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Use a screen reader to explore and navigate Mail

This article is for people who use a screen reader program such as Windows 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.

Use Mail for Windows 10 with your keyboard and a screen reader to explore and navigate the different views and move between them. 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.


In this topic

Navigate the Mail main view

When you open Mail for Windows 10, the Inbox view is displayed, showing your most recent emails or meeting requests. To navigate through and inside the main view and screen elements:

  • Press the Tab key or Shift+Tab to move the focus through the screen elements.

  • When the focus is on a button or selectable element, press Enter to perform the action or select the element.

The main view contains the following regions: the navigation pane on the left side and the message list in the middle. If you have a message open, the Reading pane is shown on the right side of the app window.

Tip: Depending on the size of your Mail window, having the Reading pane open can hide the message list from view. For best results, press Alt+Spacebar, X to maximize the Mail window.

Navigation pane

The navigation pane is located on the left side of the main view. It contains the following elements:

  • The Navigation button for expanding and collapsing the navigation pane.

  • The New mail button for writing a new email.

  • The Manage accounts button for opening the Manage accounts pane, where you can add new email accounts and edit the settings of existing accounts.

  • A list of all email accounts added to Mail.

  • The Folders button for opening the Folders pane, where you can open email folders and create new folders.

  • Navigation tabs for launching other applications, and the Settings button for opening the Settings pane, where you can edit all Mail settings.

To navigate in the navigation pane and the Manage accounts, Folders, and Settings panes, use the Tab key and arrow keys to find the item you want, and press Enter to select it. To close the Manage accounts, Folders, or Settings pane, press Esc.

Message list

The message list contains the contents of the currently open email folder. It contains the following elements:

  • The Search field, which lets you search for email messages.

  • The Sync this view and Enter selection mode buttons.

  • For the Inbox, the Focused and Other tabs and the Filter button.

  • The main content area, which contains a list of messages inside the currently opened email folder.

To navigate in the message list, press the Tab key or Shift+Tab until you hear the item you want. Inside the main content area, browse the messages with the Up and Down arrow keys. When you hear the item you want, press Enter to select it. If you select a message, it is opened in the Reading pane.

Reading pane

The Reading pane contains the currently open message. It contains the following elements:

  • The email message, which contains header fields and the message body.

  • The ribbon menu, which contains different options depending on what you are doing:

    • When you are writing a new email, the ribbon menu contains the Format, Insert, Draw, and Options tabs for modifying the content of the email message, as well as the Discard and Send buttons.

    • When you have opened a received email, the ribbon menu contains the Reply, Reply all, Forward, Archive, and Delete buttons, as well as the Actions button that contains more options.

To switch between the email message and the ribbon menu, press Alt. To navigate within the email message, press the Tab key or Shift+Tab to move between message fields. To navigate the ribbon menu, press the Left and Right arrow keys to move between the ribbon tabs and buttons, the Down and Up arrow keys to move into and out of the ribbon tabs, and the Left and Right arrow keys for to move inside a ribbon tab. When you hear the option you want, press Enter to select it.

Move between the Mail and Calendar apps

  1. To switch from Mail to Calendar, press Ctrl+2.

  2. To move back to Mail, in Calendar, press Ctrl+1.

See also

Screen reader support for Mail and Calendar for Windows 10

Use a screen reader to set up your email account in Mail

Use a screen reader to work with folders in Mail

Keyboard shortcuts in Mail

Basic tasks using a screen reader with Mail

Set up your device to work with accessibility in Microsoft 365

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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