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Deborah Armstrong

SAPI voices with Web reader and Windows 7 64-bit

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I wanted to demo the Bookshare web reader on Chrome to a staff member. We only have Windows 7 here; I don’t plan to upgrade until our college I.T. department officially supports it.

I am blind and an experienced bookshare member. But my job mostly involves assisting LD students and I want to be sure I master the interface to the web reader on Chrome which gives that population a better experience. Ideally, I want to be able to demo it flawlessly.
The department laptop and my office PCS are all running K1000, NVDA, TextAloud and Balabolka with a variety of great SAPI voices that I’d purchased.


I couldn’t get the Bookshare web reader on Chrome to use any of those voices; it only wanted to use Microsoft Anna.

My suspicion is that the problem is caused by my running the 64-bit version of Windows 7, and even though I can adjust voices using the 32-bit control panel aplet to change the default voice, that doesn’t seem to affect Chrome.


I know that one can install high-quality voices from the Chrome web store, but I really don’t want to log in to Chrome using my personal account; ideally I don’t want to log in to Chrome using any account so I can replicate the experience one might have in a computer lab.


The web reader works fine visually and it works fine with JAWS, NVDA and WindowEyes in Chrome, Firefox and IE. My current problem seems to be getting Cghrome to see all my SAPI voices.


I might have future problems, such as how to effectively demo a book with images, when I myself can't see them, but first I need to get more voices working. Luckily I'm technical and have been an individual member since 2002!


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HI Deborah,

Unfortunately Windows handles text to speech voices in sometimes strange and confusing ways.  It's actually very common for us to have computers with text to speech voices that are installed in a manner that only specific programs can access them, and not the full system itself.  

You can try navigating to the text to speech properties of the windows machine and see if the SAPI voices appear in the voice selector from there.  The easiest way to get to it that I know of is search for tts in the windows start menu, but you can also get to it from the Advanced Speech Options under the Speech Recognition section of the control panel.  If the SAPI voices can be set as your computer's native voice from that setting, you'll also be able to use them within the Web Reader using the Native Voice speech option in the Web Reader settings.

We have largely had great feedback from the Chrome Extension available from this link:

You should not need to actually log into Chrome to install that extension, but in a classroom environment you may need IT to install the extension.


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I have determined that Chrome just isn't going to use my SAPI voices, but as you said, I can indeed download the high-quality Google TTS without needing to log in. In fact, curiously if I do log in, which automatically enables ChromeVox, it causes the web reader to stop its self-voicing.

The secret therefore is to not log in to Chrome.


so I keep one machine logged in to chrome and another that never logs in. Solved the problem!


Another thing that can be done in a computer lab if one does need to log in to Chrome for some reason is to create a demo google account. I do this on our department iPAD so I can save searches and the like, but I use it strictlhy to demo features so there's no real personal information saved on that account.  

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