macOS High Sierra

Use the gestures rotor

If you use VoiceOver gestures, you can use the gestures rotor to navigate. The gestures rotor is like a virtual dial you turn to change how you navigate, based on the current context.

When you browse webpages, the settings in the gestures rotor vary based on the items you selected in the Web Rotor pane of the Web category in VoiceOver Utility. By default, they include Links, Headings, Form Controls, Web Spots, Tables, and Landmarks.

In other contexts, the gestures rotor can include settings such as Characters, Words, Window Spots, Content Chooser, and Navigation.

  1. Rotate two fingers anywhere on the trackpad until you hear the setting you want to use, such as Words.

    As you “turn” the rotor, VoiceOver speaks each setting and plays a clicking sound. If you miss a setting, keep turning the rotor until you hear the setting again.

  2. Flick up or down to navigate to the previous or next instance of an item, based on the current setting.

    For example, if the current setting is Words, flicking down moves the VoiceOver cursor to the next word. Keep flicking down to move forward word by word. If you repeatedly flick up, the VoiceOver cursor moves backward word by word.

The Navigation setting reads text line by line:

  • In a text area, VoiceOver begins speaking the first line at the point where the cursor was located when you first flicked up or down; it speaks each subsequent line in its entirety.

  • In a window or dialog, VoiceOver might not speak all of the items on a line, depending on how the items are arranged. You may need to flick left or right and then flick up or down again to hear other items.

Your web navigation mode affects how you navigate webpages using the gestures rotor. In DOM mode, flicking up or down moves to the previous or next instance of the item that matches the current rotor setting. For example, if the rotor is set to Headings, flicking up or down moves to the previous or next heading. You can assign the “Toggle Web Navigation DOM or Group” command to a gesture using the Trackpad Commander, to easily switch modes to suit your needs. For more information about web navigation modes, see Navigate webpages using DOM or group mode.