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Make Your Mac Speak 

Did you know that your Mac can read aloud to you? Mac OS X Leopard and later includes a cool Text to Speech function that makes the Mac speak selected text in text-based files — including web pages, email messages, spreadsheets, calendar entries, PDFs, text documents, Finder windows, and even iTunes.

  1. Open the System Preferences panel under the Apple icon.
  2. Choose Speech.
  3. Select the Text to Speech tab, check the option “Speak selected text when the key is pressed,”
  4. Select the Set Key option. Choose one modifier key — Command, Control, Option, or Shift — plus one other key of your choice (Example: Control + Command + Z)
  5. Select OK.

Now each time you type this key combination, your Mac will read aloud any text you have selected. To stop the speech, use the same key combination.

Choosing a different voice:
You can even choose your Mac’s voice. Mac OS X includes 24 human-sounding and novelty voices, from the suave Alex to the robotic Zarvox. (To see the complete list, click the “Show More Voices” option at the bottom of the pull-down System Voice menu.) You can also ask your Mac to speak more slowly or quickly by adjusting the Speaking Rate slider. Whichever you choose, listening to your text can be a surprisingly useful tool for editing and proofreading.

Adobe Reader – Free version has Text-to-Speech:

If your PDF file has text that you are able to select, you can use the free text-to-speech reader that is installed with Adobe Reader.

  1. Go to the View menu ReadOutLoud then choose Activate ReadOutLoud
  2. Go back to the View menu - ReadOutLoud and play, stop, etc will now be available.
  3. To change voice reading speed:
    1. Edit menu - Preferences
    2. A window will open and “Reading” will be an option on the left side – select. Uncheck “use default speech attributes” and you will now be able to slow speech down or speed it up.

Create Audio (MP3 or WAV) files with Kurzweil 3000:

  1. Open the file you want to convert in Kurzweil 3000.
  2. Make sure to check the voice settings, (person reading and the speed)
  3. Go to the File Menu --> Audio File --> Create Audio File
    • Chose the name you want for the file
    • Chose whether you want MP3 or WAV (Note: if you get an error when trying to create an MP3 version, choose WAV and it will work)
    • Check the voice and speed setting
    • Click on “Create”  
  4. Depending on your file size, it may take a while to create the file
  5. To check on the status of your file creation:
    • File Menu --> Audio File --> Audio Spooler Monitor
    • A window will open showing you the progress.  Click on Refresh to see an update.
    • When your file is done, it should show “Successful” in the bottom window.  If it shows “Failed”, your audio file was not created.
  6. Once your file is finished, go to “My Documents” --> Kurzweil Output Audio – your file should be in this folder.
  7. Move the file to your MP3 player, USB Flash Drive, Email as attachment, etc.