say − Convert text to audible speech


    say [−v voice] [−r rate] [−o outfile [audio format options] | −n name:port | −a device] [−f file | string ...]


This tool uses the Speech Synthesis manager to convert input text to audible speech and either play it through the sound output device chosen in System Preferences or save it to an AIFF file.



Specify the text to speak on the command line. This can consist of multiple arguments, which are considered to be separated by spaces.

−f file, −−input−file=file

Specify a file to be spoken. If file is or neither this parameter nor a message is specified, read from standard input.

−v voice, −−voice=voice

Specify the voice to be used. Default is the voice selected in System Preferences. To obtain a list of voices installed in the system, specify ’?’ as the voice name.

−r rate, −−rate=rate

Speech rate to be used, in words per minute.

−o out.aiff, −−output−file=file

Specify the path for an audio file to be written. AIFF is the default and should be supported for most voices, but some voices support many more file formats.

−n name, −−network−send=name
name:port, −−network−send=name:port
:port, −−network−send=:port
:, −−network−send=:

Specify a service name (default "AUNetSend") and/or IP port to be used for redirecting the speech output through AUNetSend.

−a ID , −−audio−device= ID
name, −−audio−device=name

Specify, by ID or name prefix, an audio device to be used to play the audio. To obtain a list of audio output devices, specify ’?’ as the device name.


Display a progress meter during synthesis.

−i, −−interactive, −−interactive=markup

Print the text line by line during synthesis, highlighting words as they are spoken. Markup can be one of

A terminfo capability as described in terminfo(5), e.g. bold, smul, setaf 1.

A color name, one of black, red, green, yellow, blue, magenta, cyan, or white.

A foreground and background color from the above list, separated by a slash, e.g. green/black. If the foreground color is omitted, only the background color is set.

If markup is not specified, it defaults to smso, i.e. reverse video.

If the input is a TTY, text is spoken line by line, and the output file, if specified, will only contain audio for the last line of the input. Otherwise, text is spoken all at once.


Starting in MacOS X 10.6, file formats other than AIFF may be specified, although not all third party synthesizers may initially support them. In simple cases, the file format can be inferred from the extension, although generally some of the options below are required for finer grained control:

The format of the file to write ( AIFF, caff, m4af, WAVE ). Generally, it’s easier to specify a suitable file extension for the output file. To obtain a list of writable file formats, specify ’?’ as the format name.


The format of the audio data to be stored. Formats other than linear PCM are specified by giving their format identifiers (aac, alac). Linear PCM formats are specified as a sequence of:
Endianness (optional)

One of BE (big endian) or LE (little endian). Default is native endianness.

Data type

One of F (float), I (integer), or, rarely, UI (unsigned integer).

Sample size

One of 8, 16, 24, 32, 64.

Most available file formats only support a subset of these sample formats.

To obtain a list of audio data formats for a file format specified explicitly or by file name, specify ’?’ as the format name.

The format identifier optionally can be followed by @samplerate and /hexflags for the format.


The number of channels. This will generally be of limited use, as most speech synthesizers produce mono audio only.


The bit rate for formats like AAC. To obtain a list of valid bit rates, specify ’?’ as the rate. In practice, not all of these bit rates will be available for a given format.


The audio converter quality level between 0 (lowest) and 127 (highest).


say returns 0 if the text was spoken successfully, otherwise non-zero. Diagnostic messages will be printed to standard error.


   say Hello, World
   say −v Alex −o hi −f hello_world.txt
   say −−interactive=/green spending each day the color of the leaves
   say −o hi.aac 'Hello, [[slnc 200]] World'
   say −o hi.m4a −−data−format=alac Hello, World.
   say −o hi.caf −−data−format=LEF32@8000 Hello, World
   say −v '?'
   say −−file−format=?
   say −−file−format=caff −−data−format=?
   say −o hi.m4a −−bit−rate=?


"Speech Synthesis Programming Guide"