[Blindapple] textalker review commands

Tiny Puppy-butchb butchb at fairpoint.net
Thu Oct 15 19:18:49 EDT 2020

Thanks very much.  If I knew this stuff, I've forgotten.  What are the keys on very bottom row?  I think open and closed apple to left and right of the space bar.  There is the caps lock key, but I don't recall the key beside it.  

Thanks again. 

----- Original Message ----- 
From: joseph.norton at gmail.com 
To: 'Blind Apple Discussions' 
Sent: Thursday, October 15, 2020 2:09 PM
Subject: Re: [Blindapple] textalker review commands



Also, if you are in review and want to read the screen, or a portion thereof, press a letter from A to X, then press the comma, "Echo says "to:", then type the line letter you want to read to.


So, if you wanted the whole screen, type the letter A, press Comma, press X and it'll do it.



Thanks to CiderPress, Here is some text from the DOSTalk disk which seems to do a good job:


                                  SCREEN REVIEW


     Typing a CTRL-L (not preceded with a CTRL-E) puts the Echo into

line review mode. This feature allows the blind user to access

any line of material on the screen through speech. The CTRL-L

may be entered either while the computer is waiting for input

from the user or while text is being spoken.


Line review mode employs a special "audio review cursor" which

keeps track of the last place the user read material from the

screen. This audio review cursor moves along as material is

reviewed. The following commands provide means of controlling

the audio cursor.


Selecting the line to Review


There are two steps required for using the review feature.

One must first enter review with the CTRL-L then he must select

the line on which he wants to begin reviewing. After pressing

the CTRL-L, the user hears "REVIEW." This is TEXTALKER's way

of informing him that it has, indeed, entered the review mode.

The user then selects which line is to be reviewed by typing a

letter from "A" to "X". The letters "A" through "X" are the

first 24 letters of the alphabet. Each one represents that

line on the screen. In other words, pressing "A", the first

letter, selects the top line of the screen and pressing "X",

the 24th letter, selects the bottom line. (The Apple's display

contains 24 lines.)


When the user presses a letter from "A" to "X", TEXTALKER

reads that line and then positions the audio cursor at the

beginning of that line.


The user may, in addition to selecting a line from 1 to

24, after entering review, press the "Z" key. Pressing "Z"

immediately after entering review selects the current place

where the cursor rests. In other words, if the cursor were

located on line "P", the 16th line from the top of the screen,

and the user pressed the "Z", the audio review cursor would be

placed on line 16. The "Z" command also maintains the

horizontal cursor position.


Moving the Audio Cursor


When the user selects the line to review (by pressing a

letter from "A" to "X"), TEXTALKER reads the selected line.

One may use the up arrow and the down arrow keys to move the

audio review cursor up and down the screen. Note that earlier

versions of TEXTALKER also required the user to press the

RETURN key after selecting the line. TEXTALKER version 3.1.1

does not require the RETURN key to be pressed but, instead,

reads the line immediately.


Older versions of TEXTALKER used the ";" to move up and

the "/" to move the audio cursor down the screen. These two

old commands have been retained for compatibility.

Once a line has been selected or moved to, the user may

have the currently selected line repeated by pressing RETURN.


Moving the Cursor along a Line


While in review mode, the user may hear the lines on the

screen in several different ways. Pressing the RETURN key

indicates that he wants the entire line spoken. One may also

read each line word by word, by using the left and right arrow

keys to move the audio cursor along the line.


Reviewing Character by Character


Using the right and left arrows permits the user to review

a line word by word. He may also read a line of material

letter by letter. Pressing "L" selects letter mode. Once

letter mode is selected, pressing the left and right arrows

read and move the audio cursor letter by letter along the

selected line. To return to word mode, press the "W" key.


Experienced TEXTALKER users will recognize that the

process of switching between letter and word mode was

accomplished, in earlier versions of TEXTALKER, by pressing the

"T" key to toggle between the two modes. This command has, for

compatibility, also been preserved. One may, in short, either

use the "L" and "W" or the "T" to toggle between letter and

word mode.


Determining the Cursor Position


While in review, pressing the space bar makes the Echo

announce the current line and column of the audio cursor. This

information is provided by announcing the line as a letter and

the column as a number. If the audio cursor were in the top

left corner of the screen, for instance, Echo says "A,00" when

the space bar is pressed.


