Is it possible to change the voice that Mac OS X uses for the say command? How?

4 Answers 4


By default it uses the System Voice set in the Text to Speech page of the Speech panel of System Preferences. Otherwise, you can use the -v option with one of the named voices:

say -v Zarvox "found it in the man page"
say -v Agnes "found it in the man page"
  • 6
    To get a list of the named voices type say -v ?. Nov 6, 2016 at 22:46
  • 1
    say -v not working
    – Jas
    Nov 2, 2021 at 6:36
  • 4
    With zsh (which is the default OS X shell), you need to escape the question mark: say -v \?. Or you can run it within single quotes: say -v '?' Sep 5, 2022 at 6:15

man say yields this

  -v voice, --voice=voice
       Specify the voice to be used. Default is the voice selected in
       System Preferences.

You can permanently change the voice by changing the System Voice in System Preferences -> Dictation & Speech -> Text to Speech

  • In macOS Ventura, it’s found in Accessibility → Spoken Content. Feb 2 at 21:04

You can view/customize different voices on Mac from

System Preferences --> Accessibility --> Speech

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