Music or TV is great to play in the background while you do other things, but what if you have articles you want to read instead? Reader Steve shows us how to make OS X read to you with a keyboard shortcut.
If you don’t have time to set aside for immersing yourself in that cool article or blog post, just keep this keyboard shortcut around:
Sometimes I just don’t feel like watching TV, or I’m in the middle of an article and want to finish it while I make breakfast in the morning. I found that OS X’s text-to-speech feature is actually a really nice way to keep reading uninterrupted, and most people probably don’t even realise how easy it is.
Just open up System Preferences, go to the Speech pane, and hit the Text to Speech tab. Check the “Speak selected text when the key is pressed” box, and set the key to something simple (I use Command+Shift+R). Then, when you’re browsing the web, just select the article you want read and hit your shortcut to hear it read out loud. I usually send articles to Instapaper first, to avoid it getting confused by images, ads, and other formatting. I’ve found the default voice of Alex is best, and isn’t distractingly computer-sounding.
I tried it out, and was pretty surprised—I could actually listen to articles this way, at least some shorter ones (after about 10 minutes I imagine I might go crazy). Try it out for yourself and let us know if you like it in the comments. And, if you’re a Windows user, check out previously mentioned Balabolka for a similar experience. Thanks, Steve!