It really can speak to you.

computer friend









Since the beginning of the computer age, people have been trying to make their computers talk to them. These days, that functionality is built right into your computer – both PC and Mac. It’s free and I’m going to show you how to activate it.

Turns out there are over a dozen ways to do that. Let’s look at two of the most practical and easiest ways – using a PDF viewer and using a program called TypeIt Readit.

Most people use Adobe Acrobat Reader to view and print PDF files. If you’re one of them, double click on one of those PDF’s and it should open up in Acrobat Reader. If it opens up in your web browser, they you first need to disable the browser add-in that makes it do that. Click this link for instructions on how to do that.

Once you have your document displayed inside Acrobat Reader, click on the View menu at the top and then select “Read Out Loud”. You will then see options to play, pause and restart the computer reading you the document. For this to work, the PDF must be an original – it can’t be from a scan. You can tell the difference by trying to highlight some of the words. If you can’t then Acrobat see the words as images and not text, so it won’t be able to read them to you.

If like me, you use an Acrobat Reader alternative, such as Foxit Reader, the steps are the same. Once the document is displayed in Foxit Reader, click on the View menu to see your “reading” options.

Next, here is an entirely different way to have your computer read you almost any text from any program. Download a free copy of TypeIt Readit at this link. It’s available for both PC and Mac. After you start the program simply copy and paste text from anywhere into the big empty window in TypeIt Readit. Then press the “Read” button on the right side of the screen. You can also type in your own text and have it read to you.

wargamesThose of you who remember the 1983 movie WarGames starring Matthew Broderick, will understand when I typed in “Hello Cary. Would you like to play thermonuclear war?” Then I would press the play button when someone walked into my office. Who says you can’t have fun while being more productive with technology?