VoiceOver Keyboard Shortcuts on a Mac

Screen reader keyboard shortcuts > VoiceOver on a Mac

VoiceOver is a screen reader program that comes on new Mac computers, iPhones, iPads, and iPod touches. VoiceOver was first introduced in Mac OS X 10.4 in 2005.

Also available in a single-page printer-friendly PDF version.


VoiceOver works best with Safari. If you try to use it with any other browser, it may work for some things, but not as consistently as with Safari.

Keyboard Accessibility on a Mac

Keyboard accessibility is NOT enabled by default on a Mac. Your accessibility and screen reader test results will be inaccurate if you do not enable keyboard accessibility in the following two places:

  1. System Settings: Keyboard > Shortcuts > Full Keyboard Access > All controls
  2. Safari Settings: Advanced > Accessibility > Press Tab to highlight each item on a webpage.

VoiceOver Shortcut Keys

Getting Started

Command + F5 starts the VoiceOver program. VoiceOver uses the Control and Option keys before each command. The combination is referred to as VO in the tables. The VO keys can be locked so that they do not need to be pressed to perform VoiceOver commands by pressing VO + ;.

The Basics
Task Command
Start (or stop) VoiceOver Command + F5
VoiceOver activation keys (or VO keys) Control + Option (referenced as VO)
Lock (or unlock) VO keys VO + ;
Start reading VO + A
Stop reading Control
Open rotor (see explanation below) VO + U
Go to next/previous focusable item (link, button, input, etc.) Tab / Shift + Tab
Activate Link Enter
Activate button Enter or Space Bar
Read next/previous item VO + Right/Left Arrow
Go to next heading VO + Command + H
Go to next table VO + command + T
Navigate table cells VO + Arrow Keys (right arrow or down arrow or left arrow or up arrow)
Go to previous (heading, table, etc.) VO + Command + [H, T, etc.]
Interact with (go into/out of) objects
(like iframes, menus, application regions, etc.)
VO + Shift + Down/Up Arrows
Task Command
Start reading VO + A
Stop reading Control
Read next item VO + Right Arrow
Read previous item VO + Left Arrow
Read paragraph VO + P
Read sentence VO + S
Read word (press W multiple times to spell words alphabetically and phonetically) VO + W
Read from top to current location VO + B
Jump to top of page (on desktop keyboard) VO + Home
Jump to top of page (on laptop keyboards) VO + fn + Left Arrow
Jump to bottom of page (on desktop keyboard) VO + End
Jump to bottom of page (on laptop keyboards) VO + fn + Right Arrow
Select speech setting option (speaking rate, voice, pitch, etc.) VO + command + Right Arrow / Left Arrow
Modify the selected speech setting VO + command + Up Arrow / Down Arrow


The following shortcuts will help you navigate common page elements. You can press the Shift key with these commands to move to the previous occurrence.

Page Elements
Task Command
Next link VO + command + L
Next visited link VO + command + V
Next form control VO + command + J
Next list VO + command + X
Next graphic VO + command + G
Activate a link or form control VO + space

The Rotor

The VoiceOver rotor allows users to rotate through a list of webpage elements. Open the rotor by pressing VO + U.

When the rotor is open, pressing the Right Arrow and Left Arrow keys will select between different element types, including Tables, Frames, Images, Headers (heading elements), Links, Auto Web Spots (automatically generated list of structural and significant items on the page), Form Controls, Web Spots (user-identified page areas), Visited links, and Non-visited links. Once a page element type is selected, use the up arrow and down arrow to select a particular element and Enter to activate it. Escape exits the rotor.

Within the rotor, you can begin typing to filter the available elements. For example, with the Headers rotor open, pressing "2" will filter to second level headings. Typing "nav" will filter to the headings that contain that sequence of characters.

Data Tables

You can navigate tables in text areas by row and column, and sort by column.

Data Tables
Task Command
Go to next table VO + command + T
Read column header VO + C
Read row from VO cursor location to end of row VO + R
Read column from VO cursor location to bottom of column VO + R + C
Move up or down in a column VO + Up arrow or Down arrow
Move across a row VO + Left arrow or Right arrow

Additional Resources

Apple provides VoiceOver user information at www.apple.com/voiceover/info/guide/.