Best Voice Over Software For Mac

Posted By admin On 16.02.22

For Mac users, your computer already comes equipped with one of the best options you can get. Apple has done amazing stuff with Garage Band over the years, and you can’t really find a simpler, more user-friendly audio editor. Designed for total newbies, but powerful enough to really handle some major products, Garage Band deserves your attention. Best Voice Recognition Software Voice recognition software is used to convert spoken language into text by using speech recognition algorithms. It can be used by people with disabilities, for in-car systems, in the military, and also by businesses for dictation, or to convert audio and video files into text.

In years gone by, text to speech software was rather expensive, but these days there are excellent text to speech tools available free of charge. We're here to help you find the very best tools that will make converting written documents to audio files as easy as possible.

Text to speech software can be enormously helpful for anyone who's visually impaired, or has a condition like dyslexia that makes reading on screens tricky. It can also help overcome language barriers for people who read a language but don't speak it, or are in the process of learning.

Text to speech software is also ideal if you want to listen to a document while doing something else, if you find it easier to retain information you've heard, or if you want to sense-check something you've written.

Here's our pick of the best free text to speech software for reading either individual paragraphs or whole documents aloud.


1. Balabolka

Save text as a spoken audio file, with customizable voices

Lots of voices to choose from

There are a couple of ways to use Balabolka's free text to speech software: you can either copy and paste text into the program, or you can open a number of supported file formats (including DOC, PDF, and HTML) in the program directly. In terms of output you can use SAPI 4 complete with eight different voices to choose from, SAPI 5 with two, or the Microsoft Speech Platform if you download and install the necessary files. Whichever route you choose, you can adjust the speech, pitch and volume of playback to create custom voice.

In addition to reading words aloud, this free text to speech software can also save narrations as audio files in a range of formats including MP3 and WAV. For lengthy documents you can create bookmarks to make it easy to jump back to a specific location and there are excellent tools on hand to help you to customize the pronunciation of words to your liking.

With all these features to make life easier when reading text on a screen isn't an option, Balabolka is best free text to speech software around.

2. Natural Reader

Free text to speech software with its own web browser

Choice of interfaces

Natural Reader is a free text to speech tool that can be used in a couple of ways. The first option is to load documents into its library and have them read aloud from there. This is a neat way to manage multiple files, and the number of supported file types is impressive, including ebook formats. There's also OCR, which enables you to load up a photo or scan of text, and have it read to you.

The second option takes the form of a floating toolbar. In this mode, you can highlight text in any application and use the toolbar controls to start and customize text to speech. This means you can very easily use the feature in your web browser, word processor and a range of other programs. There's also a built-in browser to convert web content to speech more easily.

3. Panopretor Basic

Easy text to speech conversion, with WAV and MP3 output

Exports in WAV and MP3 formats

As the name suggests, Panopreter Basic delivers free text to speech conversion without frills. It accepts plain and rich text files, web pages and Microsoft Word documents as input, and exports the resulting sound in both WAV and MP3 format (the two files are saved in the same location, with the same name).

The default settings work well for quick tasks, but spend a little time exploring Panopreter Basic's Settings menu and you'll find options to change the language, destination of saved audio files, and set custom interface colors. The software can even play a piece of music once it's finished reading – a nice touch you won't find in other free text-to-speech software.

If you need something more advanced, a premium version of Panopreter is available for US$29.95 (about £20, AU$40). This edition offers several additional features including toolbars for Microsoft Word and Internet Explorer, the ability to highlight the section of text currently being read, and extra voices.

Best Voice Recording Software For Mac

4. WordTalk

An extension that adds text to speech to your word processor

Customizable voices

Developed by the University of Edinburgh, WordTalk is a toolbar add-on for Word that brings customizable text to speech to Microsoft Word. It works with all editions of Word and is accessible via the toolbar or ribbon, depending on which version you're using.

Best Voice Over Software For Mac

The toolbar itself is certainly not the most attractive you'll ever see, appearing to have been designed by a child. Nor are all of the buttons' functions very clear, but thankfully there's a help file on hand to help.

There's no getting away from the fact that WordTalk is fairly basic, but it does support SAPI 4 and SAPI 5 voices, and these can be tweaked to your liking. The ability to just read aloud individual words, sentences or paragraphs is a particularly nice touch. You also have the option of saving narrations, and there are a number of keyboard shortcuts that allow for quick and easy access to frequently used options.

5. Zabaware Text-to-Speech Reader

A great choice for converting text from websites to speech

Good file format support

Voice Recognition Software For Mac

Despite its basic looks, Zabaware Text-to-Speech Reader has more to offer than you might first think. You can open numerous file formats directly in the program, or just copy and paste text.

Alternatively, as long as you have the program running and the relevant option enables, Zabaware Text-to-Speech Reader can read aloud any text you copy to the clipboard – great if you want to convert words from websites to speech – as well as dialog boxes that pop up. Zabaware Text-to-Speech Reader can also convert text files to WAV format.

