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Balabolka Portable 2.15.0.715

Have your PC read the text of Word, PDF, EPUB and other files

by Mike Williams

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License: Freeware
Operating Systems: Windows 10, Windows 7 (32 bit), Windows 7 (64 bit), Windows 8, Windows Server, Windows Vista (32 bit), Windows Vista (64 bit), Windows XP
Requirements:
Languages: English, Arabic, Bulgarian, Chinese (Simplified), Chinese (Traditional), Czech, Dutch, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Hungarian, Italian, Japanese, Polish, Portuguese (Brazil), Portuguese (Portugal), Romanian, Russian, Serbian, Spanish, Turkish, Ukranian
Software Cost: Free
Date Updated: 11 October 2019
Watchlist: Add download to my watchlist
Downloads To Date: 70
Developer: Ilya Morozov
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Balabolka Portable
Read text from many file types

Balabolka is a free and powerful text-to-speech program which can read the text from Office documents, PDF files, web pages and more. It uses Microsoft's Speech Platform and requires at least one Microsoft voice, but this shouldn't be a problem for most PCs. (If in doubt, launch Narrator.exe, or look for Narrator options in Control Panel's "Ease of Access Centre"; if Narrator can read text, Balabolka should be able to do so as well.)

At its simplest, you can just use the program to open and read a file. Supported formats include PDF, DOC, DOCX, AZW, AZW3, MOBI, PRC, DJVU, EPUB, HTML, TXT, RTF, RAR, ZIP and more. You're also able to tweak the narration speed, pitch and volume.

Just as with any other text-to-speech software, Balabolka regularly makes pronunciation errors. But unlike most of the competition, it also provides a way to fix them.

Click the "Panel of Dictionaries" toolbar button, and check "default_dic". Highlight any word which isn't pronounced correctly, right-click it and select "Pronunciation". Change the spelling in the "Like this" box to something which helps the program say that word correctly - replace Philadelphia with Phillaadellphia, say - and click "Add and Save". That word should now be spoken correctly.

Once everything is set up as you like, click File > Save Audio File to save the document as an MP3 or WAV.

Alternatively, click File > ID3 Tags, check "Set ID3 tags" and click Text > Add Text to MP3 Tags. The spoken text will be saved as tags within the MP3 file, then appear on playback, synchronised with the speech (just like song lyrics) as long as your media player supports that.

What's new in 2.15.0.715 (see changelog for more)?

- The using of Yandex Speechkit was updated

Verdict:

A versatile text-to-speech tool with some unusual features

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Spotlight: Free Full Software

Windows 10 November 2019 Update ISO (build 1909)

Free Full Commercial Software

This is the latest version of Windows May 2019 Update. it's a media creation tool that can be used to upgrade an existing installation of Windows or create installation media for another PC. Just make your choice after launching the tool and it'll do the rest.

What was new in Windows 10, when it was released? The OS brought back the Start Menu, though with a twist: live tiles keep you up-to-date with the latest news while also providing an easy way to launch apps. (Don't worry if you prefer the Start Screen, it's still there and you can boot into it if you prefer.)

Apps now work much more like regular desktop programs. They have minimise, maximise, restore and close buttons, and can be resized (to a degree) and organised however you like.

If you've still lost track of a program in the mass of open windows, a new Task Spaces feature can help. Click its taskbar button and you'll see thumbnails for everything running now, a little like OS X's Mission Control - just click something to switch to it.

Better still, Task Spaces also supports virtual desktops. Add extra desktops as required and it'll display thumbnails of each one, making it easy to identify whatever you're after and switch to it.

There's also smarter snapping, new customisation options, and even a bunch of experimental additions to the command prompt.

November 2019 Update brings a whole host of new features for Windows 10. See the Microsoft Blog for more information.

The Windows 10 ISO will give you build 1090 which is the November 2019 Update.

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