An extension should have a minimal user interface. It is zipped into a CRX package with the necessary files of the extension to be installed and run in the browser. In this article, we will explore the best three text-to-speech Chrome extensions.
What is Text-to-Speech?
First, let’s understand what text-to-speech means. Text-to-speech is a technology that allows the reproduction of text through the use of a voice synthesiser. Its acronym is TTS.
How a Text-to-Speech Extension Works
TTS tools have huge databases with recorded voices. These voices are labelled and segmented into linguistic units, including speech pieces, whole words and phrases, and vowels. When you ask an extension to read a text, it pieces these sentences or words together to form a sentence. Within seconds, it converts any text format into speech using high-quality AI clones of human voices.
What is the Need for a Speech Chrome Extension?
There are speech-to-text and text-to-speech Chrome extensions. Speech-to-text extensions allow you to say what you need using a microphone. When you speak, it outputs text and lists out what you say. It is a great way to communicate with people who do not hear or have hearing disabilities.
On the other hand, it is believed that you can optimise your time and increase your productivity using text-to-speech tools. With these extensions, it is easy to listen to a text while getting on with some other activities, like filling in a spreadsheet, formatting a document, or performing a task.
It is also critical to emphasise how important text-to-speech extensions are in terms of accessibility. Such handy tools benefit people with visual impairments and those who have reading disabilities, such as dyslexia. They could use automated reading to their advantage.
How to Add Text-to-Speech Chrome Extensions
Before we dive deep into the best text-to-speech Chrome extensions, let’s find out how we can add a Chrome extension. On Chrome Web Store, type in text-to-speech in the search bar at the page’s top-left corner. Then, make sure you filter out extensions. Check out the several extensions and stick to the featured ones for more benefits.
- Select one of the available text-to-speech Chrome extensions.
- Click on the blue button Add to Chrome on the page’s left side.
- You will get a pop-up message that says Add Extension.
- Clicking it, a CRX file will be downloaded, and you can sync the extension to your profile.
- Then, you will be redirected to the extension’s official web page.
Best Text-to-Speech Chrome Extensions
Text-to-speech Chrome extensions are very beneficial in multitasking and increasing productivity. You can listen to what you want while performing other tasks. Let’s find out the best text-to-speech Chrome extensions.
The first text-to-speech extension we will discuss is Speechify. This featured extension is one of the leading text-to-speech Chrome extensions. To add it to Chrome, type the name in Chrome Web Store and follow the steps we mentioned before. To unlock all the features, go for a premium plan. Speechify text-to-speech Chrome extension has many features that may include:
1. Different Reading Voices and Languages
Speechify has over 130 voices to choose from across more than 30 languages. Their most recognisable reading voices include Snoop Dogg and Gwyneth Paltrow.
2. Various Speeds
It also has several speeds, from slow and average to fast and speed. Its AI voices can read up to 4.5x faster than the average reading speed. So, if you are a fast reader, you can choose the fast level. The speed reader level goes pretty fast, where you actually can’t understand anything, so it is not recommended. You can also change the speed and bring it down or up when you are listening.
3. Several Compatible Devices
Speechify can work on different devices, so you can listen to what you want on your PC, laptop, mobile, or tablet. Once you save a document to the library, it syncs across devices.
4. Compatible With Different Formats
Speechify can read aloud PDFs, Word Docs, Google Docs, books with TTS, emails, blogs, news publications, and any web page you visit. It can also read pictures and screenshot images. Just upload the document onto the website, and it reads it.
Speechify can also read a web page. Click on the little puzzle piece in the Chrome bar and select your application. Alternatively, select a part and click on the Play icon to allow Speechify to read it out loud. Another great feature is that you can go to another website while the audio is playing; the extension will keep reading on the previous site until you stop it or select another part.
5. Active Highlighting
To help you easily read along, Speechify highlights the words on the page as it reads. You can also pick out specific parts to listen to, and it plays them for you.
Speechify also has the following features:
- A pause button so that you can stop and play at any time.
- A floating widget to move it around and dock it.
- Dark mode.
- AI-generated human-like voices.
One of the best free text-to-speech Chrome extensions is Read Aloud. It is an open-source project that allows any user to contribute bug fixes or translations through the associated GitHub page. This extension is intended for people with learning disabilities and visual impairment. Dyslexic children and children learning to read can also benefit a lot from its features. On top of that, people who prefer listening to content instead of reading it also favour this extension. Following the abovementioned steps, add this extension to Chrome, and discover its beneficial features that include:
1. Supporting Most Websites
Read Aloud is perfect because it works with various websites. It can read blogs, news publications, textbooks, ebooks, and EPUBs (through the EPUBReader extension). It also supports school and class websites and online university course materials.
2. Several Reading Voices and Languages
Read Aloud has over 40 languages and various text-to-speech voices. It has voices natively provided by the browser. On top of that, you can use voices from text-to-speech cloud service providers, like IBM Watson, Amazon Polly, Google Wavenet, and Microsoft. However, be aware that some voices from these providers may require an additional in-app purchase.
3. Easy to Use
Read Aloud reads out loud any web page you access with a single click. You can listen to what you want by clicking on the Read Aloud icon in the Chrome bar. Alternatively, you can select a text and right-click on the selected part to activate the extension.
4. Excellent Shortcuts
It also has excellent shortcuts to facilitate the listening process for you. If you want to play or pause the audio, you can press Alt+P. Additionally, pressing Alt+O stops the audio. Alt+, rewinds the audio while Alt+. forwards it.
Read Aloud may also have:
- Various speeds.
- Different pitch.
- Text highlighting.
- Good playback controls.
Let’s turn back to the Chrome Web Store Home and type in another text-to-speech extension. Among the best text-to-speech Chrome extensions we have today is NaturalReader. This extension has free and premium plans. The free version works only when an internet connection is available; however, it has many functions and features. So, just add it to Chrome in the same way we mentioned above, and let’s explore what it has for us.
1. AI-Powered Smart Reader
NaturalReader uses one of the most updated AI technology that allows it to read out loud without interrupting. Creating a natural listening experience, it automatically skips citations, image captions, headers, and footers.
2. Immersive reading
To have a customisable listening experience, NaturalReader has the option of immersive reading. This option eliminates any distractions on the page for extra focus.
3. Download to MP3
In the premium version, NaturalReader allows you to download your texts into MP3 files. This helps you listen to whatever you want at any time without an internet connection.
4. Compatible With Different Formats
NaturalReader can convert different text formats into audio. It reads emails, PDFs, and Google Docs. It can also read Kindle e-books, any website you access, and more.
NaturalReader also has the following features:
- More than 150 voices.
- Over 20 languages.
- Highlighting functionality.
- Language learning.
- Light and dark mode.
Let the Extension Read Out Any Text Format for You!
Now, we have explored three of the best text-to-speech Google Chrome extensions. These extensions are useful as they can make matters easier for people who prefer listening and people with reading difficulties and visual impairment. They can also facilitate language learning or long research papers exploration. So, add one of those text-to-speech Chrome extensions and let it read out the screen for you!
If you have any questions or have any issues with installing the extensions, why not leave us a comment in the comments section below?