Using Speak Text in Snow Leopard

My transition to Mac OS X 10.6, Snow Leopard has not been entirely trouble-free. While I await the release of Bob LeVitus new book, Mac OS X Snow Leopard For Dummies, I am doing a bit of searching to find features that have moved in this new version of the Mac OS.

One feature that I use every time I write an entry for this blog is "Start Speaking Text." This useful command means that my computer will read text that I select to me. When I am editing a new post, I will often read over my mistakes. But when the computer is reading the text to me, I can spot errors in what I have typed and I can hear places where what I have written is awkward or unclear. I also use this command to have text from the Internet and emails read to me.

Getting to this feature was not easy in Mac OS X 10.5, Leopard, but I had learned how to get there:
My transition to Mac OS X 10.6, Snow Leopard has not been entirely trouble-free. While I await the release of Bob LeVitus new book, Mac OS X Snow Leopard For Dummies, I am doing a bit of searching to find features that have moved in this new version of the Mac OS.

One feature that I use every time I write an entry for this blog is "Start Speaking Text." This useful command means that my computer will read text that I select to me. When I am editing a new post, I will often read over my mistakes. But when the computer is reading the text to me, I can spot errors in what I have typed and I can hear places where what I have written is awkward or unclear. I also use this command to have text from the Internet and emails read to me.

Getting to this feature was not easy in Mac OS X 10.5, Leopard, but I had learned how to get there:




I needed to highlight the text I wanted to have read. Then I needed to go to the "Safari" menu, pull down to "Services," pull out and down to "Speech" and then over and down to "Start Speaking Text."

Imagine my horror when I tried this command in Snow Leopard:




Not only were most of my "Services" missing, but the Services Preferences… were of little help:




Never daunted, I reached for Bob's Mac OS X Snow Leopard For Dummies, only to remember that it is still on the presses!

So I tried the Finder "Help" menu:




It was of little help, so I had to resort to my "Mac logic mode!"

If I were an Apple developer, where would I hide this useful feature?

Ah-ha! Try selecting the text, then holding down the "Control" key to get to the Contextual Menus!




It worked! There it is!

If you have installed Snow Leopard, you will find lots of small, subtle changes. As I read online troubleshooting forums, I am constantly met with rants from Mac users who are upset that something has moved or changed.

Change is not bad--it's just different. If you are a person who is quick to rant and rail at changes, perhaps you need to wait for the flood of books about Mac OS X 10.6, Snow Leopard. But, if you like to "Think Different," if you are excited by change, then go on and make the plunge. There is a lot to like about Apple's newest cat if you can accept the challenge of perhaps being a little on the bleeding edge!

I am spending lots of time learning about the changes in Snow Leopard. If you need a hand, consider booking a tutorial session with us at Dr. Mac, Bob LeVitus Consulting. The cost is $60.00 per hour and we can show you lots of great new features in this new and exciting change to our Macs. You can send us a message at urgentrequest@boblevitus.com or give us a call at 408 627-7577.

--Pat

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