New Features in TextAloud 3
Find out why TextAloud 3 is the one you've been waiting for!
You will love the new tabbed interface with more options than ever before to personalize TextAloud 3 and make it yours.
Highly customizable clipboard and mouse monitoring plus more new toolbars provide a more seamless experience.
TextAloud 3 is the ultimate tool to help you hear your text read as well as proofread your writing. Enhanced HotKeys give you more control over specific options and default voices. Spellchecking is now integrated plus we added a dictionary to look up and pronounce English words. Better word highlighting and smoother scrolling make it easier to follow along while listening.
We have greatly improved pronunciation editing and word filtering, added more document types, and given you more options for things like inserting tags and automatic pauses. The heavily used options for file splitting and writing to audio files have been rebuilt based on extensive customer feedback.
Main Program Interface
Articles now display in a tabbed interface, making it easier to work with multiple articles. The main menu, toolbars and popup menu can all be personalized by moving buttons between toolbars and customizing icons for the popup menu, system tray, buttons and more. Use the standard toolbar layout, or change it as you like to better fit how you use TextAloud 3. We have also more than tripled the number of available skins.
Following Along With Your Text
Smooth scrolling support is now available for articles. Several new word highlighting options are available when text is spoken from articles in TextAloud 3. Both "Primary" and "Secondary" highlighting capabilities are available, and allow the current line (or paragraph) to be highlighted in one color while the current word is highlighted in another color. A feature called "Masking" allows any text which is not currently highlighted to be dimmed. Masking text that is not being spoken can help you to concentrate on the text you're actually listening to.
Drag and Drop
Drag and drop support is extended to include files as well as text, letting you can now add articles by dragging one or more files from Windows Explorer, and dropping them on the TextAloud 3 main window.
Clipboard and Mouse Monitoring
The dialog displayed when text is copied to the clipboard is now a less intrusive, small notification at the bottom of your display. Clipboard monitoring is highly customizable. Tailor which buttons are displayed on the prompt, and also choose applications you want the clipboard monitoring function to ignore. Also, you can configure TextAloud 3 to 'watch' your mouse for text selections. When you release your mouse button after selecting some text, TextAloud 3 can process the text selection the same way it processes text on the Windows clipboard.
Several new actions can be configured as TextAloud 3 hotkeys, and hotkey actions can be customized with specific options. For example, TextAloud 3 now allows you to create multiple hotkeys for reading text aloud, with a different voice assigned to each hotkey. You can also configure hotkeys to change the default voice.
Existing toolbar plugins for Internet Explorer, Firefox and Microsoft Outlook have been updated, and new plugins for Microsoft Word, Outlook Express and Windows Mail are available. All toolbars allow you to configure which buttons are displayed, what button size to use, and whether button captions should be displayed. All toolbars now support word highlighting.
Integration with Windows Explorer
TextAloud 3 now integrates with the Windows Explorer popup / context menu. The popup menu entry "Open With TextAloud" allows you to select one or more files in windows explorer, and add the files to TextAloud 3 as individual articles.
Support for new document formats has been added. Supported document formats include text, RTF, Microsoft Word (.doc and .docx), WordPerfect (.wpd), Open Office (odt), PDF, HTML and XML. Html document support in TextAloud 3 has been greatly improved. Microsoft Word documents can now be imported to TextAloud 3 without the previous requirement that Microsoft Word actually be installed on the machine.
TextAloud 3 includes support for archiving; articles can now be archived when deleted and unarchived later. An option is available to purge articles from the archive automatically once the reach a specified age. If you delete an article from TextAloud 3 and you decide you want to listen to it later, you can unarchive the article and load it back into your TextAloud 3 article list.
TextAloud 3 has improved support for multiple languages. It is now possible to create pronunciation editor entries that are language specific, and random/round robin voice selections are based on a default language setting in TextAloud 3.
TextAloud 3 now includes an integrated spell checker. A spell check dictionary for US English is included, while dictionaries for other languages and specialized terminology (including technical, medical and legal) are available for download.
English Dictionary Lookup
You can select any English word in an article, and select "English Dictionary Lookup" from the popup menu. TextAloud 3 will lookup the word in an online dictionary service, display the definition in a window, and speak the definition aloud.
