Most of the time we spent using our computers is dedicated to reading digital text content, in the form of documents, online newspapers, ebooks and much more. We may need to go through a lot of content and reading can be time consuming and doesn’t exactly facilitate multitasking. This is why many people look for text to speech (also known as TTS) applications. TTS solutions allow you to go through a lot of textual content in an easy and fast way. It reads the content out loud so that you can listen to it and work in something else in the meantime. It can be also useful when it comes to learning a new language and many other situations. In this article, we present a list of the best TTS applications available.
TextAloud has been available for over a decade and this TTS software for Windows allows you to convert text from documents, webpages, PDF files and more, into speech that sounds natural. It is possible to listen to the audio on your computer or you can create audio files that can be accesses on mobile devices. TextAloud comes with functions that allow it to work as a textual content aggregator. It enables you to read a single textual piece, or gather a number of texts together to create a reading playlist with documents, articles, books and other content that interests you. TextAloud can get copied textual content from clipboard and it features multiple format support. It also gives you the chance to save text as audio. It features a collection of natural sounding voices and you can get additional ones on the internet.
Although it is not as feature-rich as other options available, Verbose works really well and it offers high quality. Its user-friendly interface makes things very simple, even for beginners. Verbose supports a wide selection of formats inclduing RTF, TXT, HTML and DOCX. It is capable of reading aloud text from pretty much any source, even from email applications or websites. You can adjust the voice pitch and the speed, although the customization options are fairly limited. If you are fine with a basic TTS solution, Verbose would be a good choice since it is very easy to use and it supports core features. However, it is not the most convenient solution if you need advanced features and it is also worth keeping in mind that when you opt for the unregistered mode, you will need to put up with a voice prompt that is constantly reminding you to purchase the software.
NaturalReader works with a wide variety of textual file types and it can read textual content out loud to make your tasks even more simple. NaturalReader is also capable of reading the text on webpages. You only need to enter the source webpage URL and NaturalReader can take care of the rest for you. The most remarkable aspect about NaturalReader is that it can read aloud text from images, as well as scanned documents, due to its OCR functionality. It includes many natural sounding voices and it is possible to buy additional voices in a different languages including Japanese and Italian. There are many other features that are worth mentioning such as voice speed and pitch control, as well as the ability to convert multiple documents to MP3 files at the same time.
If you need to read a lot of textual content on your computer, Balabolka is one of the best options to consider. It stands out from the competition thanks to the fact that it can read aloud from a large number of file types with EPUB, RTF, DOCX, DJVU and more. It is possible to adjust standard voice parameters such as pitch, speech and volume in real-time. Balabolka is capable of reading aloud the text copied to clipboard and most of all, it features a varied set of tools that will allow you to complete several tasks including extracting text from audio files, batch converting files and more. It supports several languages including Finnish, Greek, Spanish and Romanian. Another aspects worth mentioning is that Balabolka is also available as a portable application so installation is not required.
eSpeak is a lightweight application that offers seamless performance. While it doesn’t have as many features as other applications, it gets the job done. It can read aloud text but the file formats supported are only TXT and XML. eSpeak comes with a variety of voices and it is possible to change the pitch and volume. Furthermore, it comes with all the basic voice control and reading options including pause, skip and reset. There is a wide variety of languages supported including Swedish, Cantonese, Norwegian and Estonian. Another feature worth noting is that eSpeak can also work as a command line tool.
Swift Talker is a basic text editor that will remind you of Notepad and it lets you read out loud documents that have just been created, as well as files that have just been created. The application can be used to read specific blocks of text or a full document. It supports general options including play/pause, as well as some basic tweaking. In addition, you can add unique sound effects to the voices. Swift Talker also lets you save text as audio and it offers some customization options. The languages supported include French, Italian, English and German. Although the input format support is limited, Swift Talker is a good TTS solution that works on multiple platforms.