Chapter 8. Collaborating with Other Users

This chapter explains how to use features that enhance collaboration between users. You’ll learn about the caption panel, the braille panel, the screen curtain, and tiling visuals. You’ll also learn how to mute speech and sound effects.

Use the caption panel

You can display a panel on the screen that shows what VoiceOver is speaking. The caption panel is helpful when you’re sharing the computer with those around you who are sighted.

A screen shot of the caption panel. A panel with a black background and white text that displays what VoiceOver is currently speaking. The text from left to right is: Safari window Apple - Accessibility For more than 20 years, Apple has provided new and innovative solutions for people with disab...
Show or hide the panel

Do one of the following:

To show or hide the caption panel, as well as the braille panel and the VoiceOver cursor, press VO-Command-F11.

Move or resize the panel
  1. Press VO-Shift-F10 until you hear the action you want to perform.

    For example, if you hear “resizing” but you want to move the caption panel, press the keys again to hear “moving.”

  2. Press VO-arrow keys to move or resize the caption panel. To move or resize in smaller increments, press Shift with the arrow keys.
  3. When you’re done, press the Escape key.

When the caption and braille panels are displayed at the same time, they can sometimes cover each other. If this happens, move or resize them.

Turn the screen black using screen curtain

For added privacy, you can prevent those around you from reading the screen by using the screen curtain, which temporarily turns the screen black. The screen curtain is also useful for sighted users who want to avoid reading the screen while learning to use VoiceOver.

Press VO-Shift-F11. If you’re using VoiceOver gestures, triple-tap with three fingers. To turn off the screen curtain, repeat the command or gesture.

If you turn off VoiceOver while the screen curtain is on, the screen curtain is also turned off.

Use the braille panel

Even if you don’t have a braille display, you can show a panel on the screen that simulates a refreshable braille display, along with a language translation of the braille, so sighted and nonsighted users can read the same text at the same time.

A screen shot of the braille panel. A  panel with a black background containing a rectangle outlined in white. The rectangle contains braille characters, in yellow, that represent the item in the VoiceOver cursor and that would be displayed on a refreshable braille display. Under the rectangle from left to right, in white, are the English word equivalents of the braille characters: For more than 20 years.

You can control the panel’s appearance and choose whether to show it whenever a braille display is connected to or paired with your computer, and you can move and resize it. When resized, the braille panel can show more cells than may be on the connected braille display; in this case, a thin rectangular line around some cells indicates the braille cells on the physical display.

Show or hide the panel

Do one of the following:

To show or hide the braille panel, as well as the caption panel and the VoiceOver cursor, press VO-Command-F11.

Move or resize the panel
  1. Press VO-Shift-F9 until you hear the action you want to perform.

    For example, if you hear “resizing” but you want to move the braille panel, press the keys again to hear “moving.”

  2. Press VO-arrow keys to move or resize the braille panel. To move or resize in smaller increments, press Shift with the arrow keys.
  3. When you’re done, press the Escape key.

The braille panel displays what’s on the screen even when you mute speech.

When the braille and caption panels are displayed at the same time, they can sometimes cover each other. If that happens, move or resize them.

Tile visuals

You can tile visuals (the VoiceOver cursor, the caption and braille panels, and VoiceOver menus) on the screen. When you tile visuals, the VoiceOver cursor moves to the center of the screen and the rest of the screen is dimmed.

A screen shot of the screen curtain. A darkened screen showing tiled visuals. In the center of the screen is a bright magnified rectangle containing the contents of the VoiceOver cursor, the text \“Apple’s Commitment to Accessibility.\”

Mute sound effects

VoiceOver uses sound effects to let you know what’s on the screen and to help you navigate. You can turn off VoiceOver sound effects without affecting the audio of other applications.

  1. When VoiceOver is on, open VoiceOver Utility by pressing VO-F8.
  2. Click Sound in the category table, and then select the “Mute sound effects” checkbox.

If you’re using VoiceOver gestures, avoid muting sound effects. Hearing the blank space sound effect is very useful in determining where items are located on the desktop.

Mute speech

VoiceOver uses speech to let you know what’s on the screen and to help you navigate. You can turn off VoiceOver speech without affecting the display in the caption or braille panels, or the audio of other applications.

  1. When VoiceOver is on, open VoiceOver Utility by pressing VO-F8.
  2. Click Speech in the category table, and then click Voices.
  3. Select the Mute Speech checkbox.

    To turn speech on again, deselect the checkbox.

If you’re using VoiceOver gestures, you can mute VoiceOver speech and sound effects by double-tapping with three fingers. Repeat the gesture to hear speech and sound effects again.