This applies to the Tiger (10.4) version of VoiceOver, a new version is in the works for VoiceOver 2 (Leopard).
Turn on Voiceover:
Tell Voiceover to shut up:
When you read a reference to “Voiceover keys” (or VO), this means the
ctrl and option key pressed.
NB: If you are using a laptop, you will also need to press the fn key when using F1-F12, or change fn in the keyboard settings to do hardware, not software commands.
For navigating with VO keys locked on, press
VO-semicolon Which toggles it on, therefore just
semicolon turns it off.
Read all the visible content:
(This includes all the window furniture).
To explore, use VO and the arrow keys, generally left and right unless you know a dialogue, as up and down tends to skip things.
Tab can be used to traverse controls that are keyboard selectable, however, it can’t get to all the things that Voiceover can with VO-arrows.
To select something, you can use
To replicate a mouse click:
Open a file in finder:
Pop-ups: to get into pop-up menus, use:
Status: Hear description of item:
Hear options (help info):
VO-h (press twice for list)
Interacting with content
A window generally has buttons along the top, and a content section below. When reading through (VO-right arrow), you will hear something like “column view” (in finder), or HTML content (in Safari). To get into that content area, you interact with it using:
To stop interacting with it and move to another area, use
VO-shift-up, and then you can arrow around the window again.
Read all within a content area when the area is highlighted:
Once you have done this, you are in the interaction mode, and need to press
VO-shift-up to get out of the content area.
NB 2: Confusingly, some core applications do not need you to ‘interact’, such as text edit and finder, automatically having an edit area that you can type into without having to interact first. In the sidebar of the finder, it is important to use VO-arrows rather than just arrows, as when an item is selected via an arrow only, it moves the cursor into the columns (main) content area.
NB 2: When editing, VO reads content as you pass over it, so if you are editing text and moving between words, option-right/left will go a word at a time. Up and down generally work to read out lines.
These are the typical OSX keyboard commands for selecting and moving around text, the left equivalents are assumed:
Move right by word:
Move to end of line:
end/home rarely move the cursor, not sure when they are useful.
Selecting text is done by pressing
shift with the above commands.
Copying & Pasting
Cut and paste Relies on Cursor tracking being separate from the keyboard location. If you have cursor tracking on (which is the default), moving between items automatically makes them the selection.
To read out current selection:
To select multiple items:
- Turn off cursor tracking:
- Press <code>esc to unselect any items selected.
- Find items with:
- Select items with
- Then use usual commands to copy paste etc (
Get to application menu:
When in menu, press again to get to status area. When in status, press again for spotlight.
Keyboards access within the menu is as expected, you can press either
VO-arrows<code> or just arrows (usually), and <code>esc to go back to what you were doing before.
Items which lead to other dialogues have a duplicate item first with “ellipsis” to indicate there is a sub-menu.
Get to Dock (the main application launcher):
Arrows to move, space to select.
Switch between apps:
shift to reverse).
Advanced application chooser:
VO-f1 twice. (The first time reads out current app and number of apps running).
This opens a menu with each application as an item, and sub-menus for each window within the application. For just the windows in the current application, use
Switch view between icons, lists and columns:
cmd-2 (outline list),
cmd-3 (column view).
Open spotlight search:
Open the Voiceover Utility:
If the mouse pointer is not following the VO cursor, it could be anywhere. The following can be useful:
Read what’s under the mouse pointer:
Move VO cursor to pointer location:
Move pointer to VO cursor location:
This creates an alphabetical list of all the items, controls, content & everything, so that you can press the first letter (or few letters) of the item that you want, and select that immediately. (NB: a good way of finding out what is accessible!)