in Teams and OWA

Improve the Readability of Teams Messages

From time to time, I check the settings in Teams policies to see if anything new has turned up or to pick up on something that I previously missed. Recently, I noticed the Immersive reader setting in the Teams Messaging policy (in PowerShell, it’s the AllowImmersiveReader property set with the Set-CsTeamsMessagingPolicy cmdlet). The description in the documentation says:

Allow immersive reader for viewing messages Turn this setting on to let users view messages in Microsoft Immersive Reader. Immersive Reader is a learning tool that provides a full screen reading experience to increase readability of text.

The Microsoft Immersive Reader is a free tool built into many Office programs to make it easier for people to read text. As you’d expect, the implementation differs across the apps. For instance, in Outlook desktop, the Read Aloud button reads the text of the message in the preview pane or when a message is opened. By comparison, the implementation in Teams and OWA is more “immersive” because the message opens in a full-screen window and the text is enlarged.

Using the Immersive Reader in Teams

You can read messages in personal or group chats or channel conversations with the Immersive Reader. Click the […] menu and select Immersive Reader (Figure 1).

The option to open a message in the Immersive Reader
Figure 1: The option to open a message in the Immersive Reader

Teams opens the message in full-screen mode. You can scroll through the text or have it read to you, with options to select a Male or Female voice and different speeds (Figure 2). I have not tried the reader in languages other than English, and the English reader doesn’t do so well if it meets non-English text. Perhaps people who use Teams in other languages can check and report back on their experience.

Reading a Teams message with the Immersive Reader
Figure 2: Reading a Teams message with the Immersive Reader

Using the Immersive Reader in OWA

OWA takes much the same kind of approach as used in Teams. Select a message, lick the […] menu, and choose Show in immersive reader (Figure 3). The same kind of controls and display seen in Teams are available when you open email with the immersive reader.

Selecting the immersive reader option in OWA
Figure 3: Selecting the immersive reader option in OWA

Most tenant administrators probably haven’t given much thought to message readability because there are many other things to worry about when managing Teams or Exchange Online. However, it’s nice to see technology like this available in the Office apps. A small but pleasant way to make Teams and email more accessible to all.

Although we don’t cover the Microsoft Immersive Reader in any depth in the Office 365 for IT Pros eBook, there’s lots more to discuss about Teams, Exchange Online, OWA, and other bits of Office 365. About 1,200 pages and counting…

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