Keyboard Commands for iOS

Before we begin…

When we use a keyboard with iOS, we can do much more than simply use the keyboard to type. There is a ton of keyboard commands available for both native and third party applications. These keyboard commands can be utilized by users who don’t use VoiceOver and VoiceOver users.

This guide goes over the keyboard commands available in native apps in iOS. If you’re interested in keyboard commands for VoiceOver with iOS, here is a link to my guide on VoiceOver with the Apple Wireless Keyboard.

General Commands

These commands will work in any context in iOS, which means we can use them while on the homescreen and within apps.

Function Keyboard Combo
Home Button Command + H
Search Command + Space

Text Editing Commands

Text editing is usually the reason why most folks go out and grab a wireless keyboard. There are a group of keyboard commands we can use in almost any text editing context.

Function Keyboard Combo
Select All Command + A
Undo Command + Z
Cut Command + X
Paste Command + V
Underline Command + U
Italics Command + I
Bold Command + B




Function Keyboard Combo
New Email Command + N
Reply Command + R
Reply All Command + Shift + R
Forward Command + Shift + F
Close Message Command + W
Send Command + Shift + D
Mark as Junk Command + Shift + J
Flag Command + Shift + L
Mark as Unread Command + Shift + U
Go to Previous Message Command + Up Arrow
Go to Next Message Command + Down Arrow
Delete Message Delete
Get All New Mail Command + Shift + N
Mailbox Search Command + Option F

OK Google Basics


Function Example Command(s)
Open any website “Open”
Open any app Open Facebook
Take a picture (with the rear facing camera) “Take a picture/photo.”
Start video recording “Record a video.”
Take a picture (with the front facing camera) “Take a selfie.”
Adjust the volume “Increase/decrease volume.”
Mute sound “Mute the volume.”
Turn on and off utilities “Turn [on/off] [Flashlight, WiFi, Bluetooth].”


Function Example Command(s)
Math “What is the square root of [number]?”
“What is [number] divided by/multiplied by/plus/minus [number].”
“What is [number] percent of [number]?”
“What is [number] percent of [number] divided by/multiplied by/plus/minus [number].”
Conversions “What is [say the number] [say the conversion category: meters, years, yards, liters] in/to [say what you want to convert it to].”
“Convert [say the number] [say the currency] into [say the number] [say the currency].”
“What is the tip for [say the amount]?”
Maps and Travel “Where is [say the name of the location]?”
“Walking directions to [say the name of the location].”
“Show me the nearest [attractions/coffee shop/restaurant/gas station/bank/mall/etc].”
“How far is [say the name of the location] from [say the name of the location]?”
“Navigate to [say the name of the location].”
“Distance from here to [say the name of the location].”
“How far away is [say the name of the location]?”
“How do you say [word] in [say the language]?”
“What is the flight status of [say the name of the airline] [say the flight number]?”
Definitions “Define [word]”
“What’s the definition of [word]?”
“What’s the meaining of [word]?”
Translation What is French for [I am Charlie]?
Sports Did the [Giants] win today? What’s the score in the [Warriors] game?
Movies What movies are playing [tonight]? Where is [Toy Story] playing?
Music What songs does [Pharrell] sing?


Function Example Command(s)
Retrieve Contact Information “Find my brother’s number”
“When is [name]’s birthday?”
Make Calls “Call [name]”
Call [Jon] (also works with relationships: Call [sister])
Call [Cartman] on speakerphone
Send Texts “Text [name]”
Text [Susie] [great job on that feature yesterday] (also works with relationships: Text [mom] [I’m not going to be able to pick you up from the airport, period, I’m a bad son, period])
Check Text Messages Show me my last messages. (Then follow voice prompts)
Send Email Send email to [Robert Baratheon], subject, [hunting], message, [I don’t think you should drink so much when you go hunting, period]
Post to Social Media Post to [Twitter]: [Oh my god the Red Wedding episode!]


Function Example Command(s)
Create Calendar Events (appointments, meetings, etc.) “Create/Add/Schedule a meeting.”
“Create a calendar event.”
“Schedule an event [say the title of the event] then [say the day and time].”
Check your calendar “What’s my next appointment?”
“Show me the appointments for [say the day].”
“What does my [say schedule or calendar] look like on [say the day]?”


