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Use a screen reader to chat in Microsoft Teams

This article is for people with visual or cognitive impairments who use a screen reader program such as Microsoft’s Narrator, JAWS, or NVDA with Microsoft 365 products. This article is part of the Microsoft 365 screen reader support content set where you can find more accessibility information on our apps. For general help, visit Microsoft Support home.

Use Microsoft Teams with your keyboard and a screen reader to chat with your contacts. We have tested it with Narrator, JAWS, and NVDA, but it might work with other screen readers as long as they follow common accessibility standards and techniques. You’ll also learn the layout of a chat, how to add emoji or memes to a message, filter your chats, send files to yourself, and more.

Notes: 

In this topic

Learn the layout of a chat 

Private chats on the Chat tab

When you select a chat in the Chat view, the chat thread is shown in the main content pane to the right of the list of chats. The main content pane consists of a toolbar at the top of the screen which shows the following items: 

  • In the upper-left corner of the toolbar, the name of the person you’re chatting with.

  • To the right of the name, the following items:

    • The Chat tab which lists the chat messages that you’ve exchanged with the contact. Below the message list, you can find the message compose box where you type your message. Below the compose box, there’s a menu bar with options for formatting your text, adding attachments or emoji, marking the message as important, and more. To the right of the formatting options, you can find the Record a video clip button and the Send button.

    • The Files tab which contains the files that you and the contact you're chatting with have shared in the chat.

    • The Organization tab which shows the current contact’s organization tree.

    • The Activity tab which shows the latest activity of the current contact.

    • The LinkedIn tab which shows the contact’s LinkedIn profile if available and activated.

    • The Add a tab button for adding new tabs to the chat.

  • In the upper-right corner of the toolbar, the Video call, Audio call, Screen sharing, Pop out chat (not available when the Files tab is selected), Add people (not available when the Files tab is selected) buttons.

Group chats in a channel

When you select a channel in the Teams view, the main content pane opens to the right of the teams and channels list. It shows the messages posted in the selected channel. It consists of a toolbar at the top of the screen which shows the following items:

  • In the upper-left corner of the toolbar, the name of the channel.

  • To the right of the channel name, the following tabs:

    • The Posts tab which shows all messages sent to the channel. Below the message list, at the bottom of the screen, you can find the New conversation button for creating a new message. When selected, the button opens the message compose box where you type your message. Below the compose box, there’s a menu bar with options for formatting the text, adding attachments or emoji, and more. To the right of the formatting options, you can find the Send button.

    • The Files tab which contains the files that have been shared in the channel.

    • The Add a tab button for adding new tabs to the channel.

  • To the right of the tabs, the Meet menu to launch an instant meeting or schedule a meeting, the Show channel info button, and the More options button to access additional channel options, such as pinning a channel or channel notifications options.

Read chat messages

  1. Press Ctrl+2 to open the Chat view. The list pane now shows your pinned and recent chats.

  2. Press the Up or Down arrow key until you find the chat you want to read, and then press Enter. The chat opens in the main content pane and the focus moves to the message compose box.

    Tip: If the chat you seek is not in your Pinned or Recent lists, press Ctrl+E to use the Search field to find it. For more information, refer to Use a screen reader to search for a conversation, person, or file in Microsoft Teams.

  3. To browse the chat messages, press Shift+Tab once. The focus moves to the most recent message. You hear "Chat content," followed by the message content. Then use the Up and Down arrow keys to move between messages.

Note: In NVDA this is called the browse mode. In JAWS it is called the virtual cursor mode.

  1. Press Ctrl+2 to open the Chat view. The list pane now shows your pinned and recent chats.

  2. Press the Up or Down arrow key or I or Shift+I until you find the chat you want to read, then press Alt+Enter. The chat opens in the content pane and the focus moves to the message compose box.

    Tip: If the chat you seek is not in your Pinned or Recent lists, press Ctrl+E to use the Search field to find it. For more information, refer to Use a screen reader to search for a conversation, person, or file in Microsoft Teams.

  3. To browse the messages, press Shift+Tab once. The focus moves to the latest message. You hear: "Chat content", followed by the message content. Then press H or Shift+H to move between the different headings in the list. The heading levels are:

    • Heading 2: Title of the main content area

    • Heading 3: Date separators in the conversation.

    • Heading 4: Individual messages under a date.

    • Heading 5: Replies to messages.

Start a private chat

You can chat privately with the contacts you select. If you want to reach all team or channel members, go to Start a group chat in a channel for instructions.

  1. Press Ctrl+2 to open the Chat view.

  2. To start a new chat, press Alt+N. A new chat window opens to the main content pane and the focus moves to the To: text field.

  3. Start typing the name of the contact you want to chat with. The search results are updated as you type. To browse the search results, press the Down arrow key or I. When you hear the name of the right contact, press Enter. The contact is added as a recipient of the message. Repeat this step for each contact you want to add to the chat.

  4. Press the Tab key until you hear: "Compose, Type a new message." Type your message.

  5. To send the message, press the Tab key until you hear "Send button," and then press Enter.

Start a group chat in channel

When you post a chat message to a channel, all team members that are allowed to review the channel content also receive and can respond to the chat messages. If you want to send a one-on-one message or chat only to a select few, go to Start a private chat for instructions.

  1. Press Ctrl+3 to open the Teams view. The list pane shows your teams and channels within the teams.

  2. Press the Up or Down arrow key or I or Shift+I until you hear the name of the channel where you want to start a new chat, and then press Enter. The messages posted to the channel are displayed in the main content pane. The focus moves to the New conversation button.

  3. Press Enter. The focus moves to the message compose box.

  4. Type your message. You can also add attachments or even emoji, stickers, or memes to spice up your message. For more information, refer to Add an attachment, Add an emoji, and Add a sticker or meme.

  5. To send the message, press the Tab key until you hear "Send button," and then press Enter.

Start a new chat in a new window 

You can choose to start a new chat in the main window of Microsoft Teams or in a new separate window. By default, you start a chat in the main window, but you can change your preferences in the app settings. The next time you start a new chat, it will automatically open in a new window.

  1. To open the app settings, press Ctrl+Comma (,). You hear: "General, Selected tab." The focus is on the General tab in the Settings window.

  2. Press the Tab key until you hear: "Open new chat in main window."

  3. Do one of the following:

    • If you want to open your new chat messages in the Microsoft Teams main window, press Spacebar.

    • If you want to open your new chat messages in a new separate window, press the Right arrow key until you hear "Open new chat in new window," and then press Spacebar.

  4. To close the Settings window, press Esc.

Add an attachment

You can add files from a cloud or from your computer.

  1. When the focus is in the message compose box, press the Tab key once. You hear: "Actions for a new message toolbar."

  2. Press the Right or Left arrow key until you hear "Attach files menu button," and then press Enter.

  3. Do one of the following:

    • To add files from a cloud location, press the Up or Down arrow key until you hear the name of the location or service you want, for example, "OneDrive," and then press Enter. To browse the list of folders and files, use the Tab key and the arrow keys. To open a folder, press Enter. When the focus is on the file you want to attach, press the Tab key until you hear "Select button," and then press Enter. The file is attached to your message.

    • To add a file from your computer, press the Down arrow key until you hear "Upload from my computer," and then press Enter. The Windows Open dialog box opens. Press the Tab key to move the focus between the main areas of the dialog box, and then use the arrow keys to move inside one area. Press Enter to open a folder. When the focus is on the file you want to attach, press Enter or Alt+O. The file is attached to your message.

Add an emoji

  1. When the focus is in the message compose box, press the Tab key once. You hear: "Actions for a new message toolbar."

  2. Press the Right or Left arrow key until you hear "Emoji button," and then press Enter. The emoji menu opens, and the focus is in the Search text box.

  3. Do one of the following:

    • To search for an emoji, type your search words. Press the Tab key once, and then use the arrow keys to browse the list of emoji.

    • To pick an emoji from the currently selected emoji category, press the Tab key once, and then use the arrow keys to browse the available emoji.

    • To switch to another emoji category, press the Tab key until you hear the currently selected category, for example, "Smilies menu item." Press the Right or Left arrow key until you hear the name of the category you want, for example, "Activities menu item," and then press Enter. The category is changed, and you can now browse or search for an emoji.

