VoiceOver provides numerous ways to navigate content and text. In this chapter, you’ll learn how to navigate content such as tables and text, and how to use navigation features such as Quick Nav, the Item Chooser, and hot spots, among others.
The menu bar at the top of the screen contains three main areas: the Apple and application menus, status menus, and the Spotlight menu.
If you’re using VoiceOver gestures, double-tap with two fingers near the top edge of the trackpad.
To exit a menu without selecting an item, press Escape. If you’re using VoiceOver gestures, scrub back and forth with two fingers.
Shortcut menus give you quick access to commands so you don’t have to navigate to the menu bar. To open a shortcut menu for an item, press VO-Shift-M. If you’re using VoiceOver gestures, you can use the customized gesture Control-Trackpad click (you can change this default assignment and assign the command to a different gesture).
Many menu items have keyboard shortcuts you can use to bypass menus altogether. For example, to open the Print window, press Command-P, instead of navigating to File > Print.
You can navigate tables in text areas by row and column, and sort by column.
You can use the same text commands you would use for documents to read text in a table.
When you’re interacting with a table, VoiceOver doesn’t announce blank columns as you navigate using the arrow keys unless you have the verbosity level for tables set to High.
You can choose to have VoiceOver read the header text when it navigates a table row. This setting is useful for identifying the type of content in each cell of a row. To set this option in VoiceOver Utility, choose Verbosity in the category table, click Announcements, and then select the “Speak header when navigating across a table row” checkbox.
You can navigate by searching for specific text or a specific letter.
For example, if you’re working in a TextEdit document and you want to find the next occurrence of “braille,” type braille in the VoiceOver search panel and the VoiceOver cursor will move directly to the next occurrence.
VoiceOver displays a search panel.
VoiceOver searches from the VoiceOver cursor to the end of the text area.
For example, you can use fast searching to quickly move to the next occurrence of the letter S in an element on the screen.
You can navigate in a document by searching for text attributes, such as a bold font or a change in font color.
Bold text: VO-Command-B
Font change: VO-Command-O
Text that has the same style as the current text: VO-Command-S (if you are not in a text area, VO-Command-S finds the next item that is the same as the current item)
Style change: VO-Command-C
Italic text: VO-Command-I
Color change: VO-Command-K
Underlined text: VO-Command-U
Plain text: VO-Command-P
When you use cursor wrapping, VoiceOver treats the items in a window or column as a continuous loop. For example, if you’re at the top of a window and move back, you go to the last item in the window. You hear audible cues when you wrap.
If you turn on cursor wrapping in VoiceOver Utility, VoiceOver wraps automatically. You can also use cursor wrapping only when you choose.
To wrap from an item at the top of a column to the last item in the previous column, press VO-Command-Shift-Up Arrow.
Mac OS X includes full keyboard access, which lets you use the Tab and arrow keys to move the keyboard focus to text boxes, lists, radio buttons, checkboxes, and other controls.
When you navigate using the Tab key while VoiceOver is on, keep these points in mind:
With Quick Nav, you can navigate webpages and applications using only the arrow keys, and navigate webpages using single keys.
Press the Left and Right arrow keys at the same time.
If you deselected the option to toggle Quick Nav using the arrow keys in the Quick Nav Commander in VoiceOver Utility, this command won’t work. Instead, press VO-H-H to open the Commands menu, type “quick” to search for the “Toggle Quick Nav On or Off” command, and then select it.
If you enabled single-key webpage navigation in the Quick Nav Commander in VoiceOver Utility, you can use single keys to navigate webpages. For example, press b or B to navigate to the next or previous button, or 1 or ! to navigate to the next or previous Heading 1.
Use the Quick Nav Commander in VoiceOver Utility to change the default single-key assignments, and add your own key assignments.
You can use Quick Nav with the Web rotor.
To navigate the items displayed in a list in the Web rotor, press the Up Arrow or Down Arrow.
When Quick Nav is on, the Quick Nav arrow and single-key commands are included in the Commands menu. To display the Commands menu, press VO-H-H.
You can use the Item Chooser to quickly go to any item on the screen or in a window. The Item Chooser menu lists text, controls, links, and graphics.
The Item Chooser closes.
You can use hot spots to monitor items and jump to those items at any time. After you set a hot spot for an item, you can use the hot spot until you close the window that contains the item. If you turn off VoiceOver and then later turn it on, hot spots you set are still available.
You can set up to ten hot spots; if you use VoiceOver activities, you can set up to ten hot spots for each activity.
Navigate to the item and press VO-Shift-[number key].
If you assign a number that’s already being used in a hot spot, the new hot spot replaces the old one.
Press VO-Shift-[number key] on the hot spot.
For example, if you set a hot spot on the first icon in the Dock (by pressing VO-Shift-5), you would press VO-5 to jump to that hot spot, and then press VO-Shift-5 to remove the hot spot from the icon.
To watch for value changes in a hot spot, press VO-Command-Shift-[number key].
VoiceOver announces whenever the item’s value changes. When you no longer want to hear value changes, press the command again.
When you jump to hot spots in tables, lists, or web areas, you can immediately interact with those items; you don’t need to enter a VoiceOver command to interact with them.
To use the Hot Spot Chooser to browse and jump to hot spots, press any hot spot key twice. For example, you might press VO-7-7 to display the Hot Spot Chooser. The Hot Spot Chooser lists all active and inactive (those in closed applications) hot spots, and offers commands to move to the next or previous hot spot.
You can assign hot spot commands to keys on the numeric keypad or keyboard, or on a braille display. If you’re using a Multi-Touch trackpad, you can assign the commands to VoiceOver gestures. You can also assign commands to move to the next or previous hot spot.
You can use hot spots on some non-English keyboards.