- Text-to-speech (TTS) is software that reads digital text aloud using a synthetic (or digital) voice on a variety of devices.
- Text-to-speech software is useful for those with certain disabilities and for anyone who wishes to have text read aloud.
- Screen readers are robust engagement applications that use text-to-speech. They are built into standard devices and online information is available to learn how to use them.
- If you want to use all the features of text-to-speech across all facets of your computer you’ll need to take some time to practice!
Screen readers are text-to-speech software applications that speak digital content that appears on an electronic screen. These tools can be helpful for people who want or need additional input beyond the visual engagement with screen content, such as those with low vision or who are blind. They’re also helpful to those experiencing temporary or permanent mobility disabilities, people with learning disabilities, as well as those in many circumstances where visual screen access isn’t possible.
There are a number of text-to-speech tools and screen readers available; some are built into your devices and some require purchasing. If you’re a new user expect a learning curve as you get comfortable with any of these tools. Certain software or features will require more practice before you can leverage all the benefits of the software. For example, you might need to learn keyboard shortcuts associated with a specific screen reader to make navigating digital content more efficient. Generally, those with longer-term needs will spend more time practicing with the tools and will gain important long-term benefits.
- NVDA or NonVisual Desktop Access, is a free and open-source screen reader for Windows.
- Narrator is Microsoft’s free screen reader and is built-in to the currently supported Windows operating systems.
- JAWS for Windows is a screen reader developed by Vispero. A user license must be purchased for long-term use. A 40-minute demo is available from their website.
Note: if you are interested in JAWS or other assistive technology to address an accommodation need due to a disability, please reach out to designated WFU support for conversation prior to purchasing. For students, reach out to CLASS. For staff and faculty, connect with Human Resources to coordinate an accommodation process.
Voiceover is Apple’s free built-in screen reader and is part of both the latest Mac operating systems and iOS as well.
TalkBack is Google’s free screen reader for Android devices.
- Adobe Reader: Accessibility features in Adobe
- EBSCO Library Database: Using the Text-to-Speech Feature for HTML articles
Note: certain assistive technology may be a part of an accommodation related to a disability. To discuss accommodations at Wake, contact:
- For students: contact The Center for Learning, Access, and Student Success (CLASS) at firstname.lastname@example.org (336-758-5929)
- For faculty and staff: contact email@example.com, explore the Accommodation Process for Employees, and refer to the details in the NonDiscrimination on the Basis of Disability Policy from HR.