Submit Hint Search The Forums LinksStatsPollsHeadlinesRSS
14,000 hints and counting!

10.6: Easily create spoken iTunes tracks from any text Apps
Snow Leopard only hintIf you'd like to take any block of text and have it easily transferred as spoken text to your iPhone or iPod, I found this feature is now built in to Snow Leopard as a Service.

To use this feature, first enable it in System Preferences » Keyboard » Keyboard Shortcuts » Services. In the left-hand column, select Services, then scroll down to the Text section in the right-hand window and enable 'Add to iTunes as a Spoken Track.' Add a keyboard shortcut, too, if you wish by clicking in the space adjacent to this services' name.

Now whenever you have a block of text highlighted, Control-click on it and choose Add to iTunes as a Spoken Track from the pop-up menu. Alternatively, you can press your defined keyboard shortcut, or get to the command from the Services menu item. The quality of the speech is quite acceptable!

[robg adds: Yes, this is a built-in command, and we don't normally hint such things, but in a quick survey I just took, nobody had realized this was here. This greatly simplifies the task of converting text into audio form - it basically replaces this hint, which created a Service in 10.5. (There's also this hint, which creates audiobooks from PDFs.)]
    •    
  • Currently 3.18 / 5
  You rated: 1 / 5 (22 votes cast)
 
[17,970 views]  

10.6: Easily create spoken iTunes tracks from any text | 16 comments | Create New Account
Click here to return to the '10.6: Easily create spoken iTunes tracks from any text' hint
The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
10.6: Easily create spoken iTunes tracks from any text
Authored by: plagarri on Feb 22, '10 12:16:44PM

Thanks for this hint which works fine but only with Alex voice although I've selected Vicki in system preferences!
Is there a way to set another voice?



[ Reply to This | # ]
10.6: Easily create spoken iTunes tracks from any text
Authored by: DCJ001 on Feb 22, '10 12:58:42PM

You can make the change in the Speech Syst Pref, Text To Speech option. There are three male and three female voices from which to choose.



[ Reply to This | # ]
Edit voice used, filename, encoding method, etc.
Authored by: Jacques on Feb 24, '10 08:01:23PM

Edit voice used, filename, encoding method, etc.

You can edit the AppleScript .workflow file easily!

If you double click the .workflow file, it'll open up in Automator - where you can then edit and change attributes. When you save your results, use Save As so you can keep the original script intact - as a back up. You'll probably have to activate your new script by using this original hint, once you're done.

You'll find the file on your System hard drive, under System > Library > Services > Add to iTunes as a Spoken Track.workflow.

It's a VERY simple script actually!



[ Reply to This | # ]
10.6: Easily create spoken iTunes tracks from any text
Authored by: torch_55 on Feb 22, '10 06:42:15PM

How do you find the recorded track in iTunes?



[ Reply to This | # ]
Track name?
Authored by: Jacques on Feb 22, '10 09:37:31PM

You'll find it's called "Text to Speech", to be found within the Music section of iTunes.

The original text to speech file is created as an AIFF file, apparently. Once it's placed in iTunes, you'll find it's been converted there into the AAC VBR 128kbps format.

This script throws out the AIFF version of the track once the iTunes track has converted. If you need to convert it to MP3 instead or any other format, just retrieve the file from the Finder's trash.



[ Reply to This | # ]
Track name?
Authored by: torch_55 on Feb 23, '10 06:27:41AM

Jacques, thanks so much for the help.



[ Reply to This | # ]
AAC encoding
Authored by: TheFLP on Feb 23, '10 10:19:38PM

I'm finding that if you've changed the default AAC encoder settings in iTunes (Preferences > General > Import Settings), the final import step will fail with an error. I had to select the "iTunes Plus" preset to make it work.

(If you don't normally encode to AAC, you can change the above setting and then go back to your preferred format. The service will use AAC regardless.)

Even after a failed import, you'll still find the original AIFF file in the Trash.



[ Reply to This | # ]
Edit voice used, filename, encoding method, etc.
Authored by: Jacques on Feb 24, '10 08:03:09PM

Edit voice used, filename, encoding method, etc.

You can edit the AppleScript .workflow file easily!

If you double click the .workflow file, it'll open up in Automator - where you can then edit and change attributes. When you save your results, use Save As so you can keep the original script intact - as a back up. You'll probably have to activate your new script by using this original hint, once you're done.

You'll find the file on your System hard drive, under System > Library > Services > Add to iTunes as a Spoken Track.workflow.

It's a VERY simple script actually!



[ Reply to This | # ]
10.6: Easily create spoken iTunes tracks from any text
Authored by: horkstow on Feb 23, '10 07:48:08AM

If I change the voice in the Speech preference pane, I get the new voice in other applications, but the voice in the iTunes clip is always Alex. Is Alex specified in the script?



[ Reply to This | # ]
Edit voice used, filename, encoding method, etc.
Authored by: Jacques on Feb 24, '10 08:00:54PM

Edit voice used, filename, encoding method, etc.

You can edit the AppleScript .workflow file easily!

If you double click the .workflow file, it'll open up in Automator - where you can then edit and change attributes. When you save your results, use Save As so you can keep the original script intact - as a back up. You'll probably have to activate your new script by using this original hint, once you're done.

You'll find the file on your System hard drive, under System > Library > Services > Add to iTunes as a Spoken Track.workflow.

It's a VERY simple script actually!



[ Reply to This | # ]
10.6: Easily create spoken iTunes tracks from any text
Authored by: istraziota on Feb 24, '10 06:14:47AM


Thanks for the tip, I find it very useful for transferring spoken information to my iPhone, which can then be listened to under circumstances that would favor this form of retrieving information. I tried it out with .pages documents and with texts on the web and it worked with both, but it does not work with .word documents. Is there a way of making it work with .word and PDF documents?



[ Reply to This | # ]
Cocoa apps only
Authored by: Jacques on Feb 24, '10 07:52:04PM

It's quite possible this only works with Cocoa apps.

Copy the text out of any Carbon (Word, Acrobat Reader, etc) app, then switch to a Cocoa app (TextEdit is a fast easy one to launch) to paste it in temporarily. Once it's there, you can select it and use this hint to create the spoken word file.

Then just quit TextEdit without saving, no sense in having two copies.

= )

Another quick word processing app (also written in Cocoa) I'd recommend is Bean <http://www.bean-osx.com/Bean.html> - it's free and simple.



[ Reply to This | # ]
Use Preview
Authored by: horkstow on Feb 25, '10 04:29:05AM

It will work with PDFs if you open them in Preview (a Cocoa application) rather than Adobe Reader.

Edited on Feb 25, '10 04:30:22AM by horkstow



[ Reply to This | # ]
10.6: Easily create spoken iTunes tracks from any text
Authored by: horkstow on Feb 25, '10 04:21:23AM
Actually this hint is well documented in David Pogue's Snow Leopard: the Missing Manual, page 265. It seems that Alex is the only voice you can use.

[ Reply to This | # ]
10.6: Easily create spoken iTunes tracks from any text
Authored by: Jacques on Feb 26, '10 09:16:18AM

You can change the voice, see other comments here.



[ Reply to This | # ]
10.6: Easily create spoken iTunes tracks from any text
Authored by: gxxr1130 on Jun 22, '12 03:01:40PM

How do you modulate the voice speed? Changing the system setting doesn't help and I can't find an option using the automater =/



[ Reply to This | # ]