How to accessibly and reliably spell check documents on iOS devices with VoiceOver

Posted on October 5, 2017

Although I guess possible on older versions of iOS, until iOS 11, spell checking documents on iOS devices was extremely difficult with the screen reader  Voiceover. Occasionally when browsing around a document if VoiceOver said a word was misspelled you could maybe get suggestions if you happened to be exceptionally lucky. but now with iOS 11, here’s a totally accessible and reproducible process. Previously not being able to reliably spell check documents on iOS was a large frustration for me, and meant that all I could efficiently do on the run was to write rough drafts; having to later correct them on my mac back at home. Experiencing that spell checking was now totally doable on iOS 11, I am more than happy to share what I’ve found. I use the word activate, because there are several ways to progress workflows on iOS devices. Yes, if using only the touch screen, I mean double tap; but if a future reader is using a Bluetooth keyboard, a braille display, or the new O6, there are multiple more ways they could do it.

1. Open a document you want to spell check.

2. Make sure VoiceOver says “text field is editing” “quick nav off”.

3. rotate the VoiceOver rotor left, often only 1 menu item to “misspelled words”.

4. swipe up or down to move between a list of misspelled words.

5. after stopping on a misspelled word you want to correct, change the rotor to “edit”. Edit should be 1 rotor item to the left of misspelled words.

6. Swipe up or down to “select” and activate it. VoiceOver should say “word” selected, where word is the word you selected.

7. then swipe up or down until you get to “replace”, and activate that.

8. after a short wait, probably less than 1 second, VoiceOver will say a word, probably similar to the misspelled word you’re wanting to change. Some times, VoiceOver may also instead say text field but in this case just swipe right to the first item in the word suggestions list.

9. If that is the word you want, activate it; if not you can swipe right or left to move through the list of word suggestions until VoiceOver speaks the word you want. Then activate that word.

10. The new word you chose from the list should have replaced the previously misspelled word you wanted to correct.

Back when looking at the list of suggested words, you may also change the rotor to character and spell the words letter by letter. Yeh that works. Notifications arriving on the scene may be a different matter however.

After a few times through the process, you will probably find that it’s not as complicated as it looks. This not only works by using the touch screen, but also by using Bluetooth keyboards. If your braille display keyboard can also use the rotor, it should work for that also.

For someone who writes a lot while on the run, adding “misspelled words” to the rotor may be one of iOS 11’s most appreciated features.

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2 thoughts on “How to accessibly and reliably spell check documents on iOS devices with VoiceOver

  1. Torie

    As someone who does everything on my ipad, this is something that may be what makes me decide to update. I was holding off until some bugs were squashed, but i am tempted to upgrade just for this feature. Thanks for explaining it.

    Liked by 2 people

    Reply

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