In iOS, it is possible to have the text read out loud using the built-in text-to-speech (TTS) while the individual words highlight as they are spoken.

Like in this gif:

tts in iOS, MacOS highlight content as spoken as iOS

(taken from this you video).

I am looking for a way to get MacOS's (10.11) built-in TTS to highlight individual words as they are spoken, as in iOS. This is extremely helpful for me when reading.

This Ask Different question get at the same issue, but it's slightly different as it's asking for a browser-based solution and I am primarily looking for native MacOS solution. Thanks.


3 Answers 3


VoiceOver on macOS can do this.

  1. Use VoiceOver Utility.app to activate move highlight cursor by word
  2. Activate VoiceOver with Cmd+F5
  3. Click on the text you want to read
  4. Press Control+Alt+A to "read all"

VoiceOver Utility - Visuals - move highlight by word

How well it works will vary by application and how well they support VoiceOver.

These animations were recorded on 10.13.6 High Sierra, but VoiceOver has been around since 10.4 Tiger - so you should be OK in 10.11 El Capitan.

Pages - works well

enter image description here

FSNotes - works well

enter image description here

Safari - depends on how the page is built

enter image description here

  • Thank you for your response! I wasn't aware of the VoiceOver Utility.app It it works, but as you also point out it vary by application how how well VoiceOver works. I will keep the question open for a tidbit longer to see if anything else show up. Thanks again!
    – Eric Fail
    Feb 12, 2019 at 14:10

You can try Dictator by Nosrac. It's available for free on GitHub. I'm not the developer or affiliated with the software. enter image description here

It has a feature called 'teleprompter mode' that highlights the words as they're spoken.

enter image description here

The code hasn't been updated in a few years and I haven't tried it myself so I can't speak for how well it works. I'm recommending it because it looks like it does what you want and it's free.

  • Thank you for your answer. Unfortunately Dictator by Nosrac do not seem to be working under MacOS 10.11. I did hope to find a native solution, but maybe that's not possible. Thanks.
    – Eric Fail
    Jan 7, 2019 at 13:12
  • 1
    Yea, I wasn't entirely sure it work with your version but I thought it was worth a shot. I'm not aware of any native solution that does what you want.
    – fsb
    Jan 7, 2019 at 13:56
  • 1
    Any chance you would be willing to rewrite your answer into a comment? I understand if you want to keep it as an answer, but I wanted to ask respectfully as it is my experience that questions unaccepted gets less attention. Thanks.
    – Eric Fail
    Jan 8, 2019 at 13:29
  • 1
    Thanks for the suggestion, @EricFail. While this answer might not address your specific situation, and therefore not be accepted, it might help others who have the same issue. I've seen hundreds of unaccepted answers get comments from others who said it did help. Based on that, I'll leave the answer alone (along with your comments as to why it wasn't accepted).
    – fsb
    Jan 8, 2019 at 13:52
  • Upvote from me as it'll definitely help some users. :)
    – Monomeeth
    Jan 12, 2019 at 7:04

I tried an app called Natural Reader and it does a decent job, but the voices are terrible and it isn't quite as seamless as iOS's integration. I really only want this for Safari so I guess I'll just have to Airdrop the link to my nearby iPhone or iPad and initiate the screen reader gesture there. Natural Reader does have a great Chrome Extension so I am hoping with Big Sur and the new ability to easily port Chrome Extensions to Safari that they will do that soon and let us use all of the system voices; I much prefer the UK Male Safari voice to any of Natural Reader's voice, free and paid.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .