Basic tasks using a screen reader with Excel

This article is for people with visual or cognitive impairments who use a screen reader program such as Microsoft’s Narrator, JAWS, or NVDA with Microsoft 365 products. This article is part of the Microsoft 365 screen reader support content set where you can find more accessibility information on our apps. For general help, visit Microsoft Support home.

Use Excel with your keyboard and a screen reader to do basic tasks in Excel. 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. You'll learn how to start the app, create a new workbook to insert your data, create simple formulas, sort or filter your data, and add charts to show what your data means.

Notes: 

In this topic

Start Excel

  1. To start Excel, do one of the following:

    • Press the Windows logo key, type Excel, and then press Enter. Excel opens to the Home menu where you can select a template for a new workbook or open an existing one.

    • On your device or the file storage you're using, navigate to the Excel workbook you want to open and press Enter. The workbook opens in Excel.

Create a new workbook

Excel files are called workbooks. Each workbook contains sheets, typically called spreadsheets or worksheets. You can add as many sheets as you want to a workbook, or you can create new workbooks to keep your data separate.

Tip: To add a new worksheet to a workbook, press Shift+F11.

  1. To start creating a new workbook using the blank workbook template, do one of the following:

    • Open Excel. You land on the Home menu. Press Alt+H, Y, and then 2.

    • If you're already editing a worksheet, press Ctrl+N.

Enter your data

As you enter data to the sheet, you work with rows, columns, and cells. Cells are referenced by their location in the row and column on the sheet, so cell A1 is in the first row of column A. On a new sheet, cell A1 is the default selection.

  1. To select an empty cell where you want to start entering your data, press the arrow keys. As you move to cells in the workbook, with Narrator, you hear the cell reference, followed by "Selected, editable," the column and row reference, and then "Item," followed by the contents of the cell, if any. With JAWS and NVDA, you hear the contents of the cell and the cell reference. When you select an empty cell with JAWS, you hear “Blank," followed by the cell reference. With NVDA, you hear the cell reference.

  2. In the cell, type text or a number.

  3. To enter the contents in the cell and move to the next cell in the column, press Enter. To move to the next cell in the row, press the Tab key. You can also use the arrow keys.

Use AutoSum to add your data

You can use the AutoSum function to quickly add numbers you’ve entered in your sheet.

  1. Select the cell where you want to put the total. This is typically to the right of or below the numbers you’re adding.

  2. To enter the AutoSum function in the cell, press Alt+H, U, and then S.

    Tip: You can change which cells are selected for the AutoSum function. To select the range of cells you want to add, hold down the Shift key and press the arrow keys.

  3. When you’ve confirmed that the AutoSum function is creating a formula for the cells you want, press Enter. AutoSum adds the numbers in the selected cells, and the total goes to the cell you selected.

  4. To hear the result of the AutoSum calculation, move back to the cell containing the AutoSum function. You hear the number, followed by "Has formula," and the cell reference.

Create a simple formula

You can enter simple formulas to add, subtract, multiply, or divide the numbers in your sheet. You create a formula by combining cell references (for example, B4 or D6) that contain the numbers you want to calculate with the math operator. The operators are the plus sign (+) for addition, the minus sign (-) for subtraction, the asterisk (*) for multiplication, and the forward slash (/) for division.

  1. Select the cell where you want to put the result of the formula. This is typically to the right of or below the numbers you’re calculating.

  2. Type an equal sign ( = ). An Excel formula always starts with the equal sign.

  3. To create your formula, type a combination of cell references (like B4 or D6) and math operators. For example, =B4+B5, =B4-B5, =B4*B5, or =B4/B5.

    Tip: To do quick calculations, you can enter numbers in your formula instead of cell references, for example, =20+10, =20-10, =20*10, or =20/10.

  4. Press Enter. The numbers are calculated, and the result goes in to the cell you selected.

    Tip: If you want the cursor to stay in the active cell, press Ctrl+Enter.

Apply a number format

To distinguish between different types of numbers, add a number format, like currency, percentage, or date.

  1. Select the cells that contain the numbers you want to format.

  2. To move the focus to the number format menu, press Alt+H, N.

  3. Press Alt+Down arrow key to expand the menu.

  4. Press the Down arrow key until you hear the number format you want, and then press Enter to apply a selected format to the selected cells.

    Tip: If the number format you want is not in the menu, press M while you're browsing available formats in the menu. The Number tab in the Format Cells dialog box opens. To browse through the list of available number formats, press the Tab key once and then press the Down or Up arrow key until you find the format you want, and then press Enter.

Filter or sort data in a table

When you create a table from your data in a sheet, you can quickly analyze the data in a variety of ways, including quickly filtering or sorting. For detailed instructions on how to filter and sort data in tables, refer to Use a screen reader to sort or filter a table in Excel.

Filter data in a table 

  1. To select the group of data that you want to analyze as a table, select the first cell. Then, to move to the last cell of data (typically the opposite corner of the group of cells), hold down the Shift key and press the arrow keys. After selecting the group of cells, Narrator announces the cell reference and contents of the last cell in the range. With JAWS and NVDA, you hear the cell reference and contents of the first cell in the range, followed by the cell reference and contents of the last cell in the range.

  2. To open the Quick Analysis tool, press Ctrl+Q.

  3. To move to the Tables tab, press T.

  4. To select Table grid, press the Tab key once and then press Enter. Your selected data is formatted as a table. Column headings are added, and the rows are formatted in alternating colors.

  5. To filter data in the table by the contents of a column, move to the heading of the column that contains the data you want to filter by.

