Apple Mac computers are fantastic machines as they can be adapted to every users personal tastes, but most importantly – their needs! They have cleverly designs features that can enhance access and enjoyment for those of us who have visual and hearing impairments as well of the Mac enthusiasts who find using the mouse and trackpad tricky. For more information of these fab tools and features, please see our article ‘Mac Accessibility Features’.
My personal favourite feature is the the Mac ‘Spoken Word’ tool. While this tool is brilliant to help anyone who has recently sat on their spectacles and would like a little extra help reading the screen, it is also brilliant if you are feeling really lazy and can’t be bothered to command and control your screen using the mouse or trackpad.
What is Mac ‘Spoken Word’?
The Mac Spoken word is a great dictation function. It allows you to speak into your computer and control your screen. You can open up apps and even tell safari what keywords or phrases to search for on the internet.
How to Activate Mac Spoken Word
1.) Open up your Apple menu by clicking on the mini apple logo perched in the left corner of your toolbar.
2.) From the drop down menu please select the option ‘System Preferences’.
3.) Your System Preferences window will pop open displaying an array of handy icons. From the fourth row down, click on the icon titled ‘Dictation & Speech’ (it looks like a microphone).
4.) By default your ‘Dictation & Speech’ tool will be turned off. After all, it would be rather frustrating trying to do a bit of festive online Christmas shopping whilst your partner is watching Eastenders in the background, and all your computer is doing is acting on strange commands caught from the television set.
5.) We need to activated your Mac Spoken Word function. Once inside your Dictation & Speech window you will see the option ‘Dictation: On Off’. Click on the check mark next to ‘On’ to activate this groovy function.
6.) Finalise by pressing the ‘Enable Dictation’ in the mini pop down window.
7.) In the Dictation & Speech window you can also select the language you are speaking and edit and customise the keyboard shortcut.
How to Use Mac Spoken Word
1.) As soon as you switch on your Mac Dictation & Speech function, you can accessed via any relevant connected apps, by selecting ‘Edit > Start Dictation’ from the appellations toolbar.
2.) You will know when your Mac and application is ready to listen and take vocal commands when the mini microphone icon appears. Clearly say your command i.e. ‘save document’ then click on the ‘done’ button underneath the microphone when you have finished recording your text.
Tip: Did you know that even punctuation can be added with the dictation function. As normal just clearly speak in the terms such as ‘comma’ or ‘question mark’. These will then be cleverly converted into the appropriate symbols.
Text to Speech – Give Your Mac a Voice
As well as telling your computer what to do with vocal commands, you can set your computer to read out text to you.
You can edit and personalise your Mac ‘Text to Speech’ settings in the ‘Dictation & Speech’ window. At the top of the window are two tabs – Dictation and Text Speech. If you click on the ‘text speech’ tab you will pull up and array of functions to edit…. You can select a voice type from several female and male options. You can alter the speed in which your computer speaks to you. You can even ask it to vocally announce alerts and tell you the time and date.
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