Questions on using VO on mac book air

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macOS & Mac Apps
Hey all! I recently bought a mac book air, i am new to using voice over on mac. The last time i used a computer was before i lost my vision a couple of years ago, so i'm finding it a bit difficult while dealing with voiceover on the mac air. I'm very fimiliar with voiceover functions and gestures on the iPhone and iTouch. If anyone has some tips for me i would really appreciate it, i also got a couple of questions... What do i do to figure out the following... Battery life? The name of the wifi i am connected to? The time? I am also having a hard time typing! I always misjudge the location of the letter i am looking for, so are there different typing modes like the iphone? So thanks all for your time!

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Submitted by BlindEducator on Sunday, January 26, 2014

Hi there, To find bout the time/date, battery level, or name of WiFi. Press VO and letter "M" as in menu twice. It will take you to the notification menu per say. From there, arrow left and right to find out what you would like to know. For jesters on the Mac, you can turn the trackpad on and use simular jesters on the Mac as you do the iDevices. To do this, press VO and on the trackpad rotate to fingers from one side to another. Depending on the direction. You'll turn on and off the trackpad. This you can do to use the trackpad as if you are using the screen on an iDevice. For typing, I don't believe there are different modes since you have a physical keyboard. However, you can use decation instead of typing. I myself am also new to OSX and found all information for VO on Mavericks. Because it's sometimes hard to listen to a screen reader on the commands. I am puting it on a simple word document to have it as reference on my notetaker and getting it Brailled. HTH

Blind Educator gave some great tips. There are also more advanced tricks for finding the battery status and time and doing things with Safari (the Internet) but you will learn those in time. David wood bridge's podcasts and getting started guides are extremely useful--you'll find them on AppleVis. Apple also has guides on their Website in BRF with commands and instructions, so you can just read those on your notetaker if you want. If the advanced tricks appeal to you, just reply and I can give more details. Enjoy your mac! Chelsea

Submitted by mehgcap on Monday, January 27, 2014

Member of the AppleVis Editorial Team

Applevis has great resources on getting started with the Mac. In fact, there's a page dedicated to new Mac users you should look at.

As to typing, I'm not sure what you mean. The typing mode on iOS is the difference between touching the character you want and lifting your finger, and double tapping to enter the character. The Macbook Air has a physical keyboard and so has only one way to be typed on, namely, pressing the keys. Sorry if I'm misunderstanding you here. If I am, can you please explain further?

Submitted by SBowsher on Monday, January 27, 2014

In reply to by mehgcap

I recently got a Mac Book Pro and I have always been a PC user that used Zoomtext with speech. While I am slowly figuring out the Mac the one problem I am having is figuring out how to get Word and PDF documents. Can someone give me some help with this. I use VO but also like to use the magnification but I find it to be very blurry using the built in magnification and it seems to jump all over the screen....Very frustrating. I need some help because for now I have reverted back to my PC using Zoomtext again but I would really like to switch over to my Mac since I use my Ipad and Iphone on a regular basis. Any advice would be much appreciated.

I am not sure what you mean by 'get Word and PDF documents". do you mean detaching them from emails, downloading them from the Internet, or simply reading them. For reading Word documents, you can use a number of word processors. I recommend TextEdit (which comes with the mac) or iText Express (which you can download from the mac app Store). Preview and Safari are the two applications that can read PDF's, and I'm not much of a fan. I really like reading PDF's in iBooks on my iPhone or iPad better. BTW, ZoomText is available for the Mac. I don't know much more about it than that.

Yes, I can't figure out how to have VO read me the text from Word and PDF documents on my Mac. I listened to a podcast that talked about TextEdit but I cannot find it on my Mac. I also tried finding it in the App store but didn't see it there either. I must be missing something. So, with these apps if you are downloading a document that someone emails you or from the internet or even writing out a document....how does this work? I'm used to the PC where you just click on it and it automatically opens in Word. I do have Microsoft Office on my Mac but VO doesn't seem to work. I am a student and use Word and PDF a lot for school. Most of the documents my professors send to me are in these formats. Also, I saw someone talking about something called Boot Camp but couldn't figure out what it was either? I did see that Zoomtext has a Mac version and downloaded the 30 day trial. It works okay but it still has a long way to go before it's up to the level of Zoomtext for PC. Its also very jumpy especially when using it with VO. I know there has to be solutions to these problems since it seems there are so many visually impaired Mac Lovers out there. It's just going to take me some time to get used to. And, I'm hoping to find more solutions and help on this website.

