How to get a Mac to read text

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    Wondering how to get a Mac to read text? Just tweak a few buttons in the “Accessibility” settings. Read this article to find out more.

    How to get a Mac to read text

    MacOS has plenty of accessibility features. After criticism regarding its assistive technology shortcomings, Macintosh devices have made significant process in becoming more inclusive. There are now upgrades to help people with visual, hearing, physical, and literacy impairments be more productive.

    Text to speech is among the most useful assistive technology tools that are easily accessible on the macOS. Here’s everything you need to know about it.

    The steps for getting a Mac to read aloud

    Users can get their Mac devices to read selected text out loud. All it takes is tweaking a few computer settings. There’s no need to download additional software or third-party apps to use the TTS software.

    1. Press the Apple icon from the upper left-hand corner of the screen.
    2. Go to “System Preferences” or “System Settings,” depending on the macOS version, and open the “Accessibility” section.
    3. Open the “Spoken Content” section in the right-hand menu bar.
    4. Tick the “Speak selection” toggle box. The default keyboard shortcut command for speaking selected text is the “Esc” + “Option” keys.

    To activate the feature, highlight the content you want the Macbook to read aloud to you and press the shortcut keys on the keyboard.

    The device will start reading the text out loud. You can stop it from reading by pressing the keyboard command again.

    The text to speech feature works on all content, including Safari, Chrome, or Firefox web pages, on-screen notifications, and more.

    Customizing how your Mac reads text

    As previously mentioned, you can simultaneously activate the TTS feature on Mac by pressing the “Option” + “Esc” keys. You can also change the key combination to personalize the experience.

    Here’s how to change the key combination:

    1. Open the Apple menu from your Mac and go to “System Settings.”
    2. Navigate to “Accessibility” from the left-hand sidebar and open “Spoken Content.”
    3. Click on the “i” button next to “Spoken Selection.”
    4. Enter the key combination you want to use instead of “Option” + “Esc.”

    Sentence Style

    You can also change the sentence style by clicking on the pop-up menu. The sentences can be underlined or have a background color.

    Highlight Content

    In the pop-up menu, you can also choose to have sentences or words highlighted as the Mac speaks. You can customize this section by opening the “Sentence Color” and “Word Color” pop-up menus.

    Show Controller

    Additionally, you can click on the pop-up menu to show the controller automatically when you enter the keyboard combination. You can also choose never to show the controller.

    Pro Tip: If you’re using Mac’s TTS features to read long text, it’s best to show the controller. This way, you can pause, stop, resume the speaking, skip ahead, go back, or tweak the speaking rate.

    After customizing your TTS experience, hit “OK” to save changes.

    Other ways to have your Mac read text aloud

    If you want added flexibility, more voices, and personalization options, you can explore third-party apps with text to speech functionality. Here are just a few options:

    Text2Speech

    Text2Speech is free software with text to speech features and features more than ten voices. It’s available for Mac computers, iPads, iPhones, and iPod touch devices. The app has natural-sounding voices, supports over 50 languages, and has many features.

    The software has a voiceover feature, it can speak as you type, highlight text as it reads aloud, and doesn’t even need an internet connection to work.

    CaptiVoice

    CaptiVoice can read any content on-screen so that you can enjoy news, e-mails, Google Drive documents, or any other web page on the go. This screen reader and literacy tool works as a browser extension and has easy shortcuts to make navigation fast and smooth.

    The brand offers products for K-12 students, colleges, and personal use. It also supports integration with various platforms like Google Classroom, Clever, Canvas, and others.

    Speechify

    Speechify is a text to speech screen reader for iOS, Android, Windows, and Mac devices. The use of deep learning and OCR technology allows this software to read aloud any text document.

    Paste the content from web pages, Microsoft Word documents, and any other printed and written text into the API to receive the mp3 or WAV version. You can then use that content to create podcasts, e-learning material, or listen on the go.

    Speechify can sync content across devices. It has proven especially helpful for learners with disabilities like ADHD, dyslexia, and others.

    Download Speechify for Mac computers

    Mac in-built TTS software can provide basic read-aloud functions. However, if you plan on using the feature long-term or want more flexibility and features, it’s worth considering Speechify.

    Speechify is available for Mac computers and iOS devices (iPhone, iPad) in the App Store. You can try Speechify for free by visiting the official website today.

    FAQ

    What is the difference between a PDF and a TXT?

    PDF documents have both images and text formatting, while TXT files only contain plain text. PDFs are more complex text documents. Its format doesn’t change, while TXT is the most straightforward text file you can find.

    What is a way to make the text bigger on a Mac?

    To make text bigger on a Mac, go to the “Apple” menu, click “Settings,” then “Displays,” and open the pop-up menu next to “Resolution.” Hit “Scaled,” then pick the “Larger Text” option you find the most comfortable.

    How can you change the voice for Mac TTS?

    Go to “System Settings,” then “Accessibility,” then “Spoken Content.” In the “System Voice” pop-up menu, pick a voice you like. Additionally, click the “Download” button to add a new voice. You can change the voice to “Siri” for a more natural-sounding experience.

    What is the best way to get my Mac to read text?

    The easiest way for Mac to read text aloud is using the built-in text to speech software. For more advanced features and natural-sounding voices, you can also use third-party apps like Speechify or Text2Speech.

    Cliff Weitzman

    Cliff Weitzman

    Cliff Weitzman is a dyslexia advocate and the CEO and founder of Speechify, the #1 text-to-speech app in the world, totaling over 100,000 5-star reviews and ranking first place in the App Store for the News & Magazines category. In 2017, Weitzman was named to the Forbes 30 under 30 list for his work making the internet more accessible to people with learning disabilities. Cliff Weitzman has been featured in EdSurge, Inc., PC Mag, Entrepreneur, Mashable, among other leading outlets.

    Dyslexia & Accessibility Advocate, CEO/Founder of Speechify Dyslexia & Accessibility Advocate, CEO/Founder of Speechify

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