Read Text Extension

This site will help you use the Read Text Extension effectively with Writer, Calc, Draw, Impress and Web Writer. You can get started translating and reading text aloud right away without installing software by using the extension's web application option. For greater security and responsiveness, use a text-to-speech application or script on your computer. You can use it with any external program or script that can open a plain text file from the command line. The main dialog of the Read Text Extension now includes access to a web application for creating QR codes. QR codes are patterns of squares that embed text in a visual image so that mobile devices can quickly and reliably read information with a built-in camera. The QR code application is powered by the Google Chart API.

Built-in speech

The extension uses a built-in speech application by default. For example, Linux uses espeak. Apple OSX uses say. Windows uses wscript to access the system voices.

What does Read Text Extension do?

This add-on lets an external program or web application read text from Writer, Calc, Draw, Impress, Web Writer or the system clipboard. If you use it with a text-to-speech program, it can help you to edit your writing or to compare your document's text with a printed document. It can help you to learn a new language or to find out how to say words you do not know.

OpenOffice or LibreOffice?

Both Apache OpenOffice and LibreOffice work well with the extension. If you are using Apache OpenOffice 4, you need to update the extension with a version that is compatible. Versions that are compatible with Apache OpenOffice 4 include an "A" in the file name (Read_Text.0.8.29A.oxt). Versions without the "A" in the file name are compatible with LibreOffice 3, 4 and 5 and with OpenOffice 3. (Read_Text.0.8.28.oxt). Use the "Compatibility" column on the download page to confirm the best version for you.

Key benefits

  • Simple to install. Click the Get It button at the Extensions web site. Open the extension with LibreOffice  or OpenOffice.org. Approve the license. Restart the program.
  • Simple to set up. Click the icon on the menu bar or choose Tools > Add-Ons > Read selection... Choose the program or website you want the extension to use and click OK.
  • Simple to use. Select some text. Click the icon on the menu bar. If you don't want to see the dialogue when you click the icon, remove the check from Always show this dialogue.
  • Flexible. Since you can choose different external applications or websites, how you use the extension is only limited by your imagination. Send a brief email or text message. Translate text. Speak different languages. Look up phrases with Google Search. Save the spoken text to a portable music player.
  • Open Source. View the source code. Check it out. Adapt it to your needs. Use open source code in your own open source project.

Is this extension for you?

The add-on uses a temporary text file with an external program. Depending on the security set up of your computer, other users or programs might be able to read the contents of the text file. If you are concerned about privacy, launch this add-on again with no text selected to replace the temporary file that contains the text you want to remain confidential. The path and name of the temporary file is shown in the Command and Script areas of the About... dialog.

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