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How to have the computer speak the item currently under the pointer in macOS 12 Monterey

How to have the computer speak the item currently under the pointer in macOS 12 Monterey

Short guide:

  1. Click the Apple icon in the top left corner of the screen and select System Preferences.
  2. Click Accessibility.
  3. In the sidebar, click Spoken Content.
  4. Tick the checkbox for Speak items under the pointer.
  5. To change the settings for Speak items under the pointer, click the corresponding Options button.

Before and after

Illustrations showing the pointer hovering over a button before and after Speak items under the pointer has been turned on

This section gives you step by step instructions on how to hear the item currently under the pointer spoken aloud in macOS 12 Monterey, with pictures of the screens to help.

Open System Preferences

1. Click the Apple icon in the top left corner of the screen and choose System Preferences from the menu.

Open the Accessibility settings

2. In the System Preferences window, click Accessibility.

Find the Spoken Content settings

3. In the sidebar, click Spoken Content.

Turn on Speak items under the pointer

4. Tick the checkbox for Speak items under the pointer.

Change the settings for Speak items under the pointer

5. Click the Optons button for Speak items under the pointer.

Choose when to speak the items under the pointer

6. By default, your computer will only speak the item under the pointer when you have the Zoom screen magnifier turned on. You can change this, so the items are always spoken. Select the drop-down menu for Speak item under the pointer and choose Always.

Choose how much spoken feedback you receive

7. Verbosity is the amount of feedback you receive about what is under the pointer. For instance, if you hover over a button when verbosity is set to low, only the text on the button will be spoken. If verbosity is set to high, the text on the button will be spoken along with the description, “button”. To change the level of Verbosity, select the drop-down menu for Speech Verbosity and choose from Low, Medium, or High.

Choose the amount of time between moving the pointer over an item and the item being spoken

8. By default, items will be spoken as soon as you move the pointer over them. This can become overwhelming when moving the pointer quickly across the screen. You can change this so that you need to rest the pointer over an item for a set amount of time before it is spoken. To do so, adjust the slider for After delay.

Save your changes

9. When you are happy with your settings for Speak items under the pointer, click the OK button.

Close System Preferences

10. When you are happy with your settings, close System Preferences by clicking the Close button (red circle) in the top-left corner of the window or using the Cmd + W keyboard shortcut.

Note: If this does not work it could be because your computer settings are managed by someone else (an IT department or administrator for example). If so, you will need to contact them to access these settings or for help.

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