VoiceOver on Mac

Exploring VoiceOver on Mac: Key Things to Know for Accessibility

VoiceOver is an application built in macOS. The application helps users read text on documents and web pages aloud. This is an accessibility feature that was primarily designed to help visually impaired individuals browse the web without having to use their eyes for navigating or reading. However, this feature can be used by everyone to improve accessibility and boost productivity, especially writers and researchers. 

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What is the VoiceOver App on Mac?

The VoiceOver application is an in-built screen reader on Mac computers that reads aloud what appears on the screen. It describes aloud the text in windows and documents. 

If you connect a supportable braille display to your computer, VoiceOver is able to detect it and send it information about what is displayed on the screen using uncontracted or contracted braille. In case you are using a multi-touch trackpad, VoiceOver gestures can be used to interact and navigate with what is on the screen. 

Using this functionality, you can control the computer with a braille display, keyboard or trackpad. 

Once you have turned on this functionality, you can use specific commands to interact and navigate with the items on your computer screen. You can enter VoiceOver commands by pressing Control + Option, along with other keys. 

The Option and Control keys are known as VoiceOver keys. You can also assign commands to numeric keypad keys, braille display input keys, trackpad gestures and keyboard keys. This will help you to use commands using fewer keystrokes. 

The VoiceOver cursor can be used to move around the computer screen and head descriptions of the displayed items. You can even use it to choose buttons and other controls, to edit and read text, etc. 

When you use this application for the first time, remember to take the Quick Start tutorial. This will walk you through the interaction and navigation basics. Then, you can personalize the application to suit your specific requirements using VoiceOver Utility. 

How do You Turn the App on or off?

Are you wondering how to turn off voice on keyboard Mac? Or how to turn it on? Here are a few methods:

  • Press the Command + F5 keys on the keyboard to turn it on. Press the same key combination to turn it off. 
  • Request Siri to turn it off or on. You have to give Siri the command “Turn VoiceOver On” or “Turn VoiceOver Off”, and the voice assistant will do the rest. 
  • Do you have a Mac with a Touch ID? If so, you can hold the Command key while pressing the Touch ID three times. 
  • A lengthy method is to click the Apple menu > select System Settings > choose Accessibility > VoiceOver > turn it on or off. 

In What Situations can you Use the VoiceOver App on Mac?

  • Navigating – You can use the app to navigate the entire user interface of your Mac computer, including the Dock, desktop and Menu bar. 
  • Reading and writing documents – The app can be used to read and edit documents in various applications, including TextEdit, Pages, etc. 
  • Browsing the Internet – The app comes in handy when you are surfing the web via Safari or other web browsers. The app reads the web content aloud, so you don’t have to read it yourself. 
  • Contacts and Calendar – The app is useful in managing contacts and schedules. It reads aloud all the appointments, events and contact information on your computer. 
  • Email – You can use the application to assist you with composing and reading emails in Microsoft Outlook or Mail. 
  • Management of files – The application can be used to organize the folders and files in Finder, so you don’t have to look for them when you need them. 
  • Education and learning – You can use the application in educational settings as the app can help students with visual impairments access digital learning materials. It also helps them interact with learning software and other educational resources. Even if you are not visually impaired, you can use this app to speed up the learning process. 
  • Multimedia – You can have the app read aloud the descriptions for video and audio content. This way, you can better enjoy the content. 
  • Coding and programming – Coders or programmers who are visually impaired or have difficulty with their vision use this application to compile, write and debug codes in text editors and programming environments. 
  • App accessibility – Several applications are specifically designed to work with Apple’s VoiceOver application. For instance, Zoom. 

Wrapping Up 

VoiceOver is one of the lesser-known but highly useful applications that comes bundled with Mac computers. You must not miss out on utilizing this application in all aspects of your workflow, including work, communication and entertainment. 

The main purpose of this application is to read aloud whatever is on the screen, and you can use the app’s functionality in various situations.