Reviewing a Group of Lines


One may command TEXTALKER to review a group of lines on

the screen. This command is executed by pressing the ","

(comma) followed by the ending line to read. If, for instance,

the user wishes to read the lines from "G" to "L", he would

move the audio cursor to line "G" then press the "," and the

"L". This command reads lines "G" through "L" and leaves the

audio cursor on line "L".


Altering Speech Characteristics


If the user wishes to switch to another punctuation mode

from within review, he may do so by pressing the command

character exactly as if he were issuing one of the CTRL-E

commands except without the CTRL-E. In other words, to change

to all punctuation mode from within review, the user presses

the "A". To change to some punctuation mode, he may press the

"S". To select most punctuation mode, press the "M". The

speech rate may also be controlled from within review mode.

Simply press "E" to select expanded rate or "C" for compressed



Column Review


The TEXTALKER review mode now supports reviewing material

displayed on the screen in columnar format. The user may

select one of nine different columns in which to review. The

columns are selected by pressing one of the number keys from

"1" to "9". Pressing the "0" reverts back to the normal full

line review mode. When the user has selected a column from "1"

to "9", he may hear the entire contents of that column by

pressing the RETURN key. If he wishes to hear the entire line,

while in a column, he may press the "R".


Altering a Column's Boundaries


The user may change the boundaries of a column in one of

two ways. To extend the current boundaries, he should hold

down the open apple key, to the left of the space bar, while

pressing the arrow key in the direction to extend the edge. In

other words, to extend the right edge of a column, he would

move to the right edge of the column with the right arrow key

then, when he reaches the edge, hold down the open apple key

and press the right arrow until he reaches the desired new



To reduce a column's edges, the user simply moves the

cursor to the new desired edge and presses either the "-"

(dash) to set the new left edge or the "=" to set the new right



Columns may overlap each other and even be contained

within another column. TEXTALKER remembers the last column

used upon an exit from review mode so that same column is

selected the next time review mode is entered. If, however,

the user uses the "Z" to select the current position of the

cursor, TEXTALKER automatically reselects the normal full line

review mode.


Exiting Review


There are three ways to exit the review mode and return to

the work at hand. If one presses the space bar immediately

after entering review mode (without selecting a line to

review), the synthesizer announces the position of the cursor

and exits review automatically. One may also exit the review

mode, if he has already selected a line, by pressing the escape

key. When he does, Echo announces, "EXIT." When one exits

review,in this fashion, the real cursor will be in the exact

place the user left it when he first entered review mode. The

new TEXTALKER program also allows one to exit review in a very

special way. If he presses "x" to leave review, the real

cursor will be moved to the position of the audio cursor.

TEXTALKER will announce "EXIT" and then confirm the position of

the cursor by adding "AT" and the new cursor position to the

message. This feature lets the blind user take full advantage

of the Apple's built in editing features. One may, for

instance, use it when examining a catalog of the disk. When he

sees a file he wants to load, he needs simply move the review

cursor up to that file name, exit with the "x" command, and use

the right arrow to copy the file name onto the input line.


Changing the Command Character


One needs to be careful not to press another control

character after typing the CTRL-L. If he does, the command

character to enter review is changed to the second control

character typed. This feature permits the user to temporarily

redefine the command character so he may type a CTRL-L for

another purpose. If the command character is altered, it may

be changed back to the CTRL-L by typing the new command

character then typing the CTRL-L.


Overview of Review Commands


A selects all punctuation mode.

C selects compressed speech rate.

E selects expanded speech rate.

L selects letter mode.

M selects most punctuation mode.

R repeats the entire current line even if in column mode.

S selects some punctuation mode.

T toggles between letter and word mode.

W selects word mode.

X exits review mode with the real cursor moved to the position

of the audio cursor.

, (followed by another letter) reads all lines from the current

line to the selected line.

1-9 selects columns 1-9.

0 reselects full line review mode.

- resets the left edge of a column.

= resets the right edge of a column.

ESC exits review mode.

SPACE announces the position of the audio cursor.

RETURN repeats the current line.

UP ARROW moves the audio cursor up one line and reads the new


DOWN ARROW moves the audio cursor down one line and reads the

new line.

LEFT ARROW moves the audio cursor left one word. If the user

has selected letter mode, the left arrow moves left one


RIGHT ARROW moves the audio cursor right one word. If the user

has selected letter mode, the right arrow moves the audio

cursor right one character.


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