Product Reviewed:
2668 Lewisville-Clemmons Rd
Clemmons, NC
Product Description:
Convert any text into voice and MP3 or WMA for PC or download to portable player.
Win XP/Vista/Win7,
Sound Card
Retail Price:
$29.95 USD
(voices AT&T Mike & Crystal $25.00 USD each)
David Bell
Date Reviewed:
22 April 2011
Positive Features:

  1. Several quality voices available (extra)
  2. Several Languages supported
  3. Files can be saved in MP3 or WMA format
  4. Browser toolbar for quick access included
  5. Editable Reader Text
  6. Many user programmable features for reading multiple articles, etc.
Negative Features:

  1. E-mail toolbar available for MS Outlook only
TextAloud is the leading text to speech program, available with exciting premium voices (including several languages) from ATT Natural Voices, Nuance RealSpeak Voices, Acapela Voices, and Cepstral Voices for the best in computer speech for your PC.

TextAloud uses voice synthesis to convert text into spoken audio. Listen or your PC or create MP3 or WMA files for use on portable devices like iPods, PocketPCs, and CD players. A batch file converter lets you convert audio files quickly from any number of documents. A new improved interface with support for skins handles multiple documents with ease and includes voice, pitch and volume adjustments on the main window so you can customize voices while TextAloud is speaking. Change voices within a single document to simulate conversation or multiple speakers. You can open Word, PDF and HTML files directly in TextAloud, and there are also toolbar plugins for Internet Explorer and Firefox to make reading web pages a breeze. A unique Proofread function helps make anything you write mistake free. With TextAloud you can listen immediately, or save to audio files to hear later at your convenience. Instead of the valuable time you spend reading on your computer, imagine being free to relax, get up and stretch, or work on other things while the information you need is read to you in a pleasant, natural sounding human voice. Better still, leave your computer behind. TextAlouds unique Text to MP3 or WMA conversion can save your daily reading to audio files to download to your portable player. Listen to email, online news, or important documents while you exercise, work or commute. TextAloud is easy to learn so you can put it to work for you right away. Everything is user friendly, from the help function to the VCR style playback controls. It has never been easier to keep up with the information you really need.

Reviewers Comments:

I have been a fan of TextAloud for several years and when the opportunity arose to test drive TextAloud3, I was eager to give it the ultimate test of reading poetry that I had written over the years. If TextAloud3 could read back my poetry with inflection and tone that I found acceptable, I would be pleased. I chose two voices for this experiment, AT&T Crystal 16 and AT&T Mike 16.

The first step was to open TextAloud 3, and then close the program to my system tray (which it does automatically by default). I highlighted my first poem, selected Copy (Control C) and a popup displayed asking me to choose 'New', 'Append' or 'Ignore'. I selected 'New' and the TA3 screen appeared with a flashing cursor. Pressing Control V copied my poem into the reader. Next I copied my poem's title and pasted it into the 'Default Title' box. Selecting the voice I wished to use and clicking on the 'Speak' button at the top of the page began the read-back of my poem. Adjusting the slider bar for speech speed slightly, I was pleasantly surprised to hear my poetry read back with the clarity, tone, inflection and emphasis of a professional narrator. I was so impressed with the result of my first poem that I immediately decided to compose an audio disc of all my poetry. I opened a folder and began saving each poem's audio file, in MP3 format, as they were completed and then burned it to disc. Simple and easy.

The English language is one of the most complicated languages in the world. An example is the word 'read', past and present tense. It is spelled the same but pronounced differently and 'Crystal' and 'Mike' had some difficulty in separating the tenses, however, by simply changing the present tense to 'reed' in the Editor, the problem was solved...quickly and easily and I now have a beautiful poetry album on disc that I gift to friends and family.

A friend of mine was recently flying back to Nigeria on a work project and I asked him if he would review a novel that I had recently written. He said, "Great, it'll give me something to read on the flight," but looked surprised when I handed him a disc and said 'just plug in your earphones'. A few days later I received an e-mail from him. He was impressed with the audio novel but wanted to know how I got the money to be able to hire a professional narrator.

If you hate reading lengthy 'terms and conditions', as I do, when entering into a contract or simply like to follow along with audio instructions when working on a project, then TextAloud3 with the enhanced voices available, is the best value your money can buy.

TextAloud3 will let you "Put The World in Your Pocket".

