If you want a better text to speech solution to read your PDFs, here are some excellent alternatives to Adobe Read Out Loud.
Read Out Loud is a text-to-speech (TTS) option for free Adobe Acrobat Reader, Adobe’s annotating and converting PDF viewer. It’s a handy tool in some situations – available in Windows, iOs systems as well as mobile apps – but has relatively limited functionality.
Luckily, if you want to hear rather than read your files in PDF format, you can choose some of the best PDF text-to-speech alternatives. Let’s take a look at the best text-to-speech alternatives to Read Out Loud.
What is Adobe Read Out Loud?
While you can modify, bookmark, and annotate PDFs with Adobe Acrobat and use the app’s premium version to create PDFs from other file types, text-to-speech isn’t its primary function. In that regard, Read Out Loud won’t provide much more than the bare essentials. This includes a very robotic voice and no customization options.
However, the software will provide some handy TTS features. For example, you can set it to read only the current page you’re on or have it read the entire document from beginning to end.
You can activate Read Out Loud on any desktop version of Adobe products. In Acrobat Reader, you can do this through the View menu from the toolbar. Alternatively, you can use keyboard shortcuts. In that case, pressing CTRL + Y will activate Read Out Loud. Some customization is possible regarding voices and reading speed, although there will be no advanced options.
Features of Adobe Read Out Loud
Adobe Read Out Loud, available on adobe.com, can accurately pronounce and vocalize text, enhancing the reading experience. It goes beyond merely converting text into speech; it strives to bring the written word to life.
By simply right-clicking on the desired text, users can activate this feature. Adobe Read Out Loud uses smart algorithms to ensure it sounds like natural speech with accurate pronunciation and intonation, even when navigating through watermarks and other document elements.
This tool is powerful and can be used in different languages and voices, allowing users to customize how it sounds. Adobe Read Out Loud offers various options to cater to different needs. For instance, it provides a soothing voice for bedtime stories and a formal tone for business documents.
Flexibility is another advantage of Adobe Read Out Loud. The tool provides control options such as pausing, skipping, and adjusting the reading speed. This empowers users to navigate through the content at their own pace, making it easier to comprehend and absorb information.
Adobe Read Out Loud is designed for individuals with diverse reading preferences. Some may prefer to reflect on deep passages, while others might choose to quickly skim through long documents.
Limitations of Adobe Read Out Loud
Although many people use and appreciate Adobe Read Out Loud, it does have its limitations. A downside is that the tool is only available in Adobe Acrobat, so users need the program to use it. This restriction can be problematic for those who prefer different software or can’t afford to buy Adobe Acrobat.
Adobe Read Out Loud’s advanced technology might not always accurately interpret complex or specialized terms, leading to mispronunciations or misunderstandings. This can be particularly challenging for individuals who rely solely on the auditory output to comprehend the content.
However, it’s crucial to note that the tool continuously improves its language processing capabilities through regular updates and user feedback.
Adobe Read Out Loud can experience issues when working with certain formats or document layouts. The software manages nearly every document seamlessly, but when dealing with more intricate formatting/layout, it can become cumbersome, affecting readability.
But Adobe is always striving to enhance compatibility and improve the tool’s performance with a wide range of document types.
Although it has limitations, Adobe Read Out Loud is invaluable for people with visual impairments or learning disabilities. It allows them to access a plethora of information and literature that they might not be able to access otherwise. However, alternatives do exist.
The Adobe Read Out Loud alternatives
If you need more features for reading PDFs and improving your work, there are great alternatives to Read Out Loud. Here are our picks for the best accessible PDF-reading apps. Many users desire software that can reflow text to improve readability, particularly when formatting is disrupted at the end of documents. Here are some alternatives to Adobe Read Out Loud. Here are a few alternatives to Adobe Read Out Loud.
Speechify is a powerful text-to-speech engine and screen reader that can read PDFs and many other file types. You can upload your PDF form or file into the app and let it read the file in any voice, language, and speed you choose. Being developed with accessibility in mind, Speechify offers many accessibility features for people with conditions such as dyslexia, visual impairments, or ADHD.
Speechify comes as a Microsoft Windows and macOS computer program, Android and iOS app, and Google Chrome extension. The software will work seamlessly on all platforms, so your PDF listening experience won’t be interrupted.
TTSReader is a browser-based text reader that doesn’t need installation. The service also doesn’t require you to download it or log in. Best of all, it’s a free PDF reader with an optional premium variant if you wish to support the creators.
TTSReader supports PDF uploads and some other formats like e-books and text files. It has specific customization options like different languages and voices. The reader will remember your settings and apply them the next time you open the app.
Read Aloud is a Chrome or Edge browser extension with the primary function of reading web pages. Read Aloud can also read other file formats like PDFs, e-books, and Google Docs. This app will work on most websites.