A few answers to your questions: MicroSoft Office for Mac is not accessible with VoiceOver; I'd suggest deleting it from your system and installing iWork instead, or go with the apps mentioned above. BootCamp is Apple's program for partitioning your hard drive and installing windows. There are two ways of running Windows on a Mac; this is one of them and called a dual-boot option. only recommended if you have a largish hard drive--I have a 128 gb SSD and chose to go the other way and install a virtual machine. TextEdit is in your Applications folder. In Finder, press Command Shift A to reach your Applications folder, and start typing in TextEdit. Press Command O to open. OH, one more thing. On a PC, the enter key opens a file or does the desired action. On a Mac, enter renames a file. So to open a document you are already on, you would press Command O, just as for an application.

Submitted by Tree on Monday, January 27, 2014

Getting back to the original post. Perhaps I am wrong, but it sounds like you might need to learn how to type Zaina. I lost my sight when I was around eighteen and up to that point I had mainly used the impractical hunt and peck technique. It was not until I went to a training center for blind people that I learned how to type properly. My lessons began on some program that I believe was called talking typer. It was not great but it taught me the basic layout of the keyboard. That program was on windows, but there might be a mac version. Another thing you might try is making sure character echo is turned on. If you become efficient in your typing you might decide you don't want this feature on, but if your having trouble typing this might come in handy. Remember that sight has absolutely nothing to do with typing. If a sighted person knows how to type they don't look at the keyboard any more then we do. Its all about muscle memory.

Hi. Yes, theres a lot of resources on getting started with a mac on applevis, so as previous posters said, check them out and they will provide you with a lot of invaluable info. I found David Woodbridge's podcasts on Mac OsX to be very helpful when I got a macbook 4 years ago. I'm not exactly sure if anyone's touched on this or not, but the VO help menu has a lot of info and commands that you'll probably want to check out. Get to this by pressing CTRL+option+H. Ah, I almost forgot, getting to the commands menu is done by pressing CTRL+option+H twice quickly. HTH. TC

Submitted by Isaac Hebert (not verified) on Monday, January 27, 2014

First to check the time press vo m that is control option m twice to access the extras menu then press you're vo arrow that's control option right arrow to move to the time then vo will tell you the time. To check what wifi network you are on press vo m that's control option m twice to access the extras menu then vo right arrow to the wifi menu to see what network you are on there it shows the name of the network and how many bars are on the network. To access the voiceover getting started training press command option control function f 8 then move the left and right arrow keys to move forward and back through the training.

Submitted by Zaina on Monday, January 27, 2014

I really appreciate all your responses. Thanx guys, i have managed to find the time, battery, and the wifi name on the mac. I will check out the podcasts as soon as i am done typing this. I am still having a hard time typing, unfortunately, i think its because of the muscular dystrophy that i have, i hope to find a way to make typing easier. Thanks all!

Submitted by Chelsea on Monday, January 27, 2014

In reply to by Zaina

Another feature to try if you are having trouble typing is the dictation feature. While I only use it for short things, it might help you a lot. to access, press your function key (very bottom left on the keyboard) twice quickly, wait for the double beep, say what you want to say, and then hit again. You will hear a single beep and then the text you said or what it thought you said. Dictation is far from perfect, but if you speak clearly, it might understand you most of the time.

Submitted by Zaina on Monday, January 27, 2014

Thanx Chelsea! Theres one thing i should mention, i can't use dectation, i am connected to a ventilator 24/7 , i don't want to bore u with medical details, but, this connection doesn't allow me to use my vocal chords. Yeah, i don't have a voice lol. Can someone post the link to the podcast you are all talking about? I can't seem to find it, sorry for the trouble guys!

Submitted by Ekaj on Monday, January 27, 2014

Hi. I, too, have found this website to be an excellent resource for learning the Mac. I've had mine for exactly 1 month as of this writing, and am really enjoying it. There is a very helpful tutorial about using Voiceover, which can be found in the Voiceover menu accessed with Control+Option+H. It is an interactive tutorial, meaning that there are areas in it which allow you to practice the commands. One more tip: the Voiceover Utility is accessed by holding down Control+Option and pressing F8. This is where various Voiceover settings are accessed, such as speech rate and volume as well as a host of other settings. One thing I forgot to mention about the on-board Voiceover tutorial is that it only seems to give commands that work when Quick Navigation is turned off.