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  1. 15.6. VoiceOver The Mac has always been able to read stuff on the screen out loud. But Apple has taken this feature light-years farther, turning it into a full-blown screen reader for the benefit of people who can't see. Voice Over doesn't just read every scrap of text it finds UP TO SPEED For Laptop Lovers Only Tons of the special VoiceOver keystrokes require the use of an F-key (like F2 or F5). If you have a Mac laptop, though, the F-keys come wired to functions like adjusting the speaker volume or screen brightness. The VoiceOver keystrokes won't work, in other words, unless you also press the Fn key at the lower-left corner of the keyboard. If remembering to add Fn becomes a hassle (or you don't have enough fingers), open the Keyboard & Mouse pane of System Preferences. Click the Keyboard tab, and turn on "Use all F1, F2, etc. keys as standard function keys." Now you've reversed the logic. You need the Fn key only when adjusting the volume or brightness, and don't need it for things like VoiceOver keystrokes. on the screen—it also lets you control everything on the screen (menus, buttons, and so on) without ever needing the mouse. As you can guess, learning VoiceOver means learning a lot of new keyboard shortcuts (see the massive table at the end of this section). Fortunately, most of them involve the same two modifier keys pressed together: Control-Option. Note: VoiceOver works beautifully in Cocoa programs like Safari, TextEdit, and Mail, but doesn't work well in iTunes, Microsoft Word, and other Carbon programs. As software companies revise their wares, compatibility is sure to improve. (Furthermore, VoiceOver is available in English only.) 15.6.1. Turning on VoiceOver
  2. You can turn on VoiceOver on the Universal Access pane of System Preferences. But you may as well get used to using the keyboard shortcuts for VoiceOver; in this case, pressing -F5 serves as the on/off switch. Tip: Tap the Control key by itself to pause the speech feature; tap again to resume. Oh— and if Alex's voice doesn't quite do it for you, consider buying the really amazing- sounding ones from www.cepstral.com or www.speechissimo.com. Figure 15-15. As you press Control-Option and the arrow keys, a thick black border—the VoiceOver cursor—identifies whatever VoiceOver is currently pronouncing. When it lands on a menu or pop-up menu you'd like to open, press the Space bar; VoiceOver opens the menu so you can sonically explore it using the down arrow key. 15.6.2. "Feeling" the Screen Once you've turned on VoiceOver, the idea is to "walk" around the window, listening as VoiceOver pronounces each item. It first says the name of the window you're in, and then, as you walk around, it will say, "Scroll bar," "Back button," "Home button," and so on. Since, presumably, you can't see the screen, the idea here is to help you get your bearings. You take this tour of the screen by pressing Control-Option with the four arrow keys (Figure 15-15). Tip: Couldn't quite understand what VoiceOver said? Press Control-Option-Z to hear it again.Or press Control-Option-Shift-Z to save the spoken utterance as a sound file on your desktop—a handy option if you want to play it for someone later (like a tech- support guru who might understand an error message's meaning better than you did). Figure 15-16. When you hear something you'd like to "click," press Enter; otherwise, press Esc to close the list. (Note that the VoiceOver menu's keystroke lists
  3. omit the "Control-Option" part.) You can press Control-Option-right brace (}) or left brace ({) to increase or decrease the VoiceOver menu's type size. When VoiceOver announces that you're in a scroll bar, Web page, table, list, or menu, press Control-Option-Shift-down arrow. You've just turned on interactive mode within this control area (and VoiceOver says, for example, "Start interacting with scroll bar"). Now the familiar Control-Option-arrow key keystrokes move you around only with in the interactive area, so that you can listen to your options. To leave the interactive area, press Control-Option-Shift-up arrow. 15.6.3. VoiceOver Menu Lists If you're truly visually impaired, you probably don't care quite so much about the spatial relationships of the on screen elements. That's why VoiceOver comes equipped to display high-visibility, white-on-black lists of things that you can navigate with the arrow keys alone (Figure 15-16). For example: • The Item Chooser menu lists every window element available to you. (On a Web page, the item menu may take a long time to appear, because it lists everything clickable on the page—600 links and bullets, for example). Keystroke: Control- Option-I. • A list of all open windows appears when you hold down Control-Option, and press F2 twice. • A list of all running programs shows up when you hold down Control-Option, and then tap F1 twice. • TheVoiceOver menu lists all of VoiceOver's keystrokes, offers direct access to VoiceOver's preference settings, and more. Keystroke: Control-Option-F7. 