Dear Alex, You're Fired

With the release of Leopard, Apple added a great human sounding voice to Mac OS X, Alex. Alex was so much better than every other voice that had ever been on the Mac that it became the only voice I ever used, for years. I use the voice to read back text and, with some Automation, read Instapaper articles to me on my drive.

As great as Alex sounds, I’m really tired of his voice. Lion fixes this. There are several high quality voices for Mac OS X Lion, but you have to go fetch them.

Start out in system preferences and click Speech.

Next, tap the selection arrows next to Alex.

Lion just displays a few voices. The trick is clicking the customize button.

That opens the motherlode. There are a lot of voices to choose from. Scroll through the list and pick your favorites. There is a Play button to preview. The selected voices get downloaded through software update. Be warned, the files are big.

My new favorite is Fiona with her Scottish accent. (Aren’t all Americans secret anglophiles?) I haven’t updated my automator script yet but must admit I’m really looking forward to listening to Fiona read John Siracusa’s Lion review. My only regret is that they didn’t use the dulcet tones of my friend from Liverpool. So Alex, thank you for your loyal service. Now hit the bricks. is sponsored by Bee Docs Timeline 3D. Make a timeline presentation with your Mac.