Mac VoiceOver queries

macOS & Mac Apps

hello all
I have some questions about voiceover in Mac OS
I'm planning to buy MacBook air, I have some questions
I'm now a university student, and depend mostly on my laptop concerning reading, writing and doing research
I have heard and read that voiceover doesn't work properly with MS office and Adobe reader
that was a year ago, is still the same issue?
does voiceover read the text and interact well with MS office?
does work well with Adobe and read tagged documents quickly?
one of my problems with windows that some programs crash, and sometimes tagged pdf files are slow to be read, and some screen redaers don't work well
I actually couldn't pay such an expensive price while voiceover isn't able to read pdf file or interact with MS office
and if those problems are still there, is there any change in the new OS Yosemite?
what about web pages also? is navigation easier or harder than windows screen readers?
year ago, I use mac of friend of mine, I tried to use pages, but I noted that IT's not easy to read word by word like office or notepad on windows, I don't know whether the problem is of pages or voiceover

please I need your help and opinion, and also the members of Applevis team
best regards



Submitted by brandon armstrong on Thursday, October 23, 2014

hi there, first of all, let me congratulate you and welcome you in to the mac family. as far as your questions go, I would recommend pages for your work, or if you can't afford that right now, you can use the built in app text edit to do writing. I used a mac all the way through college, and people didn't think I could use it to do any productive work. the mac has replaced my windows machine, and I absolutely love using voiceover. Hope this helps.

Submitted by jesse on Thursday, October 23, 2014

Pages is the way to go, and I think it is even free. Other than that, pdf is not the best part of voice over, all though there are solutions.

The navigation with voice over is very easy once you get used to it, in my opinion it is much easier than on windows.

Submitted by Fleurppel on Thursday, October 23, 2014

Yosemite has accessibility for iBooks included, and iBooks reads .pdf. You can also read adobe files with quicklook, though the control is much less.

Submitted by Siobhan on Thursday, October 23, 2014

I think you meant that the screen reader was expensive, so is ms office for that matter. pages you're looking at 20 dollars U.S. though I gather you are not from this country, soI don't know your currency. If you buy the mac pages will be free, though. If you have antoher device say an ipad or iphone, I think it's ten dollars for that.

Submitted by Jalys Ortiz on Thursday, October 23, 2014

Judging by my own experiences and research, if you buy a Mac, iWork automatically comes installed (Pages, Keynote, etc).

Submitted by Ahmed Hamdy on Thursday, October 23, 2014

thank you all for your valuable comments
I actually haven't bought the mac yet, and what I said it is expensive is the mac itself not the screen reader
I'm now using windows on a notebook, I wanna upgrade to Mac to get better accessibility and estability,
but problems like reading pdf and unability to interact with MS office is really disturbing
however there are good features like using the trackpad which we can't use on windows easily
but again I have heard that the voiceover is less responsive than jaws or windows, when WE hit a button, there is slight delay of voiceover, is that right?
I need your opinion generally, if I bring a mac, which is expensive, doesn it havthat remarkable accessibility
is it generally better than windows? concerning all the points I've mentioned and advantages that are not found on windows screen readers
I also use Kurzweil a lot on windows to scan papers and read documents and so on. is there the same or similar program on mac?
or is there any OCR ability on voiceover like jaws?

Submitted by Ekaj on Friday, October 24, 2014

Hello there and welcome to AppleVis! I just got my first Mac as a Christmas present last year, and it has honestly been a much better experience than I originally expected. VoiceOver is certainly different from JAWS, Window-Eyes or any other screen reader but it is very good. Part of what makes Macs and other Apple devices so appealing is that they already have all the accessibility features built in. Regarding word processing, I had a brief look at the pre-installed Pages app and it didn't look bad. Perhaps a bit complex though. But I've mainly used TextEdit, because I haven't had any large projects to do. I really like TextEdit though, and hope to do more with Pages soon. I'm still using Os X Mavericks so haven't gotten to try out the new accessibility features of iBooks yet. As a matter of fact though, just iBooks alone makes me want to upgrade to Yosemite. Awhile ago I heard that Jarte was pretty accessible on the Mac side. It definitely is though with NVDA and System Access. I only used the free version of Jarte, but a paid version is also available. Go to .

Submitted by Usman on Friday, October 24, 2014

Guide Dragon,
ibooks actually does not read pdf files. If you try opening pdf files in ibooks, it loads preview and opens the file.

question about pages and text edit, is navigation the same as windows notepad or MS office? I mean, can I move word by word or line without using VO keys like on wondows?

