Summarize is a feature that has existed in the Mac operating system for years. It has always been somewhat hidden. However, within the past few OS updates, it has been completely removed as a default keyboard shortcut and now must be turned on before it can be used.
Today, we have a quick how-to guide for activating and using the Summarize feature on your Mac OS X so you can read the short version of any document on any native OS X program…
In this New Year, it is important to remember that, while you may already know about Summarize, not everyone else does. We offer plenty of complex how-to guides for our tech savvy readers. Sometimes, we like to take things down to a more basic level for our readers who are new to Apple’s quirks. If you’ve known about Summarize for years, feel free to skip this article. We won’t mind. This one is for our readers who didn’t even know Summarize existed.
How to turn on Summarize
Years ago, Summarize was embedded in the menu bar of native OS X programs under the “Services” section. Now, you have to actually turn it on in order to see it.
Step 1: Go to Apple > Systems Preferences > Keyboard > Shortcuts
Step 2: Select “Services” from the list of shortcut options.
Step 3: Click on the dropdown arrow next to “Text” if it is not already open.
Step 4: Scroll down to “Summarize” and check to see if the box is selected. If not, click on the box to turn it on.
How to use Summarize
Now that Summarize is on, you can easily access it whenever you highlight text from any native program on OS X. If you are using the Safari web browser, checking mail, reading a PDF document in Preview, or a paper in Pages, you can summarize the text by following these steps.
Step 1: Select the text.
Step 2: Go to the program’s menu at the top left corner of your screen.
Step 3: Select “Services” from the dropdown menu.
Step 4: Select “Summarize” from the list of services.
A window will appear that shows you a summarized version of the text you just highlighted. The amount of summarizing can be adjusted to offer more or less information. You can also change the summarizing options from sentence-to-sentence to paragraph-to-paragraph. Although, paragraph summary doesn’t seem to be as useful since it cuts out larger sections of a document.
You can also save the summarized text as a TextEdit document and save it for reading later.
I’ve tested Summarize with a number of different programs and it also appears to work with Word, third-party mail clients, and pretty much anything I could select text in.
You can also access Summarize by right clicking after selecting the text and then scrolling down to “Services” and “Summarize.” However, the feature doesn’t always show up when you go that route. For example, you won’t see Summarize as a feature when you right click the text in Word, even though you can use it by following the instructions above.
Have fun summarizing all of those news articles you want to read every morning, but just don’t seem to have time to do.
What do you think of Summarize? Is it a feature you think you will use?