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How to Setup Google Text-To-Speech to Read for You

It’s no longer news that having a prolonged screen time can cause you some serious health challenges.

For most people, fixing their eyes continuously for hours on their phone screen, reading every word and character, is how they stay productive every day. There’re numerous emails to attend to, copies and pages of PDF files to read, word and excel reports, and as well as proposals to read and edit. Having to read all these can be overwhelmingly stressful many a times.

Do you know that you can have Google Text-To-Speech read you all your text documents and web pages while you close your eyes and listen?

Google Text-To-Speech (TTS) is a screen reader application developed by Google for its android operating system. It powers applications to read out loud the text on the screen. It supports many languages. Google Text-To-Speech is a productivity hack that you can use to get your reading done while you relax and listen.

You may also be interested to read: Guide to Building List, Email Marketing Automation and Top 7 Autoresponders

How to Setup Google Text-To-Speech

“Select to Speak” function is required to setup Google TTS, and by default most android phones do not come pre-installed with it. So, to get started, install Android Accessibility Suite and Google Text-to-Speech app.

Android Accessiility suite Google text-to-speech

Installing Android Accessibility Suite & Google Text-to-Speech app

  1. Go to Play Store and install Android Accessibility Suite. Google recommends you have an Android version 9.0 or later on your phone. (To check your phone’s android version, open your device’s Settings, scroll down and tap on About phone > tap Software information and there under Android version, you have the number)
  2. While you are at Play Store, update or install Google Text-to-Speech
  3. Restart your phone after.

Turning on Select to Speak Function

select to speak

  1. Open your device’s Settings app
  2. Tap Accessibility, then tap Select to Speak. If Select to Speak is not displayed immediately under Accessibility, tap Installed services, then tap Select to Speak.
  3. Turn on Select to Speak. It will require your permission to monitor your actions, retrieve window content and observe text that you type, of which you tap Ok.
  4. An icon will appear at the bottom right corner of your screen to indicate that ‘Select to Speak’ is activated.

Selecting the Right Text-to-Speech (TTS) Engine and Speech Synthesis for You

Depending on the make of your android device, there are default TTS engines on your device of which you will find Google TTS to be among. Google and Samsung TTS engines are among the best free android Text-to-Speech engines. TTS engines convert written text to be output as sound.

text to speech output

Selecting Google Text-to-Speech Engine

To select Google TTS as your preferred engine:

  1. Open Settings > General Management > Language and input > Text-to-speech output.
  2. Tap Preferred engine, then select Google Text-to-speech Engine.
  3. Tap Back button to go back to Text-to-speech output page.
  4. On the Text-to-speech page, you can select your language.
  5. You can either leave the Speech rate and Pitch the way they are or adjust as okay with you.
  6. The settings button on the Preferred engine tab gives you options to choose the voice data and the kind of tone you want. To choose your preferred voice tone, tap the settings icon on Preferred engine > Install voice data, then select your language. You can listen to the voices and then select the most suitable tone for your ears.
  7. You can now tap back buttons all the way out, to save your changes.

installed voice data

Also read: A Guide to Screencasting, Top 7 Screencasting Apps

Using Google Text-to-Speech

Now that you’re done with the setup, how do you use it?

speech to text play

You will notice that ‘Select to Speak’ icon is now visible at the bottom right corner of your screen because it’s on. You can use Select to Speak to read your email, web pages, PDF files, Word and Excel, Google Docs and most text files on your device. Here’s how:

  • Tapping the play button to hear everything on your screen.
    1. Open any text file that you want to read, say PDF file.
    2. Tap Select to Speak button,
    3. Tapping the play button will let you hear everything written on that PDF file starting from the top of the page to the end of the page. By tapping the play button, the app will read aloud everything on your screen.
  • Dragging your finger across the screen to select multiple items.
    1. To do this, open the text file you want to read, tap Select to Speak
    2. Don’t tap on play, just drag your finger around the text area you want the app to read. The app will read it to you.
  • Tapping on specific item, like text or image.
    1. Similar to 2) above. Instead of dragging, tap the specific text or image, and the word, sentence or paragraph would be read to you.

How to Disable Google Text-to-Speech

installed services

To disable Google Text-to-Speech go to your device’s Settings > Accessibility > Installed services, and tap Select to Speak. Tap to turn off button.

Read: Latest Windows 10 Updates, What You Should Know

That’s it!

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Article written by Ifeanyi Okey

Ifeanyi creates content that help individuals develop their tech skills and be more resourceful and productive in their businesses. He's a web Designer and a WordPress Technical Expert.

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