Function Example Command(s)
Set an alarm “Set an alarm for [say time].”
“Set an alarm in [say how many minutes, or hours].”
“Wake me up at [say the time] then [the day, or say ‘everyday’].”
Set a repeating alarm “Set a repeating alarm for [say the label].”
“Set a repeating alarm for [say the label] at [say the time].”
“Set a repeating alarm at [say the time] for [say the label] every/on [say the days of the week, or say everyday].”
Check alarms “Show me my alarms.”
“When is my next alarm?”


Function Example Command(s)
Create Reminders “Add a reminder.”
“Remind me to [say what you want to be reminded of] at [say the time].”
“Remind me to [say what you want to be reminded of] when I get to/next time I’m at [say the location].”


Function Example Command(s)
Play games Play [solitaire] (also try tic-tac-toe)
Play music Play some music (opens “I’m feeling lucky” radio station in Google Play Music)
Next Song / Pause Song
Play [Happy] (songs must be in Google Play Music on your device)
Watch movies Watch [The Lego Movie] (movies and TV must be in your Google Play account)
Read books Read [Hunger Games]

Just for Fun…

What sounds does a [tiger] make?
Flip a coin
Roll dice (rolls a single six-sided die)
What is the loneliest number?
Do a barrel roll!
Askew / Tilt
Go go Gadget [Spotify]
When am I?
Make me a sandwich
Sudo make me a sandwich
Who’s on first?
Up, up, down, down, left, right, left, right
Tell me a joke
Who are you?
Beam me up, Scotty!
What is [Jennifer Lawrence’s] Bacon number?

Other Apps

Flixster — “Show me [name of movie] on Flixter.”
Shazam — “Shazam this song.”
Threema — “Send a threema message to [say the name].”
TripAdvisor — “Show [say what you want to show] near me on TripAdvisor.”
Trulia — “Show homes for sale in [say the location] on Trulia.”
Walmart — “Scan my receipt on Walmart.”


Make the most out of Google with this list of ‘OK, Google’ voice commands from Digital Trends
What Are All The “OK Google” Commands? This Website Lists Every Single Thing Google Assistant Can Do from Bustle
A list of all the Google Now voice commands from Green Bot

JAWS Topic: Composing Facebook Page Posts

Getting Started

Go to and log into your Facebook account.

After you’re logged in, open the links list (Insert + F7) and press P to find Pages. Press enter.

This will load a new page with Facebook Pages you like and Facebook Pages you’ve created. Open the links list (Insert + F7) and hit the first letter of your Facebook page until you find it in the list. Press enter.

This will load another new page with your Facebook Page. Once again, open the links list (Insert + F7) and press P to find Publish. Press enter.

Create a Post


This will load another new page with a blank post form. Open the form field list and find the Write something field. Press enter.

Type your post.

If your post is just going to be text, you may press enter to finish composing and submit the post. However, if you’d like to add a location or an image, see below.

Adding a Location

After you’ve filled out the write something field, press tab to move to the location field. Press enter.

This will load a new page where you’ll find a location to include in your post. Open the form field list (Insert + F5) and find the search edit field. Press enter.

Put in the location you’d like to tag. When you are looking for an address, keep in the mind that you can only tag locations that Facebook knows about – you won’t be able to tag your home or other locations that Facebook hasn’t indexed. That being said, you can always tag a town or a state and most businesses, organizations, and public places will be indexed. When you’ve entered your desired location, press enter.

The page will reload with results of indexed locations matching what you typed. You may wish to navigate these by opening the heading list (Insert + F6) and selecting the Results heading. From there you can navigate returned results by pressing tab. The results are marked up as links, so you may also interact with your results using the links list (Insert + F7). When you find your desired location, press enter.

This will return you to your post. If your post is just going to be text and a location, navigate to the post button (by using tab or of the form field list (Insert + F5)) and press enter to submit the post.

Adding Photos

After you’ve filled out the location field (or decided to skip it), press tab to move to the photo field. Press enter.

This will load a new page where you’ll be able to select images from your computer to include in your post. Open the form field list (Insert + F5) and find the unlabeled edit field. Press space bar.

This will return you to your post. If your post is just going to be text and a location, navigate to the post button (by using tab or of the form field list (Insert + F5) and press enter to submit the post.

