Reading an article or ebook on glaring screen of computer can be very stressful for your eyes. Instead if you use a free Text To Speech Software, it can read the text for your and you can simply listen to your favorite ebook or article.
There are multiple free TextToSpeech software and websites available which can read a given website link or a file for you, they can even convert it to MP3 file also for listening to it later.
While reviewing these software I noticed that almost all of the freeware readers use Clipboard for reading text. Once you copy the text in clipboard, Text-To-Speech software will detect it will start reading it automatically.
However it was rare to find advance features, such as option to read directly from a given file (specially PDF or Word File) or functionality to create a MP3 file as output after reading the content. But few of the them were really good with all these features.
This is listed here as first item, but I would like to clarify that Narrator is not a document reader.
Narrator is a screen reader tool provided by Microsoft which comes with the Windows Operation System and reads any window which is highlighted on screen. Its primary purpose is to help visually challenged people in reading screen.
Please spread the word about this nice tiny free tool, so the people who actually need it can take help from it.
Narrator can be found at – Start Menu > Accessories > Ease Of Use Menu.
Or click Start button and search for Narrator on Start Menu, it will give you this software.
Balabolka is a feature rich free TextToSpeech software. It can be installed or can be used as portable application.
Balabolka was most feature reach freeware as compared to all other Software applications reviewed here. It supports reading from Clipboard, but it can directly open and read HTML, LIT, MOBI, ODT, PRC, PDF, RTF, AZW, AZW3, CHM, DjVu, EPUB, FB2 and DOC.
I tested it by opening a PDF file and Balabolka was able to open it and read it without any hiccup. Balabolka allows you to save output in WAV, MP3, MP4, OGG or WMA format also.
Its TextToSpeech engine supports SAPI4 and SAPI5 and you can set pitch, Rate and Volume for the selected voice. By selecting SAPI5 voice and after playing with Voice Pitch and Voice Rate I was able to get a very decent voice quality.
Overall Balabolka is a good freeware which has got features comparable to any commercial TextToSpeech software.
NaturalReader is a modern looking TextToSpeech Software available for Windows OS as well as for Mac OS.
NaturalReader can read Word Files, PDF file and can directly access your cloud storage. However its free version is very limited in features and will not allow you to generate MP3 file for your text, this is supported only in paid version.
NaturalReader website also offers online TextToSpeech functionality so you can listen to any file even without installing this software.
This is a freeware, which can read Clipboard text. Deskbot comes with additional functionalist such as it will speak current time to you after a set interval. Interesting thing about this software is that it will show you a Genie on your screen who will speak to you whatever text is copied to clipboard.
Deskbot allows you to change voice which is used for reading, you can also set that after how much time it should Speak the current time to you.
A nice OpenSource freeware which has got minimal interface and comes as a portable application. ClipSpeak supports SAPI5 synthesizer and will read anything copied to Clipboard.
ClipSpeak is one application which has actually got no visual interface, after running it will show you only its icon in the Notification Area of computer’s Taskbar. It will start reading text as soon as you copy anything in Clipboard.
You can stop/start reading using right Control Key and enable disable ClipSpeak by pressing Right Shift+ Right Ctrl keys.
ClipSpeak comes with LAME MP3 encoder library so it can create save MP3 files from the given text for listening later. You can access option to ‘Save to MP3’ and ‘Select Voice’ by right clicking on the tray icon of ClipSpeak.
SoundGecko is a web based Text To Speech engine. It allows you to listen to your favorite web articles, RSS Feed, Email etc as well as you can upload PDF files for converting it into a MP3 file which can be played.
It has a free account which limits to 30 articles per day and for PDF it will read only first 100 pages. For full features you will need to buy their paid account.