VoiceOver compatibility with Numbers

macOS and Mac Apps

I am new to the Mac, and to admit it I wonder why don't blind community switch to Macs! To start, I have bought a Macbook Pro mid 2012 first week of December. My job requires a great deal of working on texts, so I most of the time use Pages and Numbers. I recently received a list of one-collumn Excel document, the collumn includes almost 6500 words, each time I try to browse the content of the cells there, VoiceOver keeps saying "busy, busy, busy". I cannot browse the content of the cells. Is Voiceover fully compatible with Numbers and other Apple productivity suite? Is there a workaround to read the content of lengthy Numbers documents?
Thanks for any suggestions



Submitted by Carlos M Contreras on Thursday, December 25, 2014

I use frequently Numbers with VO in my Mac without the problem that you describe. Have you tried using Numbers with other large files? Can you get sighted assistance to make sure that the file is opening successfully?

well the text is just ok, I have checked the document using Excel and it works great. I copied the content there and pasted it into Numbers and sighted assistant confirmed it is fully open and shown. I wonder if this is due to the so many entries to the column. I am getting the same "busy, busy, busy" message in Mozilla Thunderbird, can that indicate to similar problem in my system or this is a totally different issue related to how compatible VO is with Thunderbird? Thanks

Submitted by Chelsea on Thursday, December 25, 2014


Busy messages usually mean your system is trying to do something complex or the application has decided not to respond. They are usually not a sign of VoiceOver incompatibility.

As for your specific Numbers issue, I'm not sure. I know spreadsheet programs in general have problems with large data sets, but if the file works fine in Excel... The only thing I can think of is to limit the number of applications running while the file is open, but your MBP should have enough RAM to manage.

If you could give me more details on how the file is arranged, I might be able to help more.


Submitted by Maldalain on Friday, December 26, 2014

Well, the Excel-Numbers file is a one-collumn document, the words are listed in one collumn from top to bottom, they are almost 6500 words. I am a translator and the customer has requested to arrange words in Excel document, one collumn is the English words and the next collumn is the equivalent translation. I have tried running Numbers with no other apps running in the background, nothing new. The same "Busy" message appears!

Submitted by Tree on Friday, December 26, 2014

As a blind mac user I have become all to familiar with Alex thinking that he is terribly busy all of the time. I have no idea what the guy gets up to, but he must have a pretty busy social life to be as busy as he pretends to be.

I had a numbers doc a while ago that was much smaller then the document you are talking about, but was still almost three hundred rows deep and my computer had a very hard time with it. I believe that voice over users simply experience some performance issues on the mac that non voice over users do not encounter. However, I do not have empirical proof of this; in fact I feel like I am in no position to talk about the typical performance of macs for the following reason.

My mac has been giving me lots of trouble for the past six months and I tried everything, and I mean everything, to fix it with no results. Finally I totally wiped my system, a few days ago, and did a clean install. Although I have not had enough time to fully appreciate how things are now, I can say that the clean install has made a huge difference to the performance of my system. I do not believe I have had voice over say busy one time since I did this.

I know that my situation was unique, and I'm not advocating that you do a clean install because of your numbers issue, but I would recommend it to anyone who is having wide spread major issues and has tried every other alternative.

You might just have to run fusion or bootcamp if numbers is not powerful enough for your needs. The mac is a lot better then it use to be when it comes to productivity, but it still has a ways to go.

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