This will launch the Windows File Explorer dialog. You’ll interact with the dialog in exactly the same manner as you do in other contexts (such as saving and opening documents). Use the file explorer dialog to navigate to the image file you’d like to upload.

Navigate to the Preview button by tabbing or using the form field list (Insert + F5).

This will return you to your post. If your post is complete, navigate to the post button (by using tab or of the form field list (Insert + F5)) and press enter to submit the post. If you’d like to add additional photos, you can replicate the process we just went over. You can only add a single image at a time. To add additional images, open the form field list (Insert + F5) and use the Add Photos button. If you’d like to remove your uploaded photo, open the form field list (Insert + F5) and select the X button.

JAWS Topic: Remove an Account from Outlook

  1. Open up the file menu (Alt, then F).
  2. In the Info tab, tab to change settings for this account of set up more connections and press space bar.
  3. Press space bar on account settings…
  4. The Account Settings dialog will open, and your focus should be on the E-mail tab. On the email tab, tab down account list list view.
  5. Use the up and down arrows to find the email account you’d like to remove.
  6. Press Shift + Tab to move to the Remove button and press space bar.
  7. Confirm any pop-ups you encounter to complete the process.

Universal Access: Adding Alt Text to Images in Microsoft Office

The process for adding Alt Text to an image is the same throughout Microsoft Office. I’ll demonstrate this process using Microsoft Word.

Locate the image you’d like to add alt text to and select it (left mouse click). If you’re using JAWS, use Ctrl + Shift + O to open the objects menu and find the image there. Keep in mind this image presumably won’t have good alt text, so you’ll have to work with whatever is there.

Open the context menu for the image with the right mouse click, the context key, or use Shift + F10.

On the context menu, select Format Picture.

Screen shot of Windows 7 computer running Microsoft Word 2013 showing the open context menu for a selected image

This will open the Format Object Pane which can be found as a side menu on the right side of the screen. This pane has four tabs: Fill in Line (paint can icon), Effects (pentagon icon), Layout and Properties (square with measure lines icon), and Picture (portrait icon). Select Layout and Properties.

If you’re using JAWS, use tab to navigate through the tabs and tab controls. Tabs are only differentiated from controls by JAWS by their instructions – JAWS will announce that you can “navigate with left and right, up and down arrow keys”.

Screen clip of Word 2013 Format Object Pane with the Layout and Properties tab open and Alt Text section expanded and blank

Expand the Alt Text button with a left mouse click or by pressing space bar. Fill out the title and description fields. The title field seems to have a character limit of about 70, but the description field is seemingly limitless. Be as verbose as necessary in the description field to do your best to describe the image and convey to the reader any visual information that it conveys.

When you’re done, simply close the Format Object Pane by left mouse clicking the x in the corner, or simply return to your document by pressing escape. You can move back and forth between your document, the ribbon, and the Format Object Pane by pressing F6.





Important JAWS Commands

Open the Objects List Ctrl + Shift + O
Open Context Menu Shift + F10
Navigate between ribbon, document, and open panes F6

JAWS Topic: Creating Posts and Events on Front Porch Forum

Posting on Front Porch Forum

Navigate to On the homepage, check if you’re logged in or not by opening the links list dialog (Insert + F7) and pressing M and look for My Account. If you can’t find My Account on the links list, you’re not logged in. You’ll find a link to login in the links list if you hit M.

General Instructions for Filling in Forms

Use tab and shift + tab to move forward and backwards through the form
Use the up and down arrows to change the selection of drop down boxes
Use the space bar to check and uncheck check boxes

Creating a Post

On the homepage, open up the links list dialog (Insert + F7) and press C until you find Compose Posting and press enter.
This will load a new page with a blank form where we’ll be able to create a new post.
After the page loads, use the quick key F to move down to the first form field on the page and press enter to activate forms mode. Alternatively, you may also open the form field list dialog (Insert + F5) and move to the first control on the page.

Select posting category that best applies:

The initial form field on the page is a dropdown box where you’ll be asked to choose a posting category. There are a number of options here. Choosing event will give us additional fields to fill out, so we’ll cover that type of post below. For now, assume we are not creating an event.
Use the up and down arrows to move through the items in the dropdown. When you have your choice selected, press tab.

Posting subject:

The posting subject is a text edit field. This field will serve as the title or subject line of your posting. After you’ve entered your text, press tab.

