I'm trying to help a blind friend of mine, to get her up and running on a mac. As her text editor of choice, she'd like to use pages, but there, the bullet points aren't shown on her braille display.

She has also tried openOffice, but there, VoiceOver doesn't read anything, probably because of the use of a non standard UI kit.

How can we either solve the pages problem, or what's an editor that will read everything correctly?

  • Have you tried Nisus Writer? Mar 31, 2012 at 12:56
  • Would the braille problem be fixed there?
    – bigblind
    Mar 31, 2012 at 13:05
  • So, the only problem are the bullet points in Pages? Everything else works just fine?
    – Michiel
    Mar 31, 2012 at 14:00
  • She also said that the braille display doesn't show text properties. If I'm understanding this correctly, she means things like bold, italic,... I'm visually impaired myself, but I haven't used a braille display in years, so I'm trying to figure this out now. I have also asked this question on the apple support forums. If I get an answer there, I'll post it here.
    – bigblind
    Mar 31, 2012 at 14:13
  • @sys.stderr Not many people reading your question are going to have braille displays to test different apps, so you may want to try various others yourself. TextEdit and Nisus are the two most likely to be superior to Pages in my view. Mar 31, 2012 at 15:42

1 Answer 1


It's tough to tell where the problem lies. I don't have a perfect software recommendation, since Apple's tools generally support accessibility on par with the best third party apps around.

How much research have you and your friend done on making sure your display is configured correctly in VoiceOver?

I'd start with this support article to see if the display you have chosen is even supported but do know from past experience, that you will face many many little issues like this where voiceover is skipping some little element of formatting and can't convey all of the nuance of a document that is kerned, font tweaked with ligatures, variable line spacing, etc...

Usually this is something you can adjust the documents or the VoiceOver software to accommodate better, so the next step might be to flatten the document to a plain text file and compare how Text Edit works as opposed to Pages.

You may need to reach out to Apple directly (their discussion forums like here are not official support channels) and ask if the accessibility team needs you to file radar (Apple's name for bug reports) if you find a fairly common item that is not being supported correctly by the software (Pages / Text Edit / VoiceOver in your case). By sticking to Apple software, they might have a better chance of fixing some little omissions that could help you with your choice of braille display. Some of the retail stores have knowledgable people that you could arrange a short workshop or troubleshooting session with and AppleCare is available at cost once the free support window has passed for your hardware.

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