Numbers with VoiceOver for macOS

Pages to Numbers

We learned a range of functions in Pages prior to this lesson. During this session, we’ll start learning about using VoiceOver in Numbers. We’re going to see that the majority of the hotkeys we learned last time for Pages also work in Numbers.


Numbers is a spreadsheet application that can used for making tables and graphs, running calculations and transforming data, and organizing information.
Numbers is organized by columns (vertical) and rows (columns). Rows are numbered, starting with 1 and continuing to infinity. Columns are are numbered alphabetically, starting with A and continuing to Z. After Z, you’ll find column AA, AB, AC, and so on until AZ. This continues until all two letter alphabetical pairs are used (until ZZ) and then Numbers used three letter series to mark columns.
The unit where a column and row meet is called a cell. Cells are where the data (numbers, text, etc.) of the spreadsheet resides. A cell will be titled by the combination of its column and row numeration. For example, the cell in the first row and first column is titled “A1”. Further, the cell in the 4th column and 18th row would be titled “D18”.
We can move from cell to cell using the arrow keys. Each arrow key will move you on cell in whatever direction you’ve selected. If your focused on cell B2, pressing up will bring you to B1, pressing down will bring you to B3, pressing left will bring you to A2, and pressing right will bring you to C2. As we move into new cells, VoiceOver will announce the contents and location of the cell.

In-session Exercise 1: Explore a Spreadsheet

Open the example spreadsheet below. Use the arrow keys to read each populated cell.
 example spreadsheet 1
What’s the difference between the contents of row 1 and the rest of the cells?
Where is the data in this spreadsheet? In what row do you stop finding data? What column?


To navigate through the Numbers interface, users can use the interaction system (VO + Shift + Down Arrow to start interacting and VO + Shift Up Arrow to stop interacting), as well as using Tab and VO + J.
Read the Title Bar of the Active Program VO + F2
Read the Item Currently in Focus VO + F3

Opening, Saving, and Printing

Open the File Tab to Save, Open, Print, and More VO + M, then F
Create a New Empty Document Command + N
Open a Saved Document Command + O
Print Command + P

In-session Exercise 2: Explore Another Spreadsheet

Open the example spreadsheet below. Use the arrow keys to read each populated cell.
 example spreadsheet 2
Where is the data in this spreadsheet? In what row do you stop finding data? What column?

Navigating the Workbook

Navigating the Numbers spreadsheet requires a whole series of hotkeys on its own. Spreadsheets can be large and complex, and it is easy for people to get lost. We already learned we can navigate the spreadsheet by using the arrow keys, but this will be too slow in some cases. We can name rows and columns by simply inputting that text in row 1 and/or column A.
Read the active cell’s coordinates VO + Shift + T
Read the Header title VO + C
Read the column title VO + C (twice)
Read the row title VO + R
Read table dimensions VO + Shift + T (twice)
Move to the last populated cell in any direction Command + Arrow Keys

Selecting Data

Selecting data is an important skill in Numbers. You’ll find yourself needing to quickly delete, move, or format entire columns, rows, or sections of a spreadsheet.
Select all Command + A

Formatting Text

Bold Selected Text Command + B
Italicize Selected Text Command + I
Underline Selected Text Command + U
Read Formatting Attributes of Selected Text VO + T


Numbers can do much more than simply hold date in columns and rows. It can be used to do a range of computations. If you start a cell entry with the equals sign, that will make that cell a formula. Try this out! Enter the following text into a cell in Numbers: =1+1. What does VoiceOver say when you read the contents of this cell now?
Edit a cell Option + Return

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