macOS High Sierra

Hear your Mac speak text

If you have trouble reading text on your screen, you can have your Mac speak the text whenever you press a key or set of keys.

  1. Choose Apple menu > System Preferences, click Accessibility, then click Speech.

    Open the Speech pane for me

  2. Select the “Speak selected text when the key is pressed” checkbox.

    By default, speaking is enabled when you press Option-Esc. To choose a different key, click Change Key, press one or more modifier keys (Command, Shift, Option, or Control) together with another key, then click OK.

  3. To have your Mac start speaking, press the specified key. To stop the speaking, press the key again.

    If text is selected when you press the key, the selected text is spoken. Otherwise, available text items in the current window are spoken; for example, if Mail is the current window, an email message is read.

    Note: If no text items are available, you hear a beep.

To turn off this feature, deselect the “Speak selected text when the key is pressed” checkbox.

You can also use VoiceOver, the spoken interface for macOS, to hear descriptions of every item on the screen and to control your Mac using the keyboard. For more information, see VoiceOver Help.