Read Aloud Any Text in Mac!

Have you ever wonder what is the use of the “Speech” function in Preview? Well, literally, it can read you the selected text of the document.


Why should I listen to a text?

It may because you are tired of reading after a whole day’s work or you just want to try something new. Listen to a text activates a different part of your brain for decoding and comprehension. Listening to something also requires you to be focused in a different way than reading.

Why should my students listen to a text?

Although the computer-generated voice may not be the ideal choice for mimicking, students can adjust the speed, volume, gender and many more features of the sound so that they can follow along.  Also, if you ever have encountered a situation that after a whole unit of study on a certain topic, students still can’t say the key vocabulary out loud – it is reminding you to create more listening and speaking practice opportunities. The Speech function is easy and quick – when switched on from the system setting, the computer can read any selected text in Word, Preview, Browser, etc. It allows students to figure out the pronunciation by themselves in a very short time. Not even necessary to copy, open a dictionary app, paste, click for reading aloud. The keyboard shortcut can make it possible in a second.

How can I enable Speech function?

Step 1: In System Preferences, search Speech









Step 2: Click on Speech, then enable the function by selecting the box. The default shortcut is Option+Esc, which I personally feel very easy to use. You can change to your preferred combination by clicking on the Change Key button.

Step 3: Select your preferred voice feature. Gender, region, speaking speed are all changeable.

Now, select any text on this page and try it out! Once you press the shortcut to speaking, you can switch to a different app/page and the text does not need to remain selected.

Endnote: If you have a student who struggles to speak any English, show him/her this feature and encourage him/her to use it outside the class. Language production requires a massive amount of input.

Happy reading/listening!

Don’t upgrade to latest MacOS Catalina

We’ve received multiple reports from students and staff who have upgraded their laptops to the latest Mac OS version, Catalina, that they experience unreliable WiFi connections on campus after the upgrade. For now, please do not upgrade your laptops to Catalina. Mac OS 10.14 Mojave is safe to upgrade.

Don’t Upgrade to Catalina Yet

The latest version of MacOS, Catalina, has been released. Your Macbook may prompt you to upgrade. We do NOT recommend upgrading to Catalina at this time, as it may cause compatibility issues with your software including your print driver. If you did already upgrade, though, visit the helpdesk if you experience any software or printing issues.

Ten Tips for Making the Most of Your Mac

On Wednesday and Thursday we had two PD sessions on getting to know your Mac. Here are the top ten key takeaways:

  1. ​​Take a screenshot with cmd-shift-3 (whole screen) or cmd-shift-4 (choose an area of the screen)
  2. Use the Spotlight search feature (the magnifying glass icon in the top right corner) to quickly launch applications.
  3. Yeah, Office 365 search works as well as a rhino trying to find a polar bear in a snow storm. But if you are searching for files and you’re using OneDrive to sync with your Mac, use Spotlight on Mac to search for your files instead! It’ll be much more accurate.
  4. Keyboard shortcuts are the single fastest way to navigate your Mac faster. In the finder, use cmd-shift-D to go to the Desktop, cmd-shift-A to go to the Applications folder, and cmd-shift-H to go to your home folder.
  5. When you drag a folder to the sidebar in the Finder, you’re creating an alias (called a shortcut in Windows) that will appear in every Finder window as well as every open and save dialog box.
  6. Create an alias by dragging a folder to a new location while holding the cmd and option keys. You can do this to put links to your OneDrive folders and files on your desktop.
  7. Most programs allow you to save a file as a different type. Microsoft programs do this in File > Save As, while Apple programs do this through File > Export
  8. The Apple Preview program lets you draw and comment on PDF files. This can be used to fill out forms/worksheets.
  9. When printing, you can use the Printer Presets menu to create a saved preset with commonly used options. For example, you could create one preset that prints B&W, 2- sided and another that prints in color, 1-sided.
  10. Download the Caffeine app from and run it from your Applications folder. It will keep your computer awake, which is useful when you’re projecting a Word document for a class or meeting and don’t want your computer to go to sleep in the middle of it.
And one more bonus: use the cmd-tab keyboard shortcut to show a list of running programs (if you hold down the cmd key) and to switch between them (when you press tab while holding down cmd). You can also quit programs this way by pressing the q key when the program is selected.