Turn PDFs into MP3 Audio Files in Linux

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    Have you ever wanted to listen to a PDF document, but found it hard to read it on a screen or maybe the pdf was too long to print out? Or you may have a visual impairment that makes reading difficult. Either way, converting a PDF to an MP3 file can be a great solution. We will walk you through how to convert a PDF document to an MP3 file on a Linux operating system. You’ll also learn about other ways to turn your PDF into MP3 files giving you the versatility you need to listen to your recordings with various media players. So whether you’re a Linux user looking to streamline your workflow or just curious about how this process works, we’ve got you covered. Let’s get started!

    How to convert PDFs to mp3 files in Linux

    To convert a PDF document (Portable document format) to an MP3 audio file in Linux, you can use the command line utility pdftotext to extract the text from the PDF file, and then use a text-to-speech (TTS) software or service to generate an audio file. Here’s a general process you could follow:

    1. Install the pdftotext utility if it is not already installed on your system. You can do this using the command sudo apt-get install poppler-utils on Debian-based systems such as Ubuntu.
    2. Open a terminal and navigate to the directory where the PDF file is located.
    3. Run the command pdftotext filename.pdf to extract the text from the PDF file and create a plain text file named filename.txt.
    4. Choose a TTS software or service, like Speechify, Festival, or eSpeak, and install it if it is not already installed on your system.
    5. Open the plain text file in a text editor and copy the text.
    6. Paste the text into a TTS software or service, like Speechify, and generate an audio file in the desired format, such as MP3, WAV or another audio format.

    Just keep in mind that the quality of the audio file will depend on the accuracy and naturalness of the TTS software or service you use. In addition to using Linux to convert PDFs to MP3 files, next, we will cover 6 steps you can take to convert PDFs to MP3 audio files without using Linux.

    6 steps to convert PDFs to an MP3 audio file with text-to-speech software

    To convert a PDF file to an MP3 audio file with text-to-speech software, you’ll need to use a text-to-speech (TTS) app or service that can read the text in the PDF and generate an audio file. Here’s a general process you could follow:

    1. Choose a TTS software or service, such as Speechify, Amazon Polly, Google Text-to-Speech, or NaturalReader.
    2. Install or sign up for the TTS software or service.
    3. Open the PDF file and copy the text.
    4. Paste the text into the TTS software or service.
    5. Choose the language and voice you want the audio file to be in, and adjust any other settings as needed. For example, you can try using Speechify’s celebrity voices as a voice option to narrate the PDF audio. Speechify also has numerous other realistic voices that make your content more natural-sounding.
    6. Lastly, generate the audio file in the format of your choice, like MP3.

    When converting files, it’s important to remember the file size, file type and PDF format so that the PDF converter or MP3 converter gives you all the functionality you need to make your document audible.

    The 3 easiest ways to convert a PDF text to MP3 audio

    1. Using online text-to-speech (TTS) services: As mentioned above, there are many online TTS services that allow you to input text and generate an MP3 audio file. Some popular options include Speechify, NaturalReader, iSpeech, and Text2Speech. Simply type or paste the text you want to convert, select the language and voice, and then download the MP3 file. These TTS applications can also read ebooks, webpages, audiobooks, Microsoft documents and other online pages.
    2. Using desktop TTS software: There is also desktop TTS software that you can install on your computer, such as Speechify, Balabolka, TextAloud, and NVDA. These software applications allow you to paste or import text and then generate an MP3 file. TTS desktop apps, like Speechify, often offer a variety of voices and settings to customize the audio output and Speechify allows you to pick up where you left off from any of your devices connected to Speechify’s app.
    3. Using command-line tools: If you’re comfortable with using the command line, you can use text-to-speech engines and audio conversion tools to convert text to MP3. For example, you can use the Festival TTS engine along with the Sox audio conversion tool on Linux systems to generate an MP3 file. Similarly, on Windows systems, you can use PowerShell commands with the System.Speech.Synthesis namespace to generate audio and then save it as an MP3 file using a free audio converter like Audacity.

    Should you use Linux or text-to-speech when converting text files into mp3 format?

    Both Linux and Text-to-Speech (TTS) software can be used to convert text files into MP3 format, but the choice ultimately depends on your needs, preferences, and comfort level with apps and technology.

    If you’re already comfortable using Linux, and your text file is in a format that can be easily processed with the pdftotext or similar command-line tools, using Linux may be a good option. Linux can be really useful if you need to convert a large number of text files because you can use a script to automate the conversion process. However, you may need to install more software or dependencies to get the results you want.

    Use Speechify for your TTS needs

    On the other hand, if you prefer a user-friendly interface and need more customization options for your audio output format, using TTS software may be a better choice. TTS software like Speechify, allows you to adjust settings such as voice, speed, and volume, and can often handle a wider variety of text file formats. Additionally, TTS software provides more features like saving the output in different formats or integrating it with other applications. You can even take or upload photos of your chosen text in formats like PNG and JPG. Speechify can also easily integrate Android, iOS, and other operating systems.

    The final choice will depend on your needs, technical abilities, and personal preferences. If you need to get started turning your PDFs into mp3 files, we recommend getting started with Speechify’s TTS software which offers many of the same benefits of using Linux without the technology hassle. Try using Speechify here!

    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.

    Dyslexia & Accessibility Advocate, CEO/Founder of Speechify Dyslexia & Accessibility Advocate, CEO/Founder of Speechify

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