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.

We will outline the three different choices you can make below:

  • 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: By selecting Never, the system will never read your text aloud. Even if someone uses the “/tts”-specific command, it will remain silent. This tool is a good way to promote privacy and stop spammers.

Don’t feel obligated to select any of these alternatives we’ve just outlined. You don’t have to employ the TTS function on Discord at all if you don’t want to. However, it is an essential step for a couple of other reasons. First off, it might be helpful to have the ability to listen not only to the messages you put in but also to the message stream in its entirety. Second, it’s good to remember that other people can always switch off all TTS capabilities for Discord. Many users will do this in case a user starts spamming TTS lines to be frustrating. So, if others have switched to the Never preference, they won’t be able to hear your messages out loud. 

Note about TTS voices

Discord doesn’t have a unique voice bot for the web app, so it will use the built-in text-to-speech bot supported by your browser. So, if you’re Discord via a web page, the TTS voice can change depending on whether you’re using Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and so on. You can personalize your voice depending on the features each browser offers. For example, Chrome allows you to change its voice bot and even buy new, unique voices via some extensions.

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