Use a screen reader to work with files in the Office app

Use a screen reader to work with files in the Office app

Read out loud symbol with the label Screen reader content. This topic is about using a screen reader with Office

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 Office Support home.

Use the Office app with VoiceOver, the built-in iOS screen reader, to create a new Word, Excel, or PowerPoint document, or a sticky note. You'll also learn how to open an existing document and transfer files, or how to import content to a Word document or PDF (Portable Document Format) file.

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

Create a Word, Excel, or PowerPoint document

You can create a new document using a template or opening a blank document and start adding your content.

  1. In the Office app, tap near the bottom of the screen with four fingers. The focus moves to the navigation bar at the bottom of the screen.

  2. Swipe left or right until you hear "Create," and double-tap the screen. You hear: "New note."

  3. Swipe right until you hear "New document," and double-tap the screen. The app menu opens.

  4. Swipe right until you hear the app and the option you want, and double-tap the screen.

    If you selected to create a new document from a template, the template menu opens. Swipe right until you find the template you want, and double-tap the screen.

  5. The document opens. Swipe right until you find the location where you want to add content. To add text, for example, do one of the following:

    • In a Word document or Excel worksheet, double-tap the screen and then use the on-screen keyboard to type your text.

    • In a PowerPoint presentation, double-tap the screen to select the slide element, then double-tap the screen once more to open the on-screen keyboard, and type your text.

  6. Once you're done editing the document, tap the top of the screen with four fingers. You hear the name of the document. Swipe right until you hear "Close file," and double-tap the screen.

  7. If you have a Microsoft 365 subscription and you're connected to OneDrive, the file is saved automatically. Otherwise, you're alerted to save your changes. To save the document, for example to your phone, swipe right until you hear "Save," and double-tap the screen.

  8. The focus is in the File name text field. If you want to change the name of the file, use the on-screen keyboard to type a new name, swipe right until you hear "Done," and double-tap the screen.

  9. Swipe left or right to find the location where you want to save the document, and double-tap the screen. Swipe right until you hear "Save," and double-tap the screen. The file is saved and the focus returns to the Home tab.

Create a sticky note

  1. In the Office app, tap near the bottom of the screen with four fingers. The focus moves to the navigation bar at the bottom of the screen.

  2. Swipe left or right until you hear "Create," and double-tap the screen. You hear: "New note."

  3. Double-tap the screen. A blank note opens. Use the on-screen keyboard to type your note.

  4. Once you're done typing, swipe left until you hear "Done, button," and double-tap the screen. The note is saved automatically.

Import content to a Word or PDF file with Office Lens

Use your phone camera and Office app with the integrated Office Lens to capture information from documents, whiteboards, receipts, signs, handwritten memos, or anything else containing text that you want to import but not manually type out yourself. When capturing images, Office Lens gets rid of shadows and odd angles, so your final captures are easier to see. You can import the document and whiteboard images to a Word or PDF file straight from the app.

  1. In the Office app, tap near the bottom of the screen with four fingers. The focus moves to the navigation bar at the bottom of the screen.

  2. Swipe left or right until you hear "Create," and double-tap the screen. You hear: "New note."

  3. Swipe right until you hear "Open camera," and double-tap the screen. The camera mode activates.

  4. To select the optimal capture mode, swipe right until you hear "Camera mode," followed by the currently selected mode. To change the mode, set the Rotor to Adjust Value, and swipe up or down until you hear the mode you want. For example, if the content you want to import is on a whiteboard, swipe up or down until you hear: "Whiteboard."

  5. Point the camera toward the item you want to capture the content from, swipe right until you hear "Capture," and double-tap the screen to take the photo.

  6. You hear: "Top left corner." If needed, to crop the image to only show the part your want to import, swipe right until you hear the crop handle you want, double-tap and hold the screen, and slide one finger on the screen to adjust the handle. You may need someone to help you with this step.

  7. Swipe right until you hear "Done," and double-tap the screen. The Office app starts to process the image. Once the image is ready, the preview opens.

  8. To select the file type to which you want to import the captured content, swipe right until you hear: "File type." To switch between file types, double-tap the screen until you hear the file type you want, for example, "File type PDF."

  9. Once you've selected the file type you want, to import the captured content, swipe right until you hear "Done," and double-tap the screen. The file opens, and you can now check the content.

  10. To save the file, swipe left until you hear "Close file," and double-tap the screen. If you have a Microsoft 365 subscription and you're connected to OneDrive, the file is saved automatically. Otherwise, you're alerted to save your changes. To save the document, for example to your phone, swipe right until you hear "Save," and double-tap the screen.

  11. The focus is in the File name text field. If you want to change the name of the file, use the on-screen keyboard to type a new name, swipe right until you hear "Done," and double-tap the screen.

