Text to Speech: Free Online Text to Voice Info for 2024

April 23, 2024 | By Sam Pelton
Cartoon representation of a robot speaking content from a text message


Text to speech (TTS) is technology that allows users to convert text content into audio content, often with the use of AI. It is used for a variety of purposes, such as accessibility and content creation. Some top TTS providers are Google Cloud Text-to-Speech, Murf, and NaturalReader. TTS voice quality has improved and sounds impressively humanlike, but still doesn’t sound exactly like a real human voice.


Marnie is an imaginary content creator.

She’s great at what she does—she can churn out quality content on a deadline and makes every effort to connect with her intended audience.

But there’s one thing she struggles with…


And the reality for her is that it’s quite time-consuming to create quality voiceovers.

On the other hand, Jake works for an organization that needs to make frequent announcements to staff and members.

Often they want their announcements to be voice announcements—but this just isn’t feasible.

What do Marnie and Jake have in common?

They can both benefit from the same thing: a text to speech solution.

Let’s go over the in’s and out’s of what text to speech is and how you can use it for your own purposes.

What Is Text to Speech? (Text to Speech Reader)

Text to speech (TTS) is a method of data input-output in which you can enter text content and receive an automatic audio output—without the need to manually create a recording.

What Is AI Text to Speech?

In the current technological climate, text to speech is normally accomplished through the use of AI technology.

AI is able to synthesize a human voice, detect the text output you give to it, and then provide you with an audio playback of that synthesized human voice.

What Is Text to Voice?

Text to voice is simply another way to say “text to speech.” There is no difference between these two phrases.

Text to Speech Generator: Text to Speech Online

Text to speech occurs through the use of text to speech online generator tools, typically powered by AI.

These tools often allow you to select the “voice” from a range of voice options, depending on the style and language that you’re targeting.

Some top TTS online generators include:

Read Aloud Text to Speech

These TTS generators will take the text input that you give them and will read aloud the content according to the voice options you select.

So with the examples from the introduction above, Marnie and Jake would be able input the script that they want, and the TTS generator would read aloud that text with a human-like voice.

Note I said human-like

Does the speech output actually sound like a human voice?

In reality, most AI outputs do fall short of fully sounding like a real human.

But they do a pretty good job all things considered, and the technology can only get better.

How to Use Text to Speech

So how do you actually use text to speech?

  1. Find the generator tool that you want to use.
  2. Select your preferred voice settings—you can often choose elements such as gender, nationality, and presentation style.
  3. Enter the desired text content.
  4. Listen to (or download) the audio output.
What Are Some Ways People Use Text to Speech with the bullet points below

What Are Some Ways People Use Text to Speech?

Text to speech is used for a variety of purposes, including but not limited to…

  • Accessibility: TTS technology helps individuals with visual impairments or neurodiverse learning styles to access digital content such as books, articles, websites, and emails by converting text into spoken language.
  • Content Creation and Consumption: TTS technology allows marketers and other content creators to repurpose, convert, or incorporate written content into audio formats that users can consume while multitasking or on the go.
  • Customer Service: TTS allows for automated customer service, giving callers a way to interact with a computerized system and receive spoken responses.
  • Notifications: TTS allows communicators to send out audio notices without needing to actually record the message—this is more feasible and scalable in many cases.

Best Text to Speech: Free Options

So what are some good free online TTS options?

Well, there are a few. But the free options do come with a caveat: you’re not able to access full features.

One key feature you may not be able to access is the ability to actually download your audio output—so keep that in mind.

But if all you want to do is hear (not download) an audio playback, there are some options available to you…

These all have limited free options that could be useful to you.

Best Text to Speech: Paid Options

Most of the services that have a free option also have more robust paid options, so the list above would be the same.

Note that some of the pricing mentioned below would be at an annual rate, although monthly options are available as well…

  • Google Cloud Text to Speech – paid plans start at $4/month for 4 million characters
  • Murf – paid plans start at $29/month for 2 hours of voice generation
  • NaturalReader – paid plans start at $24.50/month for commercial accounts or $4.99/month for personal accounts
  • Speechify – paid plans start at $24/month for ~4.2 hours of voice generation

Google Text to Speech Options

There are a couple of options for text to speech that you can pursue via Google…

Google Cloud

This was mentioned briefly above, but Google Cloud has a text to speech option.

