VoiceoverEasy.net courses are tutorials geared toward blind and visually impaired users of iPhones and iPads with Siri capability, and who use Apple Corporation's accessibility technology called Voiceover to read the screen of their device.

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Unit 1: Lesson 3, Editing Text with VoiceOver

For iOS7,8, 9, and 10.

SECTION 1: Introduction.

In order to display customized text to meet your needs VoiceoverEasy.net needs to know if you want to learn about iPhones or iPads.


 

DeviceNumber = -1
DeviceType = iOS Device

In this lesson you will learn more advanced techniques for editing text inside Text Field items, and take a first look at the Rotor. At the end of this lesson you should be able to:

SECTION 2: Terms You Should Know.

2.1: Characters and Strings.

A character is a single letter, number or other symbol. For example, iOS7 has four characters; I, O, S, and 7. This social security number, 987-65-4321, has 11 characters. The dashes count. The phrase, Welcome back, has 12 characters; 7 for the word welcome, four in the word back, and one for the blank space in between. Even blank spaces count as characters. Put a bunch of characters together and you get a String. For example, the word “Hello" is a string of five characters. The title of the TV drama 24 is a two character string consisting of the digits 2 and 4.

2.2: Selecting Text.

Text is selected by bracketing it with a beginning and ending point. Visually selected text usually appears in a different color than the other text around it. Once text is selected you can do things with it like, copy it, cut it, paste it, capitalize it, or change the font and its attributes. All of the text is treated as a single entity rather than having to perform the action one character or word at a time. We'll cover selecting text later in this lesson.

2.3: Deleting Text .

Once text is selected, you can delete it using the DELETE key on the soft keypad. Deleted text is gone forever. The only way to get it back is to retype it.

2.4: Copying Text.

When you copy selected text, you make a copy of it in a hidden area of memory without affecting the original on the screen. You can recall this copy as many times as you want, until you copy new text to the hidden area.

2.5: Cutting Text.

When you cut selected text, you make a copy of it in the hidden area, and remove it from the screen. The cut text replaces anything else that was in the hidden area. You can then recall this text as many times as you want until you copy or cut more text.

2.6: Pasting Text.

When you retrieve the cut or copied text from the hidden area, you are pasting it. Pasting does not remove the text from the hidden area. So you can paste the same text as many times as you want, until you cut or copy other text over it.

2.7: The Action Row.

The Action Row is the term VoiceOverEasy.net uses to describe a row which is displayed by many applications just below the Status Bar. Most Action Rows contain one or more of the following items:

2.8: Fonts.

fonts are certain characteristics which are applied to letters, numbers and special characters. These characteristics might include a certain slant, the thickness of the characters, character spacing, straight edges instead of rounded and so on. Similar fonts are grouped into families like, Arial, Times New Roman, and Sans Serif to name a few.

2.9: Text Alignment.

Printed paragraphs can come in one of four alignments:

  • Left Alignment: This is the standard for most text. The left edge of each line in the paragraph lines up. The right edge is varied depending on the length of the words in the line.
  • Centered: Each line in the paragraph is centered on the page or screen. The left and right edges of the paragraph are varied.
  • Right Aligned: The right edges of the lines in the paragraph form a straight line. This is most often used to make numbers line up in columns.
  • Justified: This causes both the left and right side of the paragraph to form straight edges. This is done by inserting extra space between words in each line. It is most commonly used in newspapers, which use a multicolumn format for text.

SECTION 3: Editing Text with Notes.

Getting Started.

For our first attempt at editing text, we will use the Notes Application. If the Notes app is not open, please find it and open it now. Start by pressing the Home button once to go to the Home Screen Grid. Once there, you can use any of these techniques to find the Notes icon.

Which of these techniques is the best one to use? The answer is, whichever one is the easiest for you. Go ahead and Activate the Notes icon and Launch Notes.

The Notes App has two screens, the Notes List Screen and the Note Content Screen. The Notes List displays all the notes you have previously created. The Note Content Screen displays the entire content of the note you are viewing, creating or editing.

Many apps have this dual screen setup. There will be a list of items such as; notes, mail messages, contacts, reminders and many more. They appear on a List screen. When you Activate one of them, you are taken to a Content screen that displays the content of the item you activated.


 

DeviceNumber = -1
DeviceType = iOS Device

The Action Row on the Notes List Screen has these items as they appear from left to right.

Table of Items on the Action Row in the Notes List Screen.
Voiceover Says. Item Type. Function.
Back. button. Takes you to the list of Accounts or Folders where notes are kept. We will ignore this button for this lesson.
Notes. Heading. Indicates you are on the Notes List Screen.
Edit. Button. Allows you to select multiple notes from the list and perform a single action that affects all selected notes at once, such as Delete.
Search. Text Field. This is not actually part of the Action Row, but it is mentioned here as an indicator that you are on the Notes List Screen. You can enter a key word or phrase in this field, and only notes with that keyword or phrase will be listed. We will ignore this field for now.

Item Lists.

Below the Action Row of the Notes List Screen is the Notes Item List. Item Lists can contain other items inside them organized by rows such that each row represents a separate item in the list. Each row can contain labels, buttons, text fields, and just about anything.

At the top of the Notes Item List is the search field. If you have a lot of notes, you may want to search the list for keywords. You can activate this field with a double tap. This will allow you to type keywords to search for.

3.1: Editing Your Previous Note.