TextAloud 3 includes a completely rebuilt pronunciation editor. Pronunciation corrections can now be made voice, langauge, and/or vendor specific, and may be conveniently grouped into multiple dictionaries. Dictionaries and associated dictionary entries are activated automatically, based on whatever voice is currently speaking. The new pronunciation editor dialog greatly simplifies the process of creating entries to respell text, skip text, spell text, and supply voice level phoneme corrections. Multiple dictionary support also allows you to create dictionaries that are customized for specific kinds of text. For example, you can set up separate dictionaries for legal, medical, and technical terminology, and enable/disable dictionaries as needed.
Two different methods for proofreading are now included. Using the previous Proofreader window is now referred to as "Vocal Proofreading". A new proofreading method, called "Step Proofreading" has been added that lets you proofread text in an article. Special step functions available from the menu allow you to step through the text, where TextAloud 3 automatically pauses after each step, letting you step forward and backward through the text, and step by letter, word, line, paragraph and screen.
Both Vocal and Step proofreading are recognized in TextAloud 3 as "Profiles", where profiles allow you to configure text processing specific to these proofreading modes. For example, when either of these proofreading modes is active, you can configure TextAloud 3 to play sound files when certain characters are encountered, speak punctuation characters aloud, and so on.
Support for More Audio Formats
In addition to being able to create mp3 and wma audio files, TextAloud 3 can now produce audio files using standard codecs available on your system. TextAloud 3 also allows you to configure encoders not included in the Windows Multimedia system as "Custom Encoders". So if you have an encoder program on your system that encodes audio to a format not supported by TextAloud, it is possible to hook your program into TextAloud as custom encoder.
Writing Audio Files
The process of creating audio files has been streamlined in TextAloud 3:
- For Sapi5 voices a feature called "Direct Encoding" allows audio files to be created directly from text. The need for intermediate wav files and resampling steps is completely eliminated, resulting in much better performance.
- For both Sapi4 and Sapi5, processing large articles has been improved, and the requirement to split large articles before writing audio files has been removed.
- A tag can now be included to automatically split audio files at each split tag in the text. This allows you to create multiple audio files from a single article.
- An option is available to automatically split audio files by time. Instead of using a split tag, articles are split automatically based on a time value you specify.
- Audio files generated by TextAloud can now include background audio, using any .mp3, .wav or .wma file that you specify. The background audio volume can be adjusted, allowing a soft background track to loop as you listen to a lengthy article.
A panel in Audi File Options now gives you control over the ID3V2 tags written to audio files.
File Splitter Improvements
The file splitter utility has been updated to allow splits to be written directly to TextAloud 3 articles, as well as output to text files like before. There are also new split options available that allow you to split by target output size, split by paragraph, and split by keywords in the text. Splitting by keyword has also been improved to let you specify exactly what happens to the keyword itself at each split. You can now chose to leave the keyword at the end of the previous split, the start of the new split, or exclude the keyword from both splits.
Automatic Insertion of Pauses and Other Text
Options to automatically insert pauses in the text has been expanded. TextAloud 3 provides a variety of "insertion points", and several choices for what can be automatically placed at any insertion point. As in TextAloud 2, you can specify pauses to be automatically inserted at the end of each sentence and/or paragraph. With the new insertion point functionality in TextAloud 3, you can also specify automatic text insertions that speak the article title before speaking article text, play an audio clip at the end of an article, and so on.
(** Note: Some of these tags work only with Sapi5**)
TextAloud 3 has a menu (and toolbar) dedicated to inserting tags in articles to control spoken audio. You can easily insert tags in for the following:
- Insert pauses
- Adjust speed, pitch and volume as text is spoken
- Tag words or groups of words to be spelled instead of spoken as words
- Embed audio clips (.mp3, .wav. or .wma files) in the text
- Mark places in the text where audio files should be split automatically, allowing you to generate several audio files instead of one large one
- Add comments in the text that are not spoken.
"Automatic Actions" in TextAloud 3 is a more general way of handling certain features implemented as "options" in TextAloud 2. Previous options to delete an article after speaking, or start speaking automatically, are now implemented as automatic actions. These are much more flexible, include notification capabilities, and will be expanded in the future for increased functionality.
Character Speaking and Filtering
TextAloud 3 includes a wide range of capability for handling individual characters. You can configure groups of characters with options to filter the characters, speak the characters, play sound files, or insert pauses in the text.
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