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Sunday, October 2, 2011

Mac and Voice Over

I have had several students graduate and have someone talked them into going Mac instead of PC with JAWS-- RIGHT before a major life change. Then they start emailing me with their issues of not being able to access what they need on their new Mac. This really is more a matter of a lack of knowledge than an inability of the Mac. The most difficult part about the major switch of technology is they did it going into college or before a major event in their lives. They go from knowing how to operate a PC with JAWS with confidence to a brand new piece of hardware and software. If you are daring and can learn fast, that is fine. But if you have a learning curve, changing to a brand new product right before going to college, or in the middle of college or just getting a job, might not be the best move. There is always going to be a lull in your life, when this approach may fit better. However, nothing wrong with a bit of a challenge.

For all of those who took the step into a Mac with voice over, but would like a bit more help, here are a few basics to get you going or moving faster.

Voice over is built into the Mac OS X Lion
Command+F5 will turn on voice over quickly
Turn on voice over before attaching a supported Braille display. When you plug in a braille display, Voice over will detect it

This information is taken from the Mac manual: You enter VoiceOver commands by holding down the Control and Option keys together, along with one or more other keys. The Control and Option keys are called the “VoiceOver keys,” or “VO keys” for short. They are shown in commands as VO—for example, to use the command VO-F1, you press Control, Option, and F1. You can assign VoiceOver commands to numeric keypad keys, keyboard keys, braille display input keys, and trackpad gestures, so you can use the commands with fewer keystrokes.

The first time you start VoiceOver, I highly suggest you take the Quick Start tutorial, an interactive tour of VoiceOver navigation and interaction basics. When VoiceOver is on, you can start the tutorial at any time by pressing VO-Command-F8.--Remember, the VO key command is: control+option+F8 for the tutorial

Let's practice reading a document.
Open a document
To read an entire document from the top (called “Read All”) without interacting with the document, press VO-A.
When you’re interacting with a document, to read from the VoiceOver cursor to the bottom of the text area, press VO-A.
To read a line, press VO-L. To move to the next or previous line, press VO-Down Arrow or VO-Up Arrow.
To read a paragraph, press VO-P. To move to the next or previous paragraph, press VO-Shift-Page Down or VO-Shift-Page Up.
To read a sentence, press VO-S. To move to the next or previous sentence, press VO-Command-Page Down or VO-Command-Page Up.
To read a word, press VO-W. To hear the word spelled, press VO-W again. To hear it spelled phonetically, press VO-W again. To move to the next or previous word, press VO-Right Arrow or VO-Left Arrow.
To read a character, press VO-C. To hear the character spoken phonetically, press VO-C again. To move to the next or previous character, press VO-Shift-Right Arrow or VO-Shift-Left Arrow.

If you selected the “Use phonetics” checkbox in the Announcements pane of VoiceOver Utility, characters are automatically read phonetically. For example, VoiceOver reads “a alpha n november t tango.” (If you do not want this feature, go back to your Utilities and turn it off)

Practice these techniques and more lessons will be added

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