macOS High Sierra

About VoiceOver gestures

If you have a trackpad and VoiceOver is on, you can enable the Trackpad Commander, then use gestures to navigate and interact with items on the screen, and enter VoiceOver commands.

VoiceOver gestures involve using one or more fingers to drag, tap, flick, or rotate on the trackpad. You can use different techniques for a gesture. For example, you can tap using two fingers on one hand, or one finger on each hand. You can use keyboard help to practice standard and customized gestures and learn what they do.

The trackpad represents the window or area on the screen where the VoiceOver cursor is located. When you drag a finger on the trackpad, you move the VoiceOver cursor only in that window or area. VoiceOver speaks the items in the VoiceOver cursor as you move the cursor, and plays a sound effect whenever it encounters a blank space on the screen. This information helps you gain a sense of the actual location of items on the screen as you navigate. For example, if the cursor is in the Mail toolbar, the trackpad represents the Mail toolbar. When you drag your finger on the trackpad, you move the VoiceOver cursor in the Mail toolbar. Because the trackpad represents only a specific area and not the entire screen, you can’t stray to other areas or apps by accident.

To enhance collaboration with sighted users, VoiceOver makes the area of the screen you’re working in more visible by dimming the rest of the screen. Other collaboration features, such as the caption or braille panels, can be used at the same time as VoiceOver gestures.