In SECTION 6 of Lesson 2we used the Notes App to create a note so we could try editing text, but we didn't try to correct any mistakes. If you didn’t do this exercise, then please do it now. The note you create is needed for the next SECTION. Once you’re done, please save it .

  1. If you are on the Notes Content Screen, Activate the "Notes, back button." Your iOS Device will switch to the Notes List.
  2. If Voiceover did not read the first line of the note from the last exercise, use the Explore gesture, or next and previous item gestures, single finger flicks right and left respectively, until Voiceover reads it. VoiceOver announces the first line in the note you created and the time you created it. Finally, VoiceOver says “button." That means you can activate this item. Now your note is the Current Item in the list.
  3. Use an Activate gesture to "Press" this button. The Content screen appears, and the note will be displayed for viewing or for editing. VoiceOver says "Notes, Back Button," to tell you the Current Item. If you were to Activate this button, you would be returned to the Notes List screen.
  4. Use the Next Item gesture until VoiceOver announces the date and approximate time the note was last edited.
  5. Use the Next Item gesture again. VoiceOver announces, "Note," followed by the contents of the note. Then VoiceOver ends with “text field." This field is called "Note," and it is where the text you entered from Lesson 2 is stored.
  6. Use an Activate gesture on this text field to begin editing. VoiceOver has a lot to say. It starts with "Note," which is the name of the Text Field you just activated. It then says, "Text Field," which is the type of item you just activated. Next comes "Is Editing" to indicate that the field is ready for you to enter or change the text. VoiceOver may then say, "Character Mode", "Word Mode", or "Line Mode," But don’t worry if it doesn’t. Finally VoiceOver reads the text in the field.

3.2: Start /End of Field Gesture.

VoiceOver uses the Single Finger Double Tap gesture to alternately jump the cursor or Insertion Point between the first and last character in an active Text Field Item. However, you learned this gesture as an Activate gesture. What’s going on?

3.3: Context Sensitive Gestures.

Sometimes the same gesture can have different meanings depending on what’s going on at the time. For example, the Single Finger Double Tap is the activate gesture on the Home Screen or Dock, and when the Current Item is a button, but it’s the Start/End of Field gesture in an active Text Field. You saw one other gesture like this in Lesson 2. The Three Finger Flick up is the Close App gesture in the App Switcher, but it’s the Next Screen gesture everywhere else. It sounds confusing, but you’ll get it with practice.

Use the Explore gesture to place your finger anywhere over the Text Field. Then do the Single Finger Double Tap. VoiceOver says, "Insertion Point at Start," or "Insertion Point at End" to indicate where changes you make will be inserted. Try this several times and the Insertion Point will switch back and forth. Stop when VoiceOver says, "Insertion Point at Start." Now how do you get to a character in the middle. For that you will use the rotor.

SECTION 4: The Rotor.

If you imagine a dial on your display like an old radio tuner, volume knob or toaster oven control, and then move two fingers on the display like you were turning it, VoiceOver brings up the rotor. The rotor is used to control the meaning of the Single Finger Flick Up and Single Finger Flick Down gestures. In Lesson 2, SECTION 7.5 under Rules for Flicking we mentioned that vertical Single Finger flicks have different meanings depending on the circumstances. It’s the setting of the Rotor that controls these circumstances.

It doesn't matter which way you turn the knob. The Rotor's settings are in a circular list. You will simply go through the options in reverse order. It’s OK to lift your fingers between incremental adjustments. When you lift your fingers, the rotor remembers the function last announced by Voiceover. When you set them down again, the rotor continues at that point.

4.1: The Dial Gesture.

The Dial gesture is what you use to change the rotor from one function to another. You make this gesture by simultaneously touching two fingers anywhere on the display while turning an imaginary dial between them to the right or left. If it works correctly, there is a very soft, high pitched tone, and Voiceover will announce the function you just dialed the rotor to.

IMPORTANT! Both fingers must touch the display at the same time. Otherwise your gesture will be interpreted as an Explore gesture, or a Split Tap.

Try turning the rotor a few times in small increments, lifting your fingers between each turn. When you put them down again for the next turn, you can start them in the same place you started the previous turn. The rotor continues through the list of options from where it left off regardless of where your fingers start. The idea is that you don't have to contort your wrist or the iOS Device into awkward positions to keep dialing the rotor. In fact, the wrist should move as little as possible. Simply move your fingers. Rotate once all the way through the list of functions until you come back to the beginning. Practice dialing both ways until you feel comfortable with this gesture. You will use it often as you operate your iOS Device.

4.2: The Insertion Point.

The final piece of information we need before we can start editing is what Voiceover refers to as the Insertion Point. Many people also know it as the cursor. The Insertion Point usually appears as a blinking line or box. Any edits in an Active Text Field, including deletions, take place at the Insertion Point.

Now dial the rotor to the Characters function, and let's get started editing!

4.3: Single Finger Flick Up and Down.

With the Rotor set to the Characters function, a Single Finger Flick Down will move the Insertion Point one character forward in the Text Field. A single Finger Flick Up gesture will move backwards one character. VoiceOver reads each character the Insertion Point passes over regardless of which way you are moving. From now on VoiceoverEasy.net will refer to the single finger flick up and down as the "Move Backward" and "Move Forward" gestures respectively. Let's try the Move Forward gesture now.

  1. Try three Move Forward gestures, single finger flicks down. VoiceOver should say, “Cap M, y, space." Remember, a blank space is also considered a character.
  2. NOTE: Beginning with iOS 8 the Notes app became able to support formatting such as bolded, underlined, and italicized text. As a result, as you move through the note you may hear VoiceOver say things like, "System font" or "17 point" to refer to characteristics of the font being displayed. Ignore these statements for now, and just focus on the letters being spoken.