  6. Press Alt+Down arrow key to open the filter menu, and then press the Tab key until you hear: "Manual filter." The focus is on the Select All checkbox, which is checked by default.

  7. To clear the Select All checkbox, press Spacebar.

  8. To browse through the filter choices, press the Down arrow key, and to select the checkboxes containing the data you want to filter by, press Spacebar. To apply the filter selection, press Enter.

  9. If you want to remove the filter and show all data again, repeat steps 5 and 6, and press Spacebar to select the Select All checkbox. Press Enter to apply the change.

Sort data in a table

  1. In the table, move the focus to the column header you want to sort the table by, and press Alt+Down arrow key.

  2. Do one of the following:

    • To sort numbers from the smallest to the largest or text from A to Z, press S.

    • To sort the numbers from the largest to the smallest or text from Z to A, press O.

Calculate numbers in a table

With the Quick Analysis tool, you can quickly calculate your numbers. Whether it’s a sum, average, or count, Excel shows the calculation results below or next to your numbers throughout the table.

  1. To select the group of data you want to calculate as a table, select the first cell. Then, to move to the last cell of data (typically the opposite corner of the group of cells), hold down the Shift key and press the arrow keys.

  2. To open the Quick Analysis tool, press Ctrl+Q.

  3. To move to the Totals tab, press O, and then press the Tab key once.

  4. To browse through the calculation options for either the horizontal data or vertical data in your table, press the Right arrow key.

  5. To select a calculation option, press Enter. The selected group of data is calculated as specified.

  6. To hear the results, select the cells containing the formulas one by one. You hear the formula result, the cell reference, and that the cell contains a formula.

Format or highlight your data as a table

Conditional formatting or sparklines can highlight your most important data or show data trends. You can use the Quick Analysis tool to quickly apply these highlights.

  1. To select the group of data you want to highlight with conditional formatting or sparklines, select the first cell. Then, to move to the last cell of data (typically the opposite corner of the group of cells), hold down the Shift key and press the arrow keys.

  2. To open the Quick Analysis tool, press Ctrl+Q.

  3. Do one of the following:

    • To move to the Formatting tab, press F.

    • To move to the Sparklines menu, press S.

  4. To move to the tab options, press the Tab key once. To browse through the formatting or sparklines options, press the Right or Left arrow key.

  5. To select a formatting or sparklines option, press Enter. Your selected group of data is formatted as specified.

Note: To learn more about how to use sparklines, refer to Analyze trends in data using sparklines.

Show your data in a chart

The Quick Analysis tool recommends a specific chart and quickly creates a visual presentation of your data.

  1. To select the group of numbers and labels you want to represent as a chart, select the first cell. Then, to move to the last cell of data (typically the opposite corner of the group of cells), hold down the Shift key and press the arrow keys.

  2. To open the Quick Analysis tool, press Ctrl+Q.

  3. To move to the Charts tab, press C, and then press the Tab key once.

  4. To browse through the chart options, press the Right or Left arrow key until you hear the option you want.

  5. Press Enter to select the chart type. The chart representing your selected group is added to the worksheet as an embedded object.

Save your work for the first time

  1. Press Ctrl+S to save your workbook. The Save This file dialog box opens. The focus is on the File name text field.

  2. Type a name for the workbook.

  3. To choose the location where to save the workbook, press the Tab key until you hear "Choose a location," followed by the default location.

  4. Press Alt+Down arrow key to open the list of available locations.

  5. Press the Down arrow key until you hear the name of the location you want, and then press Enter.

  6. To save the file, press the Tab key until you hear "Save button," and press Enter.

Print your work

For detailed instructions on how to print or change the print settings in Excel, refer to Use a screen reader to print an Excel workbook.

  1. To open the Print menu, press Ctrl+P. The focus is on the Print button.

  2. Press the Tab key or Shift+Tab to browse the print settings, for example, number of copies, orientation, and page size. To change a setting, press the Down arrow key to expand the list of options, press the Up or Down arrow key to navigate the lists, and then press Enter to select an option.

  3. When the print settings are the way you want, press the Tab key or Shift+Tab until you hear “Print button,” and then press Enter. Your printer prints the workbook.

See also

Use a screen reader to insert a table in an Excel worksheet

Use a screen reader to create a PivotTable or PivotChart in Excel

Use a screen reader to create a chart and select a chart in Excel

Keyboard shortcuts in Excel

Set up your device to work with accessibility in Microsoft 365

Use a screen reader to explore and navigate Excel

Use Excel for Mac with your keyboard and VoiceOver, the built-in macOS screen reader, to do basic tasks, such as create a new workbook, enter data in it, create simple formulas, and print your work.

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 macOS screen reader, VoiceOver. To learn more about using VoiceOver, go to VoiceOver Getting Started Guide.

In this topic

Start Excel

Use Finder and VoiceOver to easily start Excel for Mac.

  1. To go to the Applications list in Finder, press Shift+Command+A.

  2. Type M to go straight to applications that start with an "M," and then press the Tab key until you hear: "Microsoft Excel application."

  3. To open Excel for Mac, press Command+Down arrow key.

Create a new workbook

Excel files are called workbooks, and they each have one or more worksheets.

  1. In Excel, press Command+N. Excel opens a blank workbook in a separate window, placing focus in the first cell in the sheet.

    Tip: To add a new worksheet to a workbook, press Shift+F11.

Enter your data

As you enter data in the worksheet, you work with rows, columns, and cells. Cells are referenced by their row and column location on the sheet, so cell A1 is in the first row of column A.