    Swipe left or right to find the location where you want to save the document, and double-tap the screen. Swipe right until you hear "Save," and double-tap the screen. The file is saved and the focus returns to the Home tab.

Open an existing document or note

You can find and open your documents and notes in the documents list on the Home tab. You can also browse and search for documents.

To find out how the documents and notes on the Home tab are organized, go to Learn the layout of the Office app with a screen reader.

  1. In the Office app, tap near the bottom of the screen with four fingers. The focus moves to the navigation bar at the bottom of the screen.

  2. Swipe left or right until you hear "Home," and double-tap the screen.

  3. Do one of the following:

    • To open a file directly from the document list on the Home tab, swipe right or left until you find the document you want, and double-tap the screen to open it.

    • To browse for a file, swipe right or left until you hear "Open button," and double-tap the screen. The Open menu opens. Swipe right until you find the location where you want to look for the file, and double-tap the screen. Navigate to the file you want and double-tap the screen to open it.

    • For instructions on how to search for a document, go to Use a screen reader to search in the Office app.

  4. To edit the document, do one of the following:

    • To edit a Word document, swipe right until you find the place you want to edit, and double-tap the screen. Then use the on-screen keyboard to type text, for example.

    • To edit an Excel worksheet, swipe right or slide a finger on the screen to find the cell you want to edit, and double-tap the screen to select it. To edit the selected cell, double-tap the screen. Then use the on-screen keyboard to enter number, for example.

    • To edit a PowerPoint presentation, tap near the bottom of the screen with four fingers. You hear: "Show ribbon." Swipe left until you find the slide you want to edit, and double-tap the screen. On the slide, swipe left or right until you hear the element you want to edit, and double-tap the screen to select it. To edit the element, double-tap the screen. Then use the on-screen keyboard to type text, for example.

    • To edit a sticky note, double-tap the screen. Use the on-screen keyboard to type.

Transfer files

You can send files from your phone to your computer and receive files sent from your computer.

Send files from your phone to your computer

  1. In the Office app, tap near the bottom of the screen with four fingers. The focus moves to the navigation bar at the bottom of the screen.

  2. Swipe left or right until you hear "Actions," and double-tap the screen. The Actions menu opens.

  3. Swipe left until you hear "Transfer files," and double-tap the screen.

  4. On your computer, go to transfer.office.com.

  5. On your phone, swipe right until you reach the Send button and double-tap the screen. The scan mode activates. To connect the devices, you need to scan the QR code on your computer screen with your phone.

  6. To scan the QR code, align the rectangle on your phone screen with the QR code on your computer screen. Once they are aligned, the code is automatically scanned. You may need someone to help you with this step.

    On your phone, swipe right until you hear "Pair," and double-tap the screen. On your computer, navigate to and select the Pair button.

  7. The Choose files menu opens on your phone. Swipe left or right to locate the file you want to send and double-tap to select and send it.

  8. To send additional files, swipe right until you hear "Send more files," and double-tap the screen. Locate the file you want and double-tap the screen to select and send it.

  9. On your phone, you hear: "Back button." To close the connection, double-tap the screen. You're prompted to confirm the disconnect. Swipe right until you hear "Disconnect," and double-tap the screen. On your computer, the connection is automatically closed.

  10. You can now open and edit the files on your computer. You can find the transferred files in the Downloads folder.

Receive files sent from your computer to your phone

  1. In the Office app, tap near the bottom of the screen with four fingers. The focus moves to the navigation bar at the bottom of the screen.

  2. Swipe left or right until you hear "Actions," and double-tap the screen. The Actions menu opens.

  3. Swipe left until you hear "Transfer files," and double-tap the screen.

  4. On your computer, go to transfer.office.com.

  5. On your phone, swipe right until you reach the Receive button and double-tap the screen. The scan mode activates. To connect the devices, you need to scan the QR code on your computer screen with your phone.

  6. To scan the QR code, align the rectangle on your phone screen with the QR code on your computer screen. Once they are aligned, the code is automatically scanned. You may need someone to help you with this step.

    On your phone, swipe right until you hear "Pair," and double-tap the screen. On your computer, navigate to and select the Pair button.

  7. On your computer, navigate to and select the Choose files button. The dialog box for selecting files opens. Locate the file you want to send from your computer, and navigate to and select Open button. The file is sent to your phone.

  8. To send more files, on your computer, navigate to and select the Send more files button, select the file, and navigate to and select the Open button.

  9. On your phone, you hear: "Back button." To close the connection, double-tap the screen. You're prompted to confirm the disconnect. Swipe right until you hear "Disconnect," and double-tap the screen. On your computer, the connection is automatically closed.

  10. You can now open and edit the files on your phone. You can find the transferred files on the Home tab in the Office app.