  3. Continue to move forward . If VoiceOver announces a character that isn’t supposed to be there, use the DELETE key at the right side of the soft keyboard to remove it.
  4. Keep using the Move Forward gesture and the DELETE key if necessary, until you hear the Thunk sound. That means you have come to the end of the text.  By now any extra characters should have been removed from the note.
  5. Now use the Start/End of Field gesture, a single finger double tap, until VoiceOver says, "Insertion Point at Start," which means you have moved the insertion point back to the beginning of the Text Field.
  6. Use the Move Forward gesture and listen for any missing characters in the text. If you hear that a character is missing, use the Move Backward gesture one time. The letter you just heard will be repeated by VoiceOver. It will be pushed forward and the characters you type will be inserted in the order you type them.
  7. At this point the Insertion Point should be at the end of the text again, and the text should be cleaned up. It should now say, "My first note."

Now let’s change the text to read “My very first note."

  1. Use the Start/End of Field gesture to quickly move the Insertion Point to the Start of the Text field.
  2. Use the Move Forward gesture, a single finger flick down, to move the Insertion Point to the letter "F" of the word First.
  3. Now do a Move Backward gesture, a single finger flick up, so VoiceOver repeats the letter "F" of the word first.
  4. Type the characters, “v," as in Victor, "e," "r," "y," and one blank space to separate it from the word First.
  5. Use an Activate gesture to press the Notes or Back Button to save your work and go to the Notes List Screen. Your note will appear in the Notes List with all spelling corrected.

Tips About Inserting Text.

This is why we had to go backward one character after VoiceOver announced the letter "F" of first. If we had started typing the word "very" at that point, it would have been put inside the word "First," but by moving the insertion point backward over the "F" again, we caused the word "very" to be inserted BEFORE the "F" of "First."

Tips when Deleting Text.

4.4: The Characters, Words, and Lines Functions.

In the steps above you used the rotor to set your iOS Device to the Character function. You can also set your device to move through text by Words or Lines. With the Characters function a Move Forward or Backward gesture moves the insertion point one character forward or backward respectively. If you change the function to Words or Lines, then these gestures will move the insertion point one word or line instead. If you have a Text Field with a large amount of data, it is quicker to move around it by words or lines, but be sure to set the rotor back to the characters function when you have reached the spot where you want to make changes. It’s easiest to make changes using the Characters function.

4.5: The Typing Mode Function.

The Typing Mode function of the rotor changes the way the soft keyboard reacts to your gestures. In order to demonstrate this function we will create a new note and try different modes as we type.

  1. If you do not have the Notes App launched, please launch it now. If you have the App open to the previous note, find the "Notes, Back" button in the upper left corner and go to the Notes List screen.
  2. Use an Activate gesture to press the "New Note" button.
  3. Be sure the Text Field is activated for editing by making it the Current Item and then using an Activate gesture.
  4. Standard Typing Mode.

    In Standard Typing Mode you must use an Activate gesture, either a Single Finger Double Tap or a Split Tap, to type each key. This is the typing mode we have used so far, but there is another mode of typing which you may find easier. We'll use our new note to compare them both.

  5. With the Text Field activated, type this text, "This line is in Standard typing mode," and notice that the T of "This" was automatically capitalize. Please also capitalize the S of "Standard," and end the line with a period. To capitalize a letter, double tap the SHIFT key next to the letter "A," and then double tap the letter you want to capitalize. You do not have to hold the SHIFT key down while typing the letter as you would on a standard computer keyboard.
  6. Now use the RETURN key to start a new line.
  7. Dial the rotor until you hear “Typing Mode.
  8. Use the Single Finger Flick Up and Down gestures to hear the available options. There are three, Standard Typing, Touch Typing, and Direct Touch Typing.
  9. Stop when you have selected Touch Typing.
  10. Dial the rotor back to the "Characters" function to avoid accidentally changing typing modes later.
  11. Touch Typing Mode.

    In this mode you can explore the keyboard with your finger until you find the character you want. Then simply lift your finger and the character is typed into the Text Field. You can use the rotor at any time to switch between Standard and Touch typing mode.

  12. Make sure the Insertion Point is at the end of the Text Field.
  13. Type, "This line is in Touch typing mode," and please capitalize the "T" of "Touch."
  14. Now put a period at the end of the sentence.
  15. Use the RETURN key to add a New Line character.

Direct Touch Typing Mode.

Beginning with iOS8 a new typing mode called Direct Touch Typing was added. It is intended for users of the soft keyboard who are so familiar with it, that they can hit the right letter almost every time. It most closely simulates a sighted person typing. If a key is tapped, it is typed, but VoiceOver doesn't speak the name of the key. This typing mode also works like Standard typing mode, if the Split Tap gesture is used instead of the double tap to press a key. Intrepid users can try this mode by following these steps.

  1. Dial the Rotor to the Typing Mode function.
  2. Use the single finger flick up or down gesture until VoiceOver says, "Direct Touch Typing."
  3. Dial the Rotor back to the Characters function.
  4. If the Notes Text Field is not already activated for editing, Activate it now with a single finger double tap.
  5. Use the Start/End of Field gesture to make sure the Insertion Point is at the end of the Text Field.
  6. Type “This line is in Direct Touch typing mode," and please capitalize the "D" of direct, and "T" of Touch. Put a period at the end of the sentence.

