Many people love reading a book or any learning material, but they also love to multitask. Plus, reading text through extended periods can be very exhausting.
Wouldn’t it be great if you could just listen to a book or any document while you’re working, driving, or just lounging around?
The best text-to-speech software definitely fills that purpose. During the past few years, the demand for text-to-speech software has skyrocketed. Such tools are a boon for folks with reading disabilities or for those who don’t want to devote all their time to reading texts. Plus, according to a study, reading information aloud makes it more likely for your brain to remember something.
Whether you’re reading a book for entertainment or for eLearning, the best text-to-speech software is an invaluable tool. So today, we have rounded up some of the best software for turning text into speech.
How We Chose Our Ratings
For this post, we have taken a look and tested dozens of text-to-speech applications and handpicked the ones that meet our criteria. Our selections were based on several key factors like interface, ease of use, performance, accuracy, price, and many others.
We pride ourselves in providing recommendations that are honest, accurate, and have integrity. We don’t promise that you will like all our recommended software, but you’re bound to find one that will fit your needs and personal preferences.
We have also considered the many feedback from actual users and tech reviewers.
Top 10 Best Text-to-Speech Software
If you can’t be bothered to research for the best text-to-speech software, perhaps you can consider some recommendations. Below are some of the top-rated text-to-speech programs that you can find online.
Let’s get to it!
Windows, Mac, iOS, Android
Notable Features: Text to speech, supports PDF, docx, and text documents, OCR with eBooks and printed documents, pronunciation editor, listen to web pages.
The first pick in our list is Natural Reader, a free text-to-speech tool which can be used in a variety of ways.
For the free version, you have access to the basic text-to-speech function and it supports PDF, docx, TXT and ePub formats. You may also change the speed and speaker, plus the floating bar tool that offers a way to read text directly from the page.
The main option for reading text to speech is to load the document in the app’s library which will then be read aloud from there. The other method is through the floating bar tool which will read any highlighted text. This is a great feature when you’re using web browsers, word processors, and other programs.
There are four pricing packages from Free ($0) to Ultimate ($199.50). The program is also available for both iOS and Android.
Notable Features: Skin support, multi-language, SAPI 4.x/5.x voices and the Microsoft Speech Platform text-to-speech engines, spell checking.
Balabolka means “chatterer” in Russian.
Although Balabolka doesn’t look much in terms of interface and the overall look of the software, it’s one of the best text-to-speech software for Windows – plus it’s also freeware.
Balabolka excels because of its excellent file format support which includes AZW, AZW3, CHM, DjVu, DOC, DOCX, EML, EPUB, FB2, HTML, LIT, MOBI, ODS, ODT, PDB, PRC, PDF, RTF, TCR, WPD, XLS, XLSX. To use the software, you can either copy-paste the text into the program or you can load the supported file. Regardless of which method you use, you may adjust the speech, pitch, and volume of the speech playback.
On top of reading words aloud, Balabolka also gives you the option to save the narrations as audio files (WAV, MP3, MP4, OGG or WMA file formats), so you can listen to them later.
The program supports multiple languages and you can download more content like language packs, voices, skins, and more.
Zabaware Text-to-Speech Reader
Notable Features: Add up to 11 high-quality AT&T Natural Voices, text can be saved as an audio file, speed reading.
The Zabaware Text-to-Speech Reader is yet another free program that’s worth checking out.
One of the key features of this application is its ability to read standard window dialogs like pop-up boxes and alerts. So in some way, it works like a virtual personal assistant but not really. The program can also read multiple types of data including documents, emails, websites, clipboard content, and more.
In the free version, you get the basic text-to-speech features, but it only comes with generic, robotic voices. You can purchase additional high-quality, natural-sounding voices but it will cost you around $25. Personally, I don’t mind the default free voice, but I can imagine that it can be rather annoying for some users.
Windows, Mac, Web, iOS
Notable Features: Offline and online reading support, high-quality text to speech in over 20 languages, OCR for digitizing PDFs and images, dynamically created vocabulary games.
The Capti app is mainly geared towards learning institutions, so you can expect that it’s a powerful text-to-speech tool.
The core function of Capti is as a content aggregator. You can add content to the app in the form of document files such as DOC, PDF, EPUB, and more. It can come from various sources like your iPhone or even cloud storage accounts like Dropbox, OneDrive, iCloud, Google Drive, and more. You may also use the web plugin version for reading and uploading content.
Once you have added a file, you may now play it like an audio file. You can control the speed of the playback and the program also provides track controls like Play/Pause, Next/Previous, etc. Adding content can be quite slow but I assume it’s because the program is parsing the document to produce a speakable file.
