Microsoft Edge Read aloud: Now with PDF support

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Microsoft

Greetings Insiders,

 

Many people use the Read aloud feature in Microsoft Edge as a daily driver. It is super convenient to just pop in an earbud and listen to content while doing something else. Not just that, Read aloud helps auditory and visual learners to focus on content and learn more efficiently. Read aloud is currently available in Immersive Reader and for webpages—today, we are excited to announce that we are extending support to PDF files. Read aloud for PDFs is now available for everyone on the latest Canary and Dev builds and will be coming to Beta in early June.

 

Try it out

To access Read aloud, open any PDF file in Microsoft Edge from your computer or from the web. In the toolbar along the top, you will see “Read aloud” as an option. Click/tap on this button to start.

 

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fawkes_1-1590506602461.png

 

 

fawkes_2-1590506602487.png

 

 

Microsoft Edge will start at the beginning and highlight each word as it goes along. You can control the reading speed and choose your favorite voice via the "Voice options" menu from the toolbar at the top of the page. You can also play/pause the reading and skip ahead/go back a paragraph at your own pace.

 

Read aloud is also available on any webpage–simply highlight a piece of text, right click, and select "Read aloud" from the menu. (For shortcut lovers out there, you can launch Read aloud with Ctrl+Shift+U).

 

fawkes_3-1590506602489.png

 

You can access Read aloud through Immersive Reader as well. Open Immersive Reader from the address bar and select “Real aloud” from the toolbar.

 

Why?

Whether you're a tech insider or a casual user, Read aloud can help improve your reading experience.

 

Reduce reading fatigue: Do your eyes get tired from reading page after page? Read aloud lets you step away from the screen. It's like an audiobook but for emails, important documents, or webpages.

 

Enhanced engagement with content: Read aloud helps you read while performing other tasks. Listen to a recipe as you cook and then to your favorite blog while you eat. Do you have limited time? Increase the playback speed and hear the content at your own pace.

 

Catch typos and grammar mistakes: Sometimes all it takes to catch a spelling mistake or a grammar issue in your writing is to have someone else read it back to you. Read aloud is your new friend for proofreading that is available anytime, anywhere.

 

Education and accessibility: For people learning to read, Read aloud can help with reading comprehension. Additionally, Read aloud can help with pronunciation if you stumble across a new or unfamiliar word.

 

Support for more natural voices

You can customize your Read aloud experience by choosing from a variety of voice options. Powered by Text to Speech, Read aloud provides lifelike, natural-sounding voices that are easy to understand and enjoyable to listen to.

 

Online and offline support

Read aloud is available in both online and offline modes—if you’re in an area without an internet connection, this can be particularly handy. A basic set of voice options is made available when offline. For the full set of voice options, internet connectivity is needed.

 

Share your feedback

We are always looking for ways to improve this feature for you. Give it a try on a webpage, Immersive Reader, or a PDF and let us know what you think!

 

- The Microsoft Edge Product Team

 

 

27 Replies
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@fawkes 

 

As I've said in another post on 5/18 which can be found here , so far read aloud is working great in PDF files with no problems for me..  Maybe @fawkes could move that post to here... 

 

Dennis5mile

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@fawkes 
Thanks for this amazing feature, I use it all the time from its earlier builds.
I have a suggestion, WHY we are unable to open selected text from PDF files in Immersive Reader?
It will help us to get a clear view while reading some important things.

I really hope that this thing will be added in the next builds.
Thanks for your effort.

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Great! PDF reading is useful to me. And I like the natural voices

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@fawkes This is really good news. I was waiting for it for some time already. I can not wait to share it with my friends, but they use channels stable or beta. I hope it will be available there soon.

 

Do you have any news on the twin feature, translate the PDF?

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Spanish voices doesn't recognize letters with accents, instead of reading them, they skip them.

Example: compilación más reciente = compilacin ms reciente
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@matt_bits Oh good, I'm so glad that we could provide this for you. I have not specifically heard any news about PDF translation, but we did just announce today that Immersive Reader now offers translation options!

 

Fawkes (they/them)
Project & Community Manager - Microsoft Edge

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@JonyElectro We're sorry to hear that, but thank you for the great callout! Just to confirm that it isn't a particular bug, can you please submit detailed feedback and diagnostic data through the browser? (Shift+Alt+I)

 

In the meantime, I'll bring this to the PDF team's attention.

 

Fawkes (they/them)
Project & Community Manager - Microsoft Edge

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I did as soon as i realized it happened, i did also tweet about this to the msedge team about it.

also thanks for replying :D

 

Edit: I forgot to say this, but it only happens with PDFs, read aloud in web pages works correctly.

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@JonyElectro Of course, happy to help where we can! And an update: the team has seen your feedback and is looking into this.