Special Characters.

The soft keyboard allows you to type special characters such as those using an accent, circumflex, Dieresis, and others. If you are typing in a language other than English, this may be important to you.

In standard typing mode you can access the extended character set for a particular letter with the double tap and hold gesture. When the additional characters appear, Voiceover says, "Alternative Characters available," and you can slide your finger to the left or right without lifting it until you find the special character you want. Then lift your finger. Once you make your selection, after about a second the additional characters will go away, and Voiceover will say, "Additional characters hidden."

In Touch Typing mode, when you hold your finger over the base letter without lifting it for about two seconds, the additional characters will appear. Slide your finger to the character you want, and then lift your finger. The character will be typed. The special characters will be hidden about a second later, and Voiceover will announce, "Additional Characters hidden."

NOTE: If you invoked the additional characters by accident, just hold your finger in place for a few seconds. Voiceover will say, "Special Characters Hidden," and the characters will go away.

Checking Your Work.

  1. Use the Start/End of Field gesture to go to the beginning of the note.
  2. Set the Rotor to the Characters function and move forward, correcting any mistakes that you find. Remember which typing mode you are in before you attempt corrections. You can Dial the rotor to the Typing Mode function to switch between typing modes whenever you want, but be sure to dial it back to the Characters function before moving through the text again.
  3. Go back to the beginning again and change the rotor to the Words function. Now move forward and backward through the note. When you come to words that contain, or are adjacent to, punctuation marks, VoiceOver speaks the punctuation mark with the word. Try moving backward as well.
  4. Use the Start/End of Field gesture again to return to the beginning of the Text Field.
  5. Now switch the rotor to the Lines function. If the Insertion Point is not at the beginning of the line, VoiceOver may not speak all the text on the line. The Lines function is the fastest way to move inside a Text Field, but if text sounds like it’s missing, examine a line more closely with the Words or Characters functions. You may find the missing text after all. Move forward and backward and listen to what VoiceOver says.
  6. When you are satisfied with your work, press the "Notes," or "Back" button to save your work and return to the Notes List Screen.

SECTION 5: More Rotor Functions.

There are many possible Rotor functions. Some are always available. Others appear only in certain applications, or when you are performing a function like editing a Text Field. Some only work in web pages. In fact, there are so many functions that adding them all to the rotor at once would be very unwieldy. So the best practice has been to add the functions that are used most often. All the rotor functions which will be discussed in VoiceoverEasy.net courses are listed in alphabetical order on the Rotor Functions reference page. You can find it in the table of contents at the end of all the units under the Reference Pages section.

5.1: Behavioral and Navigational Rotor Functions.

The Rotor functions can be divided into two groups: Navigational functions, which allow movement through fields or screens; and Behavioral functions, which affect the way your device works. When the Rotor is dialed to a Navigational Function, then VoiceOverEasy.net will refer to the Single Finger Flick Down and Up gestures as Move Forward and Move Backward gestures respectively. We have already seen three examples of Navigational functions; Character, Words, and Lines. When the Rotor is dialed to a Behavioral function, VoiceOverEasy.net will refer to the Single Finger Flick Down and Up gestures as the Set Mode Gesture. The Typing Mode function is an example of a behavioral function.

5.2: Speech Rate, Behavioral Function.

Dial the Rotor to the Speech Rate function. Then use the Set Mode gesture to adjust the VoiceOver speech rate in increments of 5% until the rate is comfortable for you. Most people find it comfortable between 40 and 60 percent.

5.3: Volume, Behavioral Function.

This adjusts the Voiceover speech volume in 5% increments. Dial the Rotor to this function and adjust the VoiceOver volume so that it is comfortable for you.

IMPORTANT! Be careful not to adjust the volume to zero. If you do this and then dial the rotor off the Volume function, you will not be able to correct the problem without assistance. If you want to turn speech off, use the Speech On/Off, a Three finger Double Tap, discussed In Lesson 1, Section 8.1.

5.4: Containers and Headings, Navigational Functions.

Containers and Headings are item types. If you dial the rotor to one of these settings, you can use Move Forward and Move Backward gestures to move to items of that type on the screen or web page. When you hear the Thunk, you can’t go any further in that direction. If you get the Thunk no matter which direction you go, then there are no items of that type on the current screen or web page.

5.5: Characters, Words, and Lines, Navigational Functions.

These three functions have already been discussed while inside an active Text Field. However, Character and Word can also be dialed from outside Text Fields. Sometimes it’s hard to understand the names of folders, icons, buttons and other items when VoiceOver says them. When this happens, you can dial the rotor to Word or Character mode and listen to the item name broken down into easy to understand bits.

Tip: It can be a good idea to set the rotor to a navigational Function after using a Behavioral Function. Otherwise if you forget where the Rotor was set, you could inadvertently change a key setting. For example, if you just adjusted your VoiceOver volume, and then try to use the Move Forward gesture without dialing the Rotor back to a Navigational Function, you could inadvertently turn your VoiceOver volume to zero.

5.6: The "Action" function.

There is an "Actions" function of the rotor. The rotor often dials itself to this function whenever an Item in an Item List becomes the Current Item. When the rotor is set to this function, the Set Mode gesture offers one or more actions to choose from. The following table below lists the most common actions, but there can be others. You set the mode to the action you want with the Set Mode gesture, the single finger flick up or down, then single finger double tap, or split tap to have the action carried out on that item.