David A. Bell,

Addendum by D.A. Hughes, Publisher:

TextAloud3 program from is an online purchase the end user must download to his or her computer. However, you can request a CD (you must be buying voices we highly recommend the AT&T Naturtal Speaking Voices) at the time of ordering for a small fee. The TextAloud program is only about 15MB in size and very quick to download. Nevertheless, the voice files are 500 to 600MB in size, and if you have a slow internet connection (or a throttled down service), you may want to wait for the DVD to arrive with the voices. Installation is fast and easy, as are installing the voice files.

I have seen far too many software programs come and go in spite of how wonderful their claims might be for their software product. At GCR, we test software under real working conditions to kick the envelope, test, bend, twist, and push software to its limits. I decided to give TextAloud 3 an honest real world test to see if this software would benefit a senior with special needs. I had a senior client in his late eighties, who was legally blind and used hearing aids. John was a very special senior citizen and an inspiration for other seniors to keep their mind and body active. He used his PC for email to family and friends and kept abreast of current events; love to send out jokes to his email lists.

As his vision started failing Dr. John was diagnosed legally blind. Most of us faced with such a personal health life altering issue would simply have thrown in the towel and given up on using a computer. However, John in his mild manner decided after one of our many PC consulting sessions to upgrade his old Windows XP to a new Computer running Windows 7. The Windows 7 operating system has an excellent Magnifier built into the program allowing the end user to increase font size to over 1000 time's normal size.

This gave John the ability to now read the screen text more easily without holding a magnifying glass in one hand and typing with the other. He also suffered from hearing problems and needed hearing aids, yet. Health problems failed to deter this determined senior. I was in awe, of how he with all his disabilities and age could master a new PC and operating system. It was suggested to John to try a new program and keyboard designed for vision impaired, and it had the ability to read, text and emails. Another organization installed and trained John on the new program. However, from the onset the new programs caused problems with Windows 7 and his Incredimail email program he loved to use. After a few months of the new program, which failed to read text properly, John had had enough and asked me to remove it from his PC. However, he wanted to keep the special keyboard with large letters, as it was easier to see.

We had been testing out TextAloud3 for a couple of months, and I thought John would be a perfect candidate to see if the TextAloud Program would benefit a senior and especially one with his disabilities. Dr. John loved new technologies and instantly said yes to be our test base for the program. The first week of March I installed the program on to John's PC and found out rather quickly there was no TextAloud Toolbar for email programs such as Incredimail. This made me ponder the value of the TextAloud 3 program on John's PC and how it could work with Incredimail, as there was no toolbar.

However, you can assign command key combinations for TextAloud 3, and I set up CTRL+T for start reading text and CTRL+S to end reading text. Then John simply had to open the email and highlight the text and hit CTRL+T to start reading and CTRL+S to end. I printed out the key combination instructions for him in large font, and he placed it near the monitor for a reference. John was sitting in a chair next to me when I fired up TextAloud3 and was surprised how clearly he could hear his email being read by TextAloud. We tested both the Mike and Crystal voices for pronunciation and found the male voice worked better with John's hearing aids. Not only could he now read email but web page text, web newspapers on his PC.

The real test would come when I was not there to help John use the TextAloud 3 program. A few days later, I received a call from John, and he was ecstatic and could not believe how easy the program was for him to use. He was very impressed by the TextAloud 3 program. In fact, he was now starting to send email out to his friends list once again. A week later, he was having an issue with Incredimail program and his IP server. He requested a service call, and I went over to make the corrections and get this special senior's email back on line. After fixing the email error, I was running tests on the system and decided to see if TextAloud 3 was functioning properly reading the email. I opened an email pressed CTRL+T to start the voice reading and nothing happened. I was puzzled and said to John, who was sitting in his office chair beside me "that's odd now as TextAloud 3 is neither working nor reading your email." To which John Replied "Did you highlight the text first?" In haste, I had forgotten to highlight the text prior to pressing the key combination to start text reading.

John had an excellent sense of humour and we both had a good laugh over the human tech-glitch and my moment of memory lapse. Dr. John was so impressed with the program he told many of his friends and the organization that installed the other program that they needed to look at the TextAloud 3 program for seniors with disabilities.

John was enthralled of how a simple low cost program like TextAloud 3 could make using a PC more user friendly for seniors and I asked him if he would write in his own words a short review of the program. He quickly agreed to do so. However, three days later John passed away peacefully at home.

We were fortunate during TextAloud 3 program testing to have had the opportunity and a senior with vision and hearing difficulties willing to test the program. During our test period not only did we prove the value of the TextAloud 3 program, as Dave said, "lets you put the world in your pocket."'s TextAloud 3 is a very user-friendly program that can bring joy to people with disabilities and an inexpensive way enhance their internet experience and aid their standard of living with a computer.

Don Hughes, Publisher.

GCR Overall Rating (out of 5):

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