Friday, June 13, 2008

Mac's speak to you

There are a lot of great speech based software programs out there for folks with learning differences. I have to admit I've had limited experience with them. However I have discovered that you can tell your Mac to speak any text you highlight anywhere on your computer. This is handy for folks who are auditory processors.

Any web page, any text document - basically anything on your screen where you can highlight the text can be read aloud to you. I should tell you it seems to work best with OSX 10.5 but it also works with 10.4 pretty well.

Here's how to set it up. Open your System Preferences either by clicking the icon in the dock or by typing 'System Preferences' in the Spotlight search.

In the 'System' section click on Speech. I like the voice Alex (new for Leopard). Click the box that says 'Speak selected text when the key is pressed and choose a key combination that works for you. I don't like the default combination because it is also a command in Firefox. Try Shift+Command+X.

I haven't played with the other settings or the Speech Recognition component yet, but if I do I'll let you know.

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