Speak Selected Text with a Keystroke in Mac OS X

Sep 15, 2012 - 1 Comment

Keystroke to speak selected text

The excellent OS X text to speech function can be activated with a simple keystroke, but first you have to enable the feature:

  • Open System Preferences from the  Apple menu
  • Choose the “Dictation & Speech” panel then select the “Text to Speech” tab
  • Check the box next to “Speak selected text when the key is pressed”

Once this is enabled, select any text then hit Option+Escape to speak the text in the system voice.

To speak all text, hit Command+A to select all, followed by the Option+Escape keyboard shortcut, and all words will be spoken using the text-to-speech engine that’s bundled in both Mac OS X and iOS. If you aren’t happy with the default system voice, you can add new high quality voices very easily.

The default keystroke is Option+Escape but can be adjusted easily, assuming it doesn’t interfere with any other custom keyboard shortcuts you set it’s probably a good one to keep as is.

This is a great trick to use to have webpages, documents, or emails read to you aloud, just like on the iPad and iPhone.

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Posted by: Paul Horowitz in Mac OS X, Tips & Tricks

One Comment

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  1. Dave says:

    What I would love to find a way around are “footnotes”.

    This feature works really well, but when you set it to reading a document with annotations, footnotes, etc. the narrative is interrupted as the computer reads through the “highlighted” input line by line.

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