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I am using the Chrome browser and I know OS X has built-in voice synthesis that can speak to assist visually impaired users.

Can I use this feature to have the computer read contents of websites for me? Eg., I'd like to select a couple of paragraphs and have them read.

I know Safari has that built-in, but for one, there I don't know how to change the voice (e.g. I'd prefer a male voice), and secondly, I'd prefer to have it with Chrome.

Is it possible?

3 Answers 3

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OS X's built in screen reader, VoiceOver, works in Chrome.

To enable it, go to System Preferences-> Universal Access-> Seeing and toggle the VoiceOver: radio group to On. You will also be able to check the shortcut key for easily enabing/disabling VoiceOver.

I recommend you take some time and familiarize yourself with VoiceOver; it's very powerful but takes some getting used to.

Click the VoiceOver Utility button to configure VoiceOver. This lets you change, among many other options, the voice and speaking speed.

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Chrome supports macOS built-in text-to-speech functionality. Select the text in the browser then use any of these options:

  • Right-click -> Speech -> Start Speaking
  • Edit menu -> Speech -> Start Speaking

You can also assign a global keyboard shortcut that will apply across multiple applications:

  1. System Settings -> Keyboard -> Keyboard Shortcuts... -> App Shortcuts -> click the + button to add a new shortcut
  2. Application: All Applications (or only Google Chrome.app if you prefer)
  3. Menu Title: Start Speaking
  4. Keyboard Shortcut: Assign the the keyboard shortcut of your choice
  5. Optionally: repeat the above step for Stop Speaking
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  • Isn't this the standard macOS text-to-speech which is available in all/most applications?
    – nohillside
    Aug 14, 2023 at 8:09
  • Safari has exactly the same menu entry/context menu, and uses the same voice. It's not enabled automatically in all applications (i.e. Firefox doesn't have it), but IMHO it's the built-in functionality. Nevertheless, great for Chrome to have it as well.
    – nohillside
    Aug 17, 2023 at 7:16
  • Thanks @nohillside, I've updated my answer Aug 17, 2023 at 8:07
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Fortunately, someone (me) developed a Chrome extension that does exactly what you're looking for: Announcify

PS: Sorry for shamelessly advertising my own products.

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