  1. To move the focus to the worksheet content area, press F6 or Shift+F6 until you hear "Workbook area," followed by the current sheet number.

  2. To move between cells, use the arrow keys. You hear the cell coordinates as you move. If the cell has text in it, VoiceOver reads that text.

  3. To enter or replace text in a cell, type the text, number, or formula. To move to the next cell, press Return or the Tab key.

Use AutoSum to add up numbers

You can use the AutoSum function to quickly add up numbers you’ve entered to your sheet.

  1. Move the focus to the cell that is to the right of the numbers that you want to add up, or just below them.

  2. To insert the AutoSum function, press Shift+Command+T.

AutoSum adds up the numbers and places the result to the cell you selected.

Create a simple formula

You can enter simple formulas to add, subtract, multiply, or divide the numbers in your sheet. You create a formula by combining cell references (like B4 or D6) that contain the numbers you want to calculate with the math operator. The operators are the plus sign (+) for addition, the minus sign (-) for subtraction, the asterisk (*) for multiplication, and the forward slash (/) for division.

  1. Select the cell where you want to put the result of the formula. This is typically to the right of or below the numbers you’re calculating.

  2. Type an equal sign ( = ). An Excel formula always starts with the equal sign.

  3. To create your formula, type a combination of cell references (like B4 or D6) and math operators. For example, =B4+B5, =B4-B5, =B4*B5, or =B4/B5.

    Tip: To do quick calculations, instead of cell references, you can enter numbers in your formula, for example, =20+10, =20-10, =20*10, or =20/10.

  4. Press Return. The numbers are calculated, and the result goes to the cell you selected.

    Tip: If you want the cursor to stay in the active cell, press Control+Return.

Apply a number format

You can display different types of numbers in Excel by applying a number format, like currency, percentage, or date.

  1. Select the cell or cells you want to format. To select a sequence of cells, press and hold Shift and then use the arrow keys until all the cells you want are selected.

  2. To open the Format Cells dialog box, press Command+1.

  3. To move the focus to the list of format categories, press the Tab key once.

  4. To browse the formatting types, press the Up or Down arrow key. You hear the category name, such as Currency or Date.

  5. Some categories offer a variety of formats. For example, you can select a specific date format such as 3/14/15 or 14-Mar-15. To move the focus to the list of formatting types for a given category, press the Tab key once. To navigate the format options, press the Up or Down arrow key.

  6. To select a specific format and apply it to the selected cells, press Return.

Save your work for the first time

Tip: To save your changes to a file that you have saved previously, press Command+S.

  1. Press Command+S. The focus moves to the Name: text field.

  2. Type the name you want to use for your workbook, and then do one of the following:

    • To save the file on your computer, press the Tab key until you hear "On my Mac button," and press Control+Option+Spacebar. To save the file to the Documents folder on your Mac, press Return.

    • To save the file online, press the Tab key until you hear "Online locations button," and press Control+Option+Spacebar. Press the Tab key until you hear the default or current save location, press the Down arrow key until you hear the location you want, such as OneDrive, and then press Control+Option+Spacebar.

  3. To save the file to the selected location, press Return.

Print your work

For detailed instructions on how to print or change the print settings in Excel, refer to Use a screen reader to print an Excel workbook

  1. Press Command+P. The Print dialog box opens. The focus is on the Printer menu.

  2. To select a printer from the menu, press the Down arrow key until you hear the name of the printer you want, and then press Return.

  3. Press Control+Option+Right arrow key until you hear “Print button,” and then press Control+Option+Spacebar to print.

See also

Use a screen reader to insert a table in an Excel worksheet

Use a screen reader to create a chart and select a chart in Excel

Keyboard shortcuts in Excel

Set up your device to work with accessibility in Microsoft 365

Use a screen reader to explore and navigate Excel

Use Excel for iOS with VoiceOver, the built-in iOS screen reader, to do basic tasks, such as open the app, create a workbook, or enter your data.

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

Open Excel

  1. On your iPhone’s home screen, drag one finger around the screen until you hear “Excel,” and then double-tap the screen.

When you start Excel for iOS for the first time, you might need to sign in to your Microsoft account. For instructions, go to Sign in at the first use.

Tip: If you did not sign out of the Excel for iOS app the last time you used it, the app opens without prompting you to sign in.

Sign in to Excel

You can sign in to Excel for iOS the first time you open the app or later on. After you sign in to Excel, your account is also available in other Office apps. You can use Excel without signing in, too.

Sign in at the first use

  1. When you open Excel for iOS for the first time, the app starts the initial setup, and then you hear: “Use Excel on the go."

  2. Swipe right until you hear "Email or phone number, text field," and then double-tap the screen.

  3. Use the on-screen keyboard to type your email address or phone number. When you're done, tap near the top of the screen with four fingers, swipe left or right until you hear "Next, button," and then double-tap the screen.

  4. Swipe right until you hear "Enter password, password, secure text field, required," and then double-tap the screen.

  5. Use the on-screen keyboard to type your password.

  6. When you're done, tap near the top of the screen with four fingers, swipe left or right until you hear "Sign in, button,” and then double-tap the screen.

    If you hear “Don’t miss anything,” swipe right until you hear the option you want, and then double-tap the screen.

Sign in after the first use

When you decide to make the most of your workbooks, you can sign in to Excel for iOS even after you've already used the app without a sign-in.

  1. Open Excel.

  2. Tap near the top of the screen with four fingers, swipe left or right until you hear "Navigation pane, button," and then double-tap the screen.

  3. Swipe right or left until you hear "Sign in, button," and then double-tap the screen.

  4. Tap near the top of the screen with four fingers, swipe right or left until you hear "Email, phone, or Skype, text field, required," and then double-tap the screen.

  5. Use the on-screen keyboard to type your email address, phone number, or Skype name. When you're done, tap near the top of the screen with four fingers, swipe left or right until you hear "Next, button," and then double-tap the screen.

  6. Swipe right until you hear "Password, secure text field," and then double-tap the screen.

  7. Use the on-screen keyboard to type your password.

  8. When you're done, tap near the top of the screen with four fingers, swipe left or right until you hear "Sign in, button," and then double-tap the screen.

Open a workbook

Open a recent workbook

  1. Do one of the following:

    • Open Excel. Tap near the bottom of the screen with four fingers, swipe left until you hear "Home tab," and then double-tap the screen.

    • If you're already editing a file in Excel and want to open another one, tap near the top of the screen with four fingers, swipe right until you hear "Close file button," and double-tap the screen. Tap near the bottom of the screen with four fingers, swipe left until you hear "Home tab," and then double-tap the screen.

  2. Swipe right until you hear the file you want, and then double-tap the screen.

Open an older workbook

  1. Do one of the following:

    • Open Excel.

    • If you're already editing a file in Excel and want to open another one, tap near the top of the screen with four fingers, swipe right until you hear "Close file button," and double-tap the screen.

  2. Tap near the bottom of the screen with four fingers. You hear: "Open tab." Double-tap the screen. A list of files and folders opens.

  3. If the file you want to open is in a folder, swipe right until you hear the file location you want, and then double-tap the screen.

  4. Navigate to the file and double-tap the screen to open it.

Create a new workbook

Excel files are called workbooks. Each workbook contains sheets, typically called spreadsheets or worksheets. You can add as many sheets as you want to a workbook, or you can create new workbooks to keep your data organized.

  1. Do one of the following:

    • Open Excel.

    • If you're already editing a file in Excel and want to create a new one, tap near the top of the screen with four fingers, swipe right until you hear "Close file button," and double-tap the screen.

  2. Tap near the bottom of the screen with four fingers, swipe left until you hear "New tab," and then double-tap the screen.

  3. Swipe left or right until you hear the name of the workbook template you want to use, and then double-tap the screen. If you want to start a new workbook using a blank template without predesigned formatting, swipe left or right until you hear "Blank workbook," and double-tap the screen.

Add a new worksheet to the workbook

  1. In a workbook, tap near the bottom of the screen with four fingers, and double-tap the screen. You hear: "Add sheet, button." Double-tap the screen. The new sheet opens.

Enter your data

As you enter data in the sheet, you work with rows, columns, and cells. Cells are referenced by their location in the row and column on the sheet, so cell A1 is in the first row of column A.

  1. To move the focus to the sheet, drag your finger around the screen until you hear the coordinates of the cell you want, for example, "B3," and then double-tap the screen. You hear “Selected,” followed by the cell details. The cell is now selected.

  2. To open the on-screen keyboard, double-tap the screen. Use the on-screen keyboard to type the numbers or text that you want.

  3. Once you're done, tap near the bottom of the screen with four fingers, swipe left until you hear "Return," and then double-tap the screen.

Apply a number format

You can display different types of numbers by applying a number format to a cell such as Currency, Percentage, or Date.

  1. On the worksheet, drag your finger around the screen to find the cell you want to work on, and then double-tap the screen to select the cell.

  2. Tap near the top of the screen with four fingers, swipe right until you hear “Show ribbon button," and then double-tap the screen. You hear the current tab, for example, “Data tab.”

  3. To go to the Home tab, double-tap the screen, and then swipe left until you hear: “Home tab.” Then double-tap the screen.

  4. Swipe right until you hear “Number format button,” and double-tap the screen. You hear: “Number format.”

  5. Swipe right until you hear the format you want such as Currency, Time, or Percentage.

    Tip: If a format option has a submenu, you hear, for example, “Currency menu.” To open the submenu, double-tap the screen.

  6. To select a number format, double-tap the screen.

Save your work

Excel for iOS automatically saves your work if you're signed in, but you can change the name of the file and select the save location to save a copy of a file to your phone, for example.

Save a copy of your file with a new name

  1. In an Excel worksheet, tap near the top of the screen with four fingers, swipe right until you hear “File button,” and then double-tap the screen.

  2. Swipe right until you hear “Save a copy button,” and then double-tap the screen. You hear: “Save as, file name, text field.” The on-screen keyboard opens.

  3. Use the on-screen keyboard to type the new file name.

  4. Once you're done, tap near the bottom of the screen with four fingers, swipe left until you hear “Done,” and then double-tap the screen to save the file with the new name.

    Tip: If you are trying to save a file with a name that already exists, you hear: “Replace file?” Swipe right until you hear “Cancel button” or “Replace button,” depending on what you want to do. Double-tap the screen to confirm your choice.

Select where to save your file

  1. In an Excel worksheet, tap near the top of the screen with four fingers, swipe right until you hear “File button,” and then double-tap the screen.

  2. Swipe right until you hear “Save a copy button,” and then double-tap the screen. You hear: “Save as, file name, text field.”

  3. Swipe right until you hear the location where to save your file. If you want to save the copy to your phone, swipe right until you hear "On my iPhone, button," and double-tap the screen.

  4. In the location option you selected, swipe left or right until you hear the possible folder or other sublocation you want, and then double-tap the screen.

  5. Swipe right until you hear “Save button,” and then double-tap to save the file in the selected location.

    Tip: If you are trying to save a file with a name that already exists, you hear: “Replace file?” Swipe right until you hear “Cancel button” or “Replace button,” depending on what you want to do. Double-tap the screen to confirm your choice.

Print your work

Print your worksheet directly from your iPhone to a printer that supports AirPrint. To learn more about AirPrint and the supported printers, refer to Use AirPrint to print from your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch.

  1. Make sure that your iPhone and printer are connected to the same Wi-Fi network.

  2. In an Excel file, tap near the top of the screen with four fingers, swipe right until you hear “File button,” and then double-tap the screen.

  3. Swipe right until you hear “Print, button,” and then double-tap the screen.

  4. Swipe right and you hear: "AirPrint, button." Double-tap the screen. The Layout Options page opens.

  5. Swipe right to browse the list of layout options. To select an option, double-tap the screen.

  6. When you're done, swipe right until you hear: “Next, button.” If you’re prompted to allow online file conversion, swipe right until you hear “Allow,” and then double-tap the screen. The Print Options page opens.

  7. To select your printer, swipe right until you hear “Printer, Select printer, button,” and then double-tap the screen. Swipe right until you hear the printer you want and then double-tap the screen. The focus returns to the Printer Options page.

  8. To set the number of copies to be printed, swipe right until you hear “One copy” or the current selection. To change the current number of copies, swipe right until you hear “Decrement” or “Increment,” and then double-tap the screen.

  9. To print, swipe left until you hear “Print button,” and then double-tap the screen.

For instructions on how to perform more advanced printing tasks, refer to Use a screen reader to print an Excel workbook.

See also

Use a screen reader to find and replace data in Excel

Use a screen reader to add comments to an Excel worksheet

Keyboard shortcuts in Excel

Set up your device to work with accessibility in Microsoft 365

Use a screen reader to explore and navigate Excel

Use Excel with TalkBack, the built-in Android screen reader, to do basic tasks, such as create, edit, or print a workbook.

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

Open Excel for Android

  1. On your Android device’s home screen, drag one finger around the screen until you hear “Apps,” and then double-tap the screen.

  2. Swipe right until you hear “Excel,” and then double-tap the screen.

When you start Excel for the first time, you might need to sign in to your Microsoft account. For instructions, go to Sign in at the first use.

Tips: 

  • If you have turned on Ok Google voice detection in the Google app, you can say: “Ok Google, open Excel.”

  • If you did not sign out of the Excel app the last time you used it, the app opens without prompting you to sign in.

Sign in to Excel

You can sign in to Excel the first time you open the app or later on. After you sign in to Excel, your account is also available in other Office apps. You can use Excel without signing in, too.

Sign in at the first use

  1. When you open Excel for the first time, the app starts the initial setup, and then you hear: “Sign in to Microsoft account."

  2. Swipe right until you hear "Editing, edit box, email, phone, or Skype," and then double-tap the screen.

  3. Use the on-screen keyboard to type your email address, phone number, or Skype name. When you're done, swipe down-then-left to close the on-screen keyboard.

  4. Swipe right or left until you hear "Next, button," and double-tap the screen.

  5. Swipe right until you hear "Editing password, edit box," and then double-tap the screen.

  6. Use the on-screen keyboard to type your password. When you're done, swipe down-then-left to close the on-screen keyboard.

  7. Swipe right or left until you hear "Sign in, button," and then double-tap the screen.

Sign in after the first use

When you decide to make the most of your workbooks, you can sign in to Excel even after you've already used the app without a sign-in.

  1. Open Excel.

  2. Swipe right until you hear "Sign in," and then double-tap the screen. You hear: "Sign in, Back button."

  3. Swipe right until you hear "Sign in button," and then double-tap the screen. The Sign in window opens.

  4. Swipe right until you hear "Editing, edit box, Email, phone, or Skype," and then double-tap the screen.

  5. Use the on-screen keyboard to type your email address, phone number, or Skype name. When you're done, swipe down-then-left to close the on-screen keyboard.

  6. Swipe left or right until you hear "Next, button," and then double-tap the screen.

  7. Swipe right until you hear "Editing password, edit box," and then double-tap the screen.

  8. Use the on-screen keyboard to type your password. When you're done, swipe down-then-left to close the on-screen keyboard.

  9. Swipe right or left until you hear "Sign in, button," and then double-tap the screen.

Open a workbook

When you open Excel, you land on the Recent page. It lists your most recent workbooks. You can quickly open one of your most recent workbooks to continue where you left off. You can also navigate to and open an older workbook. 

Open a recent workbook 

  1. Do one of the following:

    • Open Excel.

    • If you're already working on a workbook and want to open another one, swipe down-then-left.

  2. You land on the Recent page. Drag one finger on the screen until you hear the file you want, and then double-tap the screen.

Open an older workbook

  1. Do one of the following:

    • Open Excel.

    • If you're already working on a workbook and want to open another one, swipe down-then-left.

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

  3. Swipe right until you hear the location of the file and double-tap the screen.

  4. Swipe right until you hear the name of the file you want and double-tap the screen to open it.

Create a new workbook

Excel files are called workbooks. Each workbook contains sheets, typically called spreadsheets or worksheets. You can add as many sheets as you want to a workbook, or you can create new workbooks to keep your data organized.

  1. Do one of the following:

    • Open Excel.

    • If you're already working on a workbook and want to create a new one, swipe down-then-left.

