How to get my computer to talk to me
Below are some of the many different ways a user can get their computer to read text aloud to them or read text that is on their screen. This document has been broken up into different categories to help users looking for specific software programs or services.
Blind or vision impaired users looking for accessibility solutions
Below are some programs that can help users who are blind or vision impaired with browsing a graphical environment, such Microsoft Windows, the Internet, or other portions of the computer.
Microsoft Windows Narrator and Magnifier - Although these programs are not as sophisticated as some of the other solutions listed below, these are free software solutions that come with Microsoft Windows 2000, XP, and later that can help Microsoft Windows users navigate their computer. Both of these programs can be accessed by clicking Start, Programs, Accessories, Accessibility, and then clicking on either Magnifier or Narrator. Below is a brief description of each of these programs.
Magnifier - A great program that allows users who are vision impaired or find it difficult to read text on their screen to magnify portions of the screen, allowing them to read and navigate their computer easier.
Narrator - This program is intended more for the blind; it reads buttons, links, and portions of a window aloud to the user, allowing him or her to navigate. Unfortunately, this program is fairly limited; however, it can help some users with their navigation, but most need to find an alternative.
JAWS - One of the most sophisticated and highly recommended programs, JAWS is a screen reader capable of reading almost everything available on the screen. It is also capable of outputting the information to Braille. Unfortunately, because of all of its capabilities and complexities, this program is one of the most expensive solutions.
Dolphin - Another excellent and highly recommended program, Dolphin software Pocket Hal is a great program for the visually impaired and blind users that is capable of reading everything on the screen in almost every program. Dolphin also offers other solutions to help users receive an audio reading of their documents.
Users looking for programs to run on their computer to read text aloud
If you are looking for a program to install and run on your computer that can read text aloud, you should consider one of the below free programs.
Ultra Hal Text-to-Speech Reader - Another great, free Windows software program that allows users to copy text into a program and have the text read aloud by various different voices.
Users looking for speech synthesis on the Internet
Below is a small listing of available web pages that allow users to type and listen to speech synthesis over the Internet. Almost all of these pages only require a web browser and speakers (or headphones) to work.
AT&T Text-To-Speech (TTS) demo - One of the best freely accessible and sounding speech synthesis programs online that will convert typed text into an audio format that can be played all online without the need of having to download any software.
Perform a search for additional online text to speech programs.
- See the speech synthesis definition for further information and related links.