Table of Common Modes for the "Actions" Rotor Function.
VoiceOver says. Effect.
Activate Item, Default Action. The item will be activated/opened. Usually this means the application will go from the List screen to the screen that displays the content for that item. When VoiceOver says, "Default Action," it indicates that this is the mode that Action function is set to after the rotor self-dials.
Delete or Trash. Deletes the Current Item from the list of items when you single finger double tap or split tap.
More... This brings up a menu of additional actions which can be performed on the item in the list.

Let's look at two examples of the Actions function of the rotor. If you followed the steps above correctly your iOS Device should already be on the Notes List Screen. Make one of the notes in the list the current item. The rotor secretly dials itself to the Actions function. Don't believe it? Let's check.

  1. Dial the rotor clockwise just a little until VoiceOver announces another rotor function like "Characters."
  2. Now dial the rotor back counter-clockwise until Voiceover says, "Actions."
  3. Now use the Set mode gesture, a single finger flick up or down. You will toggle between the Activate action and the Delete action.

Now let's take another look at the App Switcher. In the last lesson we learned the Close Apps gesture, the three finger flick up, but you can also close an app using the Actions function of the rotor.

  1. Activate the App Switcher by pressing the Home button twice.
  2. If VoiceOver doesn't announce "Notes," use the Next and Previous Items gesture to find it. The rotor secretly dials to the Actions Function.
  3. Now use a Set Mode gesture, a single finger flick up or down. You will toggle between the "Activate" and "Close" actions. If you flick up first, then the "Close" action comes first. Otherwise, the "Activate" action comes first.

So if you don't like the three finger flick up gesture to close an app, then find the app you want to close in the app switcher. Flick up once and VoiceOver announces the "Close App" mode. You could then use an Activate gesture to close the app,. But for now we are not yet finished with the Notes app, so set the mode to "Activate" and return to Notes with an Activate gesture.

You've worked pretty hard to get to this point. Take a break for a while. Grab a cup of coffee, walk the dog, rearrange the furniture. VoiceOverEasy.net will be here when you get back. Then we'll learn about selecting text.

SECTION 6: Selecting Text.

Let's expand on the description of selecting text provided in Section 2.2 above. Text is selected by bracketing it with a beginning and ending point. Selected text usually appears in a different color than the other text around it. Once text is selected you can do things with it using just a few gestures. You can copy it into memory and quickly insert it again later without retyping it. You can quickly remove it with the DELETE key, or remove it by "Cutting" it. Cutting text makes a copy of the selection in memory prior to removing it from the display. You can quickly add or remove bolding, underlining, italic or other font attributes. You can even instantly replace it with new text by starting to type the new text while the old text is selected, or you can replace it by pasting copied text over it. You can capitalize it, look up a definition for a selected word, and much more. All of the text is treated as a single entity rather than having to perform the action one character or word at a time.

In the note we created about typing modes there were multiple lines of text. Each line began with the words, "This line is in," and ended with different text. We typed each line from scratch, but there is an easier way to enter duplicate text. Let's start our third note and learn how.

  1. Launch the Notes app again and start a new note.
  2. Enter the words, “This is line," and follow them with a blank space.
  3. Use the techniques we used above to check the line for errors. You want the text to be error free before we continue. Otherwise, every time we paste the text, we'll have to fix any errors. When copying and pasting text, a little planning saves a lot of time later.

6.1: Selecting All the Text in the Text field.

  1. With your newest note displayed, dial the Rotor to the Edit Function.
  2. Use the Set Mode gesture, a single finger flick up or down, to listen to the modes available from the Edit Function. After you go all the way through them once, stop on the "Select All" mode.
  3. Use an Activate gesture to tell your iOS Device to select all the text in your note. VoiceOver will read the text we just selected. In this case Voiceover says, "This is line."

IMPORTANT! If you press the DELETE key while you have text selected, all of the selected text is deleted. If you type a character, all the selected text is replaced by the character you typed. No warning messages or, "Are you sure" messages will be displayed. So be careful.

6.2: Copying the Selected Text.

When you "copy" text, you're not making a copy of it on the display. Instead, you make a copy of it in a hidden memory buffer. If you do the copy correctly, you won't detect any difference in the Text Field at all.

  1. Now use the Set Mode gesture again until you hear “Copy."
  2. IMPORTANT! Be careful not to touch the screen and then make the gesture. This will be interpreted as an Explore gesture and deselect the text. Then you'll have to repeat the steps in the previous section again. You need to have a single smooth Set Mode gesture, like flicking that bug from lesson One.

  3. Once the mode is set to "Copy," use an Activate gesture to make a copy of your note in the hidden area of memory.

6.3: Cutting Text.

If you wanted to move the selected text to another location, you would replace the "Copy" mode in the previous step with the "Cut" mode. This deletes the text from the original location, but makes a copy of it in the hidden memory area first. In this case we wanted the original text untouched. So we used Copy.

Let's take a brief moment to discuss the difference between "cutting" selected text, and "deleting" it. When text is selected, and you use the delete key to delete it, no copy of the text is placed in memory. This means you can't restore the deleted selection without retyping it. When you "cut" selected text using the Cut mode of the rotor's Edit function, you make a copy in memory before the text is removed. You can use that copy to paste the text in other locations. Keep in mind that the Cut text replaces whatever is already in the memory buffer. So if you don't want to lose what is already in the buffer, you should paste that first before cutting other text.

6.4: Deselecting Text.

