Talking Mac: A Beginner’s Guide to Using the Say Command in Terminal

Talking Mac: A Beginner’s Guide to Using the Say Command in Terminal

Hey there, curious Mac users! Have you ever wondered if your computer could speak to you? Well, guess what? It totally can! In this tutorial, I’m going to show you how to make your Mac say whatever you want using the Say command in Terminal. It’s a cool trick that’ll add a touch of personality to your computer and impress your friends. So, let’s get started, shall we?

First things first, let’s open up Terminal. You can find it in your Applications folder, under Utilities. Once you have Terminal up and running, you’re ready to make your Mac talk.

To use the Say command, all you need to do is type “say” followed by the text you want your Mac to speak. For example, if you want your Mac to say “Hello, how are you?”, simply type “say Hello, how are you?” and hit enter. Voila! Your Mac will instantly speak those words out loud.

Now, let’s have some fun with the Say command. How about making your Mac sound like a robot? To do this, we can specify a voice for the Say command to use. There are various voices available, ranging from the human-like Alex to the robotic-sounding Zarvox.

To list all the available voices, type “say -v ?” and hit enter. You’ll see a long list of voices you can choose from. Once you’ve picked a voice, let’s say Alex, you can use it by typing “say -v Alex” followed by the text you want your Mac to speak.

But wait, there’s more! You can even make your Mac talk in different languages. Imagine your computer greeting you with a “Bonjour” or a “Hola” every morning. To make this happen, you’ll need to specify the language along with the text and voice.

For example, if you want your Mac to say “Good morning” in French using the Alex voice, you would type “say -v Alex -l fr Good morning”. Pretty cool, huh?

Now that you know the basics of the Say command, you can have some fun experimenting with different voices and languages. It’s a great way to personalize your Mac and make it stand out from the crowd.

So go ahead, give it a try! Type “say” followed by whatever you want your Mac to say, and let the magic happen. Whether it’s a simple greeting, a funny joke, or a reminder for your next meeting, your Mac will be there to speak it out loud.

Remember, this trick is not limited to just fun and games. It can also be a useful tool for those with visual impairments or for creating automated voice-overs for presentations or videos. The possibilities are endless!

I hope you found this tutorial helpful and entertaining. Now you have the power to make your Mac talk and impress everyone around you. So go out there and let your computer’s voice be heard!

How to Make Your Mac Talk Using the Say Command in Terminal

Ever since the first Macintosh computer came out in 1984, text-to-speech has been a major feature of the platform. The quality and capabilities of Mac’s speech have improved over the years, but there’s still an old school way to make your Mac talk: the Terminal.

To use speech in Terminal, open a new Terminal window and type “say” followed by your desired word or phrase, then press Enter. For example:

say Hello Jim

If your Mac’s speakers are turned up, you’ll hear a computerized voice say the designated phrase. The default voice in OS X is “Alex,” but you can choose from many other voices in “System Preferences > Dictation & Speech > Text to Speech > System Voice”.

OS X Text-to-Speech System Preferences

The default voices are available in the drop-down menu, but you can download and install others through the “Customize” option. To preview voices before installing them, select one and click the “Play” button at the bottom of the Customize window.

OS X Text-to-Speech Voices

Some voices sound very natural, some are funny, and some are just bad. But with so many options available, you’re bound to find a voice or two that you like. Once you find a voice you like, install it and make note of its name. For example, we’ll use the Australian female voice “Karen.”

Now go back to Terminal and type “say” again, but this time add the modifier “-v” followed by the name of your selected voice, and then the desired text. If you’re using modifiers with the say command, put your text in parentheses. It should look something like this:

say -v Karen “Hello Jim”

The steps above work if you only have a few words you want spoken, but what if you have an entire document? In this case, you can use the “say” command to read from an input text file using the “-f” option. Just add “-f” to your “say” command followed by the location of the file. For example:

say -v Karen -f /Users/Tanous/Desktop/text.txt

By default, OS X will speak your text at its normal rate. But you can speed it up or slow it down using the “-r” option followed by a number in words per minute. For example, a normal rate of speech is around 175 words per minute. Higher numbers make your Mac talk faster, while lower numbers make it slower. Building on our previous example, we’ll have Karen read that text document at a brisk 250 words per minute:

say -v Karen -r 250 -f /Users/Tanous/Desktop/test.txt

If you want to save the speech as an audio file for later playback or sharing, you can use the “-o” option followed by a path and filename. The default output format is AIFF. For example, we’ll have Karen read that text file at 250 words per minute and save the speech to an AIFF file in our user’s Music folder:

say -v Karen -r 250 -o /Users/Tanous/Music/test_output.aiff -f /Users/Tanous/Desktop/test.txt

When you use the output option, your Mac won’t actually speak the text live; it just creates the audio and saves it to your output audio file. This makes it much quicker to create audio files from long documents.

These are the most common options for the “say” command in OS X. If you want to explore more advanced features, you can use the “man” command to access the manual for “say”:

man say

Now you might be wondering, why use Terminal when you can easily use OS X services through the GUI? There are two reasons. First, using and mastering Terminal commands is often cooler because they offer more flexibility and complete functionality that may be hidden in the basic GUI. Second, using “say” in Terminal allows for some great pranks, such as remote controlling someone’s Mac via secure shell and making it speak funny things. However, please use the “say” command responsibly.

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