Even many experienced Opera users do not know that it is possible to activate the so called "Voice" mode in Opera to use voice commands in Opera and also let Opera read text in websites for you. Before you can use any of the voice features in Opera you need to install the voice add-on package which can be downloaded right from within Opera. Go to Tools > Preferences > Advanced and select Voice from the left pane. Click on the button "Enable voice-controlled browsing" and follow the few steps that are self explanatory.
Once the voice add-on for Opera has been downloaded you can start using the feature. All you need ia a microphone for the voice commands - of course, would not make much sense to simply yell at your flat screen monitor - and the operating system Windows XP or 2000. You do not need a microphone if you only want to listen to Opera reading websites for you. Instead of saying "Opera Speak" into the microphone to let Opera read text for you you can simply mark the text and either right-click it and select speak or by pressing V.
Opera will then read out loud the text that you have chosen. You can stop this at anytime by pressing ESC. The voice is of course the typical computer generated voice that reads the text fine but lacks emotions. This is still great if you want to read something on a website but can't be present at the computer. You could for instance cook a meal or clean a room while Opera is reading the website to you.
Let us talk about voice commands in Opera for a second. Opera understands hundreds of voice commands once the voice feature has been activated. The syntax for those commands is that you begin every command with "Opera" and then the action. If you wanted to reload the active page for instance you would say "Opera reload" and if everything worked out well the page would be reloaded.
Instead of using "Opera" as the command you can also use "Browser", "Baby" and "Hal". I love their sense of humor. "Baby reload", hehe. Just don't use the commands if your girlfriend is near, she might become jealous..
You can access the list of available voice commands by clicking on Edit in the voice tab. Opera divided the commands into several categories like Browser Window, Compose Window and Mail Panel. Be sure to check them out before you try your luck with commands that might not exist.
I personally like the voice option in Opera. I don't use the commands that often but I like to use the text to voice feature from time to time.
Update: The voice feature has been removed in Opera 12, it is no longer available in the browser.
Advertising revenue is falling fast across the Internet, and independently-run sites like Ghacks are hit hardest by it. The advertising model in its current form is coming to an end, and we have to find other ways to continue operating this site.
We are committed to keeping our content free and independent, which means no paywalls, no sponsored posts, no annoying ad formats (video ads) or subscription fees.
If you like our content, and would like to help, please consider making a contribution:
Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.