Apple’s 12th version of macOS, Monterey, has many assistive features, one of which is text to speech. Here’s how you can turn it on.
Text to speech on Monterey
Released back in late 2021, Monterey is the 12th version of macOS. It has now been succeeded by version 13, Ventura, again named after a location in California, as are most Apple devices. Nevertheless, many MacBooks and desktops still run on this operating system, as it’s a great operating system, packed with tons of great features and providing top-tier performance.
One of its selling features is the built-in text to speech option. What it does is read all the text on your screen through an AI narrator. This screen reader feature is easy to activate, and it offers different options which are easily adjustable to your preferences. So, let’s check out how you can access text to speech on macOS Monterey and its third-party alternatives.
How to turn on text to speech on Mac Monterey
For anyone who has a hard time with the text on their Mac’s screen, Monterey can read aloud for them. All you have to do is press the keyboard shortcut. This shortcut can be customized to users’ liking. For instance, it’s possible to customize the text to speech controller to appear on the screen at all times, showing additional options.
The first thing to do is press the keyboard shortcut. The default combination is Option+Esc. So, if you already selected the text and then pressed the preset keys, your macOS 12 will start reading it aloud. On the other hand, if there’s no selected text, but you open a window, the text to speech feature will start reading everything top-to-bottom.
When it comes to customization, you can set things up by choosing the Apple menu and then going to System Preferences. Once you do that, select Accessibility and follow with Spoken Content. Choose Speak Selection to change the keyboard shortcut, highlight content, and sentence style, after which you should choose OK to apply the changes.
Of course, you can download a third-party text to speech app for your Mac Monterey. One of the options is Speechify. This is one of the most popular TTS tools on Mac and it provides more voiceover features than Apple’s vanilla text to speech. Still, we’ll talk about it in more detail later on once we mention some other stuff.
How to change the voice and speed of text to speech on a Mac
Mac Monterey provides users with several AI voices for the text to speech feature. You can switch between Siri and others by selecting the Apple icon, then picking System Preferences, and lastly, the Accessibility feature. Once you do all this, choose the Spoken Content option, after which you’ll see the System Voice drop-down menu that offers you to choose a voice.
To adjust the speed of text to speech voice on Mac Monterey, you can drag the Speaking Rate slider. The default speed differs from one voice to another. Nevertheless, they are all at around 175 wpm, a little slower than average human speech. The speed at which we speak normally is between 200 and 250 wpm.
How to use text to speech with other programs on a Mac
So, why would anyone use text to speech dictation on a Mac Monterey computer? Well, there are various instances where this option is useful. The first is pretty obvious since this is a piece of assistive technology. It can help dyslexics, people with ADHD, and others with various reading and learning disabilities.
The TTS option is also useful for other things. You can listen to your e-mails or other documents as you multitask. You can also turn text into audio files or improve your speed-reading skills by increasing the AI voice’s speed. But that’s not all. It’s also useful for e-learning, as listening beats reading in terms of material comprehension.
Speechify—a TTS reader available for Mac Monterey
Since text to speech is a pretty popular type of assistive technology, there are a host of third-party apps that provide it besides the default feature on Mac Monterey. One of the best is the previously mentioned Speechify. This is a high-end TTS app that’s based on machine learning, artificial intelligence, and optical character recognition (OCR).
Speechify provides its users with 30+ natural-sounding voices that speak in over 15 different languages. The voices include male and female voices for each of the languages, different accents, and other characteristics. Furthermore, all of them can be adjusted additionally—for example, reading speed, pitch, and volume.
One of the features that sets Speechify apart from other TTS options is its capability to read pictures of text that you upload to it. This is due to its advanced optical character recognition feature that’s present on all versions of the app. And speaking of versions, Speechify is also available on iOS iPhones, iPads, and Android devices, as well as a plug-in for Safari. You can also use it on Microsoft Windows through Google Chrome.
You can use Speechify for free or as a premium member. The free version allows all features during a 3-day trial, after which upgrading to Speechify Premium is pretty seamless. All you have to do is subscribe and create your account, and turning any written content on your Mac Monterey into a personal podcast will be a few clicks away.
What is text to speech?
Often referred to as just TTS, text to speech is a type of assistive technology that reads digital text aloud for you. It utilizes machine learning, artificial technology, and optical character recognition to deliver the speech.
Does Monterey have text to speech features?
Yes, macOS version 12 Monterey has a built-in text to speech feature. You can access it through the default key combination (Option+Esc).
What are the advantages of text to speech?
The text to speech option on Mac Monterey allows you to consume written content without reading it. All you do is play it, and the AI narrator does all the reading for you. You can do other things as you listen to it, just like you would with a podcast.