Making your computer speak using Mac

OS 8-9

Apple text to speak

Note: Apple Text-To-Speech technology is a basic text reading facility built in to the operating system, it only provides a framework that other applications can use. It does not provide full screen reading but offers speech feedback in dialog boxes and will only speak in some parts of specific applications, for example a Word document.

To activate Mac Speech:

  • Click on the Apple menu (no keyboard shortcut).
  • Click on the Control Panels sub-menu and then click on Speech to open the Speech control panel; (No keyboard shortcut) .
  • Click on the pop-up menu next to Voice: and select a voice, for example Kathy by clicking on it and then click the speaker button next to it to play a sample of the selected voice . (No keyboard shortcut)
  • Click on the slider next to Rate to speed up or slow down the voice. (No keyboard shortcut)
  • Click the drop down menu next to Options: and Select Talking Alerts’ .
  • Click the checkbox next to Speak the alert text to have your Mac speak the text in dialogue boxes .(No keyboard shortcut).
  • Click on a delay time on the slider named Wait before speaking: below Speak the alert text to have the computer speak the dialogue immediately click on 0′ for a 5 second delay click on 5′.(No keyboard shortcut).

You can also have the alert speech start with a phrase, to do this:

  • In the Speech control panel lick the checkbox next to Speak the phrase: to turn this option on. (No keyboard shortcut).
  • Click on the pop-up menu next to Speak the phrase: to see a list of available phrases and click on one to choose it . (No keyboard shortcut).
  • Note: You can edit the list of phrases and add your own, to do so choose Edit phrase list from the list in he pop-up menu next to Speak the phrase: .
  • Click the close icon in the top left of the speech options box or press Apple + W on the keyboard to close the window.

Making your computer read Simple Text documents

SimpleText can use Apple Text-to-Speech Mac OS facilities to read aloud text files. To do this:

  • Click on the Sound menu and select Speak All with the mouse or press Apple + J on your keyboard .
  • To stop the computer speaking click on the Sound menu and Select Stop Speaking or Press Apple +€˜. (full stop) on your keyboard .

OS X

  • Make sure you are in Finder press Apple + Tab if necessary to cycle through open applications until you return to Finder€˜.
  • Click on the€˜Apple menu or press Ctrl + F2€˜.
  • Click on System Preferences… or press the down arrow key to highlight it and then press Enter€˜.
  • Click on the Speech icon or press Tab repeatedly (you might need to press Ctrl + F7 first) to cycle through the icons until the Speech icon is highlighted and then press the Spacebar€˜

Setting the voice

  • Click on the Default Voice tab or press Ctrl + F7 (once or twice) to highlight one of the three tabs and then press the left or right arrow key to select the Default Voice tab (highlighted in blue).
  • Under the Voice heading click on a voice to select or press€˜Tab until the voice list is highlighted and use the up and down arrows to select a voice.
  • Next click the€˜On’ radio button next to Apple Speakable Items is: or press Tab to highlight the Off button and then press the up arrow to turn€˜On’ Apple Speakable Items€˜.
  • To hear the selected voice click on the Play button or press the Tab’ key until the Play button is highlighted and press the Spacebar€˜.
  • Click on the slider next to Rate to speed up or slow down the voice or press the Tab’ key until the blue pointer is highlighted in the Rate gauge bar and use the left and right arrow keys to select your speed.

Setting up the Spoken user interface

  • Click on the Spoken User Interface tab or press Ctrl + F7 (once or twice) to highlight one of the three tabs and then press the left or right arrow key to select the Spoken User Interface€˜.
  • Click the checkbox next to Speak the alert text to have your Mac speak the text in dialogue boxes or press the Tab’ key until the Speak the alert text’ checkbox is highlighted and press the Spacebar to check it.
  • Click on a delay time on the slider named Wait before speaking: or press the Tab’ key until the blue pointer is highlighted in the Wait before speaking: gauge bar and use the left and right arrow keys to select your speed. To have the computer speak the dialogue immediately select a value of 0′ for a 5 second delay select 5′.

You can also have the alert speech start with a phrase, to do this:

  • Click the checkbox next to Speak the phrase: or press the Tab’ key until the Speak the phrase:’ checkbox is highlighted and press the Spacebar to check it.
  • Click on the pop-up menu next to Speak the phrase: or press the Tab’ key until it is highlighted and then press the Spacebar to see a list of available phrases and click on one to choose it or use the up and down arrows to select a phrase. Note: You can edit the list of phrases and add your own, to do so choose Edit phrase list from the list in he pop-up menu next to Speak the phrase: .
  • There are also additional options under Other spoken items that you might want to turn on such as Text under the mouse which will read any text under the mouse pointer to do so Click the checkbox next to Text under the mouse to activate it or press the Tab’ key until the Text under the mouse’ checkbox is highlighted and press the Spacebar to check it.
  • When you have finished with your selections click the close icon in the top left of the speech options box or press Apple + W on the keyboard to close the window.

You can also find help with making your computer speak on these other operating systems:

For WindowsFor Linux.

Back to Accessibility.

SHARE THIS WITH A FRIEND