See also

Use a screen reader to convert images into text in the Office app

Use a screen reader to work with PDFs in the Office app

Set up your device to work with accessibility in Office 365

Basic tasks using a screen reader with Office app

Learn the layout of the Office app with a screen reader

Use a screen reader to explore and navigate the Office app

Use the Office app with TalkBack, the built-in Android screen reader, to create a new Word, Excel, or PowerPoint document or a sticky note. You'll also learn how to open an existing document and transfer files, or how to import content to a Word document or PDF (Portable Document Format) file.

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

Create a Word, Excel, or PowerPoint document

You can create a new document using a template or opening a blank document and start adding your content.

  1. In the Office app, swipe down-then-up. The focus moves to the navigation bar at the bottom of the screen.

  2. Swipe left or right until you hear "Create," and double-tap the screen.

  3. Swipe right until you hear "New document," and double-tap the screen. The app menu opens.

  4. Swipe right until you hear the app and the option you want, and double-tap the screen.

    If you selected to create a new document from a template, the template menu opens. Swipe right until you find the template you want, and double-tap the screen.

  5. The document opens. Swipe right until you find the location where you want to add content. To add text, for example, do one of the following:

    • In a Word document, double-tap the screen and then use the on-screen keyboard to type your text.

    • In a PowerPoint presentation, double-tap the screen. The context menu opens. Swipe right until you hear "Edit text," and double-tap the screen. Use the on-screen keyboard to type your text.

    • In an Excel worksheet, double-tap the screen. The context menu opens. Swipe right until you hear "Edit," and double-tap the screen. Use the on-screen keyboard to type your text.

  6. Once you're done editing the document, swipe down-then-left. If you have a Microsoft 365 subscription and you're connected to OneDrive, the file is saved automatically. Otherwise, you're alerted to save your changes.

  7. To save the document, for example to your phone, swipe right until you hear "Save," and double-tap the screen. The focus moves to the file name text field. Double-tap the screen, and use the on-screen keyboard to change the name if needed.

    Swipe left until you find the location where you want to save the file, and double-tap the screen. Swipe right until you hear "Save," and double-tap the screen.

Create a sticky note

  1. In the Office app, swipe down-then-up. The focus moves to the navigation bar at the bottom of the screen.

  2. Swipe left or right until you hear "Create," and double-tap the screen.

  3. You hear: "New note." Double-tap the screen. A blank note opens. Use the on-screen keyboard to type your note.

  4. Once you're done typing, swipe left until you hear "Navigate up button," and double-tap the screen. The note is saved automatically.

Import content to Word or a PDF with Office Lens

Use your phone camera and Office app with the integrated Office Lens to capture information from documents, whiteboards, receipts, signs, handwritten memos, or anything else containing text that you want to import but not manually type out yourself. When capturing images, Office Lens gets rid of shadows and odd angles, so your final captures are easier to see. You can import document and whiteboard images to a Word or PDF file straight from the app.

  1. In the Office app, swipe down-then-up. The focus moves to the navigation bar at the bottom of the screen.

  2. Swipe left or right until you hear "Create," and double-tap the screen.

  3. Swipe right until you hear "Open camera button," and double-tap the screen. The camera mode activates.

  4. To select the optimal capture mode, swipe right until you hear: "Whiteboard mode." If the content you want to import is on a whiteboard, double-tap the screen to select this option. If you're importing content from a document or photo, swipe right until you hear the corresponding capture mode, and double-tap the screen.

  5. Point the camera toward the item you want to capture the content from, swipe right until you hear "Capture," and double-tap the screen to take the photo.

  6. You hear: "Crop the image." If needed, to crop the image to only show the part your want to import, swipe right until you hear the crop handle you want, double-tap and hold the screen, and slide one finger on the screen to adjust the handle. You may need someone to help you with this step.

  7. Swipe right until you hear "Confirm," and double-tap the screen. The Office app starts to process the image. Once the image is ready, the preview opens.

  8. To select the file type to which you want to import the captured content, swipe right until you hear: "File type." To switch between file types, double-tap the screen until you hear the file type you want, for example, "File type set to PDF."

  9. Once you've selected the file type you want, to import the captured content, swipe right until you hear "Done," and double-tap the screen. The file opens, and you can now check the content.

  10. To save the file, swipe down-then-left. You hear: "Back button." Double-tap the screen.

    You hear: "Save button." Double-tap the screen. The focus moves to the file name text field. To change the title, double-tap the screen and use the on-screen keyboard to type the new title.

    Swipe left until you hear the location where you want to save the file, and double-tap the screen. Once in the right location, swipe right until you hear "Save," and double-tap the screen. The file is saved and the focus returns to the Home tab.

Open an existing document or note

You can find and open your documents and notes in the documents list on the Home tab. You can also browse and search for documents.

To find out how the documents and notes on the Home tab are organized, go to Learn the layout of the Office app with a screen reader.