Posting body:

The posting body is a narrative field where we can write as much as we’d like. Here is where your posting will go. When you’ve entered your text, press tab.

Allow neighboring FPFs to see this posting:

This is a check box which allows you to increase or decrease the audience for your post. Unchecking this box will mean that only members of your neighborhood will see your post. Keeping this box checked, on the other hand, will allow nearby neighborhoods to see your post.

Submit Posting

This is a button. Pressing enter will send your post off to get posted. Remember, if you’d like to review the fields you just filled out, simply use shift + tab to move back up the page. Otherwise, simply press enter to submit your posting.

Creating an Event

As mentioned above, we can create an event on Front Porch Forum via the Compose Posting form if we choose event in the posting category dropdown. Once you’ve selected event in the posting dropdown, press tab.
The next field will be for the posting subject. This is exactly the same field as we encountered with a normal posting. Add your text and press tab.
The time and date fields for events don’t have descriptive alt text. You’ll need to memorize their order to successfully fill in this form.

Event Start Date (Event date info: (no date applies? then please select a different posting category) Edit)

The first new field you’ll encounter is the event date info text edit field. This is a text edit field, but we’ll need to be careful about the type of text we enter here. The field is looking for the start date of your event. You’ll need to enter this date with numerals and dashes only – no spaces. You’ll need to write the year as four numerals (ex. 2017), dash, the month as two numerals (ex. 01 for January), dash, and the day as two numerals (ex. 05 for the fifth). So, for example, if my event was on January 1, 2017 I would write: 2017-01-05. This utility isn’t very smart, so we need to stick to that exact syntax. When you’re date has been added, press tab.

Event Start Time (Date (yyyy-mm-dd) Edit)

The next field is looking for the start time of your event. Again, we’ll need to add it in as a text in a specific way. This field is looking for us to add the time as 3 to 4 numerals followed by am or pm with no spaces. We can use one or two numerals to enter the hour (ex. 09 or 9 for 9 O’clock), colon, two numerals for the minute (ex. 05 for five minutes past the hour), and then am or pm. So, for example, if my event starts at twelve thirty in the afternoon, I would enter 12:30pm. When you’ve entered your time, press tab.

Event End Time (To Edit)

The next field is functionally the same as the last. However, this field is looking for an end time. Enter your end time in the same manner with which you entered the start time. When you’ve entered your time, press tab.

Event End Date (Time (i.e. 8:00 pm) Edit)

The last special event field is for the end date of your event. This field will auto-populate with the same date as your start date field. This is convenient for when you have a single day event. However, if you have an event that stretches over multiple days, you’ll update this field following the same method as the first date field. When you’ve entered your date, press tab.
Again, you’ll be able to check or uncheck the box to share this post with nearby neighborhoods. And you’ll use the Submit Posting button to submit your event post.

JAWS Topic: Adding Contacts in Outlook

Outlook Contacts

In Outlook, we have a couple options for adding new contacts. Options 1 and 2 assume you either have all the information in your head or in front of you as you’ll be keying everything in. Option 3 will let you create a contact off an email you received

Method 1 – From the Address Book

  1. Press Ctrl + Shift + B
  2. Press Alt to move your focus to the toolbar
  3. Press down arrow to open the file menu and then press enter to activate the option for New Entry…
  4. Press enter on new contact
  5. Use tab and shift tab to navigate through the new contact form
  6. Use Alt + S to save

Method 2 – From Contacts

  1. Press Ctrl + 3 to open Contacts
  2. Press Ctrl + N to create a new contact
  3. Use tab and shift tab to navigate through the new contact form
  4. Use Alt + S to save
  5. Use Ctrl + 1 to move back to Mail

A Note About the New Contact Form

The new contact form can seem overwhelming. There are a lot of fields. You by no means need to fill them all out. In fact, the only piece of information that needs to be filled out before you can save the form is the name.

Method 3 – From an Email

  1. Open an email from a sender you’d like to add to contacts
  2. Use Shift + Tab to move your focus up to the recipients email address and make sure your cursor is to the left of their email
  3. Open the context menu with Shift + F10
  4. On the context menu, choose add to Outlook contacts
  5. Use tab and shift tab to navigate through the contact info
  6. Use Alt + S to save