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.


  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.