The bad news is, it is not entirely true. Well the good news is, the most of it, is. You can make Adobe Reader, Firefox, Internet Explorer or any day to day tool that handles texts in any form (ebooks, webpages) can be made to read out selected texts within them.
Natural Reader provides a free tool to serve the purpose we are talking here. Download the free version of the tool. Once the installation is complete start the tool. The main application window offers an easy interface to read texts from within it. You can either type in the text or copy paste from any other sources. Refer the screenshot below to get a clear idea about the control buttons.
Floating Bar To Convert Text To Speech Within Any Tool
Use the “Floating Bar” button at the bottom right corner of the main window and switch to the mini or floating bar mode. The main utility of this mode is that you can use this free text-to-speech application from within any text handling tool. For the sake of this post, we will be demonstrating with Firefox.
Open any webpage in Firefox and select any portion from the text on the webpage that you wish to read. Using the play button in the floating bar, you can start playing the text with the selected voice.
The free version of the tool uses the default Windows voice “Microsoft Anna-English”. As we all know the voice does not provide realistic pronunciation. You can buy voices from the Natural Readers website for better voices. There are many other options like recording voices to MP3 and WAV formats for hearing them later at your convenience. Natural Reader is available for Mac and most odf the Windows platforms. The online version of the text-to-speech app can be used if you are willing to try the paid voices before buying them. The online reader can be accessed from here. Use the “Settings” button from the top menu bar to play around the tool’s other parameters like narration speed, hotkeys, default voices and many more.
As a whole, I really liked the free version with the option to read out texts from within browser windows as well as PDF readers. I have a huge ebook collection that I really prefer to read at my leisure. Now that I have came across Natural Reader, I do not have to stare at the screen all the time to complete the story books I love. I can enjoy a nice story-telling session like the good old childhood days.