How to Add New Voices to Mac OS X
Mac OS X includes many high quality voices for it’s text-to-speech abilities, they’re in a wide variety of languages and accents and are probably some of the best computer rendered voices out there.
But guess what? Many of these incredible voices are not installed by default on a Mac! Thankfully that’s easy to change, and we’ll show you exactly how to add new voices to the Mac.
Add High Quality New Text-to-Speech Voices to Mac OS X
Here is how you add the great new voices to MacOS and Mac OS X:
- Launch System Preferences from the Apple menu
- Click on “Dictation & Speech” under the System items, then click on “Text to Speech”
- Select the System Voice menu and scroll to “Customize” in the pull-down
- Choose the voice or voices you want to add to Mac OS X by clicking the checkbox next to the name, you can play samples by selecting them and clicking “Play”
- Click “OK” and you will get a popup confirming that you want to add and download the new voice to Mac OS X, click on “Install” to proceed, for the purpose of this walkthrough with chose Tessa, the South African English voice
That’s all you need to do, just let the voices download and it will become a selectable option in that previously mentioned Voice menu. You can add all the voices if you want, though be mindful of storage capacity on the Mac when doing so.
You’ll notice that each of the high quality voices are somewhat hefty downloads, so if you have limited disk space you may want to just pick one or two new voices rather than adding the entire lot of them all, which take up several GB of data.
You can also add new voices from the VoiceOver Utility, but going through System Preferences dedicated Speech / Dictation control panel is the easiest way.
The high quality voices are one of the many new great features that arrived with Lion and Mountain Lion, and are now default in all modern MacOS and Mac OS X versions. Once you have added a few, you can test out the new voices and what they sound like with larger phrases, documents, or whatever else you want spoken, by using the standard text-to-speech methods of making your Mac talk to you, either through compatible apps like TextEdit and Safari, or by using the command line ‘say’ utility.
It should be noted that other voice options are available in many different versions of MacOS and Mac OS X, though in new versions of macOS the Speech control panel is labeled as “Dictation and Speech” and older versions of Mac OS X label the control panel as “Speech”, but the voices are there in any vaguely new release ever since we got a sneak peak at some of the newest voices that arrived way back with Lion, but now they’re accessible for everyone to add to Mac OS X as long as you are running 10.7, 10.8, or newer, and yes that includes everything modern too from Mavericks, El Capitan, High Sierra, Mojave, and onward.
If you have tips or tricks regarding adding voices to the Mac, share with us in the comments below!