Complete guide to Narrator

Applies to: Windows 10

Narrator is a screen-reading app built into Windows 10. This guide describes how to use Narrator with Windows on desktop PCs so that you can start using apps, browsing the web, and more. It’s written for people who use a screen reader regularly.
To read this guide, choose a link from the table of contents below. When you’re done reading a chapter or appendix, you can either select the Table of Contents link at the bottom of the chapter to return to this page or select the link for the next chapter.
Below the table of contents, there’s a section about what's new in Narrator.

Table of contents

Chapter What's in it
Chapter 1: Introducing Narrator An overview of Narrator including how to start and stop it.
Chapter 2: Narrator basics How to get around the screen, find and open apps, change what Narrator reads, and adjust speech rate and volume.
Chapter 3: Using scan mode How to use scan mode to navigate apps, email, and the web.
Chapter 4: Reading text How to read and get info about text, such as font, text color, and punctuation.
Chapter 5: Narrator views How to get more info on the app or page you're exploring using Narrator views.
Chapter 6: Using Narrator with touch How to use Narrator with touch, including basic gestures.
Chapter 7: Customizing Narrator How to change how Narrator starts, determine how much feedback you hear when typing, change Narrator commands, and use third-party text-to-speech (TTS) software.
Chapter 8: Using Narrator with braille How to use Narrator with a refreshable braille display.
Appendix A: Supported languages and voices A list of supported languages and available TTS voices in Narrator.
Appendix B: Narrator keyboard commands and touch gestures A list of Narrator keyboard commands and touch gestures.
Appendix C: Supported braille displays A list of braille displays supported by Narrator.

What's new

Here's what's new in the latest version of Narrator:

Standard keyboard layout

We wanted to make it easier for you to learn and use Narrator, so we’ve introduced a new Standard keyboard layout. The updated layout is more like the keyboard layout you may have experienced in other screen readers.

Some of the new commands include updates to Narrator’s page, paragraph, line, word, and character commands. You’ll also notice new commands like Narrator Find, list of links, list of headings, and list of landmarks. For some commands, you can now use the numeric keypad.

You can explore all the new and updated commands in Appendix B: Narrator keyboard commands and touch gestures. Find scan mode commands in Chapter 3: Using scan mode.

Narrator key

You can now choose what modifier key you want to use in Narrator commands. Both the Caps Lock and Insert keys serve as your Narrator key by default. You can use either of these keys in any command that uses the Narrator key. The Narrator key is referred to as simply “Narrator” in commands. You can change your Narrator key in Narrator settings.

Updated Change View commands

Change View commands are now mapped to the Narrator + Page up and Page down keys. You can also use Change View by pressing Narrator + Ctrl + Up arrow and Down arrow.

Improvements to scan mode

Scan mode’s Primary and Secondary Action commands have changed. Primary Action can be executed by pressing Enter or Spacebar. You can complete Secondary Action by adding a Shift key to each of those keys (Shift + Enter or Shift + Spacebar). You’ll notice this change regardless of the keyboard layout you select.

Additionally, several new scan mode keyboard commands have been added that allow you to select text. You can learn more about them in Chapter 3: Using scan mode.

Dialog reading

Narrator now automatically reads the text at the top of most dialog windows when they’re displayed. For example, when you exit an app without saving content, Narrator will read the dialog that asks if you want to save your content.

Learn Narrator with QuickStart

QuickStart is a learning experience in Windows that teaches you the basics of using Narrator. It launches automatically when you start Narrator. To stop QuickStart from launching automatically, select the check box next to Don’t show this guide again. You can access the QuickStart guide anytime by selecting the Learn Narrator basics with QuickStart link in your Narrator settings.

Give feedback

Your feedback helps make Narrator better. When Narrator is turned on, press Narrator + Alt + F to open the Feedback Hub to provide feedback about Narrator. You can also leave comments on the Microsoft Accessibility User Voice website. Additionally, for technical support for Narrator or other Microsoft assistive technology, contact the Microsoft Disability Answer Desk.
If you want to provide Microsoft with additional diagnostic and performance data, press Windows logo key  + Ctrl + N to open Narrator settings, turn on the toggle under Help make Narrator better, and then restart Narrator.