Weird sound with Voiceover on the Mac: What on earth is this?

macOS & Mac Apps


I have a really strange thing going on here, and wanted to, first and foremost, see if anyone knew what was happening, and secondly see if anyone might be able to explain why it's happening, or if this would be considered normal behavior under most circumstances.

So, here's the deal. I subscribe to Microsoft Office 365. I've installed the most up to date version of Microsoft Word on my mac, which is running Catalina. Specifically speaking, it's running 10.15.6.

When I first open up Word, I have it set to take me to the screen where I can choose from recent files, or from available templates, etc. If I start with a completely blank document... just a totally clean slate, once the document is created, if I then start typing, even just one line of text... say I typed:

Hello, this is a test.

Right after the period punctuation in the above example, I press VO+L to read the current line with Voiceover, it definitely reads it, but, I get this two note tone after it reads that line of text.

I don't anticipate this to be a sound indicating some kind of text formatting attributes, as for one, I've not formatted that text in any special way, but 2, I've heard this sound before in other apps. It's incredibly incredibly rare, but alas, I have heard it.

I want to make it extremely 100 percent clear that I am *not* and again for the record I repeat, I am *not!* referring to the little ascending and descending navigational click tones you hear as you VO around the screen from item to item.

This is gonna be a really fudged up annalogy, but it works. If you are an Aira explorer, and have ever had to call Support, Sales, or Customer service in the US, then, you know that little bwomp deep two note little sound you hear right as the agent answers your call from the hold queue? I'm talking of when you call them for support on the phone, not when you call an agent to perform a task through the app. Anyway, again, terrible annalogy, but, that little two bweep tone you hear then is not exactly the same as what I'm hearing here, but it's sort of close in comparison. I suppose I can record it, if you all insist, but it may be a little tricky to do so at the moment.

Anyway, for the life of me, I can't figure out what on earth that sound means, and if there's any way either in Voiceover's settings, or in the preferences of Word to some how cause that to not happen.

It's even doing it just by up or down arrowing in the document from line of text to line of text. Basically, after reading each line, I hear that sound.

I know one may say, turn off Voiceover sounds. I don't wanna do that globally as there are places where the sounds can be helpful. OK, you say? Then, set up an activity for Word to shut them off just for that app... Um, no offense, but that's not the point. That's more barbarically extreme than what I'd like to accomplish here. - I'm sure the sound means something, I'm just not sure what, hence why I'm coming here asking you guys hoping there's an advanced enough Voiceover user up here who may know.





Submitted by Ryan Dour on Thursday, July 30, 2020

The higher pitched version of that sound indicates you have moved the VOiceOver cursor to an item that is not visible on screen. The lower pitched version indicates you have moved from an invisible item on screen to a visible item.

So, is there a way perhaps in verbosity settings that this sound can be shut off? Further, is there a way I, at the very least, can have it quit saying "new line" at the end of those bounderies? If I type...

Hello, my name is Chris.

But then don't hit return nor anything to do a new line, then why would it tell me new line? That, to me at least, doesn't make sense. I've not done a carriage return, so why the new line message in addidtion to the tone?

Further, with only one line only of text, I'm confused on why it thinks I've entered and exited an invisible/visible area? It's one line of text, for pete sake. Why on earth does it think there's something invisible? I get now after your response what it means, but what is it specifically in this example that's triggering it?