Talkback Gestures on Android
Screen reader shortcuts > Talkback
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Talkback is a screen reader for Android devices.
Also available in a single-page printer-friendly PDF version.
Also available in a PDF with images depicting the gesture shortcuts.
- Talkback works best with Chrome, and also works well with Firefox. If you try to use it with any other browser, it may work for some things, but not as consistently.
- Chrome is the recommended browser for current versions of Android. Prior to Android 7.0, Firefox is recommended.
- TalkBack varies depending on the version of Android and the web browser in use. Some options may be unavailable.
- Explore by touch enables users to drag one finger around the screen to announce items as you reach them.
Enabling TalkBack: Go to Settings > Accessibility > Talkback to turn on Talkback. To activate the Talkback shortcut, go to Settings > Accessibility and turn on the Volume Key Shortcut. You can then hold the volume keys for 3 seconds to activate or pause Talkback.
The local context menu (LCM): contains navigation options relevant to the current context. Options appear in a circular menu by default, but settings may be changed to display options in a list. To open the local context menu, swipe up, then right. Navigation options include: Default, Headings, Links, Controls, Characters, Words, Paragraphs, Lines.
The global context menu (GCM): contains commands that are relevant anywhere on your device. Options appear in a circle or a list depending on your settings, with additional settings in the corners of the screen. To open the global context menu, swipe down, then right.
This guide assumes that the context menus are set to circles.
Quick Navigation: In the GCM, one of the options that appears is Quick Navigation. This displays another circle on the screen, and allows the user to move their finger in a circle around the screen to scan through page contents.
Explore by touch: Talkback announces items as you reach them when you drag one finger around the screen.
|On/Off:||Turn TalkBack on or off||Hold volume buttons for three seconds
(When setting is enabled)
|Menus:||Global Context Menu (GCM)||Swipe down, then right|
|Local Context Menu (LCM)||Swipe up, then right|
|Reading:||Stop reading||Single tap|
|Start reading continuously from this point on||GCM, Read from next item|
|Read next item||Swipe right|
|Repeat last||GCM: Repeat last utterance|
|Activate:||Activate element (Link, button, etc.)||Double tap|
|Headings:||Go to next heading||LCM: Headings|
|Landmarks:||Go to next landmark/region||LCM: Landmarks|
|Main:||Go to main content region||Use the “Skip to Main Content” link if present, explore by touch,
or use GCM Quick Nav to search for the desired section
|Elements list:||Show list of all elements onscreen||GCM: Quick navigation|
|Tables:||Navigate table cells||Swipe left or right in default navigation mode.
or explore by touch.
|Links:||Go to next link||LCM: link|
|Navigate:||List all elements||GCM Quick Navigation|
|Go to first item on page||Swipe up, then down|
|Go to last item on page||Swipe down, then up|
|Go to home screen||Swipe up, then left|
|Go back||Swipe down, then left|
|Recent apps||Swipe left, then up|
|Notifications||Swipe right, then down|
|Go backward:||To previous heading, landmark, table, focusable item, etc.||Swipe left|
|Line:||Say prior line||LCM: Line, swipe left|
|Say next line||LCM: Line, swipe right|
|Say from cursor||GCM: Read from next item|
|Character:||Say prior character||LCM: Character, swipe left|
|Say next character||LCM: Character, Swipe right|
|Say character phonetically||GCM > TalkBack Settings > Verbosity > Speak phonetic letters|
|Word:||Say prior word||LCM: Word, swipe left|
|Say next word||LCM: Word, swipe right|
|Paragraph:||Next paragraph||LCM: Paragraph, swipe right|
|Spelling:||Spell Word||GCM: Spell last utterance|
|Cell:||Cell to right||LCM: default, swipe right|
|Cell to left||LCM: default, swipe left|
|Cell below||Explore by touch|
|Cell above||Explore by touch|
When you enter the table, Talkback will describe the dimensions of the table. It will identify table header cells. When it reads a table cell, it describes the associated header. When you move into a new row, it reads the row number.
|Form elements:||Next form element||LCM: Controls|
|Checkboxes:||Select and deselect||Double tap|
|Combo boxes (<select>):||Open combo box||Double tap|
|Browse/select options||Explore by touch or swipe|
|Select multiple options||Double tap each option to select or deselect|
|Radio buttons:||Toggle selection||Double tap|
|Sliders:||Adjust slider up or right:||Swipe right then left|
|Adjust slider down or left||Swipe left then right|
|Search for a word or a phrase||Swipe left then down|
|Typing||When in a text editing field, virtual keyboard appears at bottom of screen;
Drag finger over letters, release when you hear the desired letter
|Reformat documents for simpler viewing||Chrome: go to Chrome settings > Accessibility > select "Simplified view for web pages." A button for simplified view will appear at the bottom of the screen, when supported.
Firefox: Reader View. When viewing an article, the button appears in the URL bar
|Ignore TalkBack, report gesture to current application||Use 2 or 3 fingers|
|Speak characters typed||In TalkBack settings, enable “Keyboard echo”|
|Gesture Hints||Activate in TalkBack settings|