The Twelve Gifts of VoiceOver

Member of the AppleVis Blog Team

To the tune of Twelve Days of Christmas

On my first time with VoiceOver, VO gave to me,
a way to pause, with Control key.
On my second time with VoiceOver, VO gave to me,
two modifiers, and a way to pause, with Control key.
On my third time with VoiceOver, VO gave to me,
three tab keys waiting, two modifiers, and a way to pause, with Control key.
On my fourth time with VoiceOver, VO gave to me,
four fun Commanders, three tab keys waiting, two modifiers, and a way to pause, with Control key.
On my fifth time with VoiceOver, VO gave to me.
Five labeled things.
Four fun Commanders, three tab keys waiting, two modifiers, and a way to pause, with Control key.
On my sixth time with VoiceOver, VO gave to me,
six voices speaking.
Five lower pings.
Four fun Commanders, three tab keys waiting, two modifiers, and a way to pause, with Control key.
On my seventh time with VoiceOver, VO gave to me,
seventh rotor setting, six voices speaking.
Five Facebook Dings.
Four fun Commanders, three tab keys waiting, two modifiers, and a way to pause, with Control key.
On my eighth time with VoiceOver, VO gave to me,
eight scripts awaiting, seventh rotor setting, six voices speaking.
sometimes SIRI sings.
Four fun Commanders, three tab keys waiting, two modifiers, and a way to pause, with Control key.
On my ninth time with VoiceOver, VO gave to me,
ninth time enhancing, eight scripts awaiting, seventh rotor setting, six voices speaking.
Five SIRI flings.
Four fun Commanders, three tab keys waiting, two modifiers, and a way to pause, with Control key.
On my tenth time with VoiceOver, VO gave to me,
ten spots for keeping, ninth time enhancing, eight scripts awaiting, seventh rotor setting, six voices speaking.
Five favorite rings.
Four fun Commanders, three tab keys waiting, two modifiers, and a way to pause, with Control key.
On my eleventh time with VoiceOver, VO gave to me,
eleven hyper typings, ten spots for keeping, ninth time enhancing, eight scripts awaiting, seventh rotor setting, six voices speaking.
Five broken things.
Four fun Commanders, three tab keys waiting, two modifiers, and a way to pause, with Control key.
On my twelfth time with VoiceOver, VO gave to me,
twelve fingers drumming, eleven hyper typings, ten spots for keeping, ninth time enhancing, eight scripts awaiting, seventh rotor setting, six voices speaking.
All VO brings!
Four fun Commanders, three tab keys waiting, two modifiers, and a way to pause, with Control key.

Unwrapping the Lyrics

Control Key: Used to pause and resume VO speaking. This works with the 'Read All' command as well.

Two Modifiers: The Control and Option keys together are the default VO keys. One can also use Caps-Lock instead, or both. Of course, Quick-Nav allows most navigation using Arrows, without the VO keys.

Three Tab keys waiting: Pressing Tab will move VO from one element to the next. Shiftt-Tab moves in reverse order. Tab can be set to auto-interact with certain screen elements.

Four Fun Commanders: TrackPad, NumPad, Keyboard and Quick-Nav all have Commanders that allow custom settings. Make your own shortcut keys or gestures. VoiceOver Utility>Commanders.

Five Labeled Things: see 'The Five Things' farther below.

Six Voices speaking: VO allows use of up to six voices, each with their own settings, each speaking its own type of info. VoiceOver Utility>Speech>Voices Tab>Customized language list table>Alex>click the Edit button. In the Edit window, expand the Disclosure triangle for additional voice settings.

seventh Rotor setting: The Rotor is a customizable, virtual 'knob' that spins around through different categories of settings or navigation modes. In Quick-Nav, use Right or Left Arrows, plus Up simultaneously, to spin the Rotor. Or use VO-Command and the Left/Right Arrows in normal mode for spinning. For settings, Up and Down Arrows change the setting. For Nav modes, Up and Down will move focus using that mode, Headings, Links, etc. VoiceOver Utility>Web>Web Rotor Tab.

eight Scripts awaiting: VO has the ability to be automated through AppleScript. AppleScript is installed on every Mac and allows automation of almost all Apple apps. Most third party apps are scriptable as well. VO is scriptable through its own Library of Definitions and through control of the system in general, even issuing VO key commands.

ninth time Enhancing: VO has many deeper places that allow customizing. Keep a watch for the More, Advanced, or Options buttons that appear in many of the settings panels for VO.

