VoiceOver Controls on Mac Laptop or Desktop

Running Mac OS 10.13 or Higher (High Sierra)


You need to be using the Safari browser.

To Turn VoiceOver on:

    Press Command and F5, toggle to turn off.

To Turn Quick Nav on:

    Press left and right arrows simultaneously, toggle to turn off.

    Notes: VoiceOver must be on to do this. Quick Nav lets you select

    the next or previous block of text using just the right or left arrow

    key. If quick Nav does not work, and you can not hear it toggle on

    and off by pressing both the left and the right arrow keys

    simultaneously once or twice, then all you need to do is shut down

    Safari and then reopen it.

To Adjust Volume:

    Press controls on keyboard.

To Enlarge/Reduce Text Size of off-line HTML document:

    Press Command-+; to reduce press Command-”-”


To Change Speed:

    Click on Accessibility Preferences and choose “VoiceOver”;

    then choose “Open VoiceOver Utility”. Once there, Choose

    “Speech” on the left margin and then set the rate for your desired


To Repeat paragraph:

    Press Control Option+Z.

    Or press left arrow then immediately press right arrow.

    Or click mouse pointer on selection.

To Pause Reading Text:

    Press Control, or wait to end of sentence (section).

    Press Control again to resume sound within section.

To Start text reading automatically from current spot:

    Press Control Option-A.

To go anywhere in Article or Chapter (with VoiceOver On):

    Press Command+Option+F to bring up search field

        Enter words, by typing or pasting, and press return.

    Or press “Page Down” as often as necessary.

    Or press Option+Down Arrow as many times as necessary.

To Move to the Next Sentence or Paragraph

To move to the next sentence or paragraph, press the right arrow key.

To Move to the Previous Sentence or Paragraph

To move to the previous sentence or paragraph, press the left arrow key.

To Read One Word at a Time in a Highlighted Section of Text

Press the down arrow or up arrow. When you first press the down arrow, you will go to the first word in the selection. To repeat the sound of an individual word, press the up arrow and then the down arrow as often as desired. Just press the forward arrow when ready to move to the next section of text.

Note: If you are reading by a character at a time instead of a word at a time, you need to switch the Rotor setting. With VO on, and Quick Nav on, press the up arrow and right arrow, or up arrow and left arrow, to bring up the rotor window and switch between these two settings. You should normally leave the rotor set to “words”. This way you can go through a selection of text one word at a time with voice, by just pressing the up or down arrow.

To Find Text in VoiceOver

Note: There is a special find function in VoiceOver, different from the usual keystroke of command+F. In VoiceOver you press Control+Option+F and a special search window comes up. When it does, type in, or paste in, the text you want to go to and then press return. The search function only moves forward; so you may want to press the Home key to go back to the beginning of the text, and click on a word at the beginning, and then do your search. Secondly, you have to type or copy in text each time you want to do a new search. Often you may want the second or third occurrence of a phrase; in such cases it is best to copy the phrase initially and just paste it into the search field repeatedly as you move forward. Keep a separate bookmark file with the last read word or words for each book, and then you can easily copy these bookmarks and quickly paste them into a search window in VoiceOver. This is the fastest way to get to where you left off.

Updated by Proportional Reading, 2018