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Tips for using Switch Access

This information applies only to devices running Android 5.0 and higher.

After you set up Switch Access, use the tips below to get started.

Basic tips for navigating

If you're using auto-scanning
  1. To start scanning, press your switch
  2. When the item that you want to select is highlighted, press the switch to select it
If you're using step scanning
  1. To start scanning, press your "Next" switch
  2. Continue pressing "Next" until you reach the item you want to select
  3. To select the highlighted item, press your "Select" switch
If you're using group selection
  1. To start scanning, press your switch
  2. Look at the item you want to select. Identify what color highlighting is used for the group containing your item.
  3. Press the switch that corresponds to the group's color
  4. Repeat steps 2 and 3 until you select the item. The highlighting colors change each time you press a switch.

To clear the highlighting and reset scanning, choose one of these options:

  • Select the Menu button, then select Cancel
  • If you have a switch with no corresponding highlighted items, press that switch

Menus and auto-select

Along with the basic navigation tips above, you can use Switch Access menus and auto-select:

  • Global menu: While you're scanning your screen, select the Menu button to open a global menu with navigation options such as Home, Back, Notifications, and Quick Settings.
  • Auto-select: The global menu includes an option to turn auto-select on or off. When auto-select is on, clicking an item on your screen automatically selects it. When auto-select is off, clicking an item opens the Actions menu (see below).
  • Actions menu: If auto-select is off when you click an item, an Actions menu opens. The Actions menu lists options such as Expand, Collapse, Select, Long-press, and Move. If the item can be scrolled, the Actions menu also includes a Scroll option. On text fields, the Actions menu includes Cut, Copy, Paste, Select all text, Previous character, Next character, Previous word, and Next word.

Point scanning

Note: Some of these steps work only on Android 7.0 and up. Learn how to check your Android version.

Point scanning lets you choose a specific place on the screen to tap, swipe, or zoom. Lines move across your screen to let you select a specific horizontal and vertical location.

To use point scanning:

  1. Start scanning your screen with your usual scanning method
  2. Select the Menu button
  3. Select Point scan
  4. To start point scanning, press your "Select" switch. (If you're using auto-scanning, use your auto-scan switch for this step and the next 2 steps.)
  5. When the point scanning line reaches the correct vertical location, press your "Select" switch
  6. When the point scanning line reaches the correct horizontal location, press your "Select" switch
  7. Use the Actions menu to select an action

To turn off point scanning, select the Menu button and choose Exit point scan.

Next, learn how to customize Switch Access settings.