  2. Swipe left or right until you hear “New button,” and then double-tap the screen. You hear: "New, Back button."

  3. Swipe right until you hear the name of the workbook template you want to use, and then double-tap the screen. If you want to start a new workbook using a blank template without predesigned formatting, swipe left or right until you hear "Blank workbook," and double-tap the screen.

Add a new worksheet to the workbook

  1. In a workbook, drag your finger around the lower-right corner of the screen until you hear “Add sheet button,” and then double-tap the screen.

    Note: If you don't hear "Add sheet button," the sheets bar is hidden. To display the sheets bar, drag your finger around the lower-left corner of the screen until you hear "Sheets button," and double-tap the screen.

Enter your data

As you enter data in the sheet, you work with rows, columns, and cells. Cells are referenced by their location in the row and column on the sheet, so cell A1 is in the first row of column A. On a new sheet, cell A1 is the default selection.

  1. On the worksheet, drag your finger around the screen until you find the cell you want to work on.

  2. To open the context menu, double-tap the screen. You hear: “Cut button.”

  3. Swipe right until you hear “Edit button,” and then double-tap the screen. The on-screen keyboard is displayed on the bottom half of the screen.

  4. Use the on-screen keyboard to type the numbers or text that you want. When you're done, swipe down-then-left to close the on-screen keyboard.

  5. Drag your finger around the upper-right corner of the screen until you hear “Enter button,” and then double-tap the screen.

Apply a number format

You can display different types of numbers by applying a number format to a cell such as Currency, Percentage, or Date.

  1. On the worksheet, drag your finger around the screen to find the cell you want to work on, and then double-tap the screen to select the cell.

  2. To close the context menu, swipe down-then left.

  3. Swipe left or right until you hear “More options button," and then double-tap the screen. You hear the name of the currently selected tab.

  4. Double-tap the screen, swipe left until you hear "Home, tab menu," and then double-tap the screen.

  5. Swipe right until you hear “Number format menu,” and double-tap the screen. The Number Format menu opens.

  6. Swipe right until you hear the format you want such as Currency, Time, or Percentage, and double-tap the screen to select.

    Tip: If a format option has a submenu, you hear, for example, “Number menu.” To open the submenu, double-tap the screen.

Create a simple formula

You can create simple formulas to add, subtract, multiply, or divide your numbers.

  1. On the worksheet, drag your finger around the screen to find the cell where you want to display the result of the formula.

  2. To open the context menu, double-tap the screen. You hear: “Cut button.”

  3. Swipe right until you hear “Edit button,” and then double-tap the screen to open the on-screen keyboard.

  4. To start creating your formula, first type an equal sign ( = ). An Excel formula always starts with the equal sign.

  5. When you have typed the equal sign, type a combination of cell references (like B4 or D6) and math operators. Type the plus sign (+) for addition, the minus sign (-) for subtraction, the asterisk (*) for multiplication, or the forward slash (/) for division. For example, type =B4+B5, =B4-B5, =B4*B5, or =B4/B5.

    Tip: To do quick calculations, instead of cell references, you can enter numbers in your formula, for example, =20+10, =20-10, =20*10, or =20/10.

  6. Once you're done, drag your finger around the upper-right corner of the screen until you hear “Enter button,” and then double-tap the screen. Excel runs the calculation and inserts the result to the selected cell.

Save your work

Excel automatically saves your work if you're signed in, but you can change the name of the file and select the save location, for example, to save a copy to your phone.

Rename your file

  1. In an Excel file, swipe right until you hear “More options menu,” and then double-tap the screen.

  2. Swipe right until you hear “Save as button,” and then double-tap the screen. The Save as page opens. The focus is on the file name text field.

  3. Double-tap the screen. To clear the current file name, swipe right until you hear “Clear button,” and then double-tap the screen.

  4. Use the on-screen keyboard to type the new file name. When you're done, swipe down-then-left to close the on-screen keyboard.

  5. Swipe right until you hear “Save button,” and then double-tap to save the file with the new name.

    Tip: If you are trying to save a file with a name that already exists, you hear: “Replace file?” Swipe right until you hear “Cancel button” or “Replace button,” depending on what you want to do. Double-tap the screen to confirm your choice.

Select where to save your file

  1. In an Excel file, swipe right until you hear “More options menu,” and then double-tap the screen.

  2. Swipe right until you hear “Save as button,” and then double-tap the screen. The Save as page opens. The focus is on the file name text field.

  3. Swipe left until you hear the location where to save your file. If you want to save the file to your phone, swipe left until you hear "This device," and double-tap the screen.

  4. In the location you selected, swipe left or right until you hear the possible folder or other sublocation you want, and then double-tap the screen.

  5. Swipe right until you hear “Save button,” and then double-tap to save the file in the selected location.

    Tip: If you are trying to save a file with a name that already exists, you hear: “Replace file?” Swipe right until you hear “Cancel button” or “Replace button,” depending on what you want to do. Double-tap the screen to confirm your choice.

Print your work

To print your worksheets, make sure you have a printer connected to your device.

  1. In an Excel file, swipe right until you hear “More options menu,” and then double-tap the screen.

  2. Swipe right until you hear “Print,” and then double-tap the screen. The Print Options page opens.

  3. To use the default print options, swipe right until you hear "Print, button," and then double-tap the screen. If you hear “Allow Excel to use an online service from Microsoft to prepare files for printing,” swipe right until you hear “Allow button,” and double-tap the screen.

  4. To select a printer, swipe right until you hear “Drop-down list, Select a printer,” and then double-tap the screen. Swipe right until you hear the name of the printer you want, and double-tap the screen to select.