Windows, MS Word
Notable Features: Speaks entire document, paragraph or word, highlights the text as it goes, change the voice and the speed, convert text to speech (WAV or MP3).
If you frequently use Word and want a good text-to-speech tool, WordTalk might just be right down your alley.
Unlike the other programs featured in this article, WordTalk is not a standalone application but simply a toolbar add-on for Microsoft Word. It works with all versions of MS Word and can be accessed via a toolbar or ribbon, depending on the version you are using.
We have to say that the toolbar doesn’t look much, thanks to its juvenile design. Also, it’s not clear what the functions of the buttons are. Fortunately, it does come with a handy help file.
The tool supports both SAPI 4 and SAPI 5 voices which can be customized based on your preferences. You can also save narrations as an audio file which is a really nice touch.
Notable Features: Reads TXT files, RTF files, web pages, and Microsoft Word documents, creates audio files in WAV and MP3 formats, and supports batch file conversion, allows users to adjust voice speed and volume, reads the characters, words, phrases, or articles that you input in the window.
Panopreter Basic is a program that delivers text-to-speech functions with no fuss. The program supports plain and rich text files, MS Word documents, and web pages. You can then export the output as an audio file (WAV and MP3).
The default should work well for quick and basic tasks. However, we recommend that you spend some time exploring the settings of the program to find options such as being able to change the language, set custom interface colors, destination of saved audio files, and more.
If you need more features, you can go for the premium version of Panopreter ($29.95) which includes a toolbar for MS Word or Internet Explorer.
TextSpeech Pro Deluxe
Notable Features: U.S. English AT&T Natural Voices, convert text from any document into natural-sounding speech, read web pages and emails using integrated text-to-speech tools, export synthesized speech from documents to a variety of audio file formats.
TextSpeech Pro Deluxe is a text-to-speech program that packs a lot of power and great features.
As you can see, TextSpeech Pro is a paid program but don’t let that scare you. The features alone and the fact that it works is worth the price tag. TextSpeech Pro can convert most document files (text, Microsoft Word, PDF, Microsoft Excel, RTF, etc) into speech. The speech sounds rather natural unlike most programs that sound generic or robotic or both.
Emails and web pages are also supported with the integrated text-to-speech tools. You may also convert the speech into audio files (MP3, WAV), so you can listen to it while in the car or doing pretty much anything. Overall, TextSpeech Pro Deluxe is one of the best paid software out there.
Notable Features: Save text to MP3, automatic iTunes syncing, optional AT&T Natural Voices Mike & Crystal, multi-language, batch file converter, skin support.
TextAloud is a product of NextUp Technologies.
Although it’s technically paid software, you can download TextAloud for free and give it a try for a couple of days. The program utilizes voice synthesis to read aloud documents, web pages, email and more. The text can be converted to audio and save it as an MP3 or WAV file, so you can easily play it with devices like MP3 players and iPhones.
The TextAloud features a pretty intuitive interface which is a breeze to use. Plus, the app supports skins, so you can tweak the look based to your liking. You also have the option to adjust the volume, voice, and pitch of the speech.
TextAloud is available for $34.95 which uses the default Windows voices. If you want natural sounding voices, you can purchase the AT&T Natural Voices Mike & Crystal or Acapela Sharon and Ryan voice add-ons.
Voice Dream Reader
Notable Features: 186 voices, 30 languages, auto-scrolling and full-screen, works with Dropbox, iCloud, Google Drive, OneDrive, and Box, multi-document format support.
Voice Dream Reader is mainly geared towards mobile users, specifically iOS and Android users.
Voice Dream Reader (iTunes link, Google Play link) supports a wide range of file formats like PDF, plain text, MS Word, MS PowerPoint, RTF, and Google Docs. It can also read web pages by simply highlighting the text that you want to convert to speech. The text can also be converted to MP3, MP4 or zipped MP3 format which you can listen to later straight from your phone.
Purchasing the app will get you one premium Acapela voice of your choice. There are also additional 200+ premium voices in 30 languages available through in-app purchases.
Other features include bookmarking, annotations, full-text search, built-in dictionary, Safari extension for web pages, and many others. The only downside is that it can’t read DRM-protected ebooks, which is basically every ebook that’s available in iBooks and Kindle.
Overall, this is a top-notch text-to-speech app for mobile users.
Found Your Text-to-Speech Software Yet?
That wraps up our roundup of the best text-to-speech software for various platforms.
Many of these applications are available for free, so you don’t have to spend a single cent for your text-to-speech needs. However, if you’re someone who relies on or benefits from text-to-speech features, you should consider purchasing a premium or paid software.
So what do you think of our list of text-to-speech software? Did we leave out a favorite app of yours? Comment your favorite software down below.