‘TalkText’ is a minimalist text to speech utility that makes use of the built in TTS voices that come with Windows 7 & 8. They may not ‘sound’ that great when compared with some premium text to speech engines out there, but for simple needs, they are still pretty decent.
Anyhow, with ‘TalkText’, you can open a text file directly into its window or can simply ‘copy’ a text content from any application (say in your Web-browser), and it will be read automatically by ‘TalxText’ because it monitors your clipboard continuously (disabled by default).
It supports Pausing/Resuming/Stopping the speech, clearing out the text, input text manually by tying, Copy/Paste/Undo/Delete operations, save the input into a text file, change fonts, and most importantly, it has the ability to convert the text into Wave Audio File Format (‘WAV’).
According to the developer, the latest version also supports saving into the MP3 format, although that option was disabled while I was testing it (it seems to be depending on ‘Lame’ -- open-source MP3 encoder, but I did not have it installed, perhaps that was the reason).
It also lets you tweak text to speech settings of the built-in Microsoft voices, docks into system tray when minimized, portable (as long as the PCs meet its needs -- running on a Windows 7 or 8) and according to its developer, it does not modify the Registry either.
Officially it only supports Windows 7, but it worked without issues under 8. If interested, then please download it from here.