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Developer(s) Emacspeak Inc.
Initial release 25 April 1995; 23 years ago (1995-04-25)[1]
Stable release
47.0 / 21 November 2017; 9 months ago (2017-11-21)
Preview release Non [±]
Repository Edit this at Wikidata
Written in C, Emacs Lisp, Tcl[citation needed]
Operating system Cross-platform[which?]
Available in English
Type Screen reader for a Text editor
License GPL
Website emacspeak.sourceforge.net

Emacspeak is a free computer application, a speech interface, and an audio desktop (as opposed to a screen reader). It employs Emacs (which is written in C), Emacs Lisp, and Tcl. Developed principally by T. V. Raman (himself blind since childhood, and who has worked on voice software with Adobe Software and later IBM), it was first released in April 1995[1]. It is portable to all POSIX-compatible OSs. It is tightly integrated with Emacs, allowing it to render intelligible and useful content rather than parsing the graphics (hence it is sometimes referred to not as a separate program, but a subsystem of Emacs); its default voice synthesizer (as of 2002, IBM's ViaVoice Text-to-Speech (TTS)) can be replaced with other software synthesizers when a server module is installed. Emacspeak is one of the most popular speech interfaces for Linux, bundled with most major distributions. The following article is written on 20th anniversary of Emacspeak [2]

Emacspeak achieves its integration by being written largely in Emacs Lisp using "advice", enabling it to literally be a wrapper around most functions that change or otherwise modify the display. Auditorily, verbalizations are pre-emptible, and common actions like opening a menu or closing a file have a brief sound associated with that particular action; it also immediately verbalizes all insertions of characters, and attempts to speak as much of the context sentences around the cursor's present location as possible.

Emacspeak facilitates access to a wide variety of content, from the web to DAISY books.[3]

On Monday, April 12, 1999, Emacspeak became part of the Smithsonian Museum's Permanent Research Collection on Information Technology at the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History.

Version naming[edit]

As of April 13, 2017, Emacspeak is at version 45.[4] Each release was codenamed after a dog.[5]


  1. ^ a b Announcing Emacspeak 3.0, April 25, 1995
  2. ^ Emacspak Turning Twenty. Retrieved 2014-09-15.
  3. ^ Source code for handling DAISY books. Retrieved 2007-02-18. Archived February 6, 2012, at the Wayback Machine.
  4. ^ "Emacspeak --The Complete Audio Desktop". Retrieved 2017-04-13. 
  5. ^ Emacspeak (August 2018). "Press Releases And Announcements". 

External links[edit]