How to Speak PDF: A Guide to Text-to-Speech for PDFs

Jun 27, 2024

a speaker on desk - Speak PDF

Arib Khan

Are you tired of staring at a screen trying to read your favorite PDFs or documents? You may be always on the go and find it hard to sit down and read a document. If so, you may be interested in book-reading apps. Learning about text-to-speech for PDFs could be a game-changer, allowing you to absorb the information you need without straining your eyes or requiring a quiet environment to focus.

Justlisten's eBook to Audiobook Converter could be the key to helping you achieve this goal. By converting your PDFs into audiobooks, you can listen to your documents while doing other tasks, making learning or absorbing information a breeze.

Table Of Contents

What is Text-to-Speech (TTS) for PDFs?

a kindle with book - Speak PDF

Text Analysis

The TTS software meticulously examines the written text in the PDF. It identifies individual words, sentences, and punctuation and analyzes the language structure, including grammar and syntax.

Phonetics Conversion

Phonetics is the study of speech sounds. The TTS software uses its understanding of phonetics to assign phonetic codes to each element within the text. These codes represent the specific sounds that make up human speech.

Voice Synthesis

Finally, the software leverages its knowledge of phonetics and a pre-recorded speech database to create a human-like voice that utters the text according to the assigned phonetic codes. The synthesized voice's quality and naturalness depend on the TTS engine's sophistication and the speech database it uses.

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Built-in Text-to-Speech Features in PDF Readers

person reading a book - Speak PDF

Many popular PDF readers have built-in Text-to-Speech (TTS) functionality. This allows you to convert the text in your PDFs to spoken audio directly within the reader application.

Here's a look at using the built-in TTS in Adobe Acrobat Reader, a widely used PDF reader:

  • Open your desired PDF document in Adobe Acrobat Reader.

  • Navigate to the top menu bar and select the "View" tab.

  • Within the "View" menu, locate the "Read Out Loud" option and click on it.

  • A submenu will appear, offering two choices: "Read to End of Document" and "Read This Page Only." Choose the option that suits your needs.

  • Adobe Acrobat Reader also allows for some customization of the TTS experience. Right-click anywhere on the document to access a context menu. Select "Read Out Loud" from this menu, and you'll find options to adjust the reading speed, choose a different voice, or pause/resume playback.

Beyond Adobe Acrobat Reader

While it's popular, several other PDF readers offer built-in TTS functionality.

Microsoft Edge

The default PDF reader on Windows 10 and 11, Microsoft Edge, incorporates a basic TTS feature. To access it, navigate to the "Immersive Reader" mode and activate the "Speak" function.

Foxit Reader

This free PDF reader provides a TTS option within the "View" menu. It allows you to choose specific sections for reading and offers some voice customization options.

Nitro Pro

A paid PDF editing and management software, Nitro Pro, includes a robust TTS feature with advanced controls for voice selection, reading speed, and highlighting the text as it's being read.


The availability and specific functionalities of built-in TTS features may vary depending on the PDF reader version you're using. It's always recommended to consult the reader's user guide for detailed instructions.

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JustListen converts ebooks into audiobooks in minutes. Upload your epub file, and an audiobook will be ready in minutes. Our team has built leading AI voice tools, so we have integrated AI voice technology to enable you to listen to audiobooks in essentially anyone’s voice! 

Try our eBook to Audiobook Converter for free today. Just login with Google or create an account, and you’ll be set to go within minutes. Turn your eBooks into Audiobooks with ease with JustListen.

Third-Party Text-to-Speech Software for PDFs

person using third part softwares - Speak PDF

Two primary ways to utilize third-party TTS software with PDFs include:

Integration with Existing PDF Reader

TTS software plugins or integrations work directly within your PDF reader, offering seamless access to TTS features.

Standalone TTS Application

By exporting PDF text to a compatible format supported by the TTS software, users can convert the text to audio and listen to the generated audio files.

Popular Third-Party TTS Software Options

Several well-regarded third-party TTS software options include:


This software offers high-quality voices with various accents and speaking styles. Users can adjust reading speed, pitch, and volume.


Known for its user-friendly interface and customization options, TextAloud allows users to highlight and convert specific text sections and save the audio in various formats.


Balabolka is free, open-source TTS software That provides basic yet functional features. Users can adjust reading speed, voice selection, and output formats. 

Transforming PDFs into Audio Files for Offline Listening

a child with phone using Speak PDF

Choosing Conversion Software

Selecting the conversion software is the first step in turning your PDF into an audio file. Dedicated software programs tailor-made for this task are readily available. 

Third-party text-to-speech software can also create permanent audio files from your PDFs. This setup allows offline listening without the original PDF or an internet connection.

Output Format Selection

The output format selection comes into play when converting PDFs to audio files. The choice must be made, and the popular options include MP3, WAV, and WMA. Each format has its peculiarities:


This widely used format provides a good file size and audio quality blend.


