Mac OS X comes with many accessible applications that you can use with VoiceOver, such as Mail, iChat, and iTunes. This chapter provides information about using some of the Mac OS X applications.
For information about other applications that are compatible with VoiceOver, click the following link to visit the VoiceOver Application Support webpage.
The Mail window is organized like a Finder window. A table on the left contains your mailboxes. As you move up or down the mailboxes table, the contents of each mailbox are listed in a column on the right. Below the messages list is a splitter and then a pane for previewing the selected message.
To expand or collapse a mailbox to navigate to mailboxes within it, press VO-\.
Press VO-J. If you’re using VoiceOver gestures, keep a finger on the trackpad and press the Control key. To jump back to the mailboxes table, repeat the command or the gesture.
To hear a description of everything in that row, press VO-R.
Press VO-J. If you’re using VoiceOver gestures, keep a finger on the trackpad and press the Control key. To jump back to the messages table, repeat the command or the gesture.
When you start typing email addresses in a New Message window in Mail, some recipient names may appear as Smart Addresses. Smart Addresses are names and addresses that are in your address book, your Previous Recipients list, or available mail servers. Smart Addresses show the name within a blue field, which includes a pop-up menu of related commands, such as Reply to Sender or New Message.
The window opens with the VoiceOver cursor in the To field.
You hear the name and email address of the first name that matches what you’re typing. If more than one address is available for the recipient, you hear “Mail has new window” and a pop-up menu of addresses becomes available. Use the Down Arrow or Up Arrow key to navigate the list of addresses.
To delete an address you just entered, press the Delete key once to highlight the address and a second time to delete it. If a recipient has a Smart Address, you hear “menu button,” which refers to the pop-up menu in the Smart Address.
You can add as many addresses in the field as you want. If you enter multiple addresses that aren’t Smart Addresses, separate them with a comma.
To open the pop-up menu in a Smart Address, press VO-Shift-M.
If it’s easier to type email addresses than to use Smart Addresses, turn off Smart Addresses. In Mail, choose Mail > Preferences > Viewing, and then deselect the “Use Smart Addresses” checkbox.
You can use VoiceOver commands or gestures to read messages in Mail.
Press VO-J. If you’re using VoiceOver gestures, keep a finger on the trackpad and press the Control key.
Press VO-J, or keep a finger on the trackpad and press the Control key
To quickly read through the messages list, press VO-Shift-Down Arrow to interact with it. Then press VO-Right Arrow or VO-Left Arrow until you’re in the column you want to hear, such as the Subject column, and then press the Down Arrow or Up Arrow key to move up or down in that column.
Mail can detect specific information or data in messages and makes it easier for you to use the data. For example, Mail can recognize phone numbers and add them to your address book, or recognize a date and time and create an iCal event for it.
Mail outlines the data as a field with a pop-up menu, and VoiceOver speaks “data detector present.”
For example, if the data detector is an email address, you can choose New Message from the shortcut menu to open a New Message window that already has the email address in the To field; you don't need to retype or add the email address yourself.
If you set iChat preferences to announce when a new invitation arrives and to speak message contents automatically, you’ll hear “Chat invitation from [buddy name]” when you’re invited to chat, followed by the text of the new message, and finally “iChat has new window.” You can ignore the message if you’re busy or you can switch to iChat and accept the invitation.
The VoiceOver cursor moves to the iChat invitation window.
If you set the initial position of the VoiceOver cursor to be the first item in a window in VoiceOver Utility, you must navigate to and select the Accept button at the bottom of the window before you can type your response.
You interact with the iChat window the same way you do with other windows. All the messages in a text chat, including yours, are displayed above the text field in an HTML content area. You can interact with the area to move up and down the messages and read them.
You can set iChat preferences so that iChat announces when a new chat invitation arrives, and speaks the text of new chat messages. You can also set alert preferences for other events and types of chats, such as audio and video chats.
Now when you receive a chat invitation, you’ll hear “Chat invitation from [buddy name],” followed by the text of the new message, and finally “iChat has new window.” You can choose to ignore it if you’re busy or you can accept the invitation.
When cursor tracking is turned on, iChat speaks incoming messages only when you’re focused on the message portion of the chat window; if you’re typing a message in the text field, incoming messages are not spoken. You can turn off cursor tracking while using iChat, which enables you to move the VoiceOver cursor to the message portion to hear incoming messages, while the keyboard focus remains in the text field where you’re typing.
You can use hot spots to be alerted of incoming messages.
You can use a VoiceOver command or gesture in iChat to jump between the text field where you type your message and the table of incoming messages. This is useful if you want to review what your buddy said before you send your own message.
The VoiceOver cursor jumps to the end of the last message in the HTML content area.
The next time you jump during the same chat, the VoiceOver cursor will move to the last message you read.
You can turn off cursor tracking while using iChat, which enables you to move the VoiceOver cursor to the message portion to hear incoming messages, while the keyboard focus remains in the text field where you’re typing.
You can use VoiceOver with iTunes 8 to navigate the iTunes Store to buy music, movies, TV shows, and audiobooks, or download free podcasts. You can use all of the general VoiceOver commands to navigate the iTunes window. You interact with toolbars and lists just as you would in any other window.
To learn more about accessibility solutions for iTunes, open iTunes and search the iTunes Help for “accessibility.” Or click the following link to visit the iTunes website:
You can click tab stop buttons located at the right end of the TextEdit toolbar to add new tab stops. When the VoiceOver cursor is in the ruler, you can add or move tab stops.
If the ruler isn’t available, open TextEdit preferences and make sure the “Show ruler” checkbox is deselected.
Front Row is self-speaking; you don’t use VoiceOver commands to control it. Front Row uses your default VoiceOver voice to speak what’s on the screen in the Front Row menu; it outputs what’s on the screen to an available braille display. You navigate the Front Row menu just as you would other menus that you’re familiar with.
To open Front Row, press Command-Escape. To exit, press Escape. To navigate in Front Row, use the arrow keys. To select an item, press Return.
If your Mac computer includes Apple Remote, you can use the remote to change the sound volume, navigate lists and menus, start and pause playback, and more. For more information about Front Row, open Mac Help and search for Front Row.
Many tasks, including those using VoiceOver, can be automated by writing scripts using the AppleScript programming language included in Mac OS X. After you enable VoiceOver to work with scripts, you can use AppleScript Editor to open the VoiceOver AppleScript dictionary of terms available to use in scripts.
You can use Spotlight to search for it and then select it from the search results.
You can assign AppleScript scripts 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 scripts to VoiceOver gestures.