It's easy to accidentally delete selected text, because you forgot you selected it. Deselecting text helps prevent this. The text is not altered. The text is just no longer selected. You deselect text with a two step process:

  1. Dial the Rotor to a Navigation function, such as Characters, Words, or Lines.
  2. Then move the Insertion Point with one of the following movement gestures; Move Forward, Move Backward, or Start/End of field.

The combination of Navigation function and Movement gestures you use depends on where you want the Insertion Point to be after you deselect the text.

6.5: Pasting Text.

When you "Paste" text, you are copying the text from the hidden memory buffer to the spot in the text field where the Insertion Point is currently located. The memory buffer is not erased. So you can paste the same information multiple times.

IMPORTANT! Verify the position of the Insertion Point prior to typing or pasting. You can do this by following the steps just detailed in Section 6.4 above until you get the Insertion Point exactly where you want it. If you move backwards through the text, then whatever you type or paste will be inserted just BEFORE the last thing spoken. If you move forward, then whatever you type or paste is inserted AFTER the last thing spoken. Typing or pasting without checking the insertion point first will likely result in some very frustrating experiences!

Let's try some pasting now. The instructions below assume that you have just completed the steps in Section 6.2.

  1. If you have not already done so, dial the rotor to a Navigation function such as Characters. The other Navigation functions are "Words," and "Lines," but the "Characters" function works best here.
  2. Use the Start/End of Field gesture to jump to the end of the text field.
  3. Type in the letters, o, n, e, to spell the word one, and then insert a period followed by a new line at the end with the RETURN key. The first line of the note should now read, "This is line one."
  4. Dial the Rotor to the Edit Function.
  5. Use the Set Mode gesture to find the Paste mode.
  6. Activate the Paste mode, then dial the Rotor back to Characters.
  7. Let’s listen to the entire Text field now. The easiest way to do this is to leave the text field and enter it again. Do this with the Previous Item gesture, a Single Finger Flick Left. Followed by the Next Item gesture, a single finger flick right, to return again. VoiceOver reads the entire contents of the field. You should hear “Note, Text Field, Is Editing, This is line one, this is line," but the sentence doesn't end properly.
  8. Use the Start/End of Field gesture to position the Insertion Point at the end of the field.
  9. Type the word "t, w, o," followed by a period, and then another new line using the RETURN key.
  10. Now take a few moments to listen to your note. The first line now says "This is line one," and the next line says, "This is line two," but all you needed to type was the word, "two," because you selected the words, "This is line" and even the blank space before you used the copy mode of the Edit function. You recalled the copy with the Paste mode. So you only needed to type "t, w, o," to finish the line.
  11. Jump to the end of the text.
  12. Dial the Rotor back to Edit.
  13. Use the Set Mode gesture to find the Paste mode.
  14. Activate Paste mode again.
  15. Dial back to Characters.
  16. Check to be sure the Insertion Point is at the end of field position and Now type "t," "h," "r," "e," "e," followed by a period. Then press the RETURN key and add a blank line.
  17. Read your message again. Now you have three lines of text that all begin with the words, "This is line," but you only typed it once.

You can paste the same text as many times as you want until you cut or copy another piece of text into the hidden memory buffer.

FOOD FOR THOUGHT: What would have happened if we hadn’t included a blank space after the word, "line," prior to copying? The answer is: we would have to press space after each copy to put a space between the word, "line," and the next thing we typed. This is another small example of a little planning prior to copying and pasting saving a lot of time later!

6.6: Selecting A Word

At the beginning of this exercise, we used the Select All Mode of the Edit Function to select all the text we had typed. Now let's select only the word "one" from the first line of the note.

  1. Use a combination of the Start/End of Field gesture and the Characters or Words Rotor Function to position the Insertion Point in the word, "one," at the end of the first line of text.
  2. Use the Dial gesture to set the Rotor back to the Edit function.
  3. Use the Set Mode gesture, a single finger flick up or down, until you hear VoiceOver say, "Select."
  4. Use an Activate gesture, a single finger double tap, to activate the Select mode. The word the Insertion Point was touching will be selected, your iOS Device will chirp, and A popup appears.
  5. When VoiceOver says, "Menu Item," flick up until you hear, "Copy," and then activate or press that button.

Now let's paste the word on a new line at the end of the note.

  1. Use the Start/End of Field gesture to position the insertion point at the end of the text field.
  2. Use the Return Key to start a new line of text.
  3. Dial the Rotor to the Edit function.
  4. Use the Set Mode gesture until VoiceOver says, "Paste."
  5. Use an Activate gesture to paste the text.

It's always a good idea to check your work. Let's take a look at what we just pasted.

  1. Dial the rotor to the Characters Function.
  2. Use the Move backward gesture until you hear the letter, "O," of the word, "One."
  3. Now use the move forward gesture slowly to hear what you pasted. Don't stop until you hear the Thunk sound to indicate you're at the end of the text field.

You should hear O, n, e, period. Hey, where did that period come from? Well, it turns out that if you select a word with adjacent or embedded punctuation, the punctuation will be selected as well. If you don't want the punctuation, you'll have to delete it after pasting.

Now let's get rid of what we just pasted. It will be in the way for the next exercise.

  1. Use the techniques you know to place the insertion point anywhere inside the word "one" at the end of the note.
  2. Dial the rotor to the Edit Function.
  3. Use the Set Mode gesture until Voiceover says Select.
  4. Use an Activate gesture, a two finger double tap. The word the insertion point is in and any adjacent punctuation will be selected. In this case that's the word "one" that we just pasted.
  5. Since we don't need to paste this word anywhere else, press the DELETE key. The word is now gone.