  4. When you hear an emoji you'd like to insert, press Enter. The emoji is added to your message.

Add a sticker or meme

  1. When the focus is in the message compose box, press the Tab key once. You hear: "Actions for a new message toolbar."

  2. Press the Right or Left arrow key until you hear "Sticker button," and then press Enter. The sticker menu opens, and the focus is in the Search text box.

  3. Do one of the following:

    • To search for a sticker, type your search words. Press the Tab key once, and then use the arrow keys to browse the list of stickers.

    • To pick a sticker from the currently selected sticker category, press the Tab key once, and then use the arrow keys to browse the available stickers.

    • To switch to another sticker category, press the Tab key until you hear "Sticker categories," followed by the currently selected category. Press the Right or Left arrow key until you hear the name of the category you want, for example, "Meme tab item," and then press Enter. The category is changed, and you can now browse or search for a sticker.

  4. To insert the sticker to your message, press Enter.

  5. If the sticker has a text field you can edit, you hear: "Caption, edit." The focus is in the text field. Type the new sticker text, and when you're done, press the Tab key until you hear "Done button," and then press Spacebar.

Send files to yourself in a chat 

To stay organized, you can send messages, documents, images, and media to yourself in a chat message. You can quickly access all the things you send to yourself whether you’re using Microsoft Teams on your desktop, the web, or your phone. You’ll find your chat at the top of the pinned chats in the chat list.

  1. Press Ctrl+2 to open the Chat view.

  2. Press the Up arrow key until you hear your username followed by "You."

  3. Press Enter to select your personal chat. The focus moves to the message compose box.

  4. Do one or both of the following:

    • To send yourself a textual message, just start typing. When your message is ready, press the Tab key until you hear "Send button," and then press Enter.

    • To send yourself a file, for example a document or a media file, refer to Add an attachment for instructions.

Pin or unpin a chat

You can pin a chat, which puts it at the top of your list of chats where you can access it easily.

  1. When the focus is in the list of chats, use the Up and Down arrow keys to navigate to the chat you want to pin or unpin.

  2. To open the More options menu, press Spacebar or Ctrl+Alt+Spacebar.

  3. Do one of the following:

    • To pin a chat, press the Down arrow key until you hear "Pin," and then press Enter.

    • To unpin a chat, press the Down arrow key until you hear "Unpin," and then press Enter.

Pop out a chat

You can pop out a private or group chat into a separate window. This lets you do something else in the main Microsoft Teams window and quickly switch to the chat when you want to.

  1. In the list of chats, use the Up and Down arrow keys to navigate to the chat you want to pop out.

  2. To open the More options menu, press Spacebar or Ctrl+Alt+Spacebar. You hear: "Pop out chat." Press Enter to open the chat in a new window and move the focus to the message compose box.

Tip: You can also pop out a chat from the chat main content pane. In the message compose box, press Shift+Tab until you hear "Pop out chat, button," and then press Enter to open the chat in a new window and move the focus to the message compose box.

Get a notification when a contact is available

  1. When the focus is in the list of chats, press the Tab key or Shift+Tab until you hear: "Chat menu item, collapsed."

  2. Press Enter to open the menu, press the Down arrow key until you hear "Contacts," and then press Enter. The list of contacts opens.

  3. Press the Down arrow key until you find the contact you want to be notified about.

  4. To open the More options menu, press Spacebar or Ctrl+Alt+Spacebar.

  5. Press the Down arrow key until you hear "Notify when available," and then press Enter.

    Your screen reader will notify you when the selected contact becomes available in Microsoft Teams.

    Note: To stop receiving the notifications, in the More options menu, press the Down arrow key until you hear "Turn off notifications," and then press Enter.

Mute or unmute a chat

You can mute a chat to stop receiving notifications. To start receiving notifications again, unmute the chat.

  1. When the focus is in the list of chats, use the Up and Down arrow keys to navigate to the chat you want to mute or unmute.

  2. To open the More options menu, press Spacebar or Ctrl+Alt+Spacebar.

  3. Do one of the following:

    • To mute a chat, press the Down arrow key until you hear "Mute," and then press Enter.

    • To unmute a previously muted chat, press the Down arrow key until you hear "Unmute," and then press Enter.

Filter your chats

You can filter the messages in the Chat view by the name of a person to show only group chats, meetings, or private chats where that name occurs. You can also filter the list to show only unread or muted chats or chats sent during meetings.

  1. When the focus is in the list of chats, press Ctrl+Shift+F. You hear: "Filter."

  2. Do one of the following:

    • To filter chats by name, type the name.

    • To show only unread or muted chats or chats sent during meetings, press the Tab key until you hear "More options," press Enter to open the dropdown menu, press the Down arrow key until you hear the option you want, and then press Enter.

  3. Press the Tab key until you reach the filtered list of chats, and then press the Down or Up arrow key to browse the list.

  4. To clear the filter, press the Tab key or Shift+Tab until you hear "Close filter," and then press Enter.

Turn off message previews

To provide you with even more privacy, you can turn off desktop notification message previews for Microsoft Teams. Message previews are on by default.

  1. To open the Settings window, press Ctrl+Comma (,). You hear: "Settings menu item." Press Enter. The Settings window opens with the focus on the General tab.

  2. Press the Down arrow key until you hear "Notifications tab," and then press Enter.

  3. Press the Tab key until you hear: "Show message preview, checkbox checked."

  4. To turn off the message preview with Narrator, press Caps lock+Enter. With NVDA or JAWS, press Spacebar.

  5. To close the Settings dialog box, press Esc.

Mark chats as urgent

Particularly important private chat messages can be marked as urgent. Urgent messages will send an alert to the recipient every two minutes for a period of twenty minutes.

  1. When the focus is in the message compose box, press the Tab key once. You hear: "Actions for a new message toolbar."

  2. Press the Right or Left arrow key until you hear "Set delivery options button," and then press Enter.

  3. Press the Down arrow key until you hear "Mark message as urgent," and then press Enter to mark the message as urgent.

Change the spacing of your chat messages 

Depending on your monitor size and viewing preference, you might want to change the amount of spacing that appears in chat messages.

Whether you want to optimize to read more text at once or read less text at a more comfortable level, you can customize the chat density to suit your needs. By default, chat density is set to comfy mode, but if you'd like to have more of the chat visible and a wider box where you type messages, you can change this in the app settings. 

  1. To open the Settings window, press Ctrl+Comma (,). You hear: "Settings menu item." Press Enter. The Settings window opens with the focus on the General tab.

  2. Press the Tab key until you hear "Chat density," followed by the currently selected chat density, "Comfy" or "Compact."

  3. To change the current density, press the Right or Left arrow key until you hear the option you want, and then press Enter to select.

  4. To close the Settings window, press Esc.

Note: In NVDA this is called the browse mode. In JAWS it is called the virtual cursor mode.

  1. To open the Settings window, press Ctrl+Comma (,). You hear: "Settings menu item." Press Enter. The Settings window opens with the focus on the General tab.

  2. Press the Tab key until you hear "Chat density," followed by the currently selected chat density, "Comfy" or "Compact."

  3. To change the current density, press the Up or Down arrow key until you hear the option you want, and then press Enter to select.

  4. To close the Settings window, press Esc.

See also

Use a screen reader to search for a conversation, person, or file in Microsoft Teams

Use a screen reader to check recent activity in Microsoft Teams

Keyboard shortcuts for Microsoft Teams

Basic tasks using a screen reader with Microsoft Teams

Set up your device to work with accessibility in Microsoft 365

Use a screen reader to explore and navigate Microsoft Teams

Video: Start and pin chats

Use Microsoft Teams on Mac with your keyboard and VoiceOver, the built-in macOS screen reader, to chat with your contacts. You’ll learn the layout of a chat, how to add attachments, emoji, and memes to your messages, and how to filter chat messages. You’ll also learn how to pin a chat to always keep it at the top of your recent chats, mute a chat to stop receiving notifications, and to send files to yourself in a chat message.

Notes: 

In this topic

Learn the layout of a chat 

Private chats on the Chat tab

When you select a chat in the Chat view, the chat thread is shown in the main content pane to the right of the list of chats. The main content pane consists of a toolbar at the top of the screen which shows the following items: 

  • In the upper-left corner of the toolbar, the name of the person you’re chatting with.

