VoiceOver basics

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Get started

Before getting started with VoiceOver, full keyboard accessibility needs to be enabled.

In the System Preferences, select Keyboard, and then Shortcuts. Under "Full Keyboard Access: In windows and dialogs, press Tab to move keyboard focus between:", select All controls.

In the Safari web browser:

  1. Open Safari Preferences.
  2. Select Advanced.
  3. In "Accessibility:", check the box next to "Press Tab to highlight each item on a webpage".

To start (or stop) VoiceOver, press Command-F5.

To navigate with VoiceOver, a VoiceOver modifier key (VO) is used in combination with other keys. The default VO keys are Control-Option. You can change the VO keys in System Preferences > Accessibility > VoiceOver. Open the VoiceOver utility. In General, "Keys to use as the VoiceOver modifier", choose from Control + Option, Caps Lock, or the option that allows either Control-Option or Caps Lock to be used.

It's a good idea to turn on the caption panel, which allows you to see on screen what VoiceOver announces. To turn on the caption panel, open the VoiceOver utility. In Visuals > Panels and Menus, check the box for "Show caption panel".

Key combinations

There are many key combinations to use VoiceOver in a variety of applications. Following are key combinations that are useful for getting started.

General VoiceOver commands

  • Command-F5: Turn VoiceOver on or off
  • VO-H: Open the VoiceOver help menu
  • VO-F8: Open the VoiceOver Utility to change settings

Reading commands

  • VO-A: Start reading from the current location
  • Control: Stop reading
  • VO-P: Read paragraph
  • Right or left arrow: Move element by element through the page
  • VO-Command-X: Find next list (VO-Command-Shift-X for previous list)
  • VO-Command-G: Find next graphic (VO-Command-Shift-G for previous graphic)
  • VO-Command-L: Find next link (VO-Command-Shift-L for previous link)
  • VO-Command-H: Find next heading (VO-Command-Shift-H for previous heading)
  • Interaction commands

    • VO-U: Open the rotor
    • Esc: Close rotor
    • Tab: Move to the next interactive element
    • VO-Spacebar: Perform the default action for an interactive item
    • VO-Return: Select a menu or list item
    • VO-Shift-down arrow: Interact with an item
    • VO-Shift-up arrow: Stop interacting with an item

    Table commands

    • VO-R-R: Read a table row with headers
    • In a table, VO-arrow keys: Move row by row
    • In a table, arrow keys: Move cell by cell

    For a full list of keyboard combinations, see the VoiceOver Commands chart.

    VoiceOver rotor

    The VoiceOver rotor is a quick way to explore and navigate a web page. The rotor presents all items of a particular type in a list. Using the rotor is an easy way to hear, for example, all the links on a page. It can also be used to move quickly to a particular place on a website, such as a specific heading or landmark.

    The types of items that appear in the rotor can be changed in the VoiceOver Utility > Web > Web Rotor.

    This is document atgb in the Knowledge Base.
    Last modified on 2020-01-21 10:37:27.

    Contact us

    For help or to comment, email the UITS Support Center.