 

Fawkes (they/them)
Project & Community Manager - Microsoft Edge

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@fawkes 

I tried it and it did not work. After some troubleshooting, I determined that setting the Site permissions/Media autoplay to "limit" prevented read aloud on pdfs from working.

 

I do not think this should happen. Most users think the media autoplay setting controls whether videos are allowed to autoplay on websites, not that it will somehow affect read aloud. Ironically, setting the media autoplay setting to "limit" does not stop websites from autoplaying video, which makes it the worst of both worlds--i.e., It does not work for its intended purpose and breaks read aloud on pdfs. 

 

Anyway, those are my 2 cents.

 

BTW, I'm on Version 84.0.522.11 (Official build) beta (64-bit)

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Interesting, I have media autoplay set to limited as well and read aloud works great for me. But I'm on the latest Canary build, Version 85.0.535.0 (Official build) canary (64-bit). Have you tried it in a different build/channels to see if it only happens for certain channels?

Dennis5mile
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Hmm, now I can change the media autoplay setting to "limit" and it still works. The method I used to troubleshoot the problem was open another profile where read aloud worked and set it side by side with my main profile where it wouldn't. After disabling extensions and not seeing any change, I started looking at settings that were different. The media autoplay setting was on "allow" on the profile where it worked and on "limit" on the profile where it would not work. I changed it to allow and read aloud started working, which is why I pegged it as the problem.

 

Now, if I change it back to "limit" it still works. I'm not sure what is going on.

 

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@dblagent007 Thanks for reporting that and sharing your updated findings. I looped our PDF team in, and they'll be looking into this shortly. And if you haven't had the chance yet, they'd appreciate it if you would submit diagnostic data through the browser (Shift+Alt+I).

 

Fawkes (they/them)
Project & Community Manager - Microsoft Edge

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@fawkes 

I submitted formal feedback through the browser (including diagnostic data) when I made the first post. I hope it helps. 

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@dblagent007 Perfect, we appreciate it!

 

Fawkes (they/them)
Project & Community Manager - Microsoft Edge

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HEY @fawkes,

 

I dont have the read aloud function anymore in PDF. It would be great if you could fix it. It all began with the downloading of microsoft edge. I have the version 83.0.478.45 (Offizielles Build(64-Bit).

 

Before EDGE it was perfect. I could stop at any time and also i could start wherever I wanted to read.

Cant you check the old system HOW it worked and fix it soon as possible? 

 

All this is not possible anymore, becuase the read aloud function is missing in the task.

Thank you !

 

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@MYJV_111 Thanks for asking here. After looking this over with the team, I realized that there was a piece that I missed in our original thread, so I replied there.

 

Fawkes (they/them)
Project & Community Manager - Microsoft Edge

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@fawkes I really like the read aloud feature but it doesn't work well on books converted to web-pages. For some reason the dictation service can't tell what spaces are and is clumping words together. I am trying to read through a chapter of the deep learning book and it stumbles consistently. It also really challenging to pick up functions and walk through charts.

https://www.deeplearningbook.org/contents/mlp.html

 

When there are headings at the top of a page indicating a chapter number of chapter title even if those are emboldened it reads them aloud in the same tone which doesn't make sense. There are also weird pronunciations with some of the words in this book that I haven't encountered in other texts with similar words. I have a fairly good experience with the read aloud service on most of the other PDF books online but this HTML reading is awful. I would encourage you to use this as test data to retrain the text to speech model because there is something off about the input, maybe the data format is not able to input the spaces correctly so it is causing the spaces to be translated as something else?

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@fawkes 

 

Thanks to Microsoft staffs for quick supporting.

 

I have some trouble when I use the read-aloud function on pdf.

 

A few days ago, my Microsoft was updated to a new version, chromium version windows 10.

When I use the new function on a textbook pdf, I don't feel much comfortable to use it. 

I would like to use the function at the same level as the previous version. 

 

The new read-aloud function has several issues comparing to the previous version. 

1. Long loading time. (obviously, if I used more than 800 pages pdf)

2. Pausing during scrolling. (whenever I scroll a little bit, it stops again)

3. I used to highlight the script where I want to start read-aloud. However, it starts from the begging. (ex. the text begins reading from p. 1, even I highlight on p. 200)

4. The new function "read previous paragraph" and "read next paragraph" will jump to the next page. (some pdf files don't recognise paragraphs, and in my case, it jumps to next page)

 

I love to use the read-aloud function. Because of I get used to the previous version, I tried to reinstall the previous Microsoft Edge version, and it was unsuccessful. So, I would like to request support staffs to consider the read-aloud function. It saves my time a lot and very useful!

 

Thank you!