Reading from a screen for prolonged periods of time can be a strain for many. Wouldn’t it be great if you could get your Mac to speak the information to you instead?
Speak at my command
Making your Mac speak to you is just a matter of selecting the text that you would like to hear spoken and tapping on the text-to-speech key combination.
The default keyboard combination for this one is Option-Escape, but it doesn’t have to be that way. You can change the trigger to any key combo you like. I have changed mine to Control-Command-S, because ‘S’ is for ‘speak’:
⌃⌘S = speak the selected text.
Changing to your preferred key combination
You have the option to change the combination of keys that trigger the text-to-speech action. Go to System Preferences / Dictation & Speech and ensure that there is a tick in the box beside ‘Speak selected text when the key is pressed’. Clicking on the 'Change key...' button then enables you to enter your preferred key combination to speak the selected text.
In the screenshot below from an earlier post on audio, I have selected the text and then used the ⌃⌘S combination to execute the text-to-speech function. Click on the sound file to listen.
I am Lion, hear me roar…from the Land Down Under
With the introduction of the Lion operating system (10.7) Apple included over 50 new high-quality voices in 22 different languages. You’ll notice in the sound file above that I am using the voice called Lee, who has an Australian accent.
The Mac’s voice quality certainly has improved a lot since it was introduced by Steve Jobs in 1984.