Quick tips are random posts regarding something I discovered on my way to something bigger. They usually get longer than “quick” would imply, for which I refuse to apologize.

This is one of those things that is likely common knowledge, but I stumbled across it accidentally today while doing some studying on web accessibility.

A couple OS releases ago the list of installed voices available to the say command changed, and some of my favorites disappeared. I’d always been partial to Zarvox for script notifications.

say -v Zarvox "well this is a fine pickle"

And then Zarvox was suddenly gone, and I just assumed Apple had killed off the majority of the novelty voices. It turns out, however, that it’s really easy to restore them (and some ostensibly more useful voices).

Select Customize… from the voice selection dropdown

First, Open VoiceOver Utility (in /System/Applications/Utilities). Select Speech in the left sidebar and choose the Voices tab. Next to any options listed there is a dropdown for selecting the voice used by Voice Over. At the bottom of that dropdown, select Customize….

Bring back your favorites

Check the boxes for all the voices you want to add, and when you confirm it will download and install them.

Zarvox lives.

Actual Voice Over users definitely already know this, but as an aside I’ll point out that you can correct pronunciation in this pane as well.1

Get off my lawn.
  1. A cheeky aside. Oh, you.