WAV files maintain the highest audio quality but have larger file sizes because they are uncompressed.


This format is common for audiobooks and balances compression with audio quality. When picking a format, consider storage space and desired audio quality.

Benefits of Offline Audio Files

Having your PDFs converted to audio files provides several advantages. One listens to the information offline, which is handy for travel or situations with limited internet access. 

Audio files are easily transferable to portable media players or smartphones, enhancing portability. They also allow for multitasking, freeing visual attention and enabling you to absorb information while engaging in other activities.

Limitations to Consider

It's important to be aware of certain limitations when converting PDFs into audio files. The conversion process might not replicate the original PDF layout or formatting perfectly. 

Complex layouts, tables, or images might not translate well into audio. Text-to-speech software might struggle with scanned PDFs where the text isn't machine-readable. For optimal results, use PDFs with a clean and accessible text format.

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Utilizing Built-in Accessibility Features for Text-to-Speech on Your Computer

woman on laptop trying to convert pdf - Speak PDF

Activating Text-to-Speech

To enable text-to-speech (TTS) functionality on your computer, locate the specific accessibility settings based on your operating system. On a Windows computer, head to the "Ease of Access" settings to find options related to "Text-to-Speech" or "Narrator." For Mac users, navigate to "System Preferences" and select "Accessibility." Under the "Vision" category, you can activate the "VoiceOver" feature, which includes built-in TTS functionality.

Using TTS with PDFs

Once you have enabled TTS on your computer, you can use it to access PDF files in various ways:

Screen Reader Integration

Many operating systems enable the integration of the built-in screen reader with your preferred PDF reader software. This integration allows the TTS feature to read the text directly within the PDF reader interface. By doing so, you can listen to the content within the PDF document in a spoken form.

Read Aloud with System-Wide Controls

Another way to utilize TTS with PDF files is by employing system-wide controls or keyboard shortcuts. With these tools, you can activate the TTS function and have it read any text displayed on your screen, including the text within a PDF file, making it easier to consume the content through audio.

Advantages of Built-In Features

Pre-installed Convenience

Built-in accessibility features come pre-installed on your operating system, saving you the hassle of downloading or purchasing additional software. This convenience allows you to readily access TTS functionality without additional installation steps.

Accessibility Focus

The built-in TTS features are designed with accessibility in mind, ensuring compatibility with various screen reader tools and assistive technologies. By leveraging these features, you can enhance your reading experience with audio output, making content more accessible.

Limitations to Consider

Limited Customization

While built-in TTS features offer core functionality, they may offer fewer customization options than dedicated third-party software. For example, you might have restricted control over voice selection, reading speed adjustments, and output format customization.

Compatibility Issues

In some cases, compatibility issues may arise between the built-in TTS and certain PDF reader software. Understanding these potential limitations will help you navigate the TTS landscape more effectively.

Let’s talk about JustListen

JustListen allows you to convert your ebooks into audiobooks in minutes. Just upload your epub file, and you'll have an audiobook ready in minutes. Our team has built leading AI voice tools, so we have integrated AI voice technology to enable you to listen to audiobooks in essentially anyone’s voice! 

Try our eBook to Audiobook Converter for free today. Log in with Google or create an account, and you’ll be set to go within minutes. Turn your eBooks into Audiobooks with ease with JustListen.

Frequently Asked Questions About How to Speak PDF: A Guide to Text-to-Speech for PDFs 

man on computer using Speak PDF

What are the best voices for reading PDFs? 

The best voice for you will depend on personal preference. However, many TTS engines offer a variety of voices with different accents and speaking styles. Experiment with different options to find one that you find clear and engaging.

Can I use TTS for PDFs on my mobile device? 

Yes, many mobile apps offer TTS functionality. Look for apps that integrate with your cloud storage or allow you to import PDF files directly.

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JustListen is an enhanced platform that converts your ebooks into audiobooks in minutes. Upload your epub file, and within moments, you’ll have a professionally narrated audiobook ready to listen to. 

Our team has harnessed the power of leading AI voice tools to develop this cutting-edge technology. By integrating AI voice capabilities, JustListen offers a unique feature that enables you to listen to audiobooks in virtually any voice you desire. Simply choose your favorite narrator, and JustListen will care for the rest

Easily convert your ebooks into audiobooks with JustListen

If you’re ready to significantly enhance your reading experience, JustListen is your solution. Whether you prefer listening to audiobooks during your daily commute, while working out, or simply relaxing at home, JustListen offers a quick and easy way to convert your ebooks into audiobooks. 

Try our eBook to Audiobook Converter for free today. Simply log in with Google or create an account, and you’ll be ready to go within minutes. With JustListen, turning your eBooks into Audiobooks has never been easier. Start transforming the way you experience books today!

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