Word Processing in IOS

iOS & iPadOS

I would think that, using Voice Over, one should be able to use a iPhone or iPad with a bluetooth keyboard to do basic word processing. I have tried using Notes, Pages, and Word for this purpose. I have consistently encountered two issues over the years that make this impractical for me. However, I hear of others using IOS devices in this way and so I am wondering if I am missing something.

The first problem is that, navigating large documents, when interacting with the text and moving up and down within the text, Voice Over will skip lines or repeat lines. At first, when I was using a PC, I thought there was just something about the way that Apple handles keyboard text navigation that I wasn’t getting. However, I have now used a Mac for over a year and the Mac very rarely does this. When it does, I can use Option with the up or down arrows to go to the beginning or end of the current paragraph and that cures the problem. This trick does not work in IOS. I have consistently experienced this problem across many devices and IOS versions.

The other problem is the lack of an accessible spell checker. I can find the misspelled words but I can’t find a reliably consistent way to get a list of spelling suggestions.

Have others encountered these problems and, if so, have you found a solution? I know that Voice Dream Writer cures these issues and I do use it occasionally but, as word processors go, I find the interface to be inefficient when working on large documents like books and articles, which is something I do a lot. Right now, I exclusively use my MacBook for this purpose and I love it but there times when doing it on my iPhone or iPad would be handy.

Any help would be appreciated.



Submitted by peter on Thursday, April 5, 2018

Yes, I have tried using a bluetooth keyboard with iOS and the various applications you noted.

As for the first problem, yes: When I arrow up and down through a large document VoiceOver will often skip lines or read bakc a fraction of a line. I'm guessing it has something to do with the horizontal location of the cursor relative to the left margin. I think you can avoid a lot of this if you first arrow to the left margin and then arrow up and down through the document. Also just arrowing up once and down again can get the cursor tracking as one would expect and not skip lines.

As for the issue with spell check, yes again: This is a very tricky process and not very intuitive even when using a bluetooth keyboard.

The response I got back from Apple Accessibility on the topic of spelling corrections may help (or not!):

"On the topic of spelling corrections, one suggestion we would make is to ensure both “Check Spelling” and “Auto-Correction” is on in Settings > General > Keyboards. In addition, we suggest to try turning on “Speak Auto-text” in Settings > General > Accessibility > Speech > Typing Feedback. With all 3 features are on, as you are typing if you misspell a word you will hear a sound effect followed by VoiceOver reading to you the suggested correction(s). To enact the correction just press the space bar and VoiceOver will read again the correction that was made. If you wish to manually replace a misspelled word, you will need to use the edit rotor to select the misspelled word first, cycle through the list of options and activate “replace.” This will activate a menu that will contain the approprate spelling replacements."

Not as easy as one would like, but maybe it can work.

Hope that helps.