Hide ads on web pages and have the text read to you on the Mac

A better way to browse the web - Use Safari Reader View and have web pages read to you

By combining two useful features on the Apple Mac, you can view clean ad-free web pages and sit back and have the Mac read them out loud to you. It is the lazy way to browse the web, but it is fun!

Set up speech in macOS

Text to speech has been on the Mac for many years, but with each version of OS X and now macOS, it has improved. When the Mac speaks, it is more lifelike than ever and much less robotic than it used to be at one time.

First we need to set up speech and this is done in System Preferences.

  1. Click the Apple menu
  2. Click System Preferences
  3. Click Accessibility
  4. Select Speech on the left

As shown in the screenshot below, tick the option on the right, Speak selected text when the key is pressed. The currnet hotkey is Option+Esc, but there is a button to change this if it is not suitable.

Accessibility options in System Preferences on the Apple Mac

The System Voice is set to Daniel and this is fine, but there is an option to change it if you prefer.

  1. Click Daniel
  2. Select Customize on the menu

There are two male and two female voices and an option to download higher quality versions of the voices.

Select the voice for text-to-speech in System Preferences on the Apple Mac

It’s up to you. It is not necessary, but they do sound a bit nicer.

Use Safari Reader View

When viewing many, but not all web pages, there is an icon at the left side of the address box. You should see one on this page if you are using Safari to view it. This is to switch to Reader View. Click it and all the clutter from the web page disappears, leaving a great looking web page that that is cleaned of adverts and is much easier to read.

Use Reader View in Safari on the Apple Mac to clean up web pages

This is the best way to read web pages and it articles on this website look great. Click that button now! Reader View strips out adverts so there is no need for an ad blocker extension. 

Hey Mac, read the page to me

Earlier we set up Option+Esc to speak selected text. You can select text on a web page to speak it, but it turns out that you don’t even need to do that.

In Reader View just press Option+Esc and the Mac begins reading the web page out loud. Don't forget to turn up the volume.

Use Reader View in Safari on the Apple Mac to clean up web pages and make them easier to read

This is brilliant and it is so easy. If you want it to stop speaking, just press Option+Esc again.

Customise Safari Reader View

In the screenshot I have a sepia background to the web page in Reader View. This is achieved by customising the Reader View settings. Just click the aA button on the right in the address box to display a menu.

Customise Reader View in Safari on the Apple Mac and make web pages easier to read

  1. Click the small and large A buttons at the top to change the text size and make it smaller or larger
  2. Click one of the four circles to select the colour scheme
  3. Select your favourite font from the list below

None of these affect the web page display in normal view and they only come into effect when using Reader View.

Reader View is recommended for reading articles on this website and, if you are feeling particularly lazy, you now know how to get your Mac to read them to you!

 

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