  • To the right of the name, the following items:

    • The Chat tab lists the chat messages that you’ve exchanged with the contact. Below the message list, you can find the message compose cha you type your message. Below the text field, there’s a menu bar with options for formatting your text, adding attachments or emoji, marking the message as important, and more. To the right of the formatting options, you can find the Record a video clip button and the Send button.

    • The Files tab contains the files that you and the contact you're chatting with have shared in the chat.

    • The Organization tab shows the current contact’s organization tree.

    • The Activity tab shows the latest activity of the current contact.

    • The LinkedIn tab shows the contact’s LinkedIn profile if available and activated.

    • The Add a tab button for adding new tabs to the chat.

  • In the upper-right corner of the toolbar, the Video call, Audio call, Screen sharing, Add people, and Pop out chat buttons. The Pop out chat and Add people buttons are not available when the Files tab is selected.

Group chats in a channel

When you select a channel in the Teams view, the main content pane opens to the right of the teams and channels list. It shows the messages posted in the channel. It consists of a toolbar at the top of the screen which shows the following items:

  • In the upper-left corner of the toolbar, the name of the channel.

  • To the right of the channel name, the following tabs:

    • The Posts tab shows all messages sent to the channel. Below the message list, at the bottom of the screen, you can find the New conversation button for creating a new message. When selected, the button opens the message compose boxwhere you type your chat message. Below the compose box, there’s a menu bar with options for formatting the text, adding attachments or emoji, and more. To the right of the formatting options, you can find the Send button.

    • The Files tab contains the files that have been shared in the channel.

    • The Add a tab button for adding new tabs to the channel.

  • To the right of the tabs, the Meet menu to launch an instant meeting or schedule a meeting, the Show channel info button, and the More options button to access additional channel options, such as pinning a channel or channel notifications options.

Read chat messages

  1. Press Command+2 to open the Chat view. The list pane now shows your Pinned and Recent chats.

  2. Press the Tab key or Shift+Tab until you hear "Entering chat list table," followed by the name of the currently selected chat and the last message in it.

  3. Press the Up or Down arrow key until you find the chat you want to read, and then press Return. The chat opens in the content pane and the focus moves to the message compose box.

    Tip: If the chat you seek is not in your Pinned or Recent lists, press Command+E to use the Search field to find them. For more information, refer to Use a screen reader to search for a conversation, person, or file in Microsoft Teams.

  4. The chat messages are displayed in the content pane. To browse the messages, press Shift+Tab to move to the most recent message, and then use the Up and Down arrow keys to move between messages.

Start a private chat

You can chat privately with the contacts you select. If you want to reach all team or channel members, go to Start a group chat in a channel for instructions. 

  1. Press Command+2 to open the Chat view, and then press Command+N to start a new chat. The New Chat window opens, and the focus is in the To text field.

  2. Type the name of the person you want to chat with. The search results are updated as you type. To browse the results, use the Down and Up arrow keys until you hear the name of the person you want to chat with, and then press Return to select. The contact is added to the To text field. Repeat this step for each contact you want to add to the chat.

  3. Press the Tab key once. The focus moves to the message compose box. Type your message.

  4. To send the message, press Return. The message is sent. You can read the chat messages as described in Read chat messages.

Start a group chat in a channel

When you post a chat message to a channel, all team members that are allowed to review the channel content also receive and can respond to the chat messages. If you want to send a one-on-one message or chat only to a select few, go to Start a private chat for instructions.

  1. Press Command+3 to open the Teams view.

  2. Press the Down or Up arrow key until you hear the name of the channel where you want to start a chat, and then press Return.

  3. Press Shift+Tab until you hear "Start a new post," and then press Return. You hear: "Add a subject." You can now type an optional message subject.

  4. To move the focus to the message compose box, press the Tab key until you hear: "Leaving message format, Type a new message." You can now type your message.

  5. To send the message, press Command+Return.

Start a new chat in a new window 

You can choose to start a new chat in the main window of Microsoft Teams or in a new separate window. By default, you start a chat in the main window, but you can change your preferences in the app settings. The next time you start a new chat it will automatically open in a new window.

  1. To open the app settings, press Command+Comma (,). You hear: "General, Selected tab." The focus is on the General tab in the Settings window.

  2. Press the Tab key until you hear: "Open new chat in main window."

  3. Do one of the following:

    • If you want to open your new chat messages in the Microsoft Teams main window, press Control+Option+Spacebar.

    • If you want to open your new chat messages in a new separate window, press Control+Option+Right arrow key until you hear "Open new chat in new window," and then press Control+Option+Spacebar.

  4. To close the Settings window, press Esc.

Open a link or an attachment

Use your screen reader to open links included in messages or to open or save an attached file.

Open an attachment

When reading messages in a conversation, your screen reader announces if the current message has an attachment.

  1. When the focus is on a message containing an attachment, press Return.

  2. Press the Tab key until you hear "More attachment options," and then press Control+Option+Spacebar.

  3. Do one of the following:

    • To open the file in the related app, such as PowerPoint, press the Down or Up arrow key until you hear: "Open in, collapsed." Press the Right arrow key once, press the Down arrow key until you hear the name of the app you want, and then press Control+Option+Spacebar. If you’re prompted to choose if you want to open similar files using the selected app always or just once, press the Tab key until you hear the option you want, and then press Control+Option+Spacebar.

    • To download and save the file to your computer, press the Down arrow key until you hear "Download, menu item," and then press Control+Option+Spacebar. The file is saved to your default download location, which is usually the Downloads folder.

Add an attachment

Add an attachment from an online save location

  1. When the focus is in the message compose box, press the Tab key once. You hear: "Entering actions for a new message toolbar."

  2. Press Control+Option+Right or Left arrow key until you hear "Attach files," and then press Control+Option+Spacebar.

  3. Press Control+Option+Right or Left arrow key until you hear the file save location you want, for example, "OneDrive." Press Control+Option+Spacebar to select.

  4. Press the Up or Down arrow key to browse the list of folders or files.

  5. When you find the file you'd like to attach, press Return.

  6. Press the Tab key until you hear "Share button," and then press Control+Option+Spacebar. The file is added to your message.

Attach a local file

  1. When the focus is in the message compose box, press the Tab key once. You hear: "Entering actions for a new message toolbar."

  2. Press Control+Option+Right or Left arrow key until you hear "Attach files," and then press Control+Option+Spacebar.

  3. Press Control+Option+Right arrow key until you hear "Upload from my computer," and then press Control+Option+Spacebar. The dialog box for selecting a file opens.

  4. Press the Tab key to navigate the main parts of the dialog box and then use the arrow keys to move inside them.

  5. When the focus is on the file you want, press Return. The file is added to your message.

Add an emoji

  1. When the focus is in the message compose box, press the Tab key once. You hear: "Entering actions for a new message toolbar."

  2. Press Control+Option+Right or Left arrow key until you hear "Emoji," and then press Control+Option+Spacebar. The emoji menu opens, and the focus is in the Search text box.

  3. Do one of the following:

    • To search for an emoji, type your search words, and then use the arrow keys to browse the list of emoji.

    • To pick an emoji from the currently selected emoji category, press the Tab key once, and then use the arrow keys to browse the available emoji.

    • To switch to another emoji category, press the Tab key until you hear the currently selected category, for example, "Smilies menu item." Press the Right or Left arrow key until you hear the name of the category you want, for example, "Activities menu item," and then press Control+Option+Spacebar. The category is changed, and you can now browse or search for an emoji.

  4. When you hear an emoji you'd like to add, press Control+Option+Spacebar. The emoji is added to your message.

Add a sticker or meme

  1. When the focus is in the message compose box, press the Tab key once. You hear: "Entering actions for a new message toolbar."

  2. Press the Right or Left arrow key until you hear "Sticker," and then press Control+Option+Spacebar to open the sticker and meme menu. The focus moves to the Search text box.

  3. Do one of the following:

    • To search for a sticker or meme, type your search words. To browse the search results, press the Tab key once, and then use the arrow keys.

    • To insert a sticker or meme from the current category, press the Tab key once and then use the arrow keys.

