Configuring VoiceOver in the OS X Accessibility Pane

By Mark L. Chambers

With the VoiceOver utility, your Mac can give you all sorts of verbal feedback, creating a spoken English interface with Yosemite — a valuable addition to the OS for the physically impaired. The feedback includes these things:

  • Announcing when certain keys are pressed: This tells you when a modifier key (such as Control, Option, or Command) is pressed or when the Caps Lock key is pressed.

  • Announcing pointer movements: You hear an audible alert when your mouse pointer switches among windows or when you click a menu.

  • Announcing the position of the VoiceOver cursor: VoiceOver can audibly identify all OS controls (such as buttons, sliders, and list boxes) by using a special onscreen cursor.

  • Reading documents, web pages, and Mail messages: VoiceOver can read aloud the contents of all sorts of documents and application windows.

  • Speaking the characters you type: You can set VoiceOver to speak every character or each word you type.

To enable VoiceOver (or launch the VoiceOver utility), follow these steps:

  1. Click the Open Accessibility Preferences button on the Text to Speech panel.

  2. Click the VoiceOver item in the list at the left.

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  3. Select the Enable VoiceOver option (or press Command+F5) to enable VoiceOver. (If you’re using one of the latest Apple keyboards, press Command+Fn+F5 instead.)

    Click the Open VoiceOver Training button to display a helpful interactive tutorial designed to help you understand and use VoiceOver. To customize how VoiceOver operates, click the Open VoiceOver Utility button.