Make Your Mac Speak

Did you know that your Mac can read aloud to you?

Mac OS X Leopard 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.

Note that Text to Speech differs from VoiceOver, which provides more comprehensive control of speech and enables the blind or those with low vision to use a Mac.

Also, some applications that come with Mac OS X Leopard — including Mail, Calculator, and Chess — and some other Mac programs, such as FileMaker Pro, are “self-speaking” and provide speech capabilities that you can configure independently of the Text to Speech System Preference.

You don’t have to be a magician to make your Mac speak. In fact, the ability to speak text in email messages, Pages documents, PDFs, spreadsheets, and other text-based files is built in to every Mac. You turn it on in System Preferences, where you’ll find all the Text to Speech options made available to you in Mac OS X Leopard. You can read about them in the latest Pro Tip.

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