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Assistive Software

Here are guides on assistive software assigned by category.

Introduction

You can activate a variety of accessibility options in Mac OS High Sierra version 10.13 that make it easier to see, hear, and use your computer

Turn on accessibility features such as:

  • VoiceOver (screen reader)
  • Zoom (magnifier)
  • Enlarge cursor size
  • Enlarge menu bar text
  • Enlarge desktop icons

Activating Accessibility Options in Macintosh Computers

First, click on the System Preferences icon on the Dock.

Click on system preferences icon on dock

Second, click on the Accessibility icon under System Preferences.
Click on Accessibility icon under System Preferences

Lastly, turn on accessibility features such as VoiceOver (screen reader), Zoom (magnifier) and Cursor Size.
Turn on accessibility features such as VoiceOver and Zoom
TIP: For ease of convenience in activating or deactiving accessibility features, check the option to “Show Accessibility status in the menu bar” .

VoiceOver

VoiceOver is the advanced screen-reading technology integrated into the Mac OS.

Enable VoiceOver

There are two ways to activate or deactivate VoiceOver:

  1. Go to the Dock > click on System Preferences icon> click on Accessibility icon> select VoiceOver menu > enable VoiceOver
  2. Shortcut key to activate or deactivate VoiceOver = press Command+F5

Useful shortcut keys on using VoiceOver to read text (VO = Control and Option keys): 

  1. To stop speech: press Control
  2. To select all text to read: press Command+A
  3. To read all text from the VoiceOver cursor to the end of the text: press Control+Option+A (or VO+A)

How to customise VoiceOver settings:

Open the VoiceOver Menu and click on the “Open VoiceOver Utility” button.

Open VoiceOver Utility button to customise VoiceOver settings

 

Zoom

Zoom is a screen magnification app integrated into the Mac OS X.Zoom in Mac OS
There are two ways to activate or deactivate Zoom:
1. Go to the Dock > click on the System Preferences icon > click on the Accessibility icon > select the Zoom menu > select the option to use keyboard shortcuts to zoom
2. Shortcut key to activate or deactivate Zoom (after you have previously selected the option to use keyboard shortcuts to zoom): press Command+Option+8
 
Useful shortcut keys on how to use Zoom (after you have previously selected the option to use keyboard shortcuts to zoom):

1. To zoom in (full screen): press Command+Option+Equal
2. To zoom out (full screen): press Command+Option+Minus
3. To zoom in (only the webpage): press Command+Equal
4. To zoom out (only the webpage): press Command+Minus

How to customise Zoom Settings:
Open the Zoom Menu and click on the “Options” button under Zoom.

 Zoom options in Mac

To change the size of the blinking cursor

To change your cursor size, go to your Dock, click on the System Preferences icon > click on the Accessibility icon > select the Display menu > change the Cursor Size

  Change the cursor size under Display menu

To change your display settings

You can change the size of your menu bar text by changing the display settings on your screen. To change your display settings, go to your Dock, then click on the System Preferences icon > click on the Accessibility icon > select the Display menu > click on "Open Display Preferences".

Open Display Preferences under the Display menu

Change to a larger text to enlarge your menu bar text.

Display Settings

To show the Display icon on the Menu bar, ensure that you check the option to “Show mirrowing options in the menu bar when available”.


To customize your Desktop icons

 You can change the size of icons, arrange them in a grid, change their text size and set other preferences for items on your desktop by changing the view options on your desktop.

Customise your desktop icons under View Options 

To change your desktop view options, click the Desktop, and then choose View > Show View Options from the menu bar. Alternatively, press Command+J key.

Useful Links

Learn more about the variety of assistive technologies in Mac OS to help those with vision disabilities, including a built-in screen reader, screen and cursor magnification, high-contrast settings, and more.
 

Links to useful guides on VoiceOver:

This Apple VoiceOver guide explains how to use VoiceOver with appendices on VoiceOver commands and gestures, and VoiceOver Utility Options.

For new users, please check out the VoiceOver Keyboard Shortcuts for Mac OS

Here are instructions on Working with Text and VoiceOver on a Mac.