So far we have learned how to select a single word, or how to select all the text in a text field, but suppose you want to select some amount of text in the middle. For example, you might want to select part of a word, several words, a large number with embedded commas, or maybe a sentence, line, or paragraph. Don't panic! This can be done.

6.7: Incrementally Selecting Text.

The Text Selection Function.

Beginning with iOS9 an new method of selecting text is available. A new function can be added to the Rotor called "Text Select," which allows you to select or deselect text using the Next Item and Previous Item gestures respectively. However, this function doesn't always appear in the rotor by default. So let's be sure it is among the rotor options before we begin.

Adding the Text Selection Function to the Rotor.
  1. Launch the Settings Application from theHome Screen.
  2. Use a two finger double tap to Pressthe "General"button, which is located in the Settings main menu.
  3. Press the "Accessibility" options button.
  4. Press the "VoiceOver" options button.
  5. Press the "Rotor" options button.
  6. Locate the Text Selection function.
  7. As youExploreover each option, Voiceover will say, "Selected," before some, but not others. When Voiceover says "Selected," it means that the option will appear on the Rotor.

    If you use theNext and Previous Item gestures, a single finger flick right or left respectively, you will hear the item first, but if you do another next Item gesture, Voiceover will say, "Reorder," followed by the Item Name. This button allows you to use theDrag Gesture, a single finger tap and hold followed by a vertical slide up or down, to change the order of the item in the list.

  8. If Voiceover didn't say, "Selected," use theSelect gesture, a single finger double tap, to add the Text Selection function to the rotor.

Once you add a function to the rotor, it will remain available until you go into the rotor settings again and deselect it. You can now close the settings app.

Let's use the note we created in Section 4.5 about typing modes to practice with the Text Selection function. We'll add a new line at the bottom that says, "My favorite Typing Mode is," followed by your favorite mode.

  1. If the Notes App isn't open, open it now and go to the Notes List.
  2. Select the note from the list that says, "This line is in Standard Typing Mode," and open it.
  3. Be sure the Note Text field is activated for editing.
  4. Use the Start/End of Field gesture to move the insertion point to the beginning of the Text Field.
  5. Dial the rotor to the Words function and move the insertion point to the end of the word, "Standard." We are going to select and copy the words, "Typing Mode" for use in our new line.
  6. Dial the Rotor to the "Text Select" function.
  7. Use the Set Mode gesture and listen to the options. They are Character Selection, Word Selection, Line Selection, Page Selection, and Select All.
  8. Set the mode to Word Selection.
  9. Now use the Next Item gesture. The insertion point moves from its current position to the end of the word, "Typing," and Voiceover says the word to indicate it is selected.
  10. Now use the Set Mode gesture, a single finger flick up or down, until the mode of the Text Selection function is set to "Character Select."
  11. use the Next Item gesture to select the space after the word, "Typing."
  12. Continue to use the next Item gesture to select the "M," "o," "d," and "e," of the word Mode. If you go too far, use the Previous Item gesture, a single finger flick left to deselect the extra characters.
  13. Dial the rotor to the Edit Function, and use the Set Mode gesture to find the Copy mode.
  14. Use the Activate gesture, a single finger double tap, to activate the copy feature and copy "Typing Mode" to memory.
  15. Change the rotor function to Characters and use the Start/End of field gesture, another single finger double tap, until you are at the end of field.
  16. Type the words, "My favorite," plus one blank space.
  17. Dial the rotor to the Edit function. Use the Set Mode gesture to find the Paste function.
  18. Use the Activate gesture to activate the Paste function. The words, "Typing Mode" will be pasted.
  19. Dial the rotor to the Characters function.
  20. Now type a blank space followed by the word, "is," and another blank space.
  21. Type either "Standard," "Touch," or "Direct Touch" to indicate your favorite typing mode.
  22. Dial the rotor to the Edit function. Use the Set Mode gesture to find the Paste function.
  23. Use the Activate gesture to activate the Paste function. The words, "Typing Mode" will be pasted.
  24. Add the period at the end of the sentence followed by the RETURN key to go to the start of a new line.
  25. Save your hard work.

Notice that you didn't have to copy the text more than once to paste it multiple times. Once you have copied text to memory, you can paste it as many times as you want until you copy something else into memory.

The rest of Section 6.7 covers the Pinch Open and Pinch Close gestures. They were the only way to select and deselect text prior to iOS 9. Although the Text Selection function of the rotor generally makes this process simpler, it doesn't hurt to learn both ways.

The Pinch Open and Closed Gestures.

There are two parts to the Pinch gestures. First, you must dial the rotor to either the Characters, Words, or Lines function. Then make the pinch gestures by simultaneously placing two fingers on the display. VoiceoverEasy.net recommens that one finger remain stationary during the pinch gestures, while the other finger moves. To make the Pinch Open gesture, you place the two fingers next to each other and gradually move the mobile finger away from the stationary one. To make the Pinch Closed gesture you separate the two fingers as much as possible and then move the mobile finger toward the stationary one. As you expand the distance between your fingers, Pinch Open, the text selection expands forward. As you bring your fingers closer together, Pinch Closed, the text at the end of the selection becomes deselected. Here are a couple of tips:

This method takes quite a bit of practice. It's easy to get frustrated, but hang in there. Once you get it, it's a big help.

