Use Microsoft Teams with the JAWS virtual cursor

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.

Learn about the JAWS virtual cursor, how to switch it on, and how to navigate Microsoft Teams using the virtual cursor. You'll also learn where to find the instructions on how to use Microsoft Teams with the JAWS virtual cursor.


In this topic

What is the JAWS virtual cursor?

The virtual cursor is one of the three cursors available in JAWS. It is designed to be used in an HTML, web, or similar environment (including HTML-based help systems, PDF files, and HTML mail format) where navigation with the other JAWS cursors might be less efficient.

The JAWS virtual cursor lets you navigate and read a web page as you would a text document, such as a Word file. The cursor can roam freely by the same units of text that a word processing app would have, such as characters, words, lines, or paragraphs. As the JAWS virtual cursor moves around on a web page or similar environment, no visible indicator is shown as to its location. This way you can move the virtual cursor outside the range of the content currently being displayed on your screen.

Enable the JAWS virtual cursor

Recent versions of JAWS no longer have the virtual PC cursor mode set as default for Microsoft Teams. You need to enable the virtual cursor before you can use it with Microsoft Teams.

  1. With JAWS running, open Microsoft Teams.

  2. Press the JAWS key+6 to open the JAWS Settings Center window. The focus changes to the Search box in that window.

  3. In the Search box, type use virtual PC.

  4. Press the Tab key once to move the focus to the list of search results. You hear "Use virtual PC cursor," followed by the current setting of the virtual PC cursor option. If the current setting is "Unchecked," press Spacebar to fill the Use virtual PC cursor check box.

  5. Press the Tab key until you hear "OK button," and press Enter.

Toggle the JAWS virtual cursor on or off

Once you've enabled the JAWS virtual cursor as instructed in Enable the JAWS virtual cursor, press the SR key+Z to toggle the virtual cursor on or off while JAWS is running.

Use the JAWS virtual cursor in Microsoft Teams

With the JAWS virtual cursor, you can navigate and use both the Microsoft Teams desktop and web apps effectively.

  • To cycle through the Microsoft Teams screen regions with JAWS, press R. The screen regions include the horizontal menu bar at the top, and three vertical sections, which are, from the left to the right, the following ones: the vertical app bar on the left, the list pane in the main content area, and finally the content pane in the main content area.

  • To navigate inside the vertical app bar on the far left on the screen, press the Up or Down arrow key.

  • To navigate inside the content pane where all your chat conversations, files, or wiki content is displayed depending on the view you've selected, press R until you hear the latest item in the area, such as the latest message in a conversation.

  • To navigate between headings, such as messages, inside a content pane, press H or Shift+H. The most recent content is in the bottom of the pane. A conversation is organized into the following heading levels:

    • Heading level 2: The name of the channel or a contact

    • Heading level 3: Date separators within the conversation

    • Heading level 4: The individual messages in this conversation

    • Heading level 5: Replies to a message, or the reply field

  • To navigate inside a message or between message controls, press the Down or Up arrow key.

For detailed instructions on how to navigate in Teams using the JAWS virtual cursor, go to Use a screen reader to explore and navigate Microsoft Teams.

Find the JAWS virtual cursor instructions for Teams

You can find a collection of instructions on how to use Teams here: Accessibility support for Microsoft Teams. The JAWS virtual cursor instructions are available for Windows and Web where applicable.

  1. When you use the link above, you land on the page with links to the Windows instructions. If you're using Microsoft Teams on the web in your browser, press the Tab key until you hear "Web collapsed," and press Enter to move to the page that contains links to the instructions for the Web app.

  2. The Windows and Web pages contain links to individual articles. Navigate to the article link you want to read, and press Enter to move to the article content.

Open and navigate the Teams keyboard shortcuts

You can quickly check the main Microsoft Teams keyboard shortcuts directly from the app.

  1. Press Ctrl+Period (.). The Keyboard shortcuts page opens in a separate window.

  2. To move between the shortcuts table on the page, press T.

  3. Press the Down arrow key to read through the shortcuts in a table.

  4. To exit the Keyboard shortcuts, press Esc.

See also

Accessibility support for Microsoft Teams

JAWS Keystrokes (text)

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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