say - macOS


say is a versatile command-line tool that converts text into synthesized speech. It leverages the built-in text-to-speech engine, offering a convenient way to audibly convey text content in various situations.


say [options] [text to speak]


  • **-a : Specify the voice used for speech synthesis.
  • **-r : Control the speaking rate (default: 180 words per minute).
  • **-v : Adjust the volume (default: 1.0).
  • **-f : Read text from the specified file.
  • **-o : Output synthesized speech to a file (WAV format).
  • -n: Disable any audible output (silent mode).
  • -w: Wait for speech to finish before returning.
  • -h: Display usage information.


  1. Simple usage
say "Hello, world!"
  1. Specify voice and rate
say -a "Whisper" -r 120 "This is spoken in a whisper at a slow pace."
  1. Read from file
say -f ~/text.txt
  1. Output to file
say -o ~/output.wav "This will output the spoken text to the specified WAV file."
  1. Integration with other commands
# Speak the contents of a web page using curl and say
curl -s | say

Common Issues

  • Garbled speech: Ensure that your system’s text-to-speech engine is installed and properly configured.
  • No output: Check if say is correctly installed. Use the -n option to verify if the command is executing without producing audible output.
  • Unsupported voice: The specified voice might not be available or supported by your system’s text-to-speech engine.


  • Combine say with osascript to create custom speech applications.
  • Use say to automate system announcements or error messages.
  • Integrate say with text editors for improved accessibility.
  • speak: Similar to say, but without the ability to specify options.
  • afplay: Plays audio files.
  • textutil: Converts text to various formats, including spoken audio.