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Home / Tips and Tricks / How to have your emails read aloud in Outlook on iPhone, iPad and Android

How to have your emails read aloud in Outlook on iPhone, iPad and Android

Microsoft Outlook logo

Sit back, rest your eyes and listen to your emails instead of reading them. With Play My Emails in Microsoft Outlook on iPhone, iPad, and Android, Cortana loves to read your messages aloud.

You can use the Play My Emails feature for multiple accounts, customize the emails you hear, reply to a message, and more. So if Outlook is your favorite email app on iPhone, iPad, or Android, you̵

7;ll appreciate its flexibility and options. Let’s run through it all so that after a long, hectic day, you can stop reading your emails and listen to them instead.

Note: At the time of writing, not all customization settings described below may be available on Android. Additional features are still being rolled out and may change over time.

Enable ‘Play my emails’ in Microsoft Outlook

Open the Outlook app on your iPhone, iPad, or Android device and tap your profile icon in the top left corner. Tap the gear icon at the bottom of the menu to open Settings.

Tap Profile, Settings in Outlook

In the Mail section of the Settings menu, select ‘Play my emails’.

Tap Play my emails in Settings

At the top, under Mail Accounts, choose an email account. Then turn on Play my emails.

Enable Play my emails

You can use the feature for multiple Outlook accounts if you want.

Under Play emails from, select the messages you want to listen to. You can choose Focused Inbox, Favorite People, or Favorite Folders.

Play emails from

Under What to play, choose whether you want to hear only unread emails or all emails from the last 72 hours.

What to play?

Tap the arrow in the top left corner to go back to the Play My Emails settings. You can then customize additional options for the feature.

Customize Play my emails

If you connect your smartphone to your vehicle, you can enable “Autoplay” from the same settings menu. Then choose the action for the Previous and Next options. You can automatically play the previous and next emails or call up Cortana.

Enable and customize autoplay

Note: At the time of writing, not all of these settings are available for Android.

Then you can have the played emails appear in your inbox as Read or Unread. This is useful if, for example, you want to physically read the messages later. You can choose the Unread setting here so you don’t miss an email.

Mark played emails as

Do you have a preference for how Cortana sounds? Tap “Cortana’s Voice” to choose a male or female voice.

Select a voice for Cortana

Finally, you can set daily reminders to listen to your emails. This is useful if you want to use Play My Emails before going to bed every night. Turn on Daily Reminders, then select the time of day. You can also customize the days of the week for the notification. Tap each day’s initial to highlight it.

Play reminders for my email

If you have Do Not Disturb or Auto Replies enabled on your device, you will not receive the reminder.

When you’re done customizing the Play My Emails options, tap the back arrow in the top left corner to go back, then select the “X” button to close the menu and return to your inbox .

Use Play my emails in Outlook

When you’re ready to use Play My Emails in Microsoft Outlook, tap your profile icon in the top left corner. In the menu, you’ll see a “Play” button, so go ahead and tap it.

Tap Play to hear emails

Outlook goes into Play My Email mode while Cortana checks for new emails. You’ll see how many emails you have and how long it takes Cortana to read them all.

Play home screens for my emails

As you hear each email read aloud, you see the sender and subject line on the screen. You can take several actions with each message:

  • Tap pause at any time to temporarily stop playback, then tap play to resume.
  • Select the flag icon to mark the email or the box icon to archive it.
  • Swipe from right to left to go to the next message.
  • Tap the microphone icon to give Cortana an audio command. You can say things like ‘Skip’, ‘Delete’, ‘Archive’, ‘Mark as read’ and similar actions.

Play My Emails actions

When Cortana finishes reading your emails, you’ll see and hear that you’re up to date. You can then tap the “X” icon in the top left corner to return to your inbox.

Done playing emails

Whether your eyes aren’t open enough in the morning or you’re just too tired at the end of the day, try listening to your emails instead of reading them with Play My Emails in Outlook. And for more convenience for your eyes, you can also enable dark mode in Outlook on iPhone, iPad and Android.

RELATED: How to enable dark mode in Outlook for Android, iPhone and iPad

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