    • To switch to another category, press Shift+Tab once, press the Down or Up arrow key until you find the category you want, and then press Control+Option+Spacebar. To browse the category, press the Tab key once and then use the arrow keys.

  4. To select a sticker or meme, press Control+Option+Spacebar. The sticker preview opens, and the focus is in the Top Caption text field.

  5. If needed, to edit the top caption of the sticker or meme, type the new caption. To edit the bottom caption, press the Tab key once, and then type the caption.

  6. When ready, press the Tab key until you hear "Done button," and then press Control+Option+Spacebar to select. The sticker or meme is added to your message in the compose box.

Send files to yourself in a chat 

To stay organized, you can send messages, documents, images, and media to yourself in a chat message. You can quickly access all the things you send to yourself whether you’re using Microsoft Teams on your desktop, the web, or your phone. You’ll find your chat at the top of the pinned chats in the chat list. 

  1. Press Command+2 to open the Chat view. You hear "Group chat," followed by the details of the chat message currently in focus.

  2. Press Shift+Control+Option+Down arrow key to enter the chat list.

  3. Press Control+Option+Left arrow key until you hear "Profile picture," followed by your username, and "You."

  4. Press Control+Option+Spacebar to select your personal chat. The focus moves to the message compose box.

  5. Do one or both of the following:

    • To send yourself a textual message, just start typing. When your message is ready, press the Tab key until you hear "Send, selected button," and then press Control+Option+Spacebar.

    • To send yourself an attached file, refer to Add an attachment for instructions.

Pin or unpin a chat

You can pin a chat to keep it at the top of the list of your most recent chats in the Chat view.

  1. Press Command+2 to open the Chat view.

  2. Press the Down or Up arrow key until you hear the chat message you want to pin or unpin, and then press Spacebar. The More options menu opens.

  3. Do one of the following:

    • To pin the chat, press the Down arrow key until you hear "Pin," and then press Control+Option+Spacebar.

    • To unpin the chat, press the Down arrow key until you hear "Unpin," and then press Control+Option+Spacebar.

Pop out a chat

You can pop out a private chat into a separate window. This lets you do something else in the main Microsoft Teams window and quickly switch to the chat when you want to.

  1. Press Command+2 to open the Chat view.

  2. Press the Down or Up arrow key until you hear the chat message you want to pop out, and then press Spacebar. You hear: "Pop out chat." Press Control+Option+Spacebar to open the chat in a new window and move the focus to the message compose box.

Tip: You can also pop out a chat from the chat main content pane. In the message compose box, press Shift+Tab until you hear "Pop out chat, button," and then press Control+Option+Spacebar to open the chat in a new window and move the focus to the message compose box.

Get a notification when a contact is available

  1. Press Command+2 to open the Chat view.

  2. Press Shift+Tab until you hear: "Chat, selected list box, pop-up collapsed."

  3. Press Control+Option+Spacebar to open the menu, press the Down arrow key until you hear "Contacts," and then press Control+Option+Spacebar. The More options menu opens.

  4. Press the Down arrow key until you hear the name of the right contact, and then press Spacebar. You hear: "Pop out chat."

  5. Press the Down arrow key until you hear "Notify when available," and then press Control+Option+Spacebar.

    Note: To stop receiving the availability notifications, navigate to the More options menu as instructed above in steps 1 to 3, and then select Turn off notifications.

Mute or unmute a chat

You can mute a chat to stop receiving notifications. To start receiving notifications again, unmute it.

  1. Press Command+2 to open the Chat view.

  2. Press the Down or Up arrow key to navigate to the chat you want to mute or unmute, and then press Spacebar. The More options menu opens.

  3. To mute a chat, press the Down arrow key until you hear "Mute," and then press Control+Option+Spacebar. To unmute a previously muted chat, press the Down arrow key until you hear "Unmute," and then press Control+Option+Spacebar.

Filter your chats

You can filter the messages in the Chat view by the name of a person or a keyword to show only group chats, meetings, or private chats where that word occurs. You can also filter the list to show only unread chats, meetings, or muted chats.

  1. In the Chat view, press Command+Shift+F. You hear: "Filter by keyword."

  2. Do one of the following:

    • To filter chats by keyword, type the keyword.

    • To show only unread chats, meetings, or muted chats, press the Tab key until you hear "More options," and then press Control+Option+Spacebar to open the filter menu. Press the Down arrow key until you hear the filter option you want, and then press Return.

  3. Press Control+Option+Right arrow key until you hear the filtered list of chats.

  4. To clear the filter, press the Tab key until you hear "Clear filter," and then press Control+Option+Spacebar.

Turn off message previews

To provide you with even more privacy, you can turn off desktop notification message previews for Microsoft Teams. Message previews are on by default.

  1. To open the Settings window, press Command+Comma (,).

  2. Press the Down arrow key until you hear "Notifications tab," and then press Control+Option+Spacebar.

  3. Press the Tab key until you hear "Checked checkbox, Show message preview," and then press Control+Option+Spacebar. You hear: "Unchecked."

  4. To close the Settings window, press Esc.

Mark chats as urgent

Particularly important private chat messages can be marked as urgent. Urgent messages will send an alert to the recipient every two minutes for a period of twenty minutes.

  1. When the focus is in the message compose box, press the Tab key once. You hear: "Entering actions for a new message toolbar."

  2. Press the Right or Left arrow key until you hear "Set delivery options, button," and then press Control+Option+Spacebar.

  3. Press the Down arrow key until you hear "Urgent, Recipient notified every two minutes for 20 minutes, not selected," and then press Control+Option+Spacebar to mark the message as urgent.

Change the spacing of your chat messages 

Depending on your monitor size and viewing preference, you might want to change the amount of spacing that appears in chat messages.

Whether you want to optimize to read more text at once or read less text at a more comfortable level, you can customize the chat density to suit your needs. By default, chat density is set to comfy mode, but if you'd like to have more of the chat visible and a wider box where you type messages, you can change this in the app settings. 

  1. To open the Settings window, press Command+Comma (,). You hear: "General, Selected tab." The focus is on the General tab in the Settings window.

  2. Press the Tab key until you hear the currently selected chat density, "Comfy" or "Compact."

  3. To change the current density, press Control+Option+Right or Left arrow key until you hear the option you want, and then press Control+Option+Spacebar.

  4. To close the Settings window, press Esc.

See also

Use a screen reader to search for a conversation, person, or file in Microsoft Teams

Use a screen reader to check recent activity in Microsoft Teams

Keyboard shortcuts for Microsoft Teams

Basic tasks using a screen reader with Microsoft Teams

Set up your device to work with accessibility in Microsoft 365

Use a screen reader to explore and navigate Microsoft Teams

Use Microsoft Teams for iOS with VoiceOver, the built-in iOS screen reader, to chat with your contacts. You’ll also learn the layout of a chat message and how to send files to yourself and to filter chat messages.

Notes: 

  • New Microsoft 365 features are released gradually to Microsoft 365 subscribers, so your app might not have these features yet. To learn how you can get new features faster, join the Office Insider program.

  • This topic assumes that you are using the built-in iOS screen reader, VoiceOver. To learn more about using VoiceOver, visit Apple accessibility.

In this topic

Learn the layout of a chat 

Private chats on the Chat tab

When you select a chat message on the Chat tab, the chat window opens. It consists of a toolbar at the top of the screen which shows the following items: 

  • The Back button in the upper-left corner to return to the main Chat tab.

  • At the center of the toolbar, the name of the person you’re chatting with.

  • In the upper-right corner of the toolbar, the Video call and Audio call buttons.

Below the top toolbar, the chat window is divided into the following tabs:

  • Chat: This tab lists the chat messages that you’ve exchanged with the contact. Below the message list, in the bottom-left corner of the screen, you can find the Compose options button to, for example, insert or attach files to your message, mark your message as important or urgent, and format your message. To the right of the Compose options button is the Type a message text field where you type the chat message. The text field contains the Expression picker button to insert an emoji. To the right of the text field, you can find the Camera button to insert images to your message and the Record audio message button. These two buttons are only available when there’s no text in the Type a message text field. When you’ve typed text to the text field, these buttons are replaced with the Send button.

  • Files: This tab lists the files that you and the contact you're chatting with have shared in the chat.

