5 Microsoft Narrator Alternatives for Visually Impaired Windows Users
Integrated into the Windows operating system, the Narrator screen reader is a great help for visually impaired users. However, you or a visually impaired loved one may not find the Narrator right for you. Or maybe you just don’t like his vocals.
But there are some good alternatives to Narrator that you can try. Read on to find out some of these screen reader apps that offer advanced features or more natural voices. They could be what you need to connect, work and enjoy your journey.
Dolphin ScreenReader is a powerful screen reader designed and developed for people who are blind or severely visually impaired. It will allow you or a visually impaired family member to access information on your Windows desktop through an intelligent voice or connected braille display.
The Dolphin ScreenReader gives you full access to Windows applications and Microsoft Office so you can work easily and efficiently. You will find ScreenReader easy to navigate with its straightforward keyboard access and well-arranged control panel.
ScreenReader supports over 60 braille display models, and you can switch between speech and braille at any time: use speech to type and read pages, use braille to work with sighted colleagues, or give presentations with your speaker notes in Braille.
In addition, you have the choice between synthetic and natural voices with 30 different accents and languages. Additionally, you get speak-as-you-type functionality and can also control the verbosity of the description, as well as the volume and speed of your favorite ScreenReader voices.
EasyReader for Windows is also included in Dolphin ScreenReader, so you get fully accessible versions of thousands of books and newspapers.
According to Dolphin ScreenReader users, the settings are very easy to change, updates are easy to do, and the online help and support is also excellent.
To download: Dolphin Screen Reader (Subscription required, free trial available)
Are you looking for a screen reader with natural sounding voices to read documents, text and books? The easy-to-use natural player could be a good helper.
Natural Reader reads all texts such as Microsoft Word files, web pages, PDF files and emails. It also features a pronunciation editor so you can manually change the pronunciation of a particular word.
Using the OCR function, you can convert printed characters into digital text, which you can listen to and edit in a word processing program. You can also use OCR to convert screenshots of text from eBook desktop apps, such as Kindle, into voice and audio files.
With Natural Reader, you can further enhance your computing experience by configuring enhanced accessibility features in Windows 11.
The free version of Natural Reader gives you unlimited use with two free Microsoft voices and a Miniboard to read text directly on the page in other apps. However, you will need to purchase one of the three paid plans to access the natural voices.
The paid versions also allow you to convert text to MP3 files. It can help a child with dyslexia who finds reading difficult because you can convert the child’s reading homework into MP3 files to listen to on a music player.
To download: natural reader (Free in-app purchases available)
JAWS (Job Access With Speech) was originally released in 1989 for MS-DOS by Ted Henter, a former motorcycle racer who lost his sight in a car accident in 1978.
Today, JAWS is the world’s most popular screen reader developed for visually impaired computer users. You can use JAWS to access applications on your PC via speech and Braille.
With JAWS, you can surf the Internet with web navigation keys, write a document, fill out web forms, read emails, and create presentations from your office, remote computer, or from home.
JAWS lets you set your voices, keystrokes, HTML preferences, verbosity levels, and more. And with JAWS scripting, you can customize JAWS to work with any application, such as proprietary software developed by major employers.
You’ll find it easy to work on documents and browse the web, thanks to its built-in commands and keyboard shortcuts for Microsoft Office, Google Docs, Chrome, Edge, Firefox, and other popular web browsers. In addition, you will enjoy clear and understandable sound thanks to its two multilingual synthesizers.
The 2022 release of JAWS includes a sound splitter, so if you’re using headphones or stereo speakers, you can route all JAWS or Fusion speech to one ear while routing audio from all other apps to the ear. other ear. This way, you can continue working with JAWS while following a Zoom or Teams meeting, Skype call, or YouTube video.
You can download JAWS for free and experience its 40-minute demo mode before deciding to purchase one of its licenses.
To download: JAWS (From $95/year)
NVDA (NonVisual Desktop Access) screen reader for the blind and visually impaired stands out from the crowd. It’s not only free and open source, but also as powerful and functional as paid screen readers.
Developed by NV Access, a registered charity, the award-winning NVDA has been translated by volunteers into over 55 languages and used by people in over 175 countries.
You can use NVDA for free, worldwide and it’s great if you speak a minority language where options are limited or expensive.
If you are looking for a job, NVDA can be a good support since your employer won’t have to bear the cost of a paid screen reader. You can carry NVDA on a USB stick and work or connect wherever you want. Plus, on the go, you can stay self-sufficient with great text-to-speech apps for your Android phone.
You’ll work better and smarter with NVDA because this fast, lightweight screen reader offers superior stability and is easy, intuitive, and comfortable to use.
With NVDA, you can access and interact with many popular applications, including web browsers such as Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome, email clients, Internet chat software, music players, and office programs such as Microsoft Word and Excel.
Moreover, you can use NVDA in your preferred language as the built-in speech synthesizer supports over 50 languages and many other third-party voices. And with support for many updatable braille displays, you can easily work with braille too.
As the developers say:
NVDA Screen Reader can be downloaded for free by anyone. We do this because we believe that everyone, especially the world’s poorest blind people, deserves access to computers and a way out of poverty.
To download: NVDA (Free)
Just click the Speak button on the TextAloud toolbar and hear text, documents, emails and web pages sound like natural speech on your Windows PC.
You can also listen using TextAloud extensions available in Microsoft Word, Outlook, Edge, Google Chrome and Firefox. If you want to listen to the text later, TextAloud lets you create audio files that you can download to your smartphone or portable device.
Plus, if you or a loved one struggle with reading, you’ll find that word highlighting in TextAloud helps reinforce recognition when you follow along. TextAloud helps people with dyslexia, ADD and low vision.
You can try TextAloud free for 20 days. The paid version offers premium voices with a variety of languages and accents.
To download: Text aloud ($34.95, free trial available)
Choose a Windows screen reader that makes computing easy and enjoyable
If you’re not too happy with Narrator, now might be a good time to try out the Windows screen readers featured here. We hope they help you or your loved ones achieve a more satisfying computing experience and make things easy and enjoyable.