RIP: Evernote Clearly Text-to-Speech

Evernote Clearly text-to-speech feature has been eliminated.

Evernote Clearly text-to-speech feature has been eliminated.

As every writer or blogger knows, proofreading your own work is difficult and error prone. Some time ago, I published 7 Tips for Proofreading Your Own Work. In that post, I described how Evernote Clearly text-to-speech capabilities had become one of my favorite proofreading tools (and easily justified paying for an Evernote Premium subscription). Sadly, Evernote has decided to pull the Evernote Clearly text-to-speech functionality.

Today, I received the following from Evernote technical support in response to an inquiry about the missing text-to-speech feature:

Unfortunately, Text-To-Speech is no longer available for Evernote Clearly. It was removed because there was not enough users for it. I apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused for you. However, there are ways to enable Text-To-Speech on your individual desktops…

If you are interested, the company that provided support for this function to Evernote is called iSpeech. See more information at http://www.ispeech.org/text.to.speech

That’s a shame. As I described in my original post, it was a great proofreading tool:

But the icing on the cake is that Evernote Clearly text-to-speech works by reading the simplified formatting view described above.  In addition, the tool highlights each word in the text as it is being spoken aloud. As you listen and follow along, errors usually become quite obvious. Evernote Clearly also includes tools for highlighting text, so you can mark problem spots on the fly and continue listening.

I wonder if Evernote ever really appreciated the proofreading use-case for its Evernote Clearly text-to-speech functionality? They never positioned the feature as a proofreading tool. Perhaps it would have been more popular if presented this way.

For now, I’ve gone back to the combination of Evernote’s simplified text view and my MacBook Pro’s built-in text-to-speech capability. It’s not quite as nice a solution (it does not highlight words as it reads, the text-to-speech quality is not quite as high as iSpeech), but it is still workable.

In the meantime, if you know of a better solution, please add a comment below.

3 comments for “RIP: Evernote Clearly Text-to-Speech

  1. John
    May 16, 2015 at 4:42 am

    There are three tools that I use for text to speech:

    1. for reading webpages I use TextAloud

    2. for Word documents etc. NaturalReader.

    3. for text, pdf, epub etc I use Balabolka

    I also use a natural voice from AT&T called Paul. Balabolka is free and is actually my favourite.

  2. debra walters
    April 15, 2016 at 11:31 am

    The company who provided support (http://www.ispeech.org/text.to.speech).

    They also have a great Chrome Extension named Select and Speak:

    https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/select-and-speak-text-to/gfjopfpjmkcfgjpogepmdjmcnihfpokn?hl=en

    • April 15, 2016 at 11:36 am

      Thanks, Debra! I’ll take a look at Select and Speak.

      Update: I gave it a try and it does work very well. Unfortunately, the free version is limited to 1000 words per day. And while the quality of its speech is slightly higher than the OS/X built-in text-to-speech feature, I don’t find it sufficiently higher to justify a new monthly fee. At least for now, I’ll stick with OS/X’s built-in text-to-speech feature.

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