  5. To print, swipe right until you hear “Print button,” and then double-tap the screen.

For instructions on how to perform more advanced printing tasks, go to Use a screen reader to print an Excel workbook.

See also

Use a screen reader to insert a table in an Excel worksheet

Use a screen reader to print an Excel workbook

Keyboard shortcuts in Excel

Set up your device to work with accessibility in Microsoft 365

Use a screen reader to explore and navigate Excel

Use Excel for the web with your keyboard and a screen reader to do basic tasks, such as create a new workbook, edit a workbook, and print your work. We have tested it with Narrator in Microsoft Edge and JAWS and NVDA in Chrome, but it might work with other screen readers and web browsers as long as they follow common accessibility standards and techniques.

Notes: 

  • If you use Narrator with the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update, you have to turn off scan mode in order to edit documents, spreadsheets, or presentations with Office for the web. For more information, refer to Turn off virtual or browse mode in screen readers in Windows 10 Fall Creators Update.

  • 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.

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

  • When you use Excel for the web, we recommend that you use Microsoft Edge as your web browser. Because Excel for the web runs in your web browser, the keyboard shortcuts are different from those in the desktop program. For example, you’ll use Ctrl+F6 instead of F6 for jumping in and out of the commands. Also, common shortcuts like F1 (Help) and Ctrl+O (Open) apply to the web browser – not Excel for the web.

In this topic

Open Excel for the web

  1. Go to https://www.office.com and sign in with your Microsoft account.

  2. Press the Tab key until you hear "Home, button," press the Down arrow key until you hear "Go to Excel, button, off," and then press Enter. Excel for the web opens with the focus on the template for a new blank workbook.

Open a workbook

You can quickly open a file that you've been working on recently or browse all of your workbooks to find the one you want. You can also open your workbook in the full desktop version of Excel to access additional options.

Open a workbook when starting Excel for the web

  1. Open Excel for the web. The app opens and the focus is on a new blank workbook option.

  2. Do one of the following:

    • To open a recent file, press the Tab key or B until you hear "Recently opened, button," and press Enter. Press the Tab key until you hear "Link Excel," followed by the name of the workbook in focus and your username. To browse the list of recent workbooks, press the Tab key or I. When you find the file you want to open, press Enter. The file opens in Viewing mode.

    • To browse all of your workbooks to find the one you want to open, press the Tab key or B until you hear "All, button," and press Enter. Press the Tab key until you hear "Link Excel," followed by the name of the workbook in focus and your username. To navigate the list of workbooks, press the Tab key or I. When you find the file you want to open, press Enter. The file opens in Viewing mode.

Open a workbook when editing a file in Excel for the web

Note: To open another workbook when already working in Excel for the web, you must be in Editing mode. For instructions on how to switch to Editing mode, refer to Switch to Editing mode.

  1. Press Alt+Windows logo key. The focus moves to the ribbon.

  2. To open the File menu, press F.

  3. To open the Open menu, press O.

  4. Do one of the following:

    • To open a recent workbook, press the Tab key once, press the Up or Down arrow key until you hear the document you want, and then press Enter. The file opens in Viewing mode.

    • To open a document from an online repository, press the Tab key until you hear "Link, View more files," and press Enter. OneDrive opens. Navigate to the file you want, and then press Enter. The file opens in the Editing mode.

Open a workbook in the full version of Excel

If you have the full desktop version of Excel, it gives you many more options when working with your files. It's easy to open the full version from Excel for the web.

  1. In Excel for the web, press Alt+Windows logo key, Z, M, and then O. You hear: "This site is trying to open Excel."

  2. Press the Tab key until you hear "Open button," and then press Enter. The workbook opens in the desktop version of Excel.

Switch to Editing mode

If you've opened a workbook in Viewing mode, and want to edit the file, you need to switch to Editing mode.

  1. In Viewing mode, press Alt+Windows logo key, Z, M, and then E. The mode changes to Editing.

Create a new workbook

You can create a new workbook from a preformatted or blank template.

Tip: To add a new worksheet to a workbook, press Shift+F11.

Create a workbook when starting Excel for the web

  1. Open Excel for the web. The app opens and the focus is on a new blank workbook option. This workbook option doesn't contain any predefined formatting.

  2. Do one of the following:

    • To open a new blank workbook and start working on it, press Enter.

    • To browse the list of templates on the Excel for the web start page, press the Tab key until you hear the template you want, and then press Enter. To browse for additional templates, press the Tab key until you hear "Link, Access more templates," and press Enter. Press the Tab key until you find the right template, and then press Enter.

    The new workbook opens, and the focus is on the first cell in the sheet.

Create a workbook when editing a file in Excel for the web

Note: To create a new workbook when already working in Excel for the web, you must be in Editing mode. For instructions on how to switch to Editing mode, refer to Switch to Editing mode.

  1. Press Alt+Windows logo key. The focus moves to the ribbon.

  2. To open the File menu, press F.

  3. To open the New menu, press N.

  4. Press the Tab key until you hear "Enter table, Blank, New," and then do one of the following:

    • To create a new workbook from a blank template without predesigned formatting, press Enter.

    • To browse for a template, use the arrow keys to locate the template you want, and then press Enter.

Edit your workbook

To edit your workbook, you need to be in Editing mode. For instructions on how to get to Editing mode, go to Switch to Editing mode.

Enter your data

  1. To move between cells, press the arrow keys. The screen reader announces the cells as you move by their row and column location on the worksheet. The cell A1 is in the first row of the column A. If the cell has text in it, the screen reader reads the text.