15.6.4. Operating Onscreen Controls Using only the keyboard, you can use VoiceOver to operate checkboxes, radio buttons, lists, scroll bars, sliders, and menus. You can even select and edit text, move or resize windows, and drag icons around in the Finder—all without the mouse. For example, here's how you operate the menu bar. Press Control-Option-M to highlight the very first menu—the menu. From here, you can use the right/left arrow keys to choose a different menu. (VoiceOver pronounces their names). Open the one you want by
  4. pressing the down arrow key. At this point, the up/down arrow keys walk you through the commands; the right/left arrow keys open or close a submenu. Press Return to select a menu item, or Esc to close the menu without selecting anything. Tip: You can even operate your menulets—the status icons at the right end of the menu bar—the same way. Highlight the first one by pressing Control-Option-M twice, and then proceed as described above. 15.6.5. VoiceOver Preferences The VoiceOver Utility teems with ways to fine-tune VoiceOver options. Technically, it's in your Applications Utilities folder—but you can open it from the keyboard by pressing Control-Option-F8. Here, in Leopard's expanded edition of VoiceOver, you'll find nine tabs' worth of controls: • General. Lets you type a spoken greeting to let you know when VoiceOver is running. • Verbosity.Controls how much of what's on the screen VoiceOver reads. Do you want it to speak what you're typing? Should it let you know when you're pressing a modifier key like Option or Shift? Do you want to hear about bold and italic text when it's reading a document? Tip: If you find Voice Over to be frustratingly chatty, you're not alone. But on the Verbosity pane of the Voice Over Utility, you can choose Do Nothing from a pop- up menu to shut VoiceOver up for that category. • Speech. Controls what VoiceOver's voice sounds like (on the Voices tab), complete with rate, pitch, and volume controls. On the Pronunciation tab, you can change how the voice pronounces symbols. For example, it can say, "Splat!" instead of "exclamation point." • Navigation. Governs how VoiceOver speaks on screen elements. Usually, it pronounces whatever is highlighted by the black rectangle (the VoiceOver cursor), which you drive using the keyboard—but if you like, it can speak what the arrow cursor is touching instead. • Web.Specifies whether or not you want VoiceOver to pronounce the names of graphics (on Web pages, for example).
  5. • Sound. Two little options here. One mutes the voice entirely; the other produces little clicking sounds as your cursor "hits" various onscreen areas. (You could turn off the voice, for example, and get around solely by listening for these "positional audio" clicks.) • Visuals.If you're completely blind, these options are irrelevant. If you have some vision, though, this panel lets you specify a degree of magnification for whatever the VoiceOver cursor touches. It also offers a VoiceOver caption box at the lowerleft corner of your screen, which displays, as text, whatever the VoiceOver voice is currently reading. • NumPad. Just in case you didn't think there were enough VoiceOver keystrokes to learn, here are 17 more. They correspond to the keys on your Mac's numeric keypad, and lots of them are useful shortcuts. • Pronunciation. This pane lets you construct a list of terms that require special pronunciation. For example, Apple has already taught VoiceOver to say "smiley" when it reads the :) characters. 15.6.6. The VoiceOver Master Keyboard List As you've seen, mastering VoiceOver means learning a long list of keyboard shortcuts. Here are a few—all right, quite a few—of the most important ones. Basic Functions Keystroke Turn VoiceOver on or off -F5 VoiceOver menu Control-Option-F7 VoiceOver Help Control-Option-Question mark (?) Help for a highlighted item Control-Option-H Lock/unlock Control- Control-Option-Semicolon (;) Option keys Open the Commands menu Control-Option-H twice for an item Open VoiceOver Utility Control-Option-F8 Start keyboard practice Control-Option-K (speaks key names) Close a menu, stop an Esc or Control-Option-Esc action, or exit a mode Ignore the next key Control-Option-Tab combination you press Magnify or shrink what's in Control-Option-right brace (})/ left brace ({) the VoiceOver cursor box Hide or show the Control-Option-F11
