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How I use Text to Speech for Listening to PDFs

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As someone who often juggles multiple tasks and has a voracious appetite for information, finding efficient ways to consume content is key. Enter text to speech (TTS) technology—an absolute game-changer for reading PDF files without actually 'reading' them. Whether it's for professional development, managing visual impairments, or simply enjoying an audiobook-style experience, TTS tools have transformed how I, and many others, interact with digital documents.

Getting Started with Text to Speech

Text to speech, or read aloud uses OCR technology that converts written text into spoken words. This can be incredibly helpful not just for people with dyslexia or other learning disabilities, but for anyone who wants to experience their PDFs anew. Most PDF readers, including Adobe Reader and Microsoft Edge, now incorporate TTS features, making it easier than ever to listen to PDF documents.

Of all the PDF tools like writers, readers, etc, the read PDF aloud tool is probably the most used.

Choosing the Right Tool

For Windows and Mac users, tools like Adobe Acrobat Reader and NaturalReader offer robust TTS functionalities. These platforms support natural-sounding voices across various languages, which enhances the listening experience. Adobe Reader, for instance, allows users to activate its "Read Out Loud" feature, which turns any PDF document into spoken word.

On mobile devices, iPad, iPhone, iOS and Android users have a plethora of apps to choose from. Voice Dream Reader and Speechify stand out with their high-quality AI voices and user-friendly interfaces. These apps not only read PDFs but can handle EPUB files and web pages, making them incredibly versatile.

Optionally, you can install the Speechify Chrome extension from Google Play store and you can pretty much read any text that is inside your Chrome browser. From English to Urdu and 40+ other languages.

Simply activate read out loud and every website, every blog, every word within Chrome can now be a voice over.

Navigating PDFs with Ease

Using a text to speech app doesn't just mean having a document read to you from start to end. Advanced features allow for much more interaction:

  1. Bookmarking: Keep track of important sections just like you would in a physical book.
  2. Adjusting Reading Speed: Customize how fast or slow the voice reads, tailoring the pace to your listening preference.
  3. Voice Selection: Choose from a variety text to speech voices, including options that sound nearly human for a more engaging listening session.
  4. Speed: This is one of the most loved text to speech feature. You can listen up to 4.5x on the Speechify voice reader app.

Integrating with Other Platforms

For those who work extensively with Google Docs or need to convert PDF text into audio files, integrating TTS with these platforms can streamline your workflow. Extensions for Chrome or tools like Microsoft's built-in TTS on Edge enhance productivity by providing seamless TTS capabilities across all forms of text, including online articles.

Accessibility for All

One of the most significant impacts of TTS technology is its ability to level the playing field for individuals with visual impairments or learning disabilities. Listening to PDFs allows learners to absorb information in a mode that best suits their needs, supporting a more inclusive environment for education and professional activities.

Continuous Learning and Multitasking

As someone who listens to a lot of podcasts and educational content, integrating TTS into my routine means I can learn from my PDFs while doing other things—whether it’s during a commute or while exercising. It's like creating my own playlist of readings, which not only enhances my knowledge but also optimizes my time.

Step-by-Step Tutorial and Pricing

Most TTS tools offer a step-by-step tutorial to help new users navigate their features. While some tools are free, others might offer more advanced features at a price. It's important to assess the pricing against the features offered—sometimes, a free tool does the job perfectly, especially if you're just stepping into the world of TTS.

Whether you're a busy professional looking to convert PDFs into something more digestible, a student with learning disabilities seeking better ways to access study material, or just someone interested in the convenience of audiobooks, TTS technology offers a powerful solution. By turning PDF documents into spoken words, these tools not only save time but also enrich the learning and informational landscape for everyone.

Try Speechify PDF Reader

Cost: Free to try

Speechify's PDF reader brings the transformative power of text-to-speech technology directly to the realm of PDF documents. This tool allows users to listen to their PDFs rather than read them, ensuring that dense, text-heavy documents are more accessible and digestible. Among its top features are:

  1. High-Quality Voices: Converting PDF text into clear and lifelike audio, Speechify offers a range of natural-sounding voices for a genuine listening experience.
  2. Text Highlighting: As Speechify reads out the content, it highlights the corresponding text in the PDF, enabling users to follow along visually and reinforcing comprehension.
  3. Speed Control: Catering to individual preferences, listeners can adjust the reading speed, whether they need a quick overview or a deep understanding.
  4. Navigation Tools: Speechify's PDF reader allows users to effortlessly navigate through pages, jump to specific sections, and bookmark crucial parts for easy reference later on.
  5. Offline Access: Users can download and save PDFs within the app, facilitating offline listening and ensuring uninterrupted access to their documents, regardless of internet connectivity.
  6. AI Chat: Interact with Speechify’s AI bot in your PDF reader to ask important questions about your PDF.

Overall, the Speechify PDF reader offers an innovative solution for those looking to transform the way they engage with PDF content.

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.