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Read aloud selected text in InDesign

New Here ,
Mar 20, 2019 Mar 20, 2019

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Hi there - a colleague is using InDesign 5.5 on a Windows machine and needs a way to get the highlighted text read aloud. Speech software such as Dolphin Supernova can read aloud text in Google apps and other programmes, but we haven't yet found anything that can read aloud text on a page in InDesign (or story editor mode or incopy). Any advice would be very welcome. Many thanks!

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Community Expert , Mar 20, 2019 Mar 20, 2019

Your friend needs to use a real screen reader that follows the industry standards for accessible text-to-speech.

On Windows, try JAWS or NVDA.

  • JAWS is by Freedom Scientific http://www.freedomscientific.com/  You can download a trial version that gives you 40 minutes of use. After that, you must either buy the software outright or reboot your computer to get another 40 minute session.
  • NVDA is free from NV Access. https://www.nvaccess.org/

Both programs can read anything that's on a Windows screen,

...

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Community Expert ,
Mar 20, 2019 Mar 20, 2019

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You could export the InDesign document as a PDF and you can Read Out Loud that.

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Community Expert ,
Mar 20, 2019 Mar 20, 2019

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True, but the PDF would have to be accessible for Acrobat's Read Aloud tool to work. That's not an easy thing to do!

|    Bevi Chagnon   |  Designer & Technologist for Accessible Documents
|    Classes & Books for Accessible InDesign, PDFs & MS Office |

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Community Expert ,
Mar 20, 2019 Mar 20, 2019

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It's not an area of particular expertise for me, but I found it easy to run the PDF Speak Out Loud feature.

Screenshot 2019-03-20 at 17.38.27.png

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Community Expert ,
Mar 20, 2019 Mar 20, 2019

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Sure, it's easy as pie to use Acrobat's Read Out Loud utility!

But that's not the issue: it all depends on how well the InDesign document was constructed, and then whether the PDF was exported from InDesign for accessibility.

For most PDFs made from InDesign, Read Out Loud can "speak" the words on the page, but the reading order is out of whack, making the content incomprehensible. It's jibberish. That's why the construction is InDesign is so critical.

|    Bevi Chagnon   |  Designer & Technologist for Accessible Documents
|    Classes & Books for Accessible InDesign, PDFs & MS Office |

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Community Expert ,
Mar 20, 2019 Mar 20, 2019

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Your friend needs to use a real screen reader that follows the industry standards for accessible text-to-speech.

On Windows, try JAWS or NVDA.

  • JAWS is by Freedom Scientific http://www.freedomscientific.com/  You can download a trial version that gives you 40 minutes of use. After that, you must either buy the software outright or reboot your computer to get another 40 minute session.
  • NVDA is free from NV Access. https://www.nvaccess.org/

Both programs can read anything that's on a Windows screen, any program, any file type. But that doesn't mean it will be able to give a satisfactory experience in InDesign. Two reasons:

  • The InDesign document itself must be made accessible with a correct reading order, Alt-text, etc.
  • And InDesign wasn't developed to be an accessible program. The PDFs exported from InDesign CAN be accessible, but not necessarily the base INDD layout file.

If your friend must read the INDD file for editing purposes, you might want to try Adobe's matching InCopy program. I believe it's still available as a free download.

|    Bevi Chagnon   |  Designer & Technologist for Accessible Documents
|    Classes & Books for Accessible InDesign, PDFs & MS Office |

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New Here ,
Mar 20, 2019 Mar 20, 2019

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Thank you - this is really helpful

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New Here ,
Dec 04, 2023 Dec 04, 2023

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I have read all replies below. As a user and an editor, I listen to text before I finalize a document. Am I still bound to copying and pasting the text into Word or another product to hear what I've written? I've done cursory searches and don't seem to find this accessibility tool available for users of the software and not just end-users of the document.  Any help is appreciated. Thank you.

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Adobe Employee ,
Dec 08, 2023 Dec 08, 2023

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Hi,

 

Sorry for the delay in response. Let me assure you I'll share your feedback with the Engineering team. You can do that too here. This is the best way of sharing the feedback with the Engineering team.

 

Thanks

Rishabh

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