Graphic representation of the Florida Alliance for Assistive Services & Technology for the blog news

With everything being connected in some way or another, accessibility is even more important than ever. Being accessible means that information is readily available no matter what a person’s abilities are.

Mac’s OS X El Capitan comes with several accessibility options built in. Options such as Screen Reader Support, Zoom, and Visual Support allow universal access to the operating system and installed applications.

Screen Reader Support

One major Feature, Voiceover, reads the text to you and can also be used to control the computer using only the keyboard. Voiceover can be enabled and disabled very easily.


To Enable Voiceover:

  • Press Command-F5
  • Press Command-F5 to disable it
  • Check out the Apple Voiceover Guide for more options.


Zoom Support

The OS X Zoom feature allows the user to zoom in and navigate around a page with higher visibility.


  • Click System Preferences on the dock
  • Accessibility
  • Zoom
  • Choose either of the following options:
  • To zoom with keyboard shortcuts, select “Use keyboard shortcuts to zoom.”
  • To zoom with your mouse or trackpad, select “Use scroll gesture with modifier keys to zoom.”

Visual Support

Improving visibility can mean any number of things for different people. OS X has a couple built-in features with various options to increase the ability to see the information displayed on the page. Under the Display options, you can alter the coloration and/or enlarge cursor size to improve visibility.


  • Click System Preferences on the dock
  • Accessibility
  • Display
  • then check
  • “Invert Colors” for a black background with white font
  • “Use Greyscale” for a grey display, and/or
  • “Enhance Cursor Size” to enlarge the cursor

A feature called Dictation and Speech reads text on the computer screen aloud for those who simply are unable to or have difficulty reading the text on a screen.


  • Click System Preferences on the dock
  • Accessibility
  • Dictation and Speech
  • Text to Speech
  • select the checkbox for “Speak selected text when the key is pressed,”
  • choose the key/key combination you prefer (when text is highlighted and these keys are pressed the text will be read aloud)