Use a screen reader with Office Backstage

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 screen reader and keyboard to access and use the Microsoft Office Backstage view. 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.

If you need to create a new file, open an existing file, print, save, change the app options or more, Backstage is the place to do it. In short, it is everything that you do to a file that you don't do in the file.

Notes: 

In this topic

Open Backstage

When you start a Microsoft Office program, you land on the Home tab in the Backstage view.

To open the full Backstage view when you're already editing a document, workbook, or presentation, press Alt+F. You land on the Home tab. You hear: "File, Home selected."

Note: Most of the keyboard shortcuts described below only work when you open the full Backstage view from the editing view.

Create a new file

To create a new file, you can use a template with pre-designed layout and formatting, or start with a blank file. You can create a new document from the Home tab which displays a small selection of templates or from the New tab which has a larger list of templates.

  1. In the Backstage view, do one of the following:

    • To create a new file from the Home tab, press the Tab key until you reach the blank file template. You hear, for example: "Blank document." To use the blank template, press Enter. To explore the other available templates, press the Right arrow key until you find the template you want, and press Enter twice to open it.

    • To create a new file from the New tab, press Alt+N. To use a blank template, press the Tab key until you reach the blank file template, and press Enter. To explore the other available templates, press the Tab key until you hear "Welcome," followed by the name of the current app, press the Right arrow key until you find the template you want, and press Enter twice to open it.

Open an existing file

The Backstage Home tab displays some of the most recent files that you've worked on. If the file you want isn't on the Recent files list on the Home tab, use the Open tab to browse file locations and files in them.

  1. To open an existing file, do one of the following:

    • On the Home tab, press the Tab key until you hear "Recent," followed by the name of the file currently in focus. Then press the Up or Down arrow until you find the file you want, and press Enter to open it.

    • To open a file from the Open tab, press Alt+O. Press the Tab key once. The focus moves to the list of file locations and types. To browse the list, press the Up or Down arrow key. Once you've found the location or type your want, press Alt+O, Y, 4 to move the focus to the first item in the documents list. Press the Down arrow key until you find the file you want, and press Enter to open it.

Pin a file

You can pin a file to the Recent files list to find and open it quickly.

  1. On the Home or Open tab, navigate to the file you want to pin.

  2. When on the correct file, press Shift+F10. The context menu opens.

  3. To pin the file, press P.

  4. To unpin the file, press Shift+F10+U.

Save a copy of a file

On the Save a Copy tab, you can quickly create a copy of a file you're working on if you need a second copy in a different location, or if you want to make changes without affecting the original file.

Note: The Save a Copy tab is only available when AutoSave is on.

Tip: If you're using an existing file as a starting point for a new file, save a copy of the file before you make any changes. That way your changes are only affecting the new file and not the original. For more information, refer to Use Save a Copy to modify a file without changing the original.

  1. In the Backstage view, press Alt+A. You hear: "Save a copy."

  2. Press the Tab key once to move the focus to the list of file locations.

  3. Press the Up or Down arrow until you hear the location where you want to save the copy.

  4. To move the focus to the file and location details, press the Tab key once. To navigate the details view, press the Up or Down arrow key. To select, press Enter.

  5. Once you've filled in the details, press Alt+A, Y, 5 to save the file. The focus returns to the editing view.

Print a file

On the Print tab, you can select a printer, set the page orientation and size, and print a hard copy of the file.

  1. In the Backstage view, to open the Print tab, press Alt+P.

  2. To move the focus to the printing options, press the Tab key once. To browse the options, press the Tab key. To make a selection, press Enter.

  3. To print the file, press Alt+P, P.

Share and collaborate

You can share the file with others using OneDrive, or attach a copy to an email.

  1. In the Backstage view, press Alt+Z. If your file is saved to OneDrive, the Send link dialog box opens. Otherwise, the Share dialog box opens.

  2. To select how to share the file, press the Tab key until you hear the option you want and press Enter.

  3. Depending on your selection, fill in the necessary info such as the recipient names or emails.

  4. Navigate to the Send button, and press Enter to share the file.

For instructions on how to share a Word file, refer to Use a screen reader to share a document in Word.

Manage Office

In the Backstage view, you can also access and change options that help you manage how Microsoft Office  works for you.

Change the app settings

In the app settings, you can change the ease of access, proofing, or display options.

  1. In the Backstage view, to open the app options dialog box, press Alt+T. The focus is in the first item of the navigation tree.

  2. To browse the items in the tree, press the Down arrow key. Once you're on the item you want, press the Tab key to move the focus to the options of the selected item.

  3. To browse the options, press the Tab key. To select a button, or to fill or clear a check box, press Spacebar. To apply your changes and close the dialog box, press Enter.

Review your account info

On the Account tab, you can, for example, access your account info, select an Office theme or background, add connected services such as OneDrive or SharePoint, and manage the app updates.

  1. In the Backstage view, to open the Account tab, press Alt+D.

  2. To browse the option on the tab, press the Tab key. To make a selection, press Enter.

Send feedback

On the Feedback tab, you can let us know how you feel about the app or how to make the app better.

  1. In the Backstage view, to open the Feedback tab, press Alt+K.

  2. To browse the options, press the Tab key. To make a selection, press Enter.

  3. The Feedback pane opens in the editing view. You can now add the details to the option you selected. To browse the fields and options in the pane, press the Tab key.

  4. To send your feedback, press the Tab key until you reach the Submit button, and press Enter.

Exit Backstage and return to your document

To exit the Backstage view and go back to your document, press Esc.

See also

Keyboard shortcuts for the File menu in Office 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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