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What is scan mode and how do I use it?
What is scan mode and how do I use it?
Soomo Support avatar
Written by Soomo Support
Updated over a week ago

Scan mode is a state that your screen reader can be in so that you may navigate your computer more quickly by utilizing letters as navigation keys. This includes things like pressing the letter T to quickly navigate to a table or the letter B to navigate quickly to a button.

Scan mode stops the letters you press from going straight to the program you are in so that you may navigate quickly without accidentally typing things.

Scan mode purpose

Most screen readers automatically toggle scan mode while you are navigating a web page. Often you will hear a noise associated with it turning on and off. Scan mode should be turned off if you intend to type actual text into a program and should be turned on when you are trying to navigate a page. JAWS, NVDA, and Narrator allow you to toggle scan mode at will while Voiceover does not.

Turning on scan mode can be useful when you are trying to understand a page and its context. There are a range of navigation keys provided in screen readers to help you understand a page. You can read about a few of the most helpful ones in our article on navigating your webtext with a screen reader.

Toggle in scan mode

Screen reader


Name of mode


JAWS key (Caps Lock or Insert) + Z

forms mode


NVDA key (Caps Lock or Insert) + Space

browse mode


Narrator key (Caps Lock or Insert) + Space

scan mode


Not able to be toggled

edit mode

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