How to have your Mac read documents, emails, and web pages aloud

There is a lot you can do with your Mac these days. One of the more unique ways to customize your device is to have it read aloud documents or emails – along with other text – which is helpful if you have vision problems.

If you customize your Mac to read text on your screen, you can change the speed and voice. You can also enable your device to read content in other languages.

Read on to find out how you can get your Mac to read documents and email, as well as the different ways you can tweak this feature. These tips work whether you have a MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, or iMac.

Turn your Mac into reading documents and email

Before your Mac can read documents and emails, you must be using the spoken content feature.

Getting started is pretty easy; All you have to do is follow the steps below.

Step 1: In the upper left, click the Apple logo.

Step 2: Choose System Preferences.

Access to system settings mac

Step 3: Go to Accessibility and tap on your trackpad.

Accessibility icon in Mac System Preferences

Step 4: Under Vision, look for spoken content.

Accessibility for spoken content mac

Several options appear on the Spoken Content tab. If you would like to read a certain text passage out loud, you can tick Read selection out loud.

Language selection mac

For convenience, click the Options tab and next to Show controllers, select Always.

Mac show controller always

In order for your Mac to read the documents and emails, you need to follow the steps below.

Step 1: Open the document or email you want your device to read.

Step 2: Highlight the text.

Step 3: Press the play button on the controller bar.

Play button and selection email

Customize the voice

When you have spoken content on your Mac, you have standard Narrator for everything. But if you find this person annoying or difficult to understand, don’t worry; You can customize this to make things easier for you.

To customize the spoken content voice on your Mac:

Step 1: Go to the Apple logo in the top left and choose System Preferences.

Select Mac System Preferences

Step 2: Choose Accessibility.

Accessibility icon in Mac System Preferences

Step 3: Under Vision, select Spoken Content.

Accessibility for spoken content mac

Step 4: At the top you will see an option called System Voice. Click the box next to it.

Language selection mac

Step 5: Once you tap the field, a drop-down menu will appear. Choose one of these voices.

Choose a voice on the Mac

Step 6: Press Play to see if you like the new voice or not. If not, repeat the process.

Play button voice for Mac

Alternatively, you can find additional options by selecting Customize at the bottom of the screen instead. When you’re there, you can check and uncheck what you like and dislike.

Change the rate of speech

In addition to changing voices, you can also change the rate of speech. You can do this, for example, by selecting the rabbit or turtle icons in the spoken content bar that you have previously activated.

Alternatively, you can adjust this in your system settings.

Step 1: Go to the Apple logo in the top left and click on it.

Apple logo on the Mac

Step 2: Choose System Preferences.

Select Mac System Preferences

Step 3: Open accessibility.

Accessibility icon in Mac System Preferences

Step 4: Under Vision, look for spoken content.

Accessibility for spoken content mac

Step 5: At the top of your screen, you will see a bar called Speech Rate. Scroll left to slow the voice down and right if you want to speed it up.

Mac slider

Change the language

In addition to English, you can change your Mac’s spoken content settings to enable different languages.

You can choose from several different languages, but not all of them have as many voices to choose from as English. The process for doing this isn’t overly difficult:

Step 1: Go to the Apple logo in the top left. When the drop-down menu appears, select System Preferences.

Access to system settings mac

Step 2: Click the accessibility icon.

Accessibility icon in Mac System Preferences

Step 3: Under Vision, go to Spoken Content and expand the System Voice tab. Then click Customize at the bottom.

Customize spoken Mac content

Step 4: Highlight the voice of the person you want to add under the selected language. Then select OK.

Select voice on Mac

Let your Mac do the talking

Customizing your Mac to read documents and email can be helpful when you see text you don’t understand and the same when you have difficulty reading content. The tips we showed you in this article also work if you want your device to read articles that you see online.

Try these tips and adjust the settings as you see fit. After that, it will be much easier to consume content from your Mac.

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