Read Aloud supports native browser TTS voices and cloud-based text-to-speech services like Microsoft, IBM Watson, Amazon Polly, and Google Wavenet. However, some voices will require you to make in-app purchases.
NaturalReader functions online and as software that you can install on your computer. The app is available for Windows 10, 11, and Apple Mac operating systems. It supports PDF, Microsoft Word, and ePub documents.
NaturalReader boasts quality narrator voices. As the app’s name implies, the text sounds more natural than with some lesser TTS engines. This service is ideal for readers with learning disabilities, language learners, and casual readers.
@Voice Aloud Reader
@Voice Aloud Reader is an app for Android and iOS mobile devices. The app isn’t available for computers. You can install @Voice Aloud Reader on your iPhone, iPad, or Android device using the appropriate app store.
The software can read different document formats like Microsoft Word and OpenOffice documents, PDFs, and e-book formats. @Voice Aloud Reader can function as an HTML reader, too, making it a versatile tool.
Extensions for Google Drive, OneDrive, Dropbox, etc.
Since Google Drive, OneDrive, Dropbox, etc. are all cloud-based services, there aren’t specific Read Out Loud options for them. There are, however, several text-to-speech extensions available for the Google Chrome web browser that can work with Google Drive.
You can search for “text-to-speech” or “read out loud” extensions in the Chrome Web Store and find one that suits your needs. Once installed, the extension can read the text content of documents in Google Drive.
If you are looking for a read-aloud feature for your documents stored in Dropbox, you can explore third-party text-to-speech applications or browser extensions that work with your preferred document format (e.g., PDF, Word, etc.). These tools can be used in conjunction with Dropbox to enable text-to-speech functionality.
Here’s how you can use third-party text-to-speech tools with Dropbox:
- For PDF Documents: Install a text-to-speech extension or application for your web browser that supports reading PDF files. This will allow you to open and read PDF documents stored in Dropbox directly from your browser.
- For Microsoft Office Documents: If you have Microsoft Office installed on your computer, or prefer OneDrive as your chosen cloud storage service, you can use the built-in text-to-speech functionality in Word, Excel, or PowerPoint to read aloud the content of these documents.
- Standalone Text-to-Speech Applications: Some standalone text-to-speech applications allow you to copy and paste the text from your Dropbox documents into the application for it to be read aloud. Remember to review the features and capabilities of third-party text-to-speech applications or extensions, as well as their compatibility with Dropbox and your preferred document formats.
Try Speechify for free
While we covered Speechify in the context of text-to-speech PDF tools, it’s far more than a basic PDF reader. Speechify can read any text, from documents in various formats to HTML pages. You can upload an Excel file or PowerPoint presentation as easily as a PDF. In either case, Speechify will turn it into an audio file.
Regarding additional features, it’s worth mentioning that Speechify supports optical character recognition (OCR), which means the app can read text out loud from images, scans, sticky notes, and photos. The interface is very easy to use, but many easy-to-follow tutorials will help you get the most out of Speechify.
Along with these features, Speechify has the advantage of natural-sounding narrator voices. There are over 30 narrators on the app, plus support for more than 20 languages. With that wide selection, you can make every voice sound precisely how you want. When you add reading speed tweaks into the mix, Speechify becomes a convenient tool for learning and productivity.
Another quality of Speechify is its availability on various platforms. Some TTS apps function as desktop software, others are mobile-exclusive, and some are available only as browser plugins. Speechify covers all those uses. You can use it on your mobile device (Android or iOS), on your computer (Windows, Mac), and even as an in-browser extension (Chrome, Firefox, Safari).
You can unlock all the powerful features of Speechify with a premium subscription. However, you may also use the free version of the app with somewhat fewer features. For instance, some narrator voices won’t be available for free users, and you won’t have complete freedom in setting the reading speed. Still, you can try out Speechify for free and see how the TTS tool fits your needs.
Is there software that can read PDF files out loud?
Besides Adobe Read Out Loud, you can use TTS apps like Speechify to read PDFs.
Is there a substitute for Adobe Reader?
Several alternative PDF readers are available, including paid and free services. The same applies to PDF TTS readers.
Can Adobe do text-to-speech?
Read Out Loud is an essential function of Adobe Acrobat Pro and free versions including Adobe Reader mobile app, and Adobe Document Cloud.
What is the best software to read PDF documents?
Adobe Acrobat Reader is an excellent option to view and read PDFs. The app also functions as a PDF editor. To convert, edit, create e-sign documents, or track and share PDFs, you might need a paid subscription to Adobe Creative Cloud.
What are the other ways to read PDF files?
Instead of reading PDF files, you can listen to them. Speechify can read PDFs in a variety of narrator voices in English and different languages. This app comes with various customization options for the most convenient reading.