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NaturalReader

screenshot of natural readerNaturalReader is a free text reader which can be installed on your Windows PC. It operates in its own program Window or as a floating Miniboard.

It can read text from:

  • Microsoft Word,
  • PDFs, including digital examination papers;
  • emails,
  • the internet.

Download:

  • Version 16 (available from NaturalReader)
  • Version 13 (an older version available from CALL Scotland).
 

How do I use NaturalReader?

There are 2 ways to operate NaturalReader:

  • as a 'Miniboard' sitting on top of other programs;
  • or in its own program Window.

1. Miniboard

If you want to read short sections of text - from an exam paper or web page for example - then the Miniboard is more practical because it lets you see more of the page on screen.

To activate the floating toolbar, click on More at the top right of the NaturalReader window and and choose Miniboard.

Then:

  1. Select the text you want to read;
  2. Click the Play button to have it read out.

To change the voice or voice speed, click the Settings cog.

 

2. Program Window

If you want to read a lot of text - a book chapter, for example - then copying and pasting into the window is perhaps best.

  1. Copy the text (Press Ctrl-C) you want to read
  2. Paste it into the NaturalReader Window (Press Ctrl-V);
  3. Click the Play button to have it read out.

Changing the voice

You can choose your reading voice with the Settings cog. NaturalReader can use the free high quality Scottish voices available for the Scottish public sector.

There are also a paid-for version of NaturalReader which comes with their own high quality voices. 

The paid-for versions can also:

  • save the text as an audio file;
  • change pronunciations;
  • add tags to change the voice or reading;
  • add a toolbar to use NaturalReader in Microsoft programs and browsers;
  • use word prediction;
  • convert scanned images to readable text.
 

Installation on school computers

We have been asked if free NaturalReader can be installed on school computers, so I contacted NaturalReader to check.

I asked:

A school has contacted me to ask if they can install free NaturalReader on the computers in the school – can you advise if this is acceptable under your licence?

They said:

Yes, the free version of NaturalReaders may be used without restrictions.