Mac Geek Monday – Say What?

Did you know your Mac can read to you? 

Yep!  If you are running Mac OS X Tiger or Leopard, simply…

  1. Open System Preferences under the apple icon (the  shape) in the very top left corner of the screen.
  2. Click on Speech.
  3. Select Text to Speech tab.
  4. Check the option “Speak selected text when the key is pressed.”
  5. speak-selected-text-1.jpg

  6. Click the Set Key option.
  7. Choose one modifier key — Command, Control, Option, or Shift — plus one other key of your choice, then click OK. [For instance, I use CTRL M for my keystroke combination on my Mac]
  8. Now each time you type this key combination, your Mac will read aloud any text you have selected (i.e. highlighted).
  9. To stop the speech, type the same key combination again.

This will work with most selected (i.e. highlighted) text in text-based files — including web pages, email messages, spreadsheets, calendar entries, PDFs, text documents, Finder windows, and even iTunes.

Don’t like the default voice your Mac uses?  You can choose your favorite voice from the 24 human-sounding and novelty voices in Leopard and slightly less number in Tiger. (In Leopard, to see the complete list, click the “Show More Voices” option at the bottom of the pull-down System Voice menu.) Click the Play button to get a sample of each voice. You can also ask your Mac to speak more slowly or quickly by adjusting the Speaking Rate slider.  If you don’t care for any of the free voices that come with your Mac, or want one that speaks something besides English, you might also checkout one of these system voices.

So now sit back, rest your eyes, and let your computer read you the next KDL Computer Tips blog post or your latest email message.

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Written by Kelaine


Adult Services Librarian, Computer Confidence Training Instructor, Former Youth and Teen Services Librarian, Wikipedia Editor with a passion for gadgets and all things techie.

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