Can I use Microsoft Anna with Windows XP?

September 5, 2007 at 9:01 pm | Posted in Microsoft, Software Industry, text to speech | 23 Comments

And Other Microsoft-Related Text to Speech Questions.

With the release of Windows Vista, Microsoft have introduced two new voices, Microsoft Anna – a female English voice and Microsoft Lili – a female Chinese voice. With this movement at the station, I thought I’d contact Microsoft and ask them a few text to speech related questions. Charles Oppermann, Program Manager for speech components at Microsoft was kind enough to provide some answers.

Mark: I am very interested in learning some of the background about the development of Microsoft Anna. Was the text-to-speech (TTS) engine and voice developed in-house or did Microsoft license some third-party technology?

Charles: Microsoft Anna is based on the MSTTS20 engine, codenamed “Mulan”.  It was developed entirely by Microsoft, specifically in our Advanced Technology Center in Beijing, China. 

Mark: What are the major improvements in Anna over Sam?

Charles: The major improvement is readability and a better sounding voice. 

Mark: Is Microsoft Anna only for use with Windows Vista or will she be made available for XP users?

Charles: Currently Anna is only available with Windows Vista.  However, there are a few products that include Anna that run on Windows XP, the first one is Microsoft Streets and Trips.  That is a North American mapping product, and I believe the European versions go by the name Microsoft Autoroute. We would like to make Anna available for Windows XP as an end-user download, but haven’t committed to that yet. Do you have an opinion whether we should or not?

Mark: I personally think you should make Microsoft Anna available as a download for XP. I would like to see TTS gain more acceptance in the community and having Microsoft provide better quality voices out of the box is a good way of achieving this.

I understand there is a Chinese voice that is based on the same technology. What version of Vista do I need to install this voice?

Charles: That is correct, in addition to Anna, we have Microsoft Lili for Chinese.  If you have Windows Vista Ultimate or Enterprise Edition, you can download the Chinese Language Pack which will install TTS and speech recognition engines for Chinese.  Chinese language versions of Windows Vista include Lili and Anna in the box.

Mark: What do you see as the most important areas for improvement in TTS technology on the Windows platform?

Charles: The most important area is language expansion, making our TTS engine speak in many languages.  We have an aggressive program to do this and will make the engines available in future server-based products and then make them available on the Windows desktop.

Mark: I’ve seen a number of grumblings on the web by people who want a male voice for Vista. Do you have any plans to make Microsoft Sam available for Vista?

Charles: There is no way we can make Microsoft Sam available on Vista.  A particular module in it did not meet our security standards and we decided to block it when upgrading to Windows Vista.  The L&H engines that come as part of Microsoft Office XP and Office 2003 don’t have this issue.

I want to see a male voice as well, but our main focus is voices for server-based products, which use predominately female voices.  However, this is something I’m working on.

Mark: Finally, are there any current blogs, forums, newsgroups, etc where Microsoft text-to-speech developers hang out?

Charles: My blog and Rob Chambers blog are active and we try to be responsive to information requests.  Several folks on our team try to keep an eye on the various Microsoft speech related newsgroups and forums (MS-Speech at Yahoo Group being one or the more active ones), but we really can’t provide support services through them. 

Mark: Thank you very much for your time Charles.

Notes:

The MS-Speech Yahoo group is mainly filled with speech recognition posts, although there is the occasional text to speech related post.

The Microsoft Speech Components group have just created a new blog for all things Speech @ Microsoft.

If you must have Microsoft Anna for Windows XP now, you can purchase the very reasonably priced Microsoft Streets and Trips for US39.95 which includes Microsoft Anna.

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23 Comments

  1. I have Microsoft Streets and Trips. So since it said that Microsoft Anna was available in that program, I decided to search in the disc how to download ONLY Microsoft Anna. So I came up with this. IN OREDER TO INSTALL ONLY MICROSOFT ANNA FROM MICROSOFT STREETS AND TRIPS GO TO (assuming you have a d:\ drive for your computer…) D:\Streets\MSMap\Redist\MSTTESEng_21\MSTTSEngine.msi and run the file MSTTSEngine.msi to ONLY INSTALL MICROSOFT STREETS AND TRIPS. Try it!!!

  2. Hello Joshua,

    Well done and thanks for the tip!

    Cheers,

    Mark.

  3. ops…Where the last part it says ONLY INSTALL MICROSOFT STREETS AND TRIPS, I meant ONLY INSTALL MICROSOFT ANNA VOICE. Sorry.

  4. oh yeah…its also available on… [link deleted]

    —–

    I cannot host links to unauthorized downloads of Microsoft Anna. I’ve once again requested Microsoft provide an official download of Microsoft Anna for Windows XP users. Here’s hoping the come to the party.

    – Mark.

  5. It would be great if Microsoft Anna voice download was available to genuine Windows XP users. It would make ebook reading so much better.

  6. You can’t just install that MSTTSEngine.msi by itself – it won’t work. Anna will be available as one of the voice but a runtime error will occur when you call Voice.Speak(). I guess the Streets and Tips already install other needed components.

    • I would like Windows Microsoft Anna to be on windows x p not on windows seven please!

  7. I got it to run without installing Streets & Trips! Email me if you are interested: ducprosoft@nospamyahoo.com (remove nospam).

  8. I received many emails about how to get Anna to work on Windows XP so I’m going to put the solution here. Technically, you still need Streets and Trips.

    1. Install Streets & Trips 2006 or later
    2. Uninstall Streets & Trips

    The uninstaller doesn’t remove Anna. I guess if you only have 1 license of Streets & Trips, you might be able to install Anna on multiple machines (check w/ your legal experts).

  9. Thanks very much for posting this Tommy!

    Regards,

    Mark.

  10. I am using windows xp in english version. I want to speak my computer chinese as it does for english (Chinese Text-To-Speech Tool). Currently I can input chinese using pinyin. Is there some support available like Microsoft SAM in English.

    I request to help me in this matter

    Regards
    MABS

  11. Hello MABS,

    If you need a Chinese voice for XP you will need to purchase a 3rd party, such as a RealSpeak voice. If you’re interested, send me an email at sales@text2go.com

    Regards,

    Mark.

  12. The last notation on here was from 12/07. Is Anna available yet on XP?

  13. Hello Huskerfan,

    Good question! I’ve asked Microsoft again. Will let you know if I hear anything.

  14. I got it to work using the first posters method….

  15. Hi,
    I have emailed tommy by this email address (ducprosoft[at]yahoo.com) to get the MS Anna, but he didn’t answer. is there any other way to invite dear Anna to XP, please?

  16. Just installed only the first portion of the Streets & Trips 2009 trial. in order to get the MS Anna voice.
    OMG it sounds like crap!!!!!
    Is anyone else having this problem?
    I am in need of the voice for my IVR system…
    The box is dual 3.0 xeon’s with 3gb ram dell blade….with MS Server03-R2.
    One would figure that this box has enough power to handle tts…..

  17. Coool!

  18. I want to microsoft anna voice for xp! please send me to e-mail at fatihyuksek251@hotmail.com

  19. The version of XP on my desktop gives me a place to choose witch voice
    that I want to use.
    Sam is the only voice listed. Is there something I am missing?
    What a joke… Give me a choice of one.
    Sam is boring and puts me to sleep.

    • Did you know you can get microsoft Mary and microsoft Mike?

    • You could download the AT&T Natural Voices software for XP… that’s better.

  20. Are there any other voices at all available for Vista, other than Microsoft Anna, without having to use third party software? If there are any available I would be very interested.


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