How to Use Text to Speech Tools

Reading is great, but sometimes you want or need to listen. Let your computer or phone do the reading for you.

RAYMOND OGLESBY @RaymondOglesby2
June 23, 2022

Reading is great, but sometimes you want or need to listen. Let your computer or phone do the reading for you. Let’s explore some tools to do this.

This is for the mobile or desktop

Dilbert and White
Copyright Scott Adams, Inc./Distributed by Universal Uclick for UFS

Some people struggle with reading text on a screen, or physically can not. Others might want their computer to read something to them aloud while they do something else. There are plenty of reasons to use a text-to-speech tool, also called a “screen reader”.

Although there are standalone text-to-speech apps, you probably do not need them. That’s because every operating system, and several well-known pieces of software, offer a text-to-speech feature, and they are all quite good.

Spoken Content for iPhone

The iPhone’s text-to-speech feature is very easy to use. First, to turn it on, head to:

Settings > Accessibiltu > Spoken Content

and enable Speak Selection and Speak Screen. Once enabled, any text you highlight in any application will have a Speak option, which you tap to activate. We have highlighted some text from the Notes app to be read to us. Refer to the below image:

Spoken Content for iPhone

Read Aloud for Browsers

Read Aloud is an extension for Chrome, Firefox, and Edge that can read whatever website you currently have open. First, you will need to download the extension. After downloading, in Chrome, right-click on some highlighted text and choose the Read aloud selected text option. See the below image:

Text to Speech 3
Read Aloud for browsers

Immersive Reader for Office and Edge

Microsoft Office applications have a built-in text-to-speech feature but it’s a little hard to find. First, in any document, click the Immersive Reader tab. If you do not see it, search for it, and from then on it should appear in your interface permanently. Highlight some text, then right-click and select Read Aloud to hear your document read back to you with the corresponding word highlighted as it goes. Immersive Reader is perfect for copy editing and reviewing long documents. See the following image:

Text to Speech 3
Immersive Reader for Office

Microsoft Edge has this feature, too. Highlight some text, then right-click and select Real aloud selection. Refer to the below image:

Text to Speech 4
Immersive Reader for Edge

Natural Reader

First, download the mobile version (ours is for the iPhone). Then head to (note the plural in the URL)

and paste some text, highlighting it to hear it read on a mobile device. See the below image:

Text to Speech 5
Natural Reader on mobile

You can also drag documents into your browser window if you prefer. Natural Reader has a variety of voices, and you can control the speed of reading. Just click the Gear icon on the upper right-hand corner for options. See the following image:

Text to Speech 6
Natural Reader options

You can upgrade for features like a Chrome extension, OCR for scanned documents, higher quality voices, and the ability to create MP3 files; these features cost $9.99 a month. The paid version also supports uploading documents, including Microsoft Word, Apple’s Pages, and even image files with text on them. The free version is perfect for quick listening. Refer to the below image for an example of listening to a webpage:

Text to Speech 7
Natural Reader for web pages

Quote For the Day

Technology is so much fun but we can drown in our technology. The fog of information can drive out knowledge.

Daniel J Boorstin

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