If you ever get tired of reading while you browse, prefer to multitask, or even just process information better when you hear it, then text-to-speech is an incredibly powerful tool that can help you to achieve all of the above. It can also help those with visual impairments, making it a vital feature.
But it isn’t always an easy feature to set up and have available everywhere you go. Luckily, with these Firefox add-ons, you can make sure that you have text-to-speech available to you no matter where you go.
First up on this list is Read Aloud. Read Aloud is a Firefox add-on that allows you to convert any webpage you visit from text to speech.
In practice, there are two ways that you can use Read Aloud. If you simply click on the Read Aloud button in your add-on hot bar, then it will begin to read whatever page you’re on from the very top for you out loud.
If you’re only looking for a specific section for the add-on to read, you can highlight it first and then click the button. This will let Read Aloud to just read your selection for you.
What’s great about Read Aloud is just how customizable it is. When the add-on is working, it displays a highlight of the text being read that you can close entirely if you so wish, but you can also adjust its size to your preference if you want instead.
You can pause, rewind and fast-forward through the reading, and even change the size of the text the add-on displays.
There are a truly humongous number of different voices available for you to choose from, the add-on even lets you adjust each individually by giving you sliders so that you can tweak the pitch, speed, and volume of the voice reading for you.
You can add custom voices to the Read Aloud add-on as well if you so wish. This means that if none of the huge variety of voices available suits you, then you can still find something that works for you.
There are a ton of reasons to embrace text-to-speech technology, and productivity is one of them. True to its name, this Firefox add-on is great if you’re looking for a great way to organize various articles or other papers that you need to listen to.
Intelligent Speaker works a little differently from some other entries onto this list in that it doesn’t just convert what you’re looking at from text to speech on the spot.
Instead, Intelligent Speaker allows you to save or add articles and files to its list for you to listen to later. Say that you’ve found an article that you want to save for later, for example. All you would do is open up the Intelligent Speaker add-on and add the webpage to your list.
When you wanted to read it later, you can open Intelligent Speaker to see all of the articles or files that you have queued up. You can then listen to them at your own rate, one after another, or one at a time, and at a variety of different speeds.
You’ve got solid options for customizability here as well. If you want a different voice, there are a good number of different options, and there is even support for 18 different languages, too.
It is worth noting, however, that you’ll only have a total of one hour of listening per month for you to use before Intelligent Speaker locks you out of using its program. You can improve this number up to 24 hours of listening every month if you purchase its premium plan, however.
If you’re looking for something largely unobtrusive and easy to forget that you have installed, then Talkie is a great add-on to accomplish just that.
Talkie feels very much like one of Firefox’s native features. To use it, all you need to do is make sure that it’s installed and then highlight some text to have read to you. You can simply click on the button itself in the add-on hot bar, or use the right-click menu to ask it to speak. There’s also a shortcut that you can use.
There are some minor customization options available as well. For example, you can add extra voices to Talkie, though this requires you to make sure that they’re installed on your system as opposed to getting them from any online database or the like.
You can also adjust the pitch and speed of talking voices from Talkie, but this requires you to purchase Talkie Premium. If you wanted to choose your own default voice for each language, then you also gain access to this feature as well.
Next up on this list comes Text to Speech. If you’re looking for something that has a clean interface and is easy to use, then this add-on is great for just that.
To use TTS, all you need to do is highlight some text. Instead of clicking the TTS button from the add-on bar or accessing a right-click menu, TTS puts a small blue speaker button above your highlighted text.
All you need to do is click on it to begin. The text itself highlights as TTS reads it to you, and you can pause and start the reading at any time.
If you’re looking for a specific piece of text you want read from outside of your browser, you can also paste it into the add-on directly by clicking on the button in the add-on hot bar. This is great for programs that don’t support text-to-speech or don’t have features such as PowerPoint’s Speak feature to read text aloud.
Finally, we have TTSFox. If you prefer your text-to-speech to work as a separate pop-out, then TTSFox is the best option on this list to do just that.
All you need to do is highlight or copy some text and then access the TTSFox add-on. You can adjust the pitch, speed, and volume of the actual voice speaking as you go, though the number of voices available are a little meager.
Text-to-Speech Can Improve Your Life
As you can see, there are an impressive number of different options available for text-to-speech add-ons for Firefox. Each behaves differently and for a different audience, so why not give each a go? You’ll likely find the perfect add-on for you just waiting out there.
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