How to: Text-to-speech keyboard shortcut
One of the least appreciated features in Snow Leopard — it’s been part the Mac OS since Classic days — is the integrated Text-to-Speech. Whether you want to hear an article/book on a MacBook while doing the laundry or listen to something you’ve written while sitting at a desk, a great way to find errors and gauge flow, Text-to-Speech is an excellent tool.
That said, reaching for the mouse every time you want to use this feature is a waste of time. Best of all, Apple’s built a keyboard shortcut into OS X for the purpose — it just needs to be turned on and configured:
• As shown above, check the “Speak selected text when the key is press”
• I’ve chosen Command + Option + F because it’s easy to press and I don’t think it’s used by other apps
— Use the same combination to stop Speech
You’ll need to select the text, which you can do by clicking and dragging with the mouse, or by pressing Command + A (Select All). Text-to-Speech works in Safari, TextEdit, Pages, PDF files (i.e. Preview) and just about any other app that displays text.
Get Safari in hunt
Additionally, if you’re want to your Mac to speak a webpage or article in Safari, pull up the text in Reader Mode, which strips out the extraneous crap — links, advertisements, captions, boiler plate, etc. — which can really disrupt flow.
To use Reader Mode, click the “Reader” button in Safari’s Address Bar or press Command + Shift + R. Again, you’ll need to select the text, which you can do by clicking and dragging with the mouse, or by pressing Command + A (Select All).
Know a nifty Mac OS X tip or trick? Share it in the comments below…