How to use text-to-speech on Discord

Those who already use Discord know what a useful and fun communication app it can be. Originally designed with gamers in mind, Discord now encourages communities and group chats to form around pretty much every type of fandom or subject — specializing in everything from humorous rants to training guides.

This kind of broad usability is great, but it also means that you can run into some communication issues sometimes — maybe a language barrier or an accessibility issue related to a disability. Or maybe, when things get boring, you just want to have a bit of fun with audio cues. And while Discord does have text and voice channels, not everyone knows you can give a text channel voice capabilities whenever you wish via the text-to-speech (TTS) feature. Here’s how to enable it and make sure it’s working!

Step 1: Head to Discord’s settings

Open up your Discord app. This guide focuses on the client for Mac or PC, but if you’re using an extension or web login instead, you should still be able to find all the same features, although things may look a little different.

Look at the bottom of your Discord window and you will see a gear icon next to the headset icon — this is your Settings tool. Select it to open up a side window on the left with all your Discord settings (and if you’ve never explored these settings before, we encourage you to take a closer look when you’re done here, as many are useful).

Step 2: Find the text-to-speech feature

The Settings menu is divided into several sections. Start by looking for the section that says App Settings. Under it, look for the option that says Text & Images and select it. This is a great section for controlling how your Discord chats look on a particular channel. You can enable or disable emoji reactions and animated emoji, for example. But for now we’re only interested in one feature: Scroll down until you find the section that says Text-To-Speech.

Step 3: Enable the TTS function

In the Text-To-Speech section you will see a feature that says Allow playback and usage of /tts command. Make sure that this toggle is enabled. You can now use text-to-speech whenever you want!

Fortunately, the TTS process on Discord is very easy. Just go to your channel and type “/tts” and then type your message. Hit enter and your message will appear in the channel without the tts tag. However, this command will also make a voice bot read your message aloud at the same time it is sent.

Step 4: Enable channel notifications as necessary

There’s still one more important thing to do. Look back at the Settings section that says App Settings. You should now find the option that says Notifications. Select it, and it will show you all the various alerts and notifications that Discord has sent you. These don’t have much to do with text-to-speech, but go down until you reach the section that says Text-To-Speech Notifications.

Here you will have three options that you can choose from:

  • For all channels: This makes all messages read out from text to voice across all Discord channels you are a part of. People don’t need to use the “/tts” command, either — any text message sent will be read out by the voice bot. This setting is primarily for accessibility, and while it may be very useful for those who can’t see, it’s a little too much for the average user.
  • For current selected channel: The channel that you are currently on will read all messages out in text-to-speech. This can be handy for accessibility, but you may also be interested in it if you are busy doing other things on your computer but still want to follow a channel conversation — this way, all new messages will be read out by the automated voice while you can focus on other things.
  • Never: Text will never be read out as speech, not even if someone uses the “/tts” command. Everything stays silent. It’s a good way to stop spammers.

You don’t have to choose any of the three options if you don’t want to. This isn’t strictly necessary to get TTS to work on Discord from your end, but it’s an important step for two reasons: First, you may want to hear all messages on your channel, not just the ones you type. Second, it’s good to remember that other people can always switch off all TTS capabilities for Discord. People do this whenever anyone starts spamming TTS lines in chat just to be annoying, so it’s no guarantee people will be able to hear you if others have switched to the Never preference.

Note about TTS voices

Discord doesn’t have its own voice bot when you’re using the web app. Instead it will use the built-in text-to-speech bot that the browser already has. That means if you’re using Discord over the internet, the voice will change from Chrome to Firefox to Safari, and so on. This also allows for some customization: Chrome, for example, allows you to change its voice bot and even purchase new voices via some extensions, so there are plenty of options.

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