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, as well as the Tab key.
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 navigate in the menu bar:
If you’re using VoiceOver gestures, flick right or left on 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 on the trackpad.
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 navigate in a window by searching for specific text. For example, if you’re working in Mail and you want to go to the Send button, type Send in the VoiceOver search field and the VoiceOver cursor will move directly to that button.
VoiceOver displays a search panel.
VoiceOver searches from the VoiceOver cursor to the end of the text area.
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 as a continuous loop, so, for example, if you’re at the top and move back, you go to the last item in the window. You hear cues when you wrap to the next line, or wrap from top to bottom or from bottom to top.
You can set a preference in VoiceOver Utility to turn on cursor wrapping so that it’s always available. If you don’t set the preference, you can use commands that force cursor wrapping only when you need it.
For example, VO-Command-Shift-Left Arrow wraps from the first item in a window to the last item in the window.
Mac OS X includes “full keyboard access,” where you can use the Tab and arrow keys to move the keyboard focus to text boxes, lists, radio buttons, checkboxes, and other controls.
Here are some points to keep in mind when you use the Tab key to navigate while VoiceOver is on:
You can navigate in reverse using Shift-Tab.
With Quick Nav, you can navigate webpages and applications using only the arrow keys.
Press the Left Arrow and Right Arrow keys at the same time.
To navigate applications and webpages in Group mode:
To jump to the next or previous list in the Web Item rotor, press the Left Arrow and Up Arrow keys or the Right Arrow and Up Arrow keys at the same time.
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 up to ten items per window or to jump to those items later. 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 and open a window in which you previously set hot spots, your hot spots are still available.
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 had set a hot spot on the first icon in the Dock (say, by pressing VO-Shift-5), you would press VO-5 to jump to that hot spot and then press VO-Shift-5. VoiceOver removes the hot spot from the icon.
To use hot spots:
To watch for value changes in a hot spot, press VO-Command-Shift-[number key].
VoiceOver announces whenever the watched 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.
You can use hot spots on some non-English keyboards.
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.