Let's use our third note, the one we created at the beginning of Section 6 to practice incremental text selection with the Pinch gestures. We'll add a new line that says, "This is line 4," followed by a period and a New Line character. We'll select part of the text from line 3 in order to accomplish this. If the note is not displayed in the Notes Content Screen, please open it now.

  1. Be sure the Text Field is Activated for editing.
  2. Use the Start/End of Field gesture, a single finger double tap, to position the insertion point at the beginning of the text field.
  3. Dial the Rotor to the "Lines" function.
  4. Use the Move Forward gesture, a single finger flick down, until Voiceover says, "This is line 3." The insertion point has now moved to the end of the third line. When the rotor is set to the Words or Lines functions, and you move forward through the text, the insertion point is moved to the end of the word or line VoiceOver just spoke. If you move backward, then the insertion point is moved to the beginning of the word or line last spoken by VoiceOver.
  5. Since we need the insertion point to be at the beginning of the third line, use the Move Backward gesture, a single finger flick up. Voiceover will read, "This is line 3" again, but now the insertion point will be at the beginning of the word, "This," which is where we need it to be.
  6. Dial the rotor to the Words function.
  7. If you are doing a one handed Pinch gesture, hold your thumb and other finger together with your other finger to the side of your thumb, like you were trying to hold a grain of sand.
  8. Touch the display with both fingers near the bottom of one of the sides. Be sure both fingers touch the display at the same time. Otherwise the first finger that touches the display will be interpreted as an Explore gesture, and the Insertion Point may be moved. If that happens, you will have to start the process over again.
  9. Slowly move your mobile finger directly away from your stationary one. The selection will expand one word at a time. Voiceover will read each word as it is added to the selection.
  10. When VoiceOver says, "This is line," stop the Pinch Open gesture and lift your fingers from the display.
  11. Dial the rotor to the Edit Function, and use the Set Mode gesture to select the Copy mode.
  12. Use the Activate gesture to copy the selected text into memory.
  13. Dial the rotor to one of the Navigation functions like Characters.
  14. Use the Start/End of Field gesture, a single finger double tap, until you are at the End of the Field.
  15. Dial the rotor to the edit Function.
  16. Change the mode to Paste.
  17. Use the Activate gesture to paste the text you copied.
  18. Dial the rotor to the Characters function.
  19. Go to the end of the text and use the Move forward and Backward gestures to move around. You may notice the last character is the letter, "e," and not a blank space. This is because when selecting by words, the selection does not include the space after the last word selected. We could have dialed the rotor to the Characters function while we were selecting, and then picked up the extra space, but since we're only pasting once, it's just as easy to add the space now.
  20. Insert a blank space and then type the number, "4," followed by a period and the RETURN key to add a New Line character.

Selecting text this way takes a lot of practice, but once you get it, it is really helpful. You can cut, copy or delete the selected text very quickly. Don't get discouraged when you first try the Pinch gestures.

SECTION 7: Review.

7.1: New Items.

Table of New Items.
Item Name. Description.
Item List. An item List is an item that can contain items inside it. The items in the list are organized by rows. Item Lists can contain labels, buttons, text fields, and just about anything.

7.2: New Gestures.

Table of New Gestures.
Gesture Name. Motion. Function.
Start/End of Field. Single Finger Double Tap. When editing text, jumps the Insertion Point between the Start and End of the Text Field.
Dial. Turn Rotor dial with two fingers. Changes the function the Rotor is set to.
Move Forward. Single Finger Flick Down When the Rotor is Dialed to a Navigation Function, moves to next Character, Word, Line, Container, heading or other item type.
Move Backward. Single Finger Flick Up. When the Rotor is Dialed to a Navigation Function, moves to previous Character, Word, Line, Container, heading, or other item type.
Set Mode. Single Finger Flick Up, or Single Finger Flick Down. When the Rotor is set to a Behavioral Function, Increases/Decreases volume and speech rate or changes an operational mode.
Pinch closed Seperate your mobile finger from your Stationary finger and place them simultaneously on the display, then move your mobile finger closer to your stationary one. When editing text, deselects text. Be sure both fingers make contact with the display at the same time. Otherwise, this will be interpreted as a Split Tap gesture.
Pinch Open. Place stationary and mobile Finger side by side simultaneously on the display and then move your mobile finger away from your stationary one. When editing text, selects text.

SECTION 8: Exercises.

  1. How many characters are in the string, "Isn’t that cool?", excluding the quotation marks.
  2. What is the difference between deleting text and cutting text?
  3. When one or more Text Fields are on the screen, what does VoiceOver say to let you know which one your changes will take place in? If you want to edit text in a different field, how do you activate it for editing?
  4. What is the Rotor? How do you activate it?
  5. What is the difference between the Rotor Functions Character, Word, and Line?
  6. What is the difference between Standard Typing and Touch Typing? Under which Rotor function can you find these options?
  7. What is a Context Sensitive gesture?
  8. What gesture uses the same finger movements as the Move Forward and Backward gestures?
  9. What two gestures use the Three Finger Flick Up movement?

Click here for answers to Basics Lesson 3, Working with Text, SECTION 8.

Congratulations! This concludes the basic lessons on VoiceOver gestures. Now we’ll get to use them in practical apps like Contacts, Phone, Mail, and a host of internet applications. There are other items and gestures we haven't covered yet, but you can find complete lists for each in the Item Reference Page and the Gesture Reference Page.

Before you go on to the next lesson, would you like to take the optional survey for this lesson?

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