There are so many free options available for reading digital text aloud that it’s impossible to keep track of them all. I’ve written about many here. Some, such as Speak Selection in iOS, work only on specific devices. Others are far more versatile. I first wrote about Free Natural Reader more than 4 years ago. Since then, because of its versatility, it has become the free text-to-speech application I recommend most often for anyone who needs text read aloud on a laptop or desktop computer.
Free Natural Reader is available for Windows and Mac. Once installed, it can be used for reading text aloud almost anywhere–in a word processor, on web pages, in email programs, etc. There are three ways to use Natural Reader. First, by copying and pasting text into a text box, with a floating tool bar, or via a keyboard shortcut.
Here’s a video from the Pacer Center that does a good job of demonstrating what you can do with the free version of Natural Reader. There is just one omission in the video that I think is important. You can also read selected text by holding down the Control key and hitting F9.