Automatic reading of column and row headers

macOS and Mac Apps

Hi all,

I'm trying to configure a VO activity for the Numbers application. I have defined row and column headers in a sheet, but no matter what settings I tweak VO won't automatically read them.

Essentially what I'm trying to do is:

  1. Set columns A and B as row headers;
  2. When I navigate down the other columns in the sheet, have the contents of those columns automatically announced. For example: if I navigate down from column g3 to g4, the contents of a4 and b4 are automatically read by VO.

Is this possible or am I missing something obvious? I know it's easy to do on the Windows side of the house.




Submitted by Dave Nason on Saturday, May 15, 2021

Member of the AppleVis Editorial Team

Hey Donal.
I wonder would settings in the VoiceOver utility do the trick. In the Verbosity section, there are options to announce row and column headers.
I’m not certain if these will apply in Numbers, but maybe worth a go.

Hi Dave,

yep that worked, I was having a really slow day yesterday and simply missed the setting.

However here's a strange bug for you. I've set two columns in my sheet as row headers, however VO only announces one of them. Scenario:

  1. I have a column in my sheet called User Id and one called name.
  2. I set them both as headers.
  3. VO only announces the name header.

So there seems to be no way to have VO announce multiple columns as headers.

Hope all that makes sense.

Cheers, Donal

Submitted by Dave Nason on Saturday, May 15, 2021

Member of the AppleVis Editorial Team

In reply to by Donal

Oh really, that’s odd. Definitely worth reporting to Apple.
Is Excel an option or do you need to use Numbers?

Submitted by Donal on Saturday, May 15, 2021

I'd be more than happy to use Excel but I don't actually know it well enough on Mac to achieve the same thing. Also last time I tried it - which admittedly was a year ago - it had some fairly significant accessibility challenges.

Submitted by Donal on Saturday, May 15, 2021

Yep me too. However I'm grading 252 student assignments which are all Unix (of some flavour) based. So I'd like to have a workable solution which doesn't involve running programs on one machine and entering data for grades on another. WSL isn't doing the trick for all kinds of reasons that are off-topic for this forum.