Assistive Technology Resources
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.
- Open the System Preferences panel under the Apple icon.
- Choose Speech.
- Select the Text to Speech tab, check the option “Speak selected text when the key is pressed,”
- 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)
- 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.
- Go to the View menu ReadOutLoud then choose Activate ReadOutLoud
- Go back to the View menu - ReadOutLoud and play, stop, etc will now be available.
- To change voice reading speed:
- Edit menu - Preferences
- 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.