Announce When a Command Line Task is Completed in Mac OS X

May 8, 2012 - 15 Comments

Announce the completion of a command in Mac OS X Terminal

By appending the say command to the end of another command, Mac OS X will vocally announce when the initial task has finished running successfully. For example, to have OS X announce that a particular script has finished running the command could be:

python && say "jobs done"

The important part is the “&& say” portion, which can also be customized with other voices from Mac OS X’s text to speech options by using the -v flag followed by a voice name, like so:

dscacheutil -flushcache && say -v Alex your cache has been cleared sir

This is perfect for running scripts, making svn/git commits, compiling code, and other tasks that can take an indeterminate amount of time to complete and where it’s easy to become distracted by facebook^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H other work.

This great tip was posted by @niels on Twitter, follow @osxdaily there too to get our latest posts and updates.

Enjoy this tip? Subscribe to the OSXDaily newsletter to get more of our great Apple tips, tricks, and important news delivered to your inbox! Enter your email address below:

Related articles:

Posted by: William Pearson in Command Line, Mac OS, Tips & Tricks


» Comments RSS Feed

  1. […] This has a myriad of potentially valid uses, but one fantastic use-case is along the same veins of verbally announcing when a command has completed or sending a badge alert, but instead posting the notification to OS X Mountain Lion’s […]

  2. […] long ago we showed you how to announce when a command line task was finished by using the ‘say’ command, but because it speaks aloud it may be inappropriate to use […]

  3. […] the lines of vocally announcing task completion within the command line, you can also have Mac OS X speak the output of any executed […]

  4. The Zerafiall says:

    Haha… I read the tweet and clicked the link and was thinking “Oh… maybe it’s some fancy way of invoking growl or a UIAlertVeiw. Wait… wouldn’t be easier to just add && say -v Task Done to the end of you code” only to come over here and see that’s exactly what you did XD

  5. rev_1318 says:

    the only drawback for using ‘&&’ is that you won’t get a notification if the command fails!
    Why not simply use ‘;’ as command separator?


    cd IDontExist && say -v Alex Oops


    cd IDontExist; say -v Alex Oops

  6. vdiv says:

    Excellent! Alex even gets the intonation right. Put a question mark at the end and hear for yourself.

  7. Foobar says:

    Nope, not for the finder. For the terminal, it’d be
    $cp foo bar && say “file transfer complete”

  8. Ken says:

    so…is it possible to make a notification when file transfer from finder is done? How to do it?

  9. Greg P says:

    You can also pipe to say

    I tried it with uptime as follows

    uptime | say

    The Mac told me the time, uptime, load average etc

    Very cool little function


  10. Theo Vosse says:

    You could also try “growlnotify”, e.g. like this
    $ growlnotify -s -m “Task Done”

    • Jason says:

      Agreed, growl is a superior solution for anyone in an office, and you can use -H to specify alternate hosts to receive the notification.

  11. Tarcisio says:

    My function to say the task status

    function sayTaskStatusUsingExitCode() {
    if [ “$?” == “0” ]
    say -v Alex “Task Ok”
    say -v Alex “Task Error”

    • xofer says:

      You don’t need a function for that.

      You can do: && say -v Alex “Task Ok” || say -v Alex “Task Error”

      • xofer says:

        And, by the way “&&” is wrong in the article itself – this is logical AND, which means the the latter part is executed *only* if the first part exited with a zero exit status.

        It would make much more sense to do:
        python; say “jobs done”

        Then the second command is executed no matter what the exit code of the first.

Leave a Reply


Shop on and help support OSXDaily!

Subscribe to OSXDaily

Subscribe to RSS Subscribe to Twitter Feed Follow on Facebook Subscribe to eMail Updates

Tips & Tricks


iPhone / iPad



Shop on Amazon to help support this site