Using the English Text-to-Speech Software

With the English text-to-speech software installed, many Macintosh programs can read English text out loud. One of the programs that can read to you is the SimpleText program, which comes with this computer and is already installed on your hard disk. (You are probably reading this document using the SimpleText program.)

The instructions in this document tell you:

What you need to use the English text-to-speech software

To use the software, you need the following software and hardware.

Installing the software

To install the English text-to-speech software, follow these steps.

  1. Print these instructions before you start. You will not be able to view them on screen during the installation.
  2. If you have been using an earlier version of text-to-speech software, see the note for you at the end of this section.
  3. Quit any programs you have been using.
  4. While holding down the Shift key on the keyboard, choose Restart from the Special menu. Don't release the Shift key until you see the "Extensions Off" message on your screen.
  5. To start the Installer program, double-click its icon. You can find the Installer program in the same place you found these instructions.
  6. In the introductory screen that appears, click Continue.
  7. In the next screen, click Install. The installation takes a few minutes.
  8. When you see a message reporting that the installation was successful, click Restart.

After the computer restarts, you can start using the text-to-speech software. You can try it out using the instructions in the next section.

Note for users of PlainTalk 1.0: The improved version of MacinTalk Pro included with this text-to-speech software is intended to replace the old PlainTalk text-to-speech software. However it may not work with some computers that have a 68030 processor. If you have such a computer and want to keep using the old PlainTalk text-to-speech software, you should not use the standard Install procedure described in these steps. Instead, after step 6, choose Custom Install from the pop-up menu, select MacinTalk 2 or MacinTalk 3, then proceed with steps 7 and 8.

Trying out the text-to-speech software

You can try out the text-to-speech software in the SimpleText program by following these steps.

  1. Open any SimpleText document. Or, since this document is already open, you can do the remaining steps with it.
  2. Click anywhere in the text to make sure nothing is selected.
  3. Choose "Speak All" from the Sound menu. (If you cannot hear anything, you may have the sound turned all the way off. Check in the Sound or "Sound & Displays" control panel.)

  4. If you want the computer to stop reading, choose Stop Speaking from the Sound menu.
You can also try the following:

Choosing a standard (default) voice

If you have system software version 7.0 or later, you can use the Speech control panel to choose your favorite voice to be the default voice for all your programs. (To use the Speech control panel on some black-and-white 68000 computers, like the Macintosh SE, you need to have system software 7.1 or later.) To set the default voice, follow these steps.

  1. Open the Control Panels window by pulling down the Apple menu and choosing Control Panels.
  2. Open the Speech control panel by double-clicking its icon in the Control Panels window.
  3. Open the Options pop-up menu at the top of the Speech control panel and choose Voice.

  4. To change the default voice, choose the voice you want from the Voice pop-up menu. To hear what the voice you chose sounds like, click the speaker button. If you're concerned about RAM usage, Agnes, Bruce, and Victoria take about 1,500 kilobytes of RAM; the rest take 300 kilobytes or less.
  5. To change the rate at which the default voice speaks, move the slider.
  6. Close the control panel.

Turning Talking Alerts on or off

If you have system software version 7.0 or later, you can use the Speech control panel to turn the Talking Alerts feature on or off. When this feature is on, your Macintosh will speak the contents of alerts to you. (An alert appears, for example, when your printer runs out of paper while printing.) To turn the Talking Alerts feature on, follow these steps.

  1. Open the Control Panels window by pulling down the Apple menu and choosing Control Panels.
  2. Open the Speech control panel by double-clicking its icon in the Control Panels window.
  3. Open the Options pop-up menu at the top of the Speech control panel and choose Talking Alerts.
  4. To have your Macintosh speak a phrase like "Alert!" or "Hey!" when an alert appears, click the "Speak the phrase" check box to put an X in it, and choose the phrase you want to be spoken from the adjacent popup menu.
  5. To have your Macintosh speak the content of an alert when one appears, click the "Speak the alert text" check box to put an X in it.
  6. To adjust how long your Macintosh delays after an alert appears before speaking the alert text, adjust the slider beneath the "Speak the alert text" check box.
  7. To test how Talking Alerts will behave with your chosen settings, click on the speaker icon to the right of the slider.
Whenever Talking Alerts is speaking the text of an alert, you can stop it by clicking the mouse or typing any key.

Technical details

The software that enables your computer to speak has these components:

The Installer installs the files that are appropriate for your system. Troubleshooting (problems and solutions)

My Macintosh won't speak.

The Installer program says there's a problem with the hard disk.

The Installer program displays other error messages.

I had an older version of text-to-speech software, then did a custom installation of the new software, but some of my older voices disappeared.


1995 Apple Computer, Inc. All rights reserved.
Apple, the Apple logo, Macintosh, Plaintalk, and Power Macintosh are trademarks of Apple Computer, Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries. MacinTalk is a trademark of Apple Computer, Inc.