  • More: This tab shows the apps that have been added to the chat.

Group chats in a channel

When you select a chat message thread in a channel on the Teams tab, the chat window opens. It consists of a toolbar at the top of the screen which shows the following items:

  • The Back button in the upper-left corner to return to the main Teams tab.

  • At the center of the toolbar, the name of the channel.

  • In the upper-right corner of the toolbar, the Meet now and Follow channel buttons.

Below the top toolbar, the chat window is divided into three tabs:

  • Posts: This tab lists the chat messages in the channel. Below the message list, at the bottom of the screen, you can find the Start a post button for creating a new message. When selected, the button opens the Type a message text field where you type the chat message. The text field contains the Expression picker button to insert an emoji. To the left of the text field, there's the Compose options button to, for example, insert or attach files to your message, mark your message as important or urgent, and format your message. To the right of the text field, you can find the Camera button to insert images to your message and the Record audio message button. These two buttons are only available when there’s no text in the Type a message text field. When you’ve typed text to the text field, these buttons are replaced with the Send button.

  • Files: This tab lists the files that have been shared in the channel.

  • More: This tab shows any additional channel-specific apps.

Start a group chat in a channel

When you post a chat message to a channel, all team members that are allowed to review the channel content also receive and can respond to the chat messages. If you want to send a one-on-one message or chat only to a select few, go to Start a private chat for instructions.

  1. In the channel where you want to compose your message, on the Posts tab, tap with four fingers near the bottom of the screen. You hear: "New post button." Double-tap the screen to start a new chat message.

  2. Use the on-screen keyboard to type the message.

  3. After typing, to send the message, swipe left or right until you hear "Send button," and then double-tap the screen.

Start a private chat

You can chat privately with the contacts you select. If you want to reach all team or channel members, go to Start a group chat in a channel for instructions.

  1. Tap with four fingers near the bottom of the screen. You hear: "Tab bar." Swipe left until you hear "Chat tab," and then double-tap the screen. You hear: "Selected, Chat tab." The list pane shows your recent conversations, if any.

  2. Tap with four fingers near the top of the screen, swipe right until you hear "New chat button," and then double-tap the screen. You hear: "To, Search field, is editing." The New Chat window opens, and the focus is on the To field.

  3. Use the on-screen keyboard to start typing the name of the contact you want to chat to. The search results are listed as you type. To go to the results, swipe left until you hear a contact name. To select a contact, double-tap the screen. Repeat this step for each contact you want to send your private chat message to.

  4. Swipe right until you hear "Type a new message," and then double-tap the screen. You hear: "Insertion point at end."

  5. Use the on-screen keyboard to type your message.

  6. To send the message, swipe left until you hear "Send button," and then double-tap the screen. You hear: "Message sent."

    When the person replies to your message, VoiceOver announces a new or an unread message.

Insert an image to a chat message 

You can insert images to private and group chat messages. 

  1. Place the focus in the Type a message text field, but don't start typing your message yet.

  2. Swipe right until you hear "Camera button," and then double-tap the screen. If you hear "Send button" instead of "Camera button," the Type a message text field might contain text which you need to delete first.

  3. Swipe right until you hear "Photo library," and then double-tap the screen. If you are prompted to give Microsoft Teams access to your images, swipe right until you hear "Allow access to all photos," and then double-tap the screen.

  4. Swipe right until you find the image you want, and then double-tap the screen to select it.

  5. To insert the selected image to the message, swipe right until you hear "Done," and then double-tap the screen.

Mark chats as urgent

Particularly important private chat messages can be marked as urgent. Urgent messages will send an alert to the recipient every two minutes for a period of twenty minutes.

  1. When composing a new chat message, swipe left until you hear "Compose options," and then double-tap the screen.

  2. Swipe right until you hear "Priority button," and then double-tap the screen to select.

  3. Swipe right until you hear "Urgent button," and then double-tap the screen. The message is marked as urgent. You can continue composing the message with the on-screen keyboard or swipe right or left until you hear "Send button," and then double-tap the screen to send the message.

Send files to yourself in a chat

To stay organized, you can send messages, documents, images, and media to yourself in a chat message. You can quickly access all the things you send to yourself whether you’re using Microsoft Teams on your desktop, the web, or your phone. You’ll find your chat at the top of the pinned chats in the chat list.

  1. Tap with four fingers near the bottom of the screen, swipe left until you hear "Chat tab," and then double-tap the screen.

  2. Tap with four fingers near the top of the screen, swipe right until you hear "Chat shortcut," followed by your username. Double-tap the screen.

  3. Do one or more of the following:

    • To send yourself a file attachment, tap with four fingers near the bottom of the screen, swipe left until you hear "Compose options," and then double-tap the screen. Swipe right until you hear "Attach," and then double-tap the screen. Swipe right until you hear the name of the file you want, and then double-tap the screen. To send, swipe right until you hear "Send button," and then double-tap the screen.

    • To take a picture and send it to yourself, tap with four fingers near the bottom of the screen, swipe left until you hear "Camera button," and then double-tap the screen. The device camera opens. To take a picture, swipe right until you hear "Capture a photo," and then double-tap the screen. To send the image, swipe right until you hear "Send media button," and then double-tap the screen.

    • To insert media such as a video, with four fingers near the bottom of the screen, swipe left until you hear "Compose options," and then double-tap the screen. Swipe right until you hear "Media," and then double-tap the screen. Swipe right until you hear "Photo library," and then double-tap the screen. Swipe right until you hear the name of the file you want, and then double-tap the screen. Swipe right until you hear "Done button," and then double-tap the screen. To send the media file, swipe right until you hear "Send media button," and then double-tap the screen.

    • To send yourself a textual message, tap with four fingers near the bottom of the screen, swipe left until you hear "Type a message," and then double-tap the screen. Use the on-screen keyboard to type your message. To send the message, swipe left until you hear "Send button," and then double-tap the screen.

Filter chats

Filter chat messages so you can find the exact conversion you’re looking for.

  1. On the Chat tab, tap with four fingers near the top of the screen.

  2. Swipe right until you hear "Filter, filter items, button," and then double-tap the screen.

  3. Swipe right until you hear the option you want to use to filter the chat messages, and then double-tap the screen. For example, select Meeting if you want to display messages sent in a chat during meetings.

  4. To clear the filter, tap with four fingers near the top of the screen, swipe right until you hear the name of the current filter, and then double-tap the screen.

    Tip: For instructions on how to find chat messages send by a particular contact, refer to Use a screen reader to search for a conversation, person, or file in Microsoft Teams.

See also

Use a screen reader to like and save messages in Microsoft Teams

Use a screen reader to search for a conversation, person, or file in Microsoft Teams

Basic tasks using a screen reader with Microsoft Teams

Set up your device to work with accessibility in Microsoft 365

Use a screen reader to explore and navigate Microsoft Teams

Use Microsoft Teams for Android with Talkback, the built-in Android screen reader, to chat with your contacts. You'll also learn how to send files to yourself in a chat, learn the layout of a chat, and filter chat messages.

Notes: 

  • New Microsoft 365 features are released gradually to Microsoft 365 subscribers, so your app might not have these features yet. To learn how you can get new features faster, join the Office Insider program.

  • This topic assumes that you are using the built-in Android screen reader, TalkBack. To learn more about using TalkBack, go to Android accessibility.

In this topic

Learn the layout of a chat 

Private chats on the Chat tab

When you select a chat message on the Chat tab, the main chat window opens, and your chat messages are displayed. The main chat window has a toolbar at the top of the screen which shows the following items: 

  • The Back button in the upper-left corner to return to the main Chat tab.

  • At the center of the toolbar, the name of the person you’re chatting with.

  • In the upper-right corner of the toolbar, the buttons to start a video or an audio call and the button to open the More options menu.

Below the top toolbar, there’s a row of tabs containing the following tabs:

  • Search: This tab shows the Search text field. Here you can look for contacts, files, messages, and more.

  • Files: This tab lists the files that you and the contact you're chatting with have shared in the chat.

  • More: This tab shows the apps that have been added to the chat.

Below the tab bar is the main content area. Its content depends on the selected view or tab. By default, the main content area lists the chat messages that you’ve exchanged with the contact, and the following items:

  • Below the message list, in the bottom-left corner of the screen, the Compose options button to, for example, insert or attach files to your message, mark your message as important or urgent, and format your message.

