Tip: Your computer can read to you!


Recently, I wrote an article about making text easier to read by increasing the size of text on the screen.

Earlier today, I was reminded by our eldest, Emily, of the text-to-speech function (She wanted to use my computer to play with her new discovery). She’d learned how to do this on a Mac, so I handed her my PC and said “have fun. Click around, experiment. If something breaks, we’ll fix it later”.

I expect that she’s found the way to do it on Windows 7 by now.

For the rest of us, here’s the scoop:
Mac OS X:Highlight some text on the screen, right click, and choose Speech ->Start Speaking.
Or, you can turn on Voiceover by pressing [tippy title=”command-F5 “]Command is the key with the cloverleaf-shaped symbol on it, next to the spacebar, also known as the Apple key[tippy]. Then your Mac will speak text to you whenever you want it to. There is a tutorial which you can run when you start voiceover. It will walk you through all the voiceover commands you can use.

The Universal Access preference pane (in System Preferences ->Universal Access ->Seeing) has various options you can set for Voiceover.

In Windows XP and Vista, similar controls are in the Speech Control Panel, under the Text-to-Speech tab. You start Text-to-Speech by opening Narrator, which lives in the Start Menu->Programs, under Accessories.

These are both relatively bare-bones readers. There are more feature-rich products available as well.
Next time? Voice recognition.