What ifht you could listen to your Word document being read to you from your phone or tablet? Though it may not be a need for many people, I am sure it would be handy for some, and its also quite possible thanks to an Word app called AudioDocs, which records the text and makes it available as an audio file.
AudioDocs is a free open source project available from the wonderful SourceForge web site. It is currently at version 2.2.1 and is a 50.5 MB download in ZIP format.
This is a stand-alone app, as opposed to being a plugin for Word. Office previously contained speech to text (OneNote still does), though it is now built right into Windows 8 and can be used with several apps. However, this does not provide the ability to read a document back to you or to save it as an audio file.
The app is extremely simple. Once launched you can browse for the file you wish to turn into speech. You then have several options for the voice you wish to record in -- all are computerized, of course, so do not expect anything sounding like an audio book here. Options include David, Hazel and Zira. You can also adjust the recording rate and volume, both via slider bars on the screen. Once your choices are made then select the "Create AudioDoc" button at the bottom of the screen.
As the file is created you will hear nothing, but a box will pop up alerting you of completion. The new file, which is in WAVE format, will automatically be saved to the same folder that contains the original document. There are absolutely no options in this program, so you can not choose file type or save location, you will simply need to convert the file and move it on your own, if you so choose.
AudioDocs works as promised and recoding doesn't take too long for an average, file. While it is not something I am likely to use on a regular basis, I can see the case for putting long documents in audio and then listening to them as a double-check that everything sounds as it should, or for taking them on the go. Best of all it is free and open source.
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