Getting Started on a Mac with VoiceOver

Screenshot of Welcome to VoiceOver on Mac

VoiceOver is a screen reader that is integrated into the Mac operating system enabling users with visual impairments and blindness to control and interact with the Mac.

The first time that you start VoiceOver on the Mac, you can choose to take the Quick Start tutorial, an interactive tour of VoiceOver navigation and interaction basics.  This interactive VoiceOver tutorial guides users through individual VoiceOver commands paired with practice exercises.

  • To turn VoiceOver on/off: Simultaneously, press the Command key (key to the left of the Space key) Function key (left key in bottom row) and F5 key (key in top row, 7th key from the left). *

* Depending on your chosen Settings, you can turn VoiceOver on/off with just the Command key and F5 key.

  • When VoiceOver is on, you can start the tutorial at any time by pressing VO + Command + F8.

For detailed information about VoiceOver on the Mac, go to Apple’s VoiceOver Getting Started Guide. Note: Apple updates their guides with each major software update. If you have a different operating system, got to Apple's website and search for VoiceOver and your software version.
VoiceOver Getting Started Guide
For step-by-step information and explanation on how to initially use VoiceOver, go to GeeksModo's Learn to Use VoiceOver on Your Mac: a Beginners Guide.

The AppleVis website is a wonderful resource about Apple accessibility – both iOS and Mac.  AppleVis is a community that shares a wealth of useful information about Mac and iOS accessibility, including guides such as the “VoiceOver Keyboard Shortcuts for Mac”   Up-to-date blog posts and Apple forum discussions are a wonderful way to learn about and stay current on Mac accessibility. Go to the AppleVis website and do a search for your specific area of interest!

*Note that the “VoiceOver keyboard Shortcuts for Mac” was written in July 2012; however, keyboard commands rarely change.

For an introduction to VoiceOver on a Mac, view Blindsider's video below: