SimpleSay for Mac

SimpleSay is a new Mac app that does one thing: It makes it easy to type in text and have your computer speak it out loud, using the built-in speech synthesis and the great voices that Apple includes.

If you're a Mac nerd you probably know already that you can open a Terminal window and type "say hello" and your Mac will speak this out loud. However, if you frequently need to ask your computer to say something, you will find it's much easier in SimpleSay.

There are quite a few reasons people might need to have their computer speak typed-in text out loud. If you've found this post you are probably already looking for a solution, so you know why you need it, but the reasons I've encountered are:

  • Announcements, especially to be made to an English audience by someone who is not a native English speaker.
  • Paging.  "Bob Smith, please come to the front desk!"
  • Delivering audio clues to players in an escape room game.
  • Just for fun!

The app also keeps a list of recently-spoken phrases, so if there are some phrases that you use often, you can access them here. The keyboard shortcut for this is Ctrl-Space, and you can use the arrow keys to pick the phrase to speak and hit Enter to replace the text in the text box.

There is one non-obvious advanced feature in SimpleSay. If you have your Mac connected to more than one USB audio device, and you use Audio Midi Setup to create an aggregate audio device so you can play sounds to all these devices at once, the volume control in the app no longer has any effect. To work around this, the app can speak the sound into a file at a lower volume, and then play back this file, to speak the text at the volume you pick. To enable this, open a Terminal window, and paste in this text:

defaults write com.falldaysoftware.SimpleSay fileBasedVolume true

If you're using SimpleSay for something unique, or have any questions or suggestions, please drop me a line and let me know. I'd love to hear from you.