Use a screen reader to explore and navigate Settings in Windows

Decorative icon. Screen reader content

This article is for people with visual impairments who use a screen reader program with the Office products and is part of the Office Accessibility content set. For more general help, see Microsoft Support home.

Use your keyboard and a screen reader to explore and navigate Settings in Windows 11. We have tested this article with Narrator, JAWS, and NVDA, but the instructions might work with other screen readers as long as they follow common accessibility standards and techniques.

Notes: 

  • To learn more about screen readers, go to How screen readers work with Microsoft Office.

  • To control which app icons appear on the Taskbar and which icons appear in the Taskbar corner overflow, in Windows 11, press the Windows logo key +I. You hear "Settings window, search box, find a setting." Press the Down arrow key until you hear "Personalization," and then press Enter. Use the Tab key and Down and Up arrow keys to navigate the subcategories and when you hear "Taskbar," press Enter. Press the Tab key until you hear "Taskbar corner overflow," and then press Enter. To select which apps should show icons in the Taskbar corner overflow instead of on the Taskbar, press Spacebar to toggle the button.

In this topic

Open and search Settings

  1. To open Settings, press the Windows logo key +I. With Narrator and NVDA, you hear: "Settings window, search box, find a setting." With JAWS, you hear: "Search box, find a setting."

  2. To quickly search for a setting, type your search term. The list of search results is updated as you type. When you stop typing, with Narrator, you hear "Suggestions available." With JAWS, you hear the number of search results. With NVDA, the results are not announced, but you can browse them normally. Use the Down and Up arrow keys to browse the search results, and then press Enter to open the selected Settings page.

Navigate the Settings window

  1. To open Settings, press the Windows logo key +I. With Narrator and NVDA, you hear: "Settings window, search box, find a setting." With JAWS, you hear: "Search box, find a setting."

  2. To navigate the Settings categories, press the Tab key or Down arrow key once. You hear the name of the first category on the Settings window. Use the Down and Up arrow keys to browse the categories available at the left side of the Settings window. When you've found the category you want, press Enter to select it. The subcategory pane opens to the right of the Settings window.

  3. To navigate the subcategories pane, press the Tab key once and you hear "Breadcrumb bar item." Use the Tab key and Down and Up arrow keys to browse the subcategories. When you've found the subcategory you want, press Enter to select it. You hear its name, followed by the currently selected option or value.

  4. Use the Tab key and Down and Up arrow keys until you find the setting you want to change, then do one of the following:

    • If the setting is selected from a drop-down menu, you hear: "Combo box." Press Spacebar to open the menu, use the Down and Up arrow keys to browse the options, and press Spacebar to make a selection.

    • If the setting can simply be toggled on or off, with Narrator and JAWS, you hear either "On" or "Off." With NVDA, you hear "Pressed" or "Not pressed." Press Spacebar to toggle the button.

    • If the setting is part of a group of related settings, you hear "Checkbox," followed by either "Checked" or "Not checked." Press Spacebar to select or clear the checkbox.

    • If the setting is selected from a group of mutually exclusive options, you hear the first option, followed by "Radio button." Press the Tab key until you hear the option you want, and press Spacebar to select it.

    • If the setting is controlled by a slider, you hear "Slider," followed by the current value. Use the Left and Right arrow keys to select the new value.

    • If the option is a link to another view where you can make selections, you hear: "Link." Press Enter to open the new view, and navigate and make your selections there as usual.

    • Finally, some options are not settings as such, but tools to help you set up Windows 11. Your screen reader announces them as "button," for example, "Troubleshoot, button." Press Enter to activate the option.

  5. To return to the main Settings window, press the Tab key until you hear the name of the category you had selected, for example, "System."

See also

Use a screen reader to explore and navigate the Start menu in Windows

Set up your device to work with accessibility in Microsoft 365

Accessibility support for Windows

Use your keyboard and a screen reader to explore and navigate Settings in Windows 10. We have tested this article with Narrator, JAWS, and NVDA, but these instructions might work with other screen readers as long as they follow common accessibility standards and techniques.

Notes: 

In this topic

Open and search Settings

  1. To open Settings, press the Windows logo key +I. You hear: "Search box, find a setting."

  2. To quickly search for a setting, type your search term. When you stop typing, with Narrator, you hear: "Suggestions available." With JAWS, you hear the number of search results. With NVDA, the results are not announced, but you can browse them normally.

  3. Use the Down and Up arrow keys to browse the search results, and press Enter to open the selected result.

Navigate the Settings window

Instead of using the search box, you can navigate the Settings window by category.

  1. To open Settings, press the Windows logo key +I. You hear: "Search box, find a setting."

  2. Press the Tab key. You hear the name of the first Settings category. Use the arrow keys to browse the categories, and press Enter to open the selected category. You hear "Search box, find a setting," followed by the name of the first subcategory.

  3. To browse the subcategories, press the Tab key, and use the Down and Up arrow keys to navigate the list. Press Enter to open the subcategory.

  4. Press the Tab key to move the focus to the first setting. You hear its name, followed by the currently selected option or value. Press the Tab key until you find the setting you want to change, then do one of the following:

    • If the setting is selected from a drop-down menu, you hear: "Combo box." Press Spacebar to open the menu, use the Down and Up arrow keys to browse the options, and press Spacebar to make a selection.

    • If the setting can simply be toggled on or off, with Narrator and JAWS, you hear either "On" or "Off." With NVDA, you hear "Pressed" or "Not pressed." Press Spacebar to toggle the button.

    • If the setting is part of a group of related settings, you hear "Checkbox," followed by either "Checked" or "Not checked." Press Spacebar to select or clear the checkbox.

    • If the setting is selected from a group of mutually exclusive options, you hear the first option, followed by "Radio button." Press the Tab key until you hear the option you want, and press Spacebar to select it.

    • If the setting is controlled by a slider, you hear "Slider," followed by the current value. Use the Left and Right arrow keys to select the new value.

    • If the option is a link to another view where you can make selections, you hear: "Link." Press Enter to open the new view, and navigate and make your selections there as usual. To return to the main Settings window, press Shift+Tab until you hear "Home, button," and press Enter.

    • Finally, some options are not settings as such, but tools to help you set up Windows 10. Your screen reader announces them as "button," for example, "Troubleshoot, button." Press Enter to activate the option.

  5. To return to the main Settings window, press Shift+Tab until you hear "Home, button," and press Enter.

See also

Use a screen reader to explore and navigate the Start menu in Windows

Set up your device to work with accessibility in Microsoft 365

Accessibility support for Windows

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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