  • To the right of the Compose options button, the Type a message text field where you type the chat message. The text field contains the Instant emoji picker button to insert an emoji.

  • To the right of the text field, the buttons to take a photo and insert it to your message and to record an audio message. These two buttons are only available when there’s no text in the Type a message text field. When you’ve typed text to the text field, these buttons are replaced with the Send message button.

Group chats in a channel

When you select a chat message thread in a channel on the Teams tab, the chat window opens. It consists of a toolbar at the top of the screen which shows the following items:

  • The Back button in the upper-left corner to return to the main Teams tab.

  • At the center of the toolbar, the name of the channel.

  • In the upper-right corner of the toolbar, the buttons to manage the channel notifications, create an instant meeting, and access additional options, such as pinning a chat.

Below the top toolbar, the chat window is divided into three tabs:

  • Posts: This tab lists the chat messages in the channel. Below the message list, at the bottom of the screen, you can find the New conversation button for creating a new message. When selected, the button opens the Type a message text field where you type the chat message. The text field contains the Instant emoji picker button to insert an emoji. To the left of the text field, there's the Compose options button to, for example, insert or attach files to your message, mark your message as important or urgent, and format your message. To the right of the text field, you can find the buttons to insert images to your message and to record an audio message. These two buttons are only available when there’s no text in the Type a message text field. When you’ve typed text to the text field, these buttons are replaced with the Send message button.

  • Files: This tab lists the files that have been shared in the channel.

  • More: This tab shows any additional channel-specific apps.

Start a group chat in a channel

When you post a chat message to a channel, all team members that are allowed to review the channel content also receive and can respond to the chat messages. If you want to send a one-on-one message or chat only to a select few, go to Start a private chat for instructions. 

  1. In the channel where you want to compose your message, swipe right until you hear "New conversation button," and then double-tap the screen.

  2. Use the on-screen keyboard to type your message.

  3. After typing, to send the message, swipe right or left until you hear "Send message button," and then double-tap the screen.

Start a private chat

You can chat privately with the contacts you select. If you want to reach all team or channel members, go to Start a group chat in a channel for instructions.

  1. Swipe right or left until you hear "Chat tab," and then double-tap the screen.

  2. Swipe left until you hear "New chat button," and then double-tap the screen. You hear: "Edit box, Edit name, phone number, or email." The on-screen keyboard is shown in the bottom half of the screen.

  3. Use the on-screen keyboard to start typing the name of the contact. The search results are listed and announced as you type. To browse the list, swipe down-then-left to close the on-screen keyboard, and then swipe left or right until you hear the name of the contact. To select the contact, double-tap the screen. Repeat this step for each contact you want to chat to.

  4. Swipe right until you hear "Editing, Type a message, edit box," and then double-tap the screen.

  5. Use the on-screen keyboard to type your message. When you're done typing, swipe down-then-left to close the on-screen keyboard.

  6. To send the message, swipe left or right until you hear "Send message button," and then double-tap the screen. When the contact replies to your message, TalkBack announces the message content.

Insert an image to a chat message

You can insert images to private and group chat messages. You can even send an image to yourself in a chat message.

  1. Swipe left until you hear "Compose options button," and then double-tap the screen.

  2. Swipe right until you hear "Media," and then double-tap the screen. If you are prompted to give Microsoft Teams access to your images, swipe right until you hear "Allow access to all photos," and then double-tap the screen.

  3. Swipe right until you hear "Open photo library," and then double-tap the screen.

  4. Do one of the following:

    • To insert an image from the Media app, swipe right until you find the image you want, and then double-tap the screen to select it.

    • To insert an image using another image save location such as OneDrive, swipe left until you hear "Native gallery," and then double-tap the screen. If you're prompted to select either your personal or work profile, swipe right until you hear the option you want, and then double-tap the screen. Swipe right until you hear the save location you want, and then double-tap the screen. Swipe right until you find the image you want, and then double-tap the screen to select it.

  5. Swipe right until you hear "Preview button," and then double-tap the screen.

  6. To insert the selected image to the message and send the message, swipe right until you hear "Send button," and then double-tap the screen.

Open or save attached files

You can use your screen reader to open or save an attached file.

  1. When reading messages in a conversation, TalkBack announces if the current message has an attachment. You hear "File," followed by the file name and size.

  2. Swipe right until you hear: "File options, button." Double-tap the screen to open the menu.

  3. Do one of the following:

    • To open the attachment in the related app, such as PowerPoint, swipe right until you hear "Open in app," and then double-tap the screen. The attachment opens in the related app, so you can read or edit it.

    • To save the file to your phone, swipe right until you hear "Download," and then double-tap the screen. The file is saved to your default download location.

Mark chats as urgent

Particularly important private chat messages can be marked as urgent. Urgent messages will send an alert to the recipient every two minutes for a period of twenty minutes.

  1. When composing a new chat message, swipe down-then-left to close the on-screen keyboard.

  2. Swipe left until you hear "Compose options button," and then double-tap the screen.

  3. Swipe right until you hear "Priority, button," and then double-tap the screen. You hear: "Choose importance level."

  4. Swipe right until you hear "Urgent," and then double-tap the screen.

Send files to yourself in a chat

To stay organized, you can send messages, documents, images, and media to yourself in a chat message. You can quickly access all the things you send to yourself whether you’re using Microsoft Teams on your desktop, the web, or your phone. You’ll find your chat at the top of the pinned chats in the chat list.

  1. Swipe right or left until you hear "Chat tab," and then double-tap the screen.

  2. Swipe right until you hear "Pinned chat," followed by your username. Double-tap the screen.

  3. Do one or more of the following:

    • To send yourself a file attachment, swipe right until you hear "Compose options," and then double-tap the screen. Swipe right until you hear "Attach," and then double-tap the screen. Swipe right until you hear the file type you want to attach, and then double-tap the screen. Swipe right until you hear the name of the file you want, and then double-tap the screen. To send the attachment, swipe right until you hear "Send message," and then double-tap the screen.

    • To take a picture and send it to yourself, swipe right until you hear "Camera button," and then double-tap the screen. The device camera opens. To take a picture, swipe right until you hear "Capture button," and then double-tap the screen. To send the image, swipe right until you hear "Send button," and then double-tap the screen.

    • To insert media such as a video or photo saved to your device, refer to Insert an image to a chat message for instructions.

    • To send yourself a textual message, swipe right until you hear "Type a message," and then double-tap the screen. Use the on-screen keyboard to type your message. To close the on-screen keyboard, swipe down-then-left. To send the message, swipe right until you hear "Send message button," and then double-tap the screen.

Filter chats

Filter chat messages so you can find the exact conversion you’re looking for.

  1. On the Chat tab, swipe left or right until you hear "Filter chat messages, button," and then double-tap the screen.

  2. Swipe right until you hear the option you want to use to filter the chat messages, and then double-tap the screen. For example, select Meeting if you want to display messages sent in a chat during meetings.

  3. To clear the filter, swipe left or right until you hear the name of the current filter, and then double-tap the screen.

    Tip: For instructions on how to find chat messages send by a particular contact, refer to Use a screen reader to search for a conversation, person, or file in Microsoft Teams.

See also

Use a screen reader to like and save messages in Microsoft Teams

Use a screen reader to search for a conversation, person, or file in Microsoft Teams

Basic tasks using a screen reader with Microsoft Teams

Set up your device to work with accessibility in Microsoft 365

Use a screen reader to explore and navigate Microsoft Teams

Use Microsoft Teams on the web with your keyboard and a screen reader to chat with your contacts. We have tested it with Narrator in Microsoft Edge and with JAWS and NVDA in Chrome, but it might work with other screen readers and web browsers as long as they follow common accessibility standards and techniques. You'll also learn the layout of a chat message, how to filter chats, insert emoji, memes, and stickers to a message, and more.

Notes: 

In this topic

Learn the layout of a chat 

Private chats on the Chat tab

When you select a chat in the Chat view, the chat thread is shown in the main content pane to the right of the list of chats. The main content pane consists of a toolbar at the top of the screen which shows the following items: 

  • In the upper-left corner of the toolbar, the name of the person you’re chatting with.

