Tips for using Switch Access

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

Basic navigation

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 that 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 that you want to select. Identify what colour highlighting is used for the group containing your item.
  3. Press the switch that corresponds to the group's colour.
  4. Repeat steps 2 and 3 until you select the item. The highlighting colours 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.

Global menu

While you're scanning your screen, select the Menu button to open a global menu with navigation options:

  • Back: Go back to the previous page, or hide the keyboard if a keyboard is visible. 
  • Home: Go to the Home screen.
  • Overview: Show recently opened apps.
  • Notifications: Open the notifications shade.
  • Quick Settings: Show your device's Quick Settings panel.
  • Volume: Change the volume on your device.
  • Enable auto-select or Disable auto-select: See 'Auto-select' below.
  • Point scan or Exit point scan: See 'Point scanning' below.
  • Cancel: Close the global menu without taking any actions.

The following options in the global menu are equivalent to other gestures on your device's screen:

  • Back, Home and Overview are equivalent to using the buttons in your device's navigation bar. 
  • Notifications is equivalent to a swipe down from the top of the screen. 
  • Quick Settings is equivalent to a swipe down from the top of the screen when notifications are visible.


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: If more than one action is available, clicking an item opens the Actions menu. If only one action is available, clicking an item performs that action.

Actions menu

The Actions menu opens if you click an item that supports multiple actions, and auto-select is off. The menu lists options such as Expand, Collapse, Select, Touch & hold, Scroll forward, Scroll backward, Cut, Copy and Paste. 

Notes about using the Actions menu:

  • If the item can scroll in multiple directions, the Actions menu includes a Scroll option for each direction (such as forward and backward).
  • When the same action can apply to multiple items that are located in the same place, the Actions menu includes the action multiple times, once for each item that supports the action. These actions have a number appended to them, such as Scroll (1) and Scroll (2). If you're not sure which action to choose, try the first one. If needed, reopen the menu and try the second one.
  • On text fields, the Actions menu includes options such as Cut, Copy, Paste, Highlight, Previous, Next, Delete and Undo. Learn more about editing text with Switch Access.
  • Cancel closes the menu without taking any actions.

Point scanning

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.


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