(After all, they have everything else so why not text to speech?)

The caveat with Google Cloud’s option is that it doesn’t have its own platform, so you’d need developers to get it set up.

How to Do Text to Speech on Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides

Another option besides Google Clouds is to use Google Docs, Google Sheets, or Google Slides.

For this to work, you first need to install a screen reader app.

Using Google Docs as the example—once you have the screen reader app installed, you can visit the “Accessibility” section within Google Docs and select “Turn on Screen Reader Support.”

Tooltip accessibility
Accessibility Settings screenshot

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A new “Accessibility” tab will appear in your main toolbar.

Select that “Accessibility” and the “Verbalize to screen reader” option to see your text to speech options within your Google document.

Accessibility Tab screenshot

Text to Speech Voices

What about the actual voices in voice to text software?

Are the voices actually high quality? Are they natural-sounding?

Natural Reader Text to Speech

Text to speech voices are better than they’ve ever been, thanks to AI.

While there’s still a long way to go before they can sound totally natural—like a real human being reading a script—some come surprisingly close.

One example of a voice to text tool that specifically markets itself as “natural” (it’s even in the name!) is NaturalReader.

And the reviews seem to be consistent with that claim to a natural sound.

(You can test out some of their voices to see for yourself.)

The bottom line is that it is better for a human to do a voiceover or to read the text in question. However, in the absence of a human who is able to physically do it—or in the absence of resources to fully invest in a quality human-recorded voiceover—text to speech voices aren’t too bad of a substitute.

Example: Joe Biden Text to Speech

One example of how powerful text to voice options can be is the recent Joe Biden voice imitation scandal, in which a robocall was sent out imitating Joe Biden’s voice via an AI text to speech tool.

This incident shows both the powerful potential and the dark side of text to speech.

Note that we do not condone in any way, shape, or form using text to speech to deceptively impersonate anyone—and most certainly not the President of the United States.

Example: Donald Trump Text to Speech

A similar example to Joe Biden is using text to voice solutions that imitate Donald Trump’s voice.

Again, this technology isn’t perfect but it is pretty amazing.

And again, we do not condone in any way using this technology to deceptively impersonate anyone at all.

It’s just an example of the amazing capabilities of text to speech in our current AI-driven climate.


Here are some answers to your frequently asked questions regarding text to speech…

How to Enable Text to Speech

Enabling text to speech will vary based on the device or service you’re wanting to enable it on.

For most devices and services (including both Android and Apple), you will go the the Accessibility section, which on phones is located under your Settings.

iPhones actually have two text-to speech options: one for reading back text that you select on the screen and one for your phone to read out loud text that you input into it.

How to Disable Text to Speech

To disable text speech from a device or service, you would simply go to the Accessibility section (where the text to speech option was enabled), and change the setting back.

On a phone, this should be a toggle that you can tap to disable the feature.

How to Turn Off Text to Speech on Android

As mentioned above, to turn off text to speech on an Android device, go to Settings→Accessibility→Text-to-speech output.

From there you should be able to toggle off the text to speech option.

How to Do Text to Speech on TikTok

TikTok specifically has a text to speech function you can use when creating your videos.

  1. After uploading/recording your video, you should see a “Text” option while editing the video
  2. You can then enter the text that you’d like to be read aloud
  3. If you select the text, a “text-to-speech” option should appear
  4. You can select the voice that you like the most

SMS as an Alternative to TTS

While text to speech can be a good option for many situations, in some cases SMS can be a better option.

For example, people in the current climate are more drawn to text messages than they are to receiving a phone call from an automated voice.

Alternatively, you can combine both concepts for maximum effect—i.e., you could send a text message that links to the text to speech content you’re wanting to share.

Try a free SMS platform trial today to see if it would be a good fit for you.

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