How to make your Mac read you stories
Quick Mac Tip, 27 March 2011
I had a problem: I wanted to read a long article I’d just come across, but I needed to make dinner. Rather than delay one or the other I did both — by having my Mac read the article aloud to me as I worked. It’s simple, if you know how.
Turn up the volume
First, of course, you need to make sure your Mac’s volume is turned up loud enough to hear.
Select the text
Select the text you want read aloud. This should work in any application where you can select text.
For the long web article I wanted I found it easier to copy the whole page and paste into a handy text editor then delete the ads, image captions and other stuff I didn’t care about.
Choose a hotkey
Decide which keys you want to press to start and stop reading aloud. I chose
Command (⌘) Option (⌥) Control (^) s. Now set up the key command:
- Click on
Speechin the 4th row (System).
- Click on the
Text to Speechtab.
- Check the box beside
Speak selected text when the key is pressed.
- Click on the
Set Key…button. A sheet slides down from the top of the window.
- On the keyboard press the keys you wish to use. I pressed
Command (⌘) Option (⌥) Control (^) s.
- Click the
OKbutton to close the sheet and save the selected key combo.
Try out Text to Speech
Now go back to your selected text and press the key combo you selected. Your Mac should start reading the text aloud. To stop it press the same key combo again.
Change the System Voice
I like to have the voice
Vicki read for me. Choose the voice you prefer from the
System Voice drop-down menu after Step 3 above.
Alex is also quite a good choice. Both
Alex are human sounding voices. The others sound more like computers.
Change the Speaking Rate
I find the default speed to be a little slower than I like. After Step 3 above move the
Speaking Rate slider and press the
Play button to hear how the voice will sound. I like to set
Vicki to be just a little faster than
What’s your experience with Text to Speech? Tell us in the Comments. Could you write a guest MacTip? If so, contact me.