There’s an Activity For That

Have you ever used an app and thought “You know what? I really seem to slow VoiceOver down a lot when I use this.” Maybe you find you tend to have VO read with more punctuation in some apps more than others. If you’re tired of constantly making changes to your VoiceOver settings, I’ve got some news for you.

Customizing VoiceOver for Different Situations

Yes, you read that correctly! You can set up VoiceOver to automatically change your settings, based on what you’re doing. It’s called Activities, and it’s one of the categories in the VoiceOver Utility.

So how do you accomplish this amazing feet of computer greatness? Read on to find out!


  • Step 1: Press VO + F8 (VO + FN + F8 on a portable Macintosh keyboard, if you haven’t changed the behavior of the function keys in the keyboard pain of system preferences.) This will open the VoiceOver utility. VoiceOver should tell you that you are on the “Utility Categories” table.
  • Step 2: Arrow down until you hear VoiceOver announce “Activities.”
    Note: You can also press Command + 0. Pressing Command + 1 through 0 will jump you to each category in the “utility categories” table in sequential order. This means that pressing command + 1 will move you to the “General” category, Command + 2 will move you to the “Verbosity” category and so on.
  • Step 3: VO right until you hear VoiceOver announce “Add” button.
  • Step 4: Press the button with VO Space.
    Note: Once you press the “Add” button, VoiceOver automatically interacts with the “Activities” table.
  • Step 5: You will now be placed on the “Untitled” activity. Press Enter, and VoiceOver should announce “Untitled, contents selected edit text.” This is ware you can name your activity so if you want to edit it later, you can find it without the need to go through the settings for each activity.
  • Step 6: After you give your activity a name, press VO + Shift + Up arrow to stop interacting with the “Activities” table.
  • Step 7: Now, you are able to choose the settings you want to include in the activity. The settings that you check are settings that when changed, will only effect the current activity you are working on. You can set the settings you check now by pressing the “set Setting name” (where setting name is the setting you’ve checked or unchecked,) or set them later. Remember that the settings that you check here are the settings that will only change for the activity you are in the process of setting up. All other VoiceOver settings you change will effect the “VoiceOver settings” activity, which is VoiceOver’s default activity. In other words, if you’ve never looked at VoiceOver’s activities, you’re using the “VoiceOver settings” activity.
    For example: I’ve created an activity called “Test.” If I check the “Verbosity” checkbox, changing any verbosity setting will only effect the “Test” activity, once I tell VoiceOver when to use the settings in this activity, but more on that in step eight.
  • Step 8: If you keep pressing VO + Right arrow, VoiceOver will announce “Use this activity for.” Pressing VO + Right again will place you on the “Apps & Websites…” menu button. Pressing this button will cause a list of apps to be displayed, as well as the choice of setting the activity up to be used with specific websites that you can add if you choose that option.

Need Help?

If you have questions about anything in this post, please don’t hesitate to let us know, and we would be glad to help you.

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