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Speak Selection in Mac OS X Monterey

By Joe Lewis.
Published April 8, 2022 3:00pm, updated April 8, 2022 3:29pm.

Screenshot of the Accessibility control panel that enables you to speak selections

When I have to process a lot of reading material on my computer, I often find it helpful to leverage accessibility features. Larger text helps a ton, and that's easy to enable with a simple ⌘ + keyboard shortcut in most web browsers. For my needs, text-to-speech has been extraordinarily helpful in keeping focused and moving foward when there is the potential for distraction. I tried a number of accessibility features on various platforms, and lately my go-to tool has been the speak selection feature that is found on Mac OS X Monterey

To enable it, do the following:

  1. In Mac OS X Monterey, open System Preferences.
  2. Click Accessibility and then Spoken Content.
  3. Enable the Speak selection checkbox.
  4. Customize the system voice, speaking rate, and volume. Siri Voice 1 and 4 are very high quality. Adjust the settings to your preference. I use the default speaking rate and volume.
  5. Click Options to customize your settings. My keyboard shortcut is the most important part, and I leave it to the default Option Esc keys.

To invoke the text to speech feature in a web page, simply select some text and use the Option Esc keyboard shortcut. To have it stop speaking, use Option Esc a second time. That's it! Happy reading!