  • To the right of the name, the following items:

    • The Chat tab which lists the chat messages that you’ve exchanged with the contact. Below the message list, you can find the message compose box where you type your message. Below the compose box, there’s a menu bar with options for formatting your text, adding attachments or emoji, marking the message as important, and more. To the right of the formatting options, you can find the Record a video clip button and the Send button.

    • The Files tab which contains the files that you and the contact you're chatting with have shared in the chat.

    • The Organization tab which shows the current contact’s organization tree.

    • The Activity tab which shows the latest activity of the current contact.

    • The LinkedIn tab which shows the contact’s LinkedIn profile if available and activated.

    • The Add a tab button for adding new tabs to the chat.

  • In the upper-right corner of the toolbar, the Video call, Audio call, and the Add people buttons.The Add people button is not available when the Files tab is selected.

Group chats in a channel

When you select a channel in the Teams view, the main content pane opens to the right of the teams and channels list. It shows the messages posted in the selected channel. It consists of a toolbar at the top of the screen which shows the following items:

  • In the upper-left corner of the toolbar, the name of the channel.

  • To the right of the channel name, the following tabs:

    • The Posts tab which shows all messages sent to the channel. Below the message list, at the bottom of the screen, you can find the New conversation button for creating a new message. When selected, the button opens the message compose box where you type your message. Below the compose box, there’s a menu bar with options for formatting the text, adding attachments or emoji, and more. To the right of the formatting options, you can find the Send button.

    • The Files tab which contains the files that have been shared in the channel.

    • The Add a tab button for adding new tabs to the channel.

  • To the right of the tabs, the Meet menu to launch an instant meeting or schedule a meeting, the Show channel info button, and the More options button to access additional channel options, such as pinning a channel or channel notifications options.

Start a group chat in a channel

When you post a chat message to a channel, all team members that are allowed to review the channel content also receive and can respond to the chat messages. If you want to send a one-on-one message or chat only to a select few, go to Start a private chat for instructions. 

  1. Press Ctrl+Shift+3 to open the Teams view. The list pane now shows your teams and channels within the teams.

  2. Press the Up or Down arrow key until you hear "Link," followed by the name of the channel where you want to start a new chat, and then press Enter.

  3. Press the Tab key or Ctrl+F6 until you hear "New conversation button," and then press Enter. The focus moves to the message compose box.

  4. Type your message. You can also add attachments or even emoji, stickers, or memes to spice up your message. For more information, refer to Add an attachment, Add an emoji, and Add a sticker or meme.

  5. To send the message, press the Tab key until you hear "Send button," and then press Enter.

Note: In NVDA this is called the browse mode, in JAWS it is called the virtual cursor mode, and in Narrator it is called the scan mode.

  1. Press Ctrl+Shift+3 to open the Teams view. The list pane now shows your teams and channels within the teams.

  2. Press the Up or Down arrow key until you find the channel where you want to start a new chat, and then press Enter.

  3. Press F until you hear "New conversation button," and then press Enter. The focus moves to the message compose box.

  4. Type your message. You can also add attachments or even emoji, stickers, or memes to spice up your message. For more information, refer to Add an attachment, Add an emoji, and Add a sticker or meme.

  5. To send the message, press the Tab key until you hear "Send button," and then press Enter.

Start a private chat

You can chat privately with the contacts you select. If you want to reach all team or channel members, go to Start a group chat in a channel for instructions. 

  1. Press Ctrl+Shift+2 to open the Chat view.

  2. To start a new chat, press Alt+N. A new chat window opens to the main content pane and the focus moves to the To: text field.

  3. Press Enter and then start typing the name of the contact you want to chat with. The search results are updated as you type. To browse the search results, press the Down arrow key. When you hear the name of the right contact, press Enter. The contact is added as a recipient of the message. Repeat this step for each contact you want to add to the chat.

  4. Press the Tab key until you hear: "Type a new message." Type your message.

  5. To send the message, press the Tab key until you hear "Send button," and then press Enter.

Open a link or an attachment

You can use your screen reader to open links included in messages or to open or save an attached file.

Open an attachment

When reading messages in a conversation, your screen reader announces if the current message has an attachment.

  1. When the focus is on a message that contains an attachment, press Enter to open the context menu, then press the Tab key until you hear "File attachment," followed by the file name.

  2. Press the Tab key once. The focus moves to the attachment options button. Press Enter to open the menu.

  3. Do one of the following:

    • To open the attachment in the related app, such as PowerPoint, press the Up or Down arrow key until you hear "Open in, submenu," and then press the Right arrow key to expand the menu. Press the Down arrow key until you hear the app option you want, and then press Enter.

    • To download the file to your computer, press the Up or Down arrow key until you hear "Download," and then press Enter. The file is saved to your default download location, which is usually the Downloads folder.

Add an attachment

You can add files from a cloud or from your computer.

  1. When the focus is in the message compose box, press the Tab key once. You hear: "Actions for a new message toolbar."

  2. Press the Right or Left arrow key until you hear "Attach files menu button," and then press Enter.

  3. Do one of the following:

    • To add files from a cloud location, press the Up or Down arrow key until you hear the name of the location or service you want, for example, "OneDrive," and then press Enter. To browse the list of folders and files, use the Tab key and the arrow keys. To open a folder, press Enter. When the focus is on the file you want to attach, press the Tab key until you hear "Select button," and then press Enter. The file is attached to your message.

    • To add a file from your computer, press the Down arrow key until you hear "Upload from my computer," and then press Enter. The Windows Open dialog box opens. Press the Tab key to move the focus between the main areas of the dialog box, and then use the arrow keys to move inside one area. Press Enter to open a folder. When the focus is on the file you want to attach, press Enter or Alt+O. The file is attached to your message.

Add an emoji

  1. When the focus is in the message compose box, press the Tab key once. You hear: "Actions for a new message toolbar."

  2. Press the Right or Left arrow key until you hear "Emoji button," and then press Enter. The emoji menu opens, and the focus is in the Search text box.

  3. Do one of the following:

    • To search for an emoji, type your search words. Press the Tab key once, and then use the arrow keys to browse the list of emoji.

    • To pick an emoji from the currently selected emoji category, press the Tab key once, and then use the arrow keys to browse the available emoji.

    • To switch to another emoji category, press the Tab key until you hear the currently selected category, for example, "Smilies menu item." Press the Right or Left arrow key until you hear the name of the category you want, for example, "Activities menu item," and then press Enter. The category is changed, and you can now browse or search for an emoji.

  4. When you hear an emoji you'd like to insert, press Enter. The emoji is added to your message.

Note: In NVDA this is called the browse mode, in JAWS it is called the virtual cursor mode, and in Narrator it is called the scan mode.

  1. When the focus is in the message compose box, press the Tab key once. You hear: "Actions for a new message toolbar."

  2. Press B or Shift+B until you hear "Emoji button," and then press Alt+Enter. The emoji menu opens, and the focus is in the Search text box.

  3. Do one of the following:

    • To search for an emoji, type your search words. Press the Tab key once, and then use the arrow keys to browse the list of emoji.

    • To pick an emoji from the currently selected emoji category, press the Tab key once, and then use the arrow keys to browse the available emoji.

    • To switch to another emoji category, press the Tab key until you hear the currently selected category, for example, "Smilies menu item." Press the Up or Down arrow key until you hear the name of the category you want, for example, "Activities menu item," and then press Enter. The category is changed, and you can now browse or search for an emoji.

  4. When you hear an emoji you'd like to insert, press Enter. The emoji is added to your message.

Add a sticker or meme

  1. When the focus is in the message compose box, press the Tab key once. You hear: "Actions for a new message toolbar."

  2. Press the Right or Left arrow key until you hear "Sticker button," and then press Enter. The sticker menu opens, and the focus is in the Search text box.

  3. Do one of the following:

    • To search for a sticker, type your search words. Press the Tab key once, and then use the arrow keys to browse the list of stickers.

    • To pick a sticker from the currently selected sticker category, press the Tab key once, and then use the arrow keys to browse the available stickers.

    • To switch to another sticker category, press the Tab key until you hear "Sticker categories," followed by the currently selected category. Press the Right or Left arrow key until you hear the name of the category you want, for example, "Meme tab item," and then press Enter. The category is changed, and you can now browse or search for a sticker.

