Text-to-speech (“TTS”)/Speech Synthesis

TTS in Linux

(This section may have fairly little information at the time of this writing.)

[#gnuspech]: gnuspeech

At the time of this writing, the project's home page, specifically gnuspeech's home page: section about obtaining gnuspeech states, “Gnuspeech is currently fully available as a NextStep 3.x version, and partly available (specifically Monet) as a version that compiles for both Mac OS/X and GNU/Linux under GNUStep. These files are available in the CVS repository.” (So that text does seem to indicate that a full version may not yet be available for Linux.)


WikiHow.com: Convert Text to Speech on Linux says step #1 is to “Download festival, espeak or freetts.”

Speech software mentioned on Debian-related page

[#mssapi]: Microsoft's Speech Application Programmer's Interface (“Speech API”, “SAPI”)
Microsoft's site on speech describes some technologies from Microsoft. TOOGAM's tentative page about SAPI has some information. To summarize, SAPI 5.x was downloadable for WinNT4, Win98, 2K, and ME could download SAPI 5.x. WinXP included this technology. Win95 and earlier could download SAPI 4.0. There were various ways to use this, including downloadable software that uses this technology and, in some cases, technology that is bundled with the operating system and so may already be installed with the operating system.
Software using Microsoft's Speech API
[#sapi51ax]: SAPI 5.1 ActiveX control (usable from JavaScript, from a web page)

In Win98, JavaScript could call SAPI, allowing this speech to be used in web pages. However, web browsers may disable SAPI support unless “Initialize and script ActiveX controls not marked as safe” is moved from “Disable” (to “Prompt” or, less recommended, “Enable”). Note that some environments may have that option forcibly disabled (since security policies that are electronically implemented may force that setting).

(This section may be improvable with some clean-up.)
Archived page about integrating SAPI 5.1
Q154036 Q154036
Q318741 Q318741
forum post (old URL) mentions (about another ActiveXObject, "Word.Application") an error seen in Microsoft Internet Explorer that says “Automation server can't create object”. The solution may be to enable a setting called “"Initialize and script ActiveX control not marked as safe.” (Just because an ActiveX control didn't have the full marking process done, to make it “marked as safe”, doesn't mean to imply that it has been marked as being known to be unsafe.)

The following is some simple HTML code which will play speech in ActiveX browsers, but not cause any errors in other browsers.


<SCRIPT Language="JavaScript"><!--
if (window.ActiveXObject)
{ var SAPIAXObj = new ActiveXObject("Sapi.SpVoice");
var TextGreet = "Hello";
SAPIAXObj.Speak("" + TextGreet + ", World!" );


The above is simply a simple example web page. Certainly this technique can be integrated into other web pages and/or technologies used by web pages. For example, slidytlk.js (Slidy with talking support) was created to add support for SAPI 5.1 ActiveX to the presentation/slideshow solution called Slidy.

[#sapi4aax]: SAPI 4.0a AX
Microsoft has used the “killbit” technology to have systems be unable to use this technology. This was done because of security flaws. See: A news article, Another news article", MS08-032 security update info.
Misc AX info

Many web browsers do not support ActiveX controls. There may be security implications to allowing ActiveX controls to run: With ActiveX, a remote user can control a computer even after the web browser is closed. (This has been regularly put to use, professionally, by a company which provided remote troubleshooting. However, malicious users may also try to use ActiveX to control a machine, and undoubtedly some have succeeded in doing so.) Be well aware of this before changing security settings or making other changes to add any sort of additional supprot for running ActiveX.

ActiveX in MS IE
(This info would better be in a more generalized section about ActiveX, and so may be moved.):

The following information was obtained when using SAPI 5.1, although other ActiveX controls may also show this. If loading a local HTML file, some versions of MS IE may provide a warning such as the following:

Versions of MS IE that support an info bar may then present a warning that way:

If the user-made selection was to have the info bar allow content, then another warning is provided. Otherwise, if there is either no info bar, this warning may or may not occur:

In addition to all of the previous interactions which may or may not be seen, there is yet one more dialog box which may be seen, making the fifth prompt seen by the user just to be able to hear the SAPI-based sound:

For information about being marked as safe, see Q161873: Marking MFC as safe. However, the registry entries used by that method may refer to data that the software developer includes in the software, and so this might not be available for software where the source code is not available.

ActiveX in other browsers
(This info would better be in a more generalized section about ActiveX, and so may be moved.) Mozilla Support's info on ActiveX in Firefox, An add-on, An add-on
Microsoft Narrator

Narrator can read sections of windows (including identifying what type of object contains certain words), read highlight text, and even say the name of keyboard keys as they are pressed or start being held down. If Narrator is reading a lot of material and that is undesired, one option is to simply highlight (select) a little of bit text and Narrator will stop what it was reading and simply read the highlighted text instead. To turn off Narrator, exit the program (if it is visible on the screen) and ensure that the Accessability section in Control Panel is not causing it to be run. For example, in Vista: go to Control Panel, “Ease of Access Center”, “Use the computer without a display”, and ensure the checkbox entitled “Turn on Narrator” is unchecked. (Then choose the Save button.)

To run the program, run the program (which may be at %systemroot%\system32\narrator.exe) go to the Accessibilty (which Vista calls the “Ease of Access Center”) section of the Control Panel and click “Start Narrator.

Hperlinks to Microsoft resources: Win XP training info: Using Narrator, Win Vista training info: Using Narrator, Vista info

Versions: Win2K uses SAPI4, XP uses SAPI 5.1, Vista uses SAPI 5.3.


The ReadPlease website offered software for Windows 95 and later versions. There is a freeware version which does not expire, as well as paid/trial software with enhanced and/or different behavior.

Unlike Narrator, this does not come with Windows. Unlike Narrator, this may run in more versions of Windows.

At some point, the ReadPlease domain started redirecting to Google Site: ReaderPal: Info on ReadPlease which stated, “ReadPlease is discontinued”. Downloads were provided for existing users, and even registration codes posted: 939718100231563 for ReadPlease 2001 or ReadPlease 2003, and for ReadPlease ReaderBar there was a code of 0008 7719 8726 21B3.

There were versions named after years: In addition to ReadPlease 2001 and 2003, there was alsoa readPlease 2002.

Other solutions for Microsoft Windows

AnalogX Say It is freeware for Windows 95. The program's web page also documents compatability with Windows 7, so it should work with Windows versions at least that new.