  6. Basic Functions Keystroke VoiceOver cursor and caption box Control-Option-Shift-F10. (Press repeatedly to cycle through Resize or move the caption Resize and Move functions. Then use arrow keys to resize panel the caption panel or move it. Press Shift-arrow keys to move by smaller amounts.) Increase/decrease font size in the caption panel Control-Option- -right bracket (])/left bracket ([) "Screen curtain" effect (totally black screen for Control-Option-Shift-F11 privacy) Tile Visuals mode on/off Control-Option-F10 Note: In Tile Visuals mode, the screen goes black except for whatever element is currently highlighted by the VoiceOver cursor, which moves directly to the center of the screen. This feature can be a tremendous help if you have some extremely limited vision. Navigation Keystroke Highlight next window/dialog box Control-Option-arrow keys element Top/bottom of window, text area, Control-Option-Home/End (Laptops: Control- etc., without scrolling Option-Fnleft arrow/right arrow) Top/bottom of area, scrolling if Control-Option-Shift-Home/ End (Laptops: Control- necessary Option-Shift-Fn-left arrow/ right arrow) Control-Option- -Home (Laptops: Control- Top of the window Option- -Fn-left arrow) Control-Option- -End (Laptops: Control-Option- Lower-right corner of the window -Fn-right arrow) Bring the VoiceOver cursor's Control-Option-Shift-F2 window to the front List every element of a window Control-Option-I Highlight the Dock Control-Option-D Move to the desktop Control-Option-Shift-D Highlight first menu Control-Option-M (Use arrow keys to move to the
  7. Navigation Keystroke other menus.) Highlight first menulet Control-Option-M twice Open the Spotlight menu Control-Option-M three times Open a shortcut menu Control-Option-Shift-M Back/Forward (movements of the Control-Option-left bracket ([)/right bracket (]) VoiceOver cursor) Turn cursor tracking on or off Control-Option-Shift-F3 temporarily Move VoiceOver cursor to Control-Option-Shift-F4 keyboard focus Move keyboard focus to VoiceOver Control-Option-Command-F4 cursor Move VoiceOver cursor to mouse Control-Option-Shift-F5 Move mouse to VoiceOver cursor Control-Option-Command-F5 Getting Your Bearings Keystroke Speak program's name Control-Option-F1 Display a menu of program Control-Option-F1 twice. (Esc to close it.) names Display a menu of window Control-Option-F2 names Menu of window names, this Control-Option-F2 twice program only Describe what's in the Control-Option-F3 VoiceOver cursor box Describe what you've Control-Option-F4 highlighted using the keyboard Describe what's under the mouse Control-Option-F5 Say mouse's position (pixels Control-Option-F5 twice from top-left screen corner) Control-Option-Shift-Space bar (twice for a double- Click what's under the mouse click) Describe the selected item Control-Option-F6 Read everything in the Control-Option-A VoiceOver cursor box Read everything visible in the Control-Option-Shift-W window
  8. Getting Your Bearings Keystroke Repeat the last spoken phrase Control-Option-Z Save the last spoken phrase to a Control-Option-Shift-Z. (Also saves a crash log that file on the desktop can help a technician figure out what went wrong.) Web Pages Keystroke List the links on a Web Control-Option-U page Control-Option- Command-M/Control- Option-Command- Next frame/Previous frame Shift-M Text Manipulation Keystroke Read all text Control-Option-A Get text attributes Control-Option-T Add a bookmark in text Control-Option-Shift-1 Jump to a bookmark in text Control-Option-1 Read paragraph in VoiceOver Control-Option-P cursor Read previous/next paragraph Control-Option-Shift-Page Up/Page Down Read sentence in VoiceOver Control-Option-S cursor Read previous/next sentence Control-Option-Page Up/Page Down Read line in VoiceOver cursor Control-Option-L Read previous/next line Control-Option- / Read word in VoiceOver Control-Option-W (Press twice to hear the word spelled; cursor press a third time to hear the word spelled phonetically.) Read next /previous word Control-Option- / Read character in VoiceOver Control-Option-C (Press twice to hear the phonetic cursor character.) Read previous/next character Control-Option-Shift- / Control-Option-Home/End (Laptops: Control-Option- Move to first/last visible word Fn- / ) Move to last visible word Control-Option-End Move to beginning/end of text, Control-Option-Shift-Home/ End (Laptops: Control- scrolling if necessary
  9. Text Manipulation Keystroke Option-Shift-Fn- / ) New tab stop (in TextEdit) Control-Option-Space bar Delete the current tab stop (in Control-Option-Delete TextEdit) Tip: If your Mac life depends on VoiceOver, you could probably use its assistance when logging in, too. VoiceOver can indeed assist by, for example, reading the list of account holders to you—but only if you ask it to. See Section 12.6.
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