  4. To insert the sticker to your message, press Enter.

  5. If the sticker has a text field you can edit, you hear: "Editable." The focus is in the text field. Type the new sticker text, and when you're done, press the Tab key until you hear "Done button," and then press Spacebar.

Note: In NVDA this is called the browse mode, in JAWS it is called the virtual cursor mode, and in Narrator it is called the scan mode.

  1. In the message compose box, press the Tab key once. You hear: "Actions for a new message toolbar."

  2. Press B or Shift+B until you hear "Sticker button," and then press Alt+Enter. The sticker menu opens, and the focus is in the Search text box.

  3. Do one of the following:

    • To search for a sticker, type your search words. Press the Tab key once, and then use the arrow keys to browse the list of stickers.

    • To pick a sticker from the currently selected sticker category, press the Tab key once, and then use the arrow keys to browse the available stickers.

    • To switch to another sticker category, press the Tab key until you hear "Sticker categories," followed by the currently selected category. Press the Right or Left arrow key until you hear the name of the category you want, for example, "Meme tab item," and then press Enter. The category is changed, and you can now browse or search for a sticker.

  4. To insert the sticker or meme to your message, press Enter.

  5. If the sticker has a text field you can edit, you hear: "Editable." The focus is on the text field. Type the new sticker text, and when you're done, press the Tab key until you hear "Done button," and then press Spacebar.

Send files to yourself in a chat 

To stay organized, you can send messages, documents, images, and media to yourself in a chat message. You can quickly access all the things you send to yourself whether you’re using Microsoft Teams on your desktop, the web, or your phone. You’ll find your chat at the top of the pinned chats in the chat list. 

  1. Press Ctrl+Shift+2 to open the Chat view.

  2. Press the Up arrow key until you hear "Profile picture," followed by your username, and "You."

  3. Press Enter to select your personal chat. The focus moves to the message compose box.

  4. Do one or both of the following:

    • To send yourself a textual message, just start typing. When your message is ready, press the Tab key until you hear "Send, selected button," and then press Enter.

    • To send yourself a file, for example a document or a media file, refer to Add an attachment for instructions.

Pin or unpin a chat

You can pin a chat, which puts it at the top of your list of chats where you can access it easily.

  1. In the list of chats, use the Up and Down arrow keys to navigate to the chat you want to pin or unpin.

  2. To open the More options menu, press Spacebar or Ctrl+Alt+Spacebar.

  3. Do one of the following:

    • To pin a chat, press the Down arrow key until you hear "Pin," and then press Enter.

    • To unpin a chat, press the Down arrow key until you hear "Unpin," and then press Enter.

Get a notification when a contact is available

  1. When the focus is in the list of chats, press the Tab key or Shift+Tab until you hear: "Chat button, collapsed, has pop-up."

  2. Press Enter to open the menu, press the Down arrow key until you hear "Contacts," and then press Enter. The list of contacts opens.

  3. Press the Down arrow key until you find the contact you want to be notified about.

  4. To open the More options menu, press Spacebar or Ctrl+Alt+Spacebar.

  5. Press the Down arrow key until you hear "Notify when available," and then press Enter.

    Your screen reader will notify you when the selected contact becomes available in Microsoft Teams on the web.

    Note: To stop receiving the notifications, in the More options menu, press the Down arrow key until you hear "Turn off notifications," and then press Enter.

Mute or unmute a chat

You can mute a chat to stop receiving notifications. To start receiving notifications again, unmute the chat.

  1. When the focus is in the Chat list, use the Up and Down arrow keys to navigate to the chat you want to mute or unmute.

  2. To open the More options menu, press Spacebar or Ctrl+Alt+Spacebar.

  3. Do one of the following:

    • To mute a chat, press the Down arrow key until you hear "Mute," and then press Enter.

    • To unmute a previously muted chat, press the Down arrow key until you hear "Unmute," and then press Enter.

Filter your chats

You can filter the messages in the Chat view by the name of a person to show only group chats, meetings, or private chats where that name occurs. You can also filter the list to show only unread or muted chats or chats sent during meetings.

  1. In the Chat view, press Ctrl+Shift+F. You hear: "Filter."

  2. Do one of the following:

    • To filter chats by name, type the name.

    • To show only unread or muted chats or chats sent during meetings, press the Tab key until you hear "More options," press Enter to open the dropdown menu, press the Down arrow key until you hear the option you want, and then press Enter.

  3. Press the Tab key until you reach the filtered list of chats, and then press the Down or Up arrow key to browse the list.

  4. To clear the filter, press Shift+Tab until you hear "Close filter," and then press Enter.

Turn off message previews

To provide you with even more privacy, you can turn off desktop notification message previews for Microsoft Teams. Message previews are on by default.

  1. To open the Settings window, press Ctrl+Shift+Comma (,). You hear: "Settings menu item." Press Enter. The Settings window opens with the focus on the General tab.

  2. Press the Down arrow key until you hear "Notifications tab," and then press Enter.

  3. Press the Tab key until you hear: "Show message preview, checkbox checked."

  4. To turn off the message preview with Narrator, press Caps lock+Enter. With NVDA or JAWS, press Spacebar.

  5. To close the Settings dialog box, press Esc.

Mark chats as urgent

Particularly important private chat messages can be marked as urgent. Urgent messages will send an alert to the recipient every two minutes for a period of twenty minutes.

  1. When the focus is in the message compose box, press the Tab key once. You hear: "Actions for a new message toolbar."

  2. Press the Right or Left arrow key until you hear "Set delivery options button," and then press Enter.

  3. Press the Down arrow key until you hear "Mark message as urgent," and then press Enter to mark the message as urgent.

Note: In NVDA this is called the browse mode, in JAWS it is called the virtual cursor mode, and in Narrator it is called the scan mode.

  1. When the focus is in the message compose box, press the Tab key once. You hear: "Actions for a new message toolbar."

  2. Press B or Shift+B until you hear "Set delivery options button," and then press Alt+Enter.

  3. Press the Down arrow key until you hear "Mark message as urgent," and then press Enter to mark the message as urgent.

Change the spacing of your chat messages 

Depending on your monitor size and viewing preference, you might want to change the amount of spacing that appears in chat messages.

Whether you want to optimize to read more text at once or read less text at a more comfortable level, you can customize the chat density to suit your needs. By default, chat density is set to comfy mode, but if you'd like to have more of the chat visible and a wider box where you type messages, you can change this in the app settings. 

  1. To open the Settings window, press Ctrl+Shift+Comma (,). You hear: "Settings menu item." Press Enter. The Settings window opens with the focus on the General tab.

  2. Press the Tab key until you hear the currently selected chat density, "Comfy" or "Compact."

  3. To change the current density, press the Right or Left arrow key until you hear the option you want, and then press Enter to select.

  4. To close the Settings window, press Esc.

Note: In NVDA this is called the browse mode, in JAWS it is called the virtual cursor mode, and in Narrator it is called the scan mode.

  1. To open the Settings window, press Ctrl+Shift+Comma (,). You hear: "Settings menu item." Press Enter. The Settings window opens with the focus on the General tab.

  2. Press the Tab key until you hear the currently selected chat density, "Comfy" or "Compact."

  3. To change the current density, press the Up or Down arrow key until you hear the option you want, and then press Enter to select.

  4. To close the Settings window, press Esc.

See also

Use a screen reader to search for a conversation, person, or file in Microsoft Teams

Use a screen reader to check recent activity in Microsoft Teams

Keyboard shortcuts for Microsoft Teams

Basic tasks using a screen reader with Microsoft Teams

Use a screen reader to explore and navigate Microsoft Teams

Video: Start chats and make calls

Technical support for customers with disabilities

Microsoft wants to provide the best possible experience for all our customers. If you have a disability or questions related to accessibility, please contact the Microsoft Disability Answer Desk for technical assistance. The Disability Answer Desk support team is trained in using many popular assistive technologies and can offer assistance in English, Spanish, French, and American Sign Language. Please go to the Microsoft Disability Answer Desk site to find out the contact details for your region.

If you are a government, commercial, or enterprise user, please contact the enterprise Disability Answer Desk.

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