macOS Sierra: Use accessibility features

Use accessibility features

Accessibility comes standard with a Mac. Whether you have difficulties with vision, hearing, or physical mobility, macOS includes a variety of features to help you work in alternative ways—and make your Mac even easier to use.

Use the built-in screen reader called VoiceOver

VoiceOver is the built-in screen reader that describes aloud what appears on your screen and speaks the text in documents, webpages, and windows. Using VoiceOver, you control your Mac with the keyboard or trackpad gestures. You can also connect a refreshable braille display to use with VoiceOver.

  • To turn VoiceOver on or off, press Command-F5 (or if your Mac has a Touch Bar, press and hold the Command key and quickly press Touch ID three times).

  • To customize VoiceOver using VoiceOver Utility, press Control-Option-F8 (when VoiceOver is on).

  • To learn how to use VoiceOver, choose Apple menu > System Preferences, click Accessibility, click VoiceOver, then click Open VoiceOver Training.

For help with VoiceOver, choose Help > VoiceOver Help while VoiceOver Utility is open.

Zoom content on the screen

If items on the screen are too small, you can zoom in to make content larger and easier to see.

  • To set zoom options, choose Apple menu > System Preferences, click Accessibility, then click Zoom.

Reduce motion on the screen

If motion on the screen is problematic, you can set an option to reduce motion when using certain features, such as Spaces, Notification Center, or the Dock.

  • To set the option to reduce motion, choose Apple menu > System Preferences, click Accessibility, then click Display.

Use your keyboard in different ways

If you have trouble using the keyboard, you can turn on Sticky Keys and Slow Keys, to make it easier to press keys.

  • To set these options, choose Apple menu > System Preferences, click Accessibility, then click Keyboard.

Move the pointer using the keyboard

If you have trouble using a mouse, you can turn on Mouse Keys, then use the keyboard or a numeric keypad to move the mouse pointer and press the mouse button.

  • To set this option, choose Apple menu > System Preferences, click Accessibility, then click Mouse & Trackpad.

Use dictation commands and text to speech

Change how your keyboard, mouse, and trackpad work

You can set various options to customize how your keyboard, mouse, and trackpad work. For example, you can adjust the speed at which the pointer moves across the screen when you move your finger across the trackpad.

  • To set options for your keyboard, choose Apple menu > System Preferences, then click Keyboard.

  • To set options for your mouse, choose Apple menu > System Preferences, then click Mouse.

  • To set options for your trackpad, including gestures, choose Apple menu > System Preferences, then click Trackpad.

Control your Mac with assistive devices

  • With Switch Control, you can use one or more adaptive accessories to enter text, interact with items on the screen, and control your Mac. Switch Control scans a panel or user interface until a switch is used to select an item or perform an action.

    Use Switch Control

  • With Dwell Control, you can use a tracking device to control the mouse, so it’s easier to enter text, interact with items on the screen, and control your Mac. Dwell Control provides a panel of buttons on which you can dwell for a specified amount of time to perform a mouse action.

    Use Dwell Control

You can easily check which accessibility features are on, right from the menu bar: select the checkbox at the bottom of Accessibility preferences to show accessibility status in the menu bar.

You can use the Accessibility Options shortcut panel to quickly turn options on or off. To select the options that are included in the panel, choose Apple menu > System Preferences, click Accessibility, then click General.

In some apps, you can have your Mac speak text by choosing Edit > Speech > Start Speaking. This functionality might not be available for all languages.

Published Date: Mar 28, 2017
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