  1. In the Office app, swipe down-then-up. The focus moves to the navigation bar at the bottom of the screen.

  2. Swipe left or right until you hear "Home," and double-tap the screen.

  3. Do one of the following:

    • To open a file directly from the document list on the Home tab, swipe right or left until you find the document you want, and double-tap the screen to open it.

    • To browse for a file, swipe right or left until you hear "Browse button," and double-tap the screen. The Browse menu opens. Swipe right until you find the location where you want to look for the file, and double-tap the screen. Navigate to the file you want and double-tap the screen to open it.

    • For instructions on how to search for a document, go to Use a screen reader to search in the Office app.

  4. To edit the document, do one of the following:

    • To edit a Word document, swipe right until you find the place you want to edit, and double-tap the screen. Then use the on-screen keyboard to type text, for example.

    • To edit an Excel worksheet, swipe right or slide a finger on the screen to find the cell you want to edit, and double-tap the screen. The context menu opens. Swipe right until you hear "Edit," and double-tap the screen. Then use the on-screen keyboard to enter number, for example.

    • To edit a PowerPoint presentation, swipe right until you hear "Edit," and double-tap the screen to open the editing mode. Swipe right until you find the slide you want to edit, and double-tap the screen. On the slide, swipe left or right until you hear the element you want to edit, and double-tap the screen. The context menu opens. Swipe right until you hear "Edit text," and double-tap the screen. Then use the on-screen keyboard to type text, for example.

    • To edit a sticky note, double-tap the screen. Use the on-screen keyboard to type.

Transfer files

You can send files from your phone to your computer and receive files sent from your computer.

Send files from your phone to your computer

  1. In the Office app, swipe down-then-up. The focus moves to the navigation bar at the bottom of the screen.

  2. Swipe left or right until you hear "Actions," and double-tap the screen. The Actions menu opens.

  3. Swipe left until you hear "Transfer files," and double-tap the screen.

  4. On your computer, go to transfer.office.com.

  5. On your phone, swipe right until you reach the Send button and double-tap the screen.

  6. You are alerted to scan the QR code on your computer screen with your phone. To scan the code, swipe right until you hear "Ready to scan," and double-tap the screen.

    Align the rectangle on your phone screen with the QR code on your computer screen. Once they are aligned, the code is automatically scanned. You may need someone to help you with this step.

    On your phone, swipe right until you hear "Pair," and double-tap the screen. On your computer, navigate to and select the Pair button. You hear an audio cue when the devices have been connected.

  7. The Choose files menu opens on your phone. Swipe left or right to locate the file you want to send and double-tap to select and send it.

  8. To send additional files, swipe right until you hear "Send more files," and double-tap the screen. Locate the file you want and double-tap the screen to select and send it.

  9. Once you've done, you can close the connection. On your phone, swipe left until you hear "Navigate up button," and double-tap the screen. You're prompted to confirm the disconnect. Swipe right until you hear "Disconnect," and double-tap the screen. On your computer, the connection is automatically closed.

  10. You can now open and edit the files on your computer. You can find the transferred files in the Downloads folder.

Receive files sent from your computer to your phone

  1. In the Office app, swipe down-then-up. The focus moves to the navigation bar at the bottom of the screen.

  2. Swipe left or right until you hear "Actions," and double-tap the screen. The Actions menu opens.

  3. Swipe left until you hear "Transfer files," and double-tap the screen.

  4. On your computer, go to transfer.office.com.

  5. On your phone, swipe right until you reach the Receive button and double-tap the screen.

  6. You are alerted to scan the QR code on your computer screen with your phone. To scan the code, swipe right until you hear "Ready to scan," and double-tap the screen.

    Align the rectangle on your phone screen with the QR code on your computer screen. Once they are aligned, the code is automatically scanned. You may need someone to help you with this step.

    On your phone, swipe right until you hear "Pair," and double-tap the screen. On your computer, navigate to and select the Pair button. You hear an audio cue when the devices have been connected.

  7. On your computer, navigate to and select the Choose files button. The dialog box for selecting files opens. Locate the file you want to send from your computer, and navigate to and select Open button. The file is sent to your phone.

  8. To send more files, on your computer, navigate to and select the Send more files button, select the file, and navigate to and select the Open button.

  9. To close the connection, on your phone, swipe left until you hear "Navigate up button," and double-tap the screen. You're prompted to confirm the disconnect. Swipe right until you hear "Disconnect," and double-tap the screen. On your computer, the connection is automatically closed.

  10. You can now open and edit the files on your phone. You can find the transferred files on the Home tab in Office app or in the Files app.

See also

Use a screen reader to share content between two Android phones

Use a screen reader to work with PDFs in the Office app

Set up your device to work with accessibility in Office 365

Basic tasks using a screen reader with Office app

Learn the layout of the Office app with a screen reader

Use a screen reader to explore and navigate the Office app

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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