The iPhone 4S introduced us to the wonderful world of Siri, the spunky little voice assistant. But did you know that you can enable your Mac to speak to you with Mac OS X? It’s true, you can have your Mac read books to you from the Kindle app and convert text documents into audio files. You can also change the voice tone and language of your Mac. Cool right?

How to Convert Text Documents into Audio Files

Wouldn’t it be wonderful to have your Kindle books read to you on long drives? There are various third party applications that can do this for you but did you know you can do this using your Mac? First off, it’s good to understand this is a simple automator service that must be enabled first. First, you have to launch System Preferences and then click on the Keyboard preference pane icon. After this, click the Keyboard shortcuts tab.

The next step is clicking on Services in the left hand column, and then scrolling down to the Text section. Click on the ox next to the Add to iTunes As a Spoken Track service. After you complete this step, you can go ahead and close out of System Preferences.

Open the text document or PDF you’d like to read to you, select the text, and go to the applications menu. Select Add to iTunes as a Spoken Track. now all you have to do is choose a voice from your installed voices and pick a name for your spoken track. You can now play the track in iTunes, or send it to your iPhone for playing later.

How to Have your Mac Read eBooks to You

Did you know you can have your Mac read Kindle books to you, out loud, with its built-in text to speech software? This method won’t work for the Nook for Mac app just to let you know.

Download the Kindle app from the web and mount the .dmg image file, and drag the Kindle app to your applications folder. Double click the Kindle app and log in. Open up your favorite book and find a page you want your Mac to read to you. Click and drag across the text, and hit Option-Esc. Your Mac will start to raed in the voice slected in the System Preferences.

How to Change the Voice Your Mac Reads to You In

Open system preferences and go to the Speech icon. After you click on it, select the Text to Speech options. Choose the System Voice in the drop down there. From here, you can also speed it up or down with the slider. All in all, you have to make sure you select “Speak selected text when the key is pressed” or none of this will work.

You can choose different voices from System Preferences as well. Click on the Speech Microphone icon, and then hit Text to Speech. After clicking System Voice, select Customize from the bottom of the drop down box. Click the checkbox next to all the voices you’d like to include in your system voices. You can even choose different accents and languages.

We hope you enjoyed these tips on how to make your Mac speak to you. Have you transformed text documents into audio files? Or have your Mac read eBooks to you? How did it work for you? We look forward to hearing from you in the comments below!

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