  2. To enter or replace text in a cell, type the text, number, or formula.

  3. To move to the next cell, press Enter or the Tab key.

Use AutoSum to sum your numbers

To quickly add up the numbers in your sheet, you can use the AutoSum function.

  1. Move to the cell to the right of or just below the numbers that you want to sum.

  2. Press Alt+Windows logo key, H, U, S. To perform the calculation, press Enter.

    Excel for the web adds up the numbers and places the result to the cell you selected.

Create a simple formula

You can create simple formulas to add, subtract, multiply, or divide your numbers.

  1. Move to the cell to the right of or just below the numbers that you want to calculate.

  2. Type an equal sign ( = ). You hear: "Editing, equal sign."

  3. To create the formula, type a combination of numbers and calculation operators, like the plus sign (+) for addition, the minus sign (-) for subtraction, the asterisk (*) for multiplication, or the forward slash (/) for division. For example, type one of the following:

    • To add numbers, type =2+4.

    • To subtract numbers, type =4-2.

    • To multiply numbers, type =2*4.

    • To divide numbers, type =4/2.

  4. To perform the calculation, press Enter.

Excel for the web runs the calculation and shows the result in the cell you selected.

Apply a number format

You can display different types of numbers in Excel for the web by applying a number format, like Currency, Percentage, or Date.

  1. Select the cell or cells you want to format. To select several adjacent cells, press and hold Shift and then use the arrow keys until you've selected the cells you want.

  2. To open the context menu, press Shift+F10 or the Windows Menu key.

  3. Press the Down arrow key or I until you hear "Number format," and then press Enter. You hear: "Alert, Number format."

  4. Press the Down arrow key until you hear the format you want such as Currency or Date, and then press Enter to select and apply it to your worksheet.

Create a table from your data

You can create a table from your data so that you can, for example, quickly filter or sort the data.

  1. Select the cells that you want to include in the table. To select several adjacent cells, press and hold Shift and then use the arrow keys until you've selected the cells you want.

  2. To open the Format as Table menu, press Alt+Windows logo key, H, T.

  3. Use the arrow keys to browse the available table styles. When you hear the style you want, press Enter. The Format as Table dialog box opens.

  4. Press the Tab key until you hear: "My table has headers, checkbox, unchecked." To add headers to the table, press Spacebar.

    Tip: Use table headers to make your table more accessible for screen reader users. Screen readers use the header information to understand how to locate table cells.

  5. To create the table, press Enter.

Sort or filter the data in a table

  1. In the table you want to sort or filter, move to a cell that has a Sort & Filter drop-down menu. You hear the cell details, followed by "Has a sort and filter drop-down menu."

  2. To open the drop-down menu, press Alt+Down arrow key.

  3. Do one of the following:

    • To sort the data, press the Down arrow key or I until you hear "Sort smallest to largest," "Sort largest to smallest," "Sort A to Z," or "Sort Z to A" depending on the type of data in the cells, and then press Enter.

    • To apply a simple filter, press the Down arrow key or I until you hear “Select all, menu item,” and then press Spacebar. Press the Down arrow key or I to browse the filter options. When you hear an option you want, press Spacebar to select or unselect it. To apply the filter, press the Tab key until you hear "Apply," and then press Enter.

    • To apply a complex filter, press the Down arrow key or I until you hear “Text filters, menu item,” and then press Enter or the Right arrow key once. The filter menu opens. Press the Down arrow key or I until you hear the option you want and then press Enter. The Custom Filter dialog box opens. Type the values you want and press Enter.

    • To clear a filter, press the Down arrow key until you hear "Clear filter from," followed by the coordinates of the filtered cell, and then press Enter.

For more detailed instructions on how to sort or filter data in a table, refer to Use a screen reader to sort or filter a table in Excel.

Show calculations of your numbers

  1. In the cell where you want the total to appear, type an equal sign ( = ).

  2. Type the name of the formula or function you want to use such as sum or average. A list of functions opens and is updated as you type. You hear the first function in the list.

  3. Press the Down arrow key until you hear the function you want, and then press the Tab key once to select it.

  4. Type the cell range or other numbers you want to apply the function on, followed by a closing parenthesis ()), and then press Enter.

Save your work

Excel for the web automatically saves your work, but you can change the location or file name and you can download a copy of the file.

Save a copy online

  1. While editing a workbook, press Alt+Windows logo key, F, S, A. The Save As dialog box opens. The focus is on the File Name text field.

  2. Type a new name for your file.

  3. Press the Tab key once. You hear "Location," followed by the name of the current location.

  4. Press Alt+Down arrow key to expand the menu, and then press the Up or Down arrow key until you hear the location you want, and then press Enter.

Rename a workbook

  1. While editing a workbook, press Alt+Windows logo key, F, S, R. The focus moves to the File Name text field.

  2. Type a new name for your file, and then press Enter.

Save a copy to your computer

  1. While editing a workbook, press Alt+Windows logo key, F, S, C. The file is downloaded to the Downloads folder on your computer.

Print your work

  1. While editing a workbook, press Alt+Windows logo key, F, P, P. The print preview of the workbook opens.

  2. To print using the default settings, press the Tab key until you hear "Print button," and then press Enter.

For instructions on how to perform more advanced printing tasks, refer to Use a screen reader to print an Excel workbook.

See also

Use a screen reader to insert a table in an Excel worksheet

Use a screen reader to find and replace data in Excel

Use a screen reader to add comments to an Excel worksheet

Keyboard shortcuts in Excel

Use a screen reader to explore and navigate Excel

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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