How to have Google Chrome read aloud

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Cliff Weitzman
By Cliff Weitzman Dyslexia & Accessibility Advocate, CEO/Founder of Speechify in Speech Synthesis on June 27, 2022
Google Chrome is the most popular web browser. Learn how you can incorporate native and third party text to speech capabilities.

    Google Chrome is by far the most popular web browser in existence, with roughly 65% of people in the United States choosing Chrome as their preferred browser. One of the biggest reasons why Google Chrome is so popular is the wide range of tools, features, and extensions that the browser offers.

    Whether it’s automatically proofreading everything you write online, staying organized with an online calendar, or automatically searching for coupons when you’re shopping online, you can find extensions to meet just about any need on the Chrome Web Store.

    One popular question that many Google Chrome users have, though, is how to get Chrome to read aloud webpages. For users with reading disabilities such as dyslexia, this is an especially important function. However, the ability to listen to online text in the same way that you would listen to a podcast is something that everyone, dyslexic or not, can enjoy.

    Thankfully, Google Chrome makes it easy to playback selected text, and with Google Chrome extensions such as Speechify, you can improve your listening experience even further. In this article, we’ll explore how to get Google Chrome to read web pages aloud as well as the third-party extensions that can provide you with access to premium voices and powerful features that will make listening to online text all the more convenient and enjoyable.

    In-browser options

    Google Chrome offers a lot of in-browser features that you can use without needing to download a browser extension or plugin, including a dark mode for helping prevent eye fatigue, the ability to right-click to search highlighted text, live captioning for any video or audio, and more. If you want to have online text read aloud, though, you are going to have to download an extension from the Google Web Store.

    Google Chrome doesn’t include a screen reader that comes already built into the browser, but if you happen to use a Chromebook then there is a way that you can read text aloud without needing to download any apps. To use your Chromebook’s built-in TTS software, simply follow these steps:

    1. Open up your settings and click on “Advanced”
    2. Navigate to the “Accessibility” section then click on “Manage accessibility features”
    3. Under “text-to-speech” turn on “enable ChromeVox”

    You can also turn ChromeVox on or off from any page by pressing Ctrl + Alt + z. Once ChromeVox is turned on, it will automatically read aloud any page that you open on your Chromebook.

    To listen to highlighted text only rather than the entire page, first turn on ChromeVox then click on “select to speak” at the bottom right of the screen near the time. You can then highlight text using your mouse, and the Chromebook will read aloud any text that you highlight. You can play/pause and rewind to listen to the text at your own speed.

    ChromeVox is a convenient option for those who own a Chromebook. If you are using a device that doesn’t have a built-in screen reader, though, then you will need to download one of many available TTS extensions you can access in your toolbar in order to have Google Chrome web pages read aloud. Even if you do already have a built-in screen reader, though, there are several reasons that we will cover in the next section why you still may want to consider downloading a TTS extension for Google Chrome.

    Alternative options to get Read Aloud Chrome

    If you would like to download a Chrome Extension that will read web pages aloud, there are plenty of speech voice reader options available for you to choose from on the Google Web Store. Read Aloud is one popular TTS extension that is open-source and free to download. Other TTS extensions available on the Google Web Store include Amazon Polly, Natural Reader, ReadMe, and Speechify.

    Each of these extensions offers various features and price points, with several being completely free to use or offering free versions. With that said, though, there are several great reasons to choose Speechify if you are looking for the best TTS Chrome extension.

    Speechify text to speech with Chrome

    Speechify is an immersive reader that utilizes artificial intelligence and machine learning in order to produce AI voice options that sound just like real human speakers. Unlike the traditional TTS software found on most TTS Chrome extensions that sounds unnatural and robotic, Speechify’s AI voices are able to replicate all of the subtle nuances that make a voice sound realistic. This leads to a listening experience that is far more immersive and enjoyable.

    Along with high-quality AI voices, Speechify also offers a number of useful features. With Speechify, you can listen to digital text in any format, including PDF files, Microsoft Word documents, epub files, and, of course, online text from web pages and Google Docs.

    With Speechify Premium – the extension’s paid version – you’ll be able to choose from 30+ AI voices across 20+ different languages, including English, Spanish, French, and Mandarin. Speechify Premium also provides features such as the ability to take notes and highlight text using voice commands, the ability to adjust your reading speed, the ability to scan printed documents, and more. Text highlighting helps you follow along and better absorb the content.

    Speechify Limited, meanwhile, is a free version of the app that offers 10 free voices to choose from. Both Speechify Premium and Speechify Limited come available as a Chrome extension that can be downloaded from the Google Web Store. Speechify can also be downloaded to your Android or iOS iphone from the Google Play Store or the Apple App Store.

    If you are looking for a read aloud extension that will enable you to listen to web pages as though they were being read to you by a talented live narrator, be sure to try out Speechify today by downloading it from the Google Web Store or signing up for a free trial of Speechify Premium.

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    Cliff Weitzman

    Cliff Weitzman

    Cliff Weitzman is a dyslexia advocate and the CEO and founder of Speechify, the #1 text-to-speech app in the world, totaling over 100,000 5-star reviews and ranking first place in the App Store for the News & Magazines category. In 2017, Weitzman was named to the Forbes 30 under 30 list for his work making the internet more accessible to people with learning disabilities. Cliff Weitzman has been featured in EdSurge, Inc., PC Mag, Entrepreneur, Mashable, among other leading outlets.

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