Navigate by paragraph in IOS/IPad OS?

iOS and iPadOS

The main show-stopper for me regarding writing long documents on IOS has always been apparent lack of a keyboard command for moving by paragraph. A Google shows reference to this shortcut for IOS Word, but is it available system-wide in apps like IA Writer and Ulysses, Notes, etc? I've gone through the dance of downloading, running, being completely frustrated by, and uninstalling various text-editing apps multiple times on IPhone.
The advent of IPad OS has me thinking about getting an IPad, if I can finally do some productivity stuff with it, at least with a keyboard.
Navigation by heading is limited to Apple Pages, I guess, and that seems unlikely to change.



Submitted by Eileen😷 on Tuesday, October 15, 2019

The only apps which I have found to support navigating or selecting by paragraph are Pages and the native Mail app.

It doesn't work in Notes, IA Writer, Drafts, 1Writer, Ulysses, Scrivener, Pretext, and several other text editors I have tested and forgotten.

In my opinion, this alone rules out an iPad as a laptop replacement.

I first reported this to Apple over a year ago when I bought an iPad, and have reported it again since. It's the first thing I check for after each update. My experience has been that navigating text with a Bluetooth keyboard has actually got worse rather than improved over this time. All incredibly disappointing.

Submitted by Voracious P. Brain on Tuesday, October 15, 2019

In reply to by Eileen😷

Heck: I probably have been reporting it to both Apple and app developers for at least 8 years. Between paragraph nav and lack of paragraph/sentence nav on the rotor, I'll stick to an EBay Iphone and a Windows laptop, I guess. Thanks.

Submitted by Remy on Tuesday, October 15, 2019

I love my Ipad and Iphone, but I'm in the same boat. I haven't been seriously able to take my writing on the go since the long ago days of the Braille Lite 40. The day I got my Iphone back in 2013, writing on the go was the first thing I tried to do. Six years later, it's still more trouble than it's worth. The only app I find that even comes close to that sort of functionality is Voice Dream Writer, which does have a dedicated setting for paragraph reading. The only huge drawback is it can not import any complex document files. No Microsoft Word in other words. It will export to them however. Otherwise it's a pretty vercitile writing app for what it is.

Submitted by Voracious P. Brain on Saturday, November 9, 2019

Yeah, voice dream writer checks a lot of my boxes. Especially the eoutline view. If only the files weren’t locked up in a database. Being able to open them as text documents without having to fiddle with exporting and importing is a must. Since I flip between laptop and iPhone. I really want to use mark down as much as possible. [correction: I was wrong. I don't know why I thought VoiceDream used an archive database. The text files are right there in the Writer ICloud folder. That makes this app a viable basic markdown editor.]

Submitted by Remy on Tuesday, October 15, 2019

I do the same, except for me it's desktop instead of laptop. I like to keep my documents consistant though. I like having them nicely organized. Makes them easier to jump around in.

Submitted by Igna Triay on Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Couldn't a keyboard shortcut or shortcut be set to have voiceover read a paragraph? I know its not a full proof solution, but could that work?

Submitted by Voracious P. Brain on Tuesday, October 15, 2019

In reply to by Igna Triay

I've never heard of the ability to create keyboard macros on IOS. Also, it'd have to be something like: move past the next CR, then speak the current line. Certainly don't know of anything that'd do that in the edit fields used by IOS text editors. I'd love to hear about something that'd do this.

Submitted by Igna Triay on Tuesday, October 15, 2019

I was going more towards the line of thinking that given that you can now customise touch gestures / keyboard shortcuts on ios and ipad os 13, you could set a voiceover jesture / keyboard shortcut to read the paragraph

Submitted by Maldalain on Tuesday, October 15, 2019

There is already paragraph navigation commands in Commands section in VoiceOver. However, I find it unreliable. Sometimes you can move to the next paragraphs with no problem at all, still when I want to move to the previous parragraphs it does not, it just makes that ding sound as if there is no content on the screen. After a little bit of experiment, I found that you only can move to the next paragraphs if they are shown on the screen, the content that is not on the screen, I.E., at next pages, is not shown therefore VO will not recognise that there are more paragraphs to navigate.
I am a full time user of iPad, and found that writing big projects or editing them will normally result in inconsistent document format or whole parts are skipped.

Submitted by KE7ZUM on Wednesday, October 16, 2019

I found out that voiceover page up and page down go from next to prior paratgraph. I don't have an app or long document to test this out with but I hope that helps all.

Blessings and happy Tuesday.

Submitted by Voracious P. Brain on Friday, November 8, 2019

Honestly, I had no idea Voiceover had all those customizable commands now! I'm swiping happily among paragraphs in the Notes app as a first casual test. I'm not encountering the issue in #9 where it stops working with what isn't on the screen. It does only navigate within the current item. So, in mail, items are already defined in terms of paragraphs, for instance. But in text editors, the problem has always been that the entire document is a single item in an edit field. The way the IOS VO text navigation commands operate is tailored for that problem. I haven't seen this much innovation in Voiceover in many years. I'm a long way from a real test, and I'm sure I'll run into severe roadblocks. Microsoft Word is a complete mess, for example. But things are definitely looking up.