Get Mac OS X Mountain Lion To Speak Text On Command [OS X Tips]

Get Mac OS X Mountain Lion To Speak Text On Command [OS X Tips]

OS X has really good text to speech functionality for users with a visual or other learning disability, but it’s something that I think we all would benefit from at certain times. How about listening to a webpage when you’re folding clothes, or having your Mac your Twitter stream out loud while you do some sort of two-handed crafting project, like knitting?

Turns out, you can make this happen super easily with OS X Mountain Lion, invoking a keystroke to read highlighted text anywhere on your computer. Want to have your Mac read that Word doc your boss just sent over? This little tip will make it happen.

The feature is fantastic, but it does need to be enabled. Click on the Apple menu and choose System Preferences, or click on the System Preferences icon in the Dock. You can aslo find it to double click on it in the Applications folder. Once in System Preferences, choose the Dictation and Speech preference pane, and then click on the Text to Speech tab.

Click on the checkbox next to Speak selected text when the key is pressed option. Note that the current keyboard command is Option-Escape. You can change this with a click on the Change Key… button, but it seems like a fairly good one to use, so I’d suggest sticking with the default.

Now, all you need to do is highlight some text. Click and drag across the paragraphs of this post, for example, and then hit Option-Escape. Your Mac will read everything you highlighted, from totp to bottom and right to left, in your currently selected system voice. I prefer Alex.

Now you can read email, web pages, and the like read out loud to you for any reason, on demand, wihtout having to turn VoiceOver on or use any other third party app. This is the future, baby!

Are you using OS X Mountain Lion? Got a tip you want to share with us? (sorry, you need Javascript to see this e-mail address) or leave a comment below.

About the author

Rob LeFebvreRob LeFebvre is an Anchorage, Alaska-based writer and editor who has contributed to various tech, gaming and iOS sites, including 148Apps, Creative Screenwriting, Shelf-Awareness, VentureBeat, and Paste Magazine. Feel free to find Rob on Twitter @roblef, and send him a cookie once in a while; he'll really appreciate it.

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