7 Great Apps to Voice Read Text

In this day and age, texting is done, not with a physical keyboard, but with a virtual keyboard on-screen, but not everyone is adept at this form of typing. One of the better alternatives is using Google Voice Typing on your Android device. Rather than type the words yourself, you speak them and Google does the work of typing for you.

Installing Google Voice Typing

In order to use Google voice typing, you’ll need to download and install Gboard to your Android. It’s free to download and install and you can get it straight from the Google Play Store. However, you may already have it installed. Depending on your Android manufacturer, it may come preinstalled, out of the box. If it is, and you view its information page on the Google Play Store, it will say “Update” rather than “Install.” In that case, update it.

1. Locate and launch the Google Play Store app. Its icon is a colorful triangle. You can the Google Play Store app somewhere on one of your home screens or inside your App Drawer. All currently installed apps are housed in your App Drawer.

2. At the top, tap the search bar. When your virtual keyboard is launched, go ahead and type “Gboard” and select it from the search results below. Its icon is Google’s iconic “G” on top of a blue keyboard. Selecting it will redirect you the app’s information page.

3. On Gboard’s information page, select INSTALL. Gboard will immediately download and install to your Android device.

If it’s already installed on your Android device, it might say UPDATE instead. In that case, you want to select it. Always keep Gboard up-to-date if you’re using voice typing often.

Activating Google Voice Typing

1. Locate and launch the Settings app. Its icon is a gear. You can find it among your apps on one of your home screens or inside your App Drawer.

You can open the Settings app through your notification shade as well. Tap your notification bar (the bar at the top that displays your time, battery life and notifications) or tap and swipe down to reveal your notification shade. You’ll find the gear icon among your quick settings menu.

2. In your Settings, head down to Language & input and select it.

current keyboard

3. In Language & input, head down to the section Keyboard & input methods. Underneath, choose Current Keyboard. It will prompt a small window.

4. Choose Gboard among the different selection of keyboard available.

text to speech output

5. Go back to Language & input. Head down to the section Speech and choose Text-to-speech output. Make any necessary changes, like speech rate or pitch. You can even alter Google Text-to-speech engine at the top by selecting the gear to the right.

Using Google Voice Typing

1. Launch an app that allows you to type with your virtual Gboard keyboard.

microphone

2. In the text field, tap the microphone icon on the keyboard. Google Voice Typing is now active.

3. Keep your Android device a few inches away from your microphone. Speak loud and clear so Google Voice Typing picks up on your words correctly. It can take some time getting used to. You can speak and actively watch that your words are being interpreted correctly before sending the message.

Bottom Line

Being able to speak your words, rather than type them, can free your hands up while you’re doing something important and can’t use your hands. However, it should go without saying, it’s best to stay away from this feature if you’re driving. It can be tempting to answer a text message, but it just isn’t worth it.