10 Spots for Keeping: HotSpots and WebSpots are great features and can speed navigation of apps and web pages. They can be jumped to, saved, removed, described, monitored. They can be set for numbers 1 through 0 on the keyboard.

eleven Hyper-Typings: VO allows one to speed up the voice to very high speeds. This gives one faster interaction as well. Typing at warp speed is definitely possible.

12 Fingers Drumming: Between all the keyboard shortcuts, gestures and settings, sometimes it feels like I have 12 fingers in there. They don't always work so well together.

The Five Things

Five labeled things: VO allows one to create custom Labels for screen items that are not labeled very well, if at all. VO-Slash.

Five lower pings: VO seems to work well with the Mac's network settings. Lower Pings are better.

Five Facebook Dings: VO works well with the Notification center on the Mac. Ding!

sometimes SIRI sings: just an observation.

Five SIRI flings: Well, we won't talk about that one.

Five favorite rings: Thanks to the Continuity features, I can answer and make calls through my iPhone, on my Mac.

Five broken things: Ooops. I like to explore.

All VO Brings: The strange rendition above is barely scratching the surface of what VO can offer. Other features include; Activities that have 'sets' of settings for chosen tasks, run an app or workflow or Applescript from a custom Commander shortcut or gesture, Scripts can issue multiple VO shortcut keys from the same script, one handed navigation for more than ninety percent of my needs using QuickNav, activating almost any VO command or keyboard shortcut or open and close apps and windows with voice commands using the Dictation service, then mix the ever-growing capability of SIRI. There are many more features, too numerous to put into one blog post.

Wrapping it Back Up

Suffice it to say, VO gives me many gifts throughout the year, regardless of the season. This post was mainly based on VoiceOver Features for the Mac, yet barely covered a small set. If you have certain favorite features, on Mac or iOS, please feel free to share in the comments. Tis the season.

I am wishing everyone a happy healthy Holiday Season! And remember...

All of our cool digital stuff that we work with, play with and enjoy, is all about "Living." Live well!

Portions copyright Apple, Inc. All rights reserved.

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7 Comments

#1 very well done, happy

very well done, happy holidays! I learned a lot and it's a fun spin on a great classic

#2 Ho, Ho, Ho

Member of the AppleVis Blog Team

Ted, Thank you for updating this holiday classic. I thoroughly enjoyed it! It is fun, clever and informative! In the same spirit, I offer a short contribution. Perhaps other readers might send in their own. Again, thanks for your wonderful and entertaining effort, Morgan ***** Sung to the tune of "Santa Claus is Coming to Town." Oh, you took your watch out, The Braille is flat, What can you do With something like that? Apple Watch is Coming to Town It's keeping a list It's checking the time. I can listen to Shakespeare, For rhythm and rhyme. Apple Watch is coming to town. It knows when you are sleeping, It knows when you're awake It knows when you are standing, So get up, for goodness sakes. You better not pout, You better not whine, It may be expensive, But it's cool and so fine. Apple Watch is coming to town.

#3 Well Done

Well done to both of you. I've used VO on the Mac now since the end of 2013, and on the iPhone since the end of March of this year. I can honestly say it has changed my life. Not in a bad way either. One feature which I particularly like is the image descriptions which were introduced only recently. Still getting used to typing on my iPhone, but everything else is working flawlessly for me. Thanks again, and here's wishing everybody a wonderful holiday season and prosperous 2019.

#4 Hilarious

Wow, amazing work! Brilliant! By far the best parody of The 12 Days of Christmas I have ever heard. Keep up the work. Happy holidays!

#5 Well done

Well done. Reading this post, I could really appreciate for the first time the power of skim reading.

#6 Hello All and Happy Holidays!

Member of the AppleVis Blog Team

Hello All and Happy Holidays! I am pleased it is enjoyable. Thanks for all the great comments. This was a very fun write, um, rewrite, um, re-rewrite. :-) Morgan, Thanks for your contribution. I loved it! I hope you and yours have a happy, safe holiday season. And a Happy Holidays to everyone at AppleVis! Best wishes.

#7 You do realize that

1. Modifier keys, you can also use up and down arrow key at the same time, or double tapping with the trackpad, ay? Better then using the default keys. 2. You forgot the 13th day, which was a bloody trackpad.