Submitted by Ahmed Hamdy on Friday, October 24, 2014

In reply to by Usman

thanks Usman, tell me what are the problems with using preview to read pdf? and what is the best you use to read pdf flies? and is it loaded quickly or there are similar problems like that on windows, sometimes the screen reader isn't able to read large document properly. I also read large pdf flies and search form terms in it

Submitted by dvdmth on Friday, October 24, 2014

Club AppleVis Member

Unless something changed that I'm not aware of, Preview on the Mac does not support tagged PDFs, so if you open a PDF with accessibility tags, you won't be able to take advantage of them. The PDF itself is accessible, and you can navigate it the same way you would any other text document, but the lack of tagged PDF support can be problematic. From what I've heard, this is probably the biggest limitation of the Mac and VoiceOver, as things stand now.

As for navigating within a text document, you can definitely move around with the arrow keys, by character, word, line, paragraph, etc. The commands are not the same as Windows, but once they're learned they're easy to use. Just make sure Quick Nav is turned off, so that you won't trigger VoiceOver commands by mistake while editing text.

Left and right arrows move by character, while up and down arrows move by line. Holding Option when pressing left or right moves by word, while Option + up and down move by paragraph. Command + left and right move to the start or end of the current line, while Command + up and down move to the top and bottom of the document. Hold down Shift to select text while moving.

yeah do you mean that there is no problem when erading normal untagged pdf on preview but is reading normal pdf on preview is fast or there are problems when navigating or any kind of crashing?
and what about Adobe, does it read untagged pdfs only? or what is the problem with Adbobe?
concerning word processors, why is pages complex? is it fully accessible, or there are some problems?
some people say that making powerpoint with voiceover is not that good, does that mean that keynote is not fully accessible? or you can use mac easily to make powerpoint.

Submitted by dvdmth on Saturday, October 25, 2014

Club AppleVis Member

Adobe Reader on the Mac is not accessible. This is why you will be using Preview to read PDFs instead. In my experience, Preview is plenty fast enough, and I haven't had any crashing issues to speak of on the Mac at all, whether it be in Preview or otherwise. It is simply the lack of tagged PDF feature support that makes PDF reading a problem, depending on the PDF you're trying to read.

Submitted by Usman on Sunday, October 26, 2014

Preview reads tagged PDf files alright but if you can, I would recommend you convert the pdf to another file format. I even do this conversion on windows

Submitted by Ahmed Hamdy on Sunday, October 26, 2014

yeah, so usman does it read tagged pdfs on Yosemite or before?
I have also important to both of you, what do you use to scan a paper, which ocr program you are using
I'm using Kurzweil 1000 well on windows but It's not available on the mac
I wanna also ask you: is using windows on the bootcamp is good? does the windows work properly like any other laptop?

Submitted by Ahmed Hamdy on Sunday, October 26, 2014

but tell me, did you read large pdf file on preview before?
sometimes I read 1000 or 2000 pdf pages, and I face a problem when I search for certain definition/topic
is it ok on preview? regardless reading the tagged pdfs

Submitted by Mohammed Al-shara on Sunday, October 26, 2014

I wonder if you've tried NVDA though. Most things are doable with it and no crashes either. Jaws was buggy and heavy last time I used it. that was 2 years ago. since then I have been using NVDA and I will never look back. I have a Mac and use it, but I don't find myself as productive on it. and if I gather correctly, you need to read files in Arabic. TTS on the windows side is better because of automatic language switch.

good luck.

Submitted by Ahmed Hamdy on Monday, October 27, 2014

but Mohamed, as far as I know, voiceover supports language autoswitching, that what happens on iphone. doesn't it support the autoswitching on MacBook?

Submitted by Mohammed Al-shara on Monday, October 27, 2014

no, on the mac side and up until Mavrix it doesn't do that. I assume it's easier even to implement on the mac than IOS but I am puzzled on why they didn't do it. May be you'd want to send an email to asking about this.

Submitted by Ahmed Hamdy on Monday, October 27, 2014

I've sent an email, and don't know whether I'll receive and response or not

Submitted by Usman on Monday, October 27, 2014

If I have to use pdf files on a large scale, I will use windows. Ms word 2013 has full pdf support and unfortunately, pdf accessibility is far behind on the mac side. But my recommendation still stands of converting pdf files into a more accessible format.