How can I flatten a content in Safari and read it like a text file?

macOS & Mac Apps


I really like VoiceOver's navigation model where you can navigate to different elements on a webpage. However, sometimes this model doesn't make sense. As an example, do the following:

  1. Go to the following URL:
  2. Press VO+command+H until you get to the heading that reads, "Emacs Configuration".
  3. Move to the next element with VO+right until you get to a piece of text that reads: "The start of my .emacs file is below (many more customizations can be made):"

At this stage, if you press VO+right, you will land in a block of code. Although VoiceOver treats this whole text as one element, if you interact with it and try and navigate character by character and word by word, you will see that there are new lines in there, meaning that this text spans multiple lines. In fact, in Windows or Linux, you can verify that this is in fact multiple lines.

How can I read this text line by line? VoiceOver doesn't seem to treat new lines as new lines, since interacting with these blocks and pressing the up/down arrow keys doesn't navigate line by line.



Submitted by peter on Wednesday, August 3, 2016

At least on iOS devices like the phone, you will often see a button in the upper left hand corner of the screen near the address field which is labeled "Report". I If you tap that button, you can read the contents of an article without seeing any of the extraneous material within the page. Very nice!


Submitted by Bryan Jones on Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Hello Parham, I was able to navigate and read the 5 lines of code referenced in your question using the following key combinations. This worked for me regardless of whether or not I first interacted with the block of code. Note that while I was testing your scenario, I needed to toggle VO a couple of times (Command + F5) in order to clear up the flaky VO behavior introduced in OS X 10.10 which sometimes leads to VO going silent or just clicking loudly when attempting to navigate text in certain fields.

Pressing the up/down arrow keys alone moves line by line, and VO speaks the text on the current line.
Pressing the left/right arrow keys alone moves to the previous/next character, and VO speaks the character. At the end of a line, pressing the right arrow moves focus to the start of the next line and VO announces new line.
Pressing Control + left or right arrow moves focus to the beginning or end of the current line.
Pressing Option plus left/right arrow keys moves a word at a time, and VO speaks the word.
Adding the shift key to any of the above selects the text and VO announces the selection.


OS X 10.11.6
Safari Version 9.1.2 (11601.7.7).


Thanks for the help. The issue was that I was adding the VoiceOver key to all of these commands.