Did you know that your Mac can read text aloud? The feature is called “Text to Speech.”
I’ve been using it in three ways:
- Listen to a relatively long blog post or email while doing something else that allows me to multitask.
- Listen to something I’m copy-editing (whether it’s something that I or someone else wrote). This helps pace me, and it helps me spot typos. Sometimes my ears hear errors that my eyes miss.
- Listen to an English Bible translation that I don’t already own as an audio-Bible. (On listening to audio-Bibles, see here and here.) This is especially helpful when you want to listen to a variety of English translations while looking at a particular passage in Greek or Hebrew.
So how do you do this on a Mac?
1. Open “System Preferences,” and select “Dictation & Speech.”
Update on 11/7/2016: macOS Sierra does not have a “Dictation & Speech” icon. For Dictation, select Keyboard. For Speech, select, Accessibility.
2. Select “Text to Speech.”
3. Check the box for “Speak selected text when the key is pressed.”
4. Optional: Tweak the settings.
- Current Key. The default shortcut for activating Text to Speech is Option+Esc, which is what I’ve been using.
- System Voice. I think the best system voice is Alex.
- Speaking Rate. If I were using this feature to listen to audiobooks, I’d set the speed to “Fast.” But for my purposes, I think that “Normal” (or slightly faster) is about right.
5. Select (i.e., highlight) the text you want to hear, and press your “key” (e.g., Option+Esc) to listen.
- The above method doesn’t work for Logos Bible Software for desktop, but Logos has this feature built into it. On a Mac, the shortcut is ⌘+r. Or when you have a resource open, you can simply click on the book cover icon to expose the menu options and then select Read Aloud.
- How to Make Your iPhone and iPad Read Text Aloud
- How to Listen on Double Speed with an iPhone or iPod
- iPhone Resources
- iPad Resources