FREE Microsoft Text-to-Speech Software & “How to”

Microsoft’s Jay Waltmunson sent me “Text-to-Speech” samples from the upcoming Windows Vista operating system.


Click to listen to:  

SAMPLE #1 – Windows Vista “Anna”  

SAMPLE #2 – Windows XP “Sam” (for comparison)  

SAMPLE #3 – Research Project: "Whistler" has Mark SINGING Penny Lane and a duet with Melanie SINGING Unexpected Song. 


PREVIOUSLY there were only a few “Text-to-Speech” options: 

Windows – Turn-On Narrator and have Windows Announce Various Events.  

Office – Unfortunately, only previous versions of Excel could “talk to you” – as well as “force” the other Office programs to speak.  


TODAY there are many (easy to use) solutions available: 

OFFICE 2003’s built-in Language Toolbar allows all Office programs to easily use “Text-to-Speech” technology. 

  1. on the Window’s Toolbar, from Toolbars, select Language Bar

  2. From now on: simply highlight the text you wish read, then from the Language Bar click on the “Speak Text” icon!  (Great when proofing a Word document, or you want an Outlook email read aloud.)



MS-Agents components provide animated characters to appear during specific help or instruction. (Support FAQ)


eBooks Reader offers a digital version of printed (text-to-speech) books offered by many book publishers and sold by popular online retailers.   

NEW & TOO COOL! DeskBot (based upon MS-Agents) can read text in ANY application (even with Internet Explorer!). Just highlight the text and double click the MS-Agent character. Additional Microsoft SAPI 4.0 Voices. (Thanks again Jay)  


Microsoft Speech Server is the only speech platform to comprehensively support Web-based touchtone (DTMF) and speech-enabled IVR applications, as well as multimodal applications, and includes speech application development tools, Microsoft’s enterprise-grade Automatic Speech Recognition (ASR) engine, the ScanSoft® Speechify™ Text-to-Speech (TTS) engine, a prompt engine, a SALT Interpreter (voice browser), and telephony services. (Support Blog: Speech Server Coffeehouse)

Order a FREE 180 Day Evaluation CD 

Microsoft Speech API SDK  is used to develop applications for Microsoft Speech Server with Visual Basic or JScript. (Support Document: Speech API SDK Help File)  

Microsoft Speech SDK is used to develop desktop applications for speech with C++ or Visual Basic. (Support Document: SAPI) Note: The bundled TTSapp.exe program allows you to save TTS to a wave file!  

NEW! Voice Prompt Vocabularies for Microsoft Speech Application SDK – 500 Reusable number, date, time and navigation prompts recorded with professional voice talent in recording studio.

Microsoft’s Speech API guru Robert Brown, has a great blog and must-see interview & demonstration on Channel 9.  

Microsoft Speech Technology Bloggers  

NEW! Speech Server Team Blog  

Coding4Fun  Giving Computers a Voice (programming tutorial)   

WikiPedia "Speech Synthesis"   

NEW! GotSpeech.NET – The online community for Microsoft Speech Server developers



About blakehandler

BLAKE was a Microsoft MVP and award winning programmer with over 20+ years experience providing complete Windows and networking support for small to medium sized businesses. BLAKE is also Jazz Musician and Instructor for residential clients on the Los Angeles West Side.
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1 Response to FREE Microsoft Text-to-Speech Software & “How to”

  1. Unknown says:

    How about Firefox addon Text to voice. Simple yet powerful. I’ve been using it since a long time and I’m a happy user.

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