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VoiceOver, the basics Article

VoiceOver, a screen reader for many of apple’s devices, is quite accessible and easy to use. In this tutorial, I will do my best to guide you through its basic use.

First, you must know how to activate VoiceOver. On a mac, press CMD+F5, or CMD+FN+F5. The command key (CMD), is to the left of the space bar. The Function key (FN), is the bottom left key on mac keyboards without a number pad, and is the middle key on the left side of the group of nine keys on apple’s USB keyboards with number pads.

The basics of VoiceOver commands to navigate are quite simple. The VO key, which I will refer to, is CMD+OPT. The option key (OPT), is to the left of the CMD key.

To move your cursor to a previous control in a window, press VO+LEFT (left arrow). To navigate to the next control, press VO+RIGHT (right arrow). To move up and down on the screen or within a control, press VO+UP and VO+DOWN (up arrow and down arrow) respectively. To interact with a control, press VO+SHIFT+DOWN. To stop interacting with a control, press VO+SHIFT+UP. To move to the top and bottom of the window you are in, press VO+SHIFT+HOME and VO+SHIFT+END respectively. The home and end keys are the function key in conjunction with the left and right arrow keys. These keys are also located in the center of the group of nine keys on an apple USB keyboard. The home key is the key directly in the middle and the end key is below it.

To activate the menu bar in VoiceOver, press VO+m. I don’t recommend this, as it isn’t necessarily a global operating system hotkey. CTRL+F1 (control) is a more global alternative to activate the menu bar. To right click an item, use VO+SHIFT+M. To left click an item, press VO+SHIFT+SPACE. In most cases, clicking an item will activate it. In some cases, however, clicking an item is required rather than activating an item. To activate an item, which performs the default action on that control, press VO+SPACE. This should work most of the time.

That’s the end of my tutorial on the basics of VoiceOver navigation. With these key commands, you can do virtually anything on the mac operating system. You may not do so as expediently as you might prefer, but these are the basics to get you started. As you can see, it’s quite simple.

Have fun, everyone.

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