Unfortunately the selection of voices is limited, and the only settings you can customize are volume and speed unless you burrow deep into settings to fiddle with pronunciations. Additional voices are available for a US$25 fee (about £20, AU$30), which seems rather steep, holding it back from a higher place in our list.

Set up Dictation

Choose Apple () menu > System Preferences, click Keyboard, then click Dictation. Turn on Dictation and choose from these Dictation options:

  • Choose whether to use Enhanced Dictation, which lets you use dictation when you're not connected to the Internet.
  • Choose your language and dialect. Some languages, such as English, have multiple dialects.
  • Choose the keyboard shortcut you will use to start start dictating.
  • Choose your preferred microphone from the pop-up menu below the microphone icon.

In macOS Sierra, you can ask Siri to “turn on Dictation” for you. Siri isn't the same as Dictation, but you can ask Siri to compose short messages, such as email and text messages.

Use Dictation

  1. Go to a document or other text field and place the insertion point where you want your dictated text to appear.
  2. Press the keyboard shortcut for starting dictation, or choose Edit > Start Dictation. The default shortcut is Fn Fn (press the Fn key twice).
    When your Mac is listening, it displays a microphone to the left or right of the page, aligned with the insertion point. If you turn on advanced dictation commands, the microphone appears in the lower-right corner of your screen, and you can drag it to another position. When your Mac can hear you, the input meter inside the microphone rises and falls as you speak.
  3. Speak the words that you want your Mac to type. Dictation learns the characteristics of your voice and adapts to your accent, so the more you use it, the better it understands you. If it doesn't understand you, learn what to do.
  4. To stop dictating, click Done below the microphone icon, press Fn once, or switch to another window.

Speak the following words to enter punctuation or other characters. These may vary by language or dialect.

  • apostrophe '
  • open bracket [
  • close bracket ]
  • open parenthesis (
  • close parenthesis )
  • open brace {
  • close brace }
  • open angle bracket <
  • close angle bracket >
  • colon :
  • comma ,
  • dash -
  • ellipsis …
  • exclamation mark !
  • hyphen -
  • period, point, dot, or full stop .
  • question mark ?
  • quote ”
  • end quote ”
  • begin single quote '
  • end single quote '
  • semicolon ;
  • ampersand &
  • asterisk *
  • at sign @
  • backslash
  • forward slash /
  • caret ^
  • center dot ·
  • large center dot •
  • degree sign °
  • hashtag or pound sign #
  • percent sign %
  • underscore _
  • vertical bar
  • dollar sign $
  • cent sign ¢
  • pound sterling sign £
  • euro sign €
  • yen sign ¥
  • cross-eyed laughing face XD
  • frowny face :-(
  • smiley face :-)
  • winky face ;-)
  • copyright sign ©
  • registered sign ®
  • trademark sign ™
  • equals sign =
  • greater than sign >
  • less than sign <
  • minus sign -
  • multiplication sign x
  • plus sign +
  • caps on (formats next phrase in title case)
  • caps off (resumes default letter case)
  • all caps (formats next word in ALL CAPS)
  • all caps on (proceeds in ALL CAPS)
  • all caps off (resumes default letter case)
  • new line (adds line break)
  • numeral (formats next phrase as number)
  • roman numeral (formats next phrase as Roman numeral)
  • new paragraph (adds paragraph break)
  • no space on (formats next phrase without spaces)
  • no space off (resumes default spacing)
  • tab key (advances cursor to the next tab stop)

If you turned on Enhanced Dictation, you can also use dictation commands to bold, italicize, underline, select, copy, delete, undo, and perform other actions.

About Enhanced Dictation

Enhanced Dictation is available in OS X Mavericks v10.9 or later. With Enhanced Dictation:

  • You can dictate continuously.
  • You can dictate without being connected to the Internet.
  • Your words might convert to text more quickly.
  • You can use dictation commands to tell your Mac what to do.

Best Voice Over Software

Without Enhanced Dictation, your spoken words and certain other data are sent to Apple to be converted into text and help your Mac understand what you mean. As a result, your Mac must be connected to the Internet, your words might not convert to text as quickly, and you can speak for no more than 40 seconds at a time (30 seconds in OS X Yosemite or earlier).

If you're on a business or school network that uses a proxy server, Dictation might not be able to connect to the Internet. Have your network administrator refer to the list of network ports used by Apple software products.

About Dictation and privacy

To learn about Dictation and privacy, choose Apple () menu > System Preferences, click Keyboard, click Dictation, then click the About Dictation & Privacy button. At all times, information collected by Apple is treated in accordance with Apple’s Privacy Policy.

Best Voice Recognition Software For Mac 2018

Learn more

Best Voice Editing Software For Mac

  • To use dictation on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch, tap the microphone on the onscreen keyboard, then speak. Consult your iPhone or iPad user guide for details.
  • If the Slow Keys or Sticky Keys feature is turned on in the Accessibility pane of System Preferences, the default keyboard shortcuts for dictation might not work. If you need to use those accessibility features, create a custom dictation shortcut: Choose Apple menu > System Preferences, click Keyboard, click Dictation, then choose “Customize” from the Shortcut menu.