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A word about Read Out Loud

Adobe Acrobat has a text-to speech feathre called Read Out Loud. It can be activated under View > Read Out Loud > Activate Read Out Loud.

Actvitate Read Out Loud

Actvitate Read Out Loud

To actually have something read out loud, go to View > Read Out Loud > Read This Page Only or  Read to the end of Document

Choose this page only or to the end of the doc

Choose this page only or to the end of the doc

A robotic voice will read the page to you. This is helpful when you want to approximate what a screen reader will read when reading your PDF file. Note, however, that the Read Out Loud feature is not a screen reader. It won’t, for instance, properly read tables. With screen readers you can use certain keystrokes to have the screen reader associate cells with their header cells in a properlly tagged PDF file. There are no keystrokes for tables when using the Read Out Loud feature.

A better way, in my opinion, to find out what a screen reader will read, is to use the copy to clipboard feature. Click on a tag (I like to use the Part tag for this. This way the text copied will be whatever was on the page.) This will copy the text from the tag onto your clipboard. You can then paste it into a text file to make sure the order is correct.  If your page has lists, the lists will show up in the text as lists and any alt text for figures will be listed as well.

clipboard

Right click on tag select copy contents to clipboard

Paste into text file

Paste into text file

Note, however, even this does not give you the correct reading order with tables. You’ll need to make sure your table is properly tagged and trust the end-user will know the keystrokes in his or her screen reader to read the table.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. yusef permalink
    February 12, 2015 4:48 pm

    I’m wondering why there is not a good software for reading pdf aloud for desktop computers while there are many for mobile devices

  2. Leta permalink
    June 8, 2016 2:09 pm

    what about the table summaries its not reading them although they are there

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