Use a screen reader to explore and navigate Word

Use a screen reader to explore and navigate Word

Read out loud symbol with the label Screen reader content. This topic is about using a screen reader with Office

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 or Fixes or workarounds for recent office issues.

Use Word with your keyboard and a screen reader to explore and navigate the different views and move between them. We've 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.

Decorative icon Need instructions on how to get started with Word, but not using a screen reader? See Word help & learning.

Notes: 

In this topic

Navigate the main view

When you open a Word document for editing, you land on the main view. To cycle between the elements in the main view, press the F6 (forward) or Shift+F6 (backward). The main elements are, in order:

  • The main content area, which shows the document content. You hear the name of the document, followed by "Editing," when the focus is on the document content.

  • The status bar at the bottom of the screen where you can find document statistics such as page count, word count, text language, and zoom level. You hear the current page number when the focus is on the status bar, for example, "Page two of three."

    • To navigate the status bar, use the Right and Left arrow keys.

  • The row of ribbon tabs, which includes tabs such as File, Home, Insert, Review, View, and the Share and Comments buttons. The ribbon containing the options specific to the currently selected tab is located below the row of ribbon tabs.

    • When the focus moves to the ribbon tabs, you hear "Ribbon tabs," followed by the currently selected tab. To navigate the row of ribbon tabs, press the Left or Right arrow key until you hear the name of the tab or control you want, and press Enter to select it.

    • To navigate from the row of ribbon tabs to the ribbon, press the Tab key or the Down arrow key once. You hear the name of the first option on the ribbon. To navigate between options on the ribbon, press the Tab key, Shift+Tab, or the Right or Left arrow key. You can also use keyboard shortcuts to select options directly. For the ribbon keyboard shortcuts, refer to Use the keyboard to work with the ribbon in Word.

Navigate between views

In addition to the main view, Word has the following commonly used views and areas:

The File menu

The File menu contains commands such as New, Open, and Save a Copy. You can also access your accounts and the app settings from the File menu. The File menu consists of a tab pane on the left and the contents of a selected tab on the right.

  • To open the File menu, press Alt+F. You hear: "File, home." The focus is on the Home tab in the tab pane.

  • To navigate between the tabs in the tab pane, press the Up or Down arrow key until you hear the tab you want to open, for example, "New." Press Enter to open the tab. The content pane of the selected tab opens to the right of the tab pane. To move the focus to the content pane, press the Tab key once.

  • To navigate within a tab content pane, press the Tab key, Shift+Tab, or the arrow keys.

  • To exit the File menu and return to the main view, press Esc.

For the File menu keyboard shortcuts, refer to Keyboard shortcuts for the File menu in Office for Windows.

The Quick Access Toolbar

The Quick Access Toolbar and title bar at the top of the screen contain the document name, buttons for AutoSave, ribbon display options, and your account, and buttons for minimizing, restoring the size, and closing the active window.

  • To navigate to the Quick Access Toolbar and title bar, press Alt once. You hear: "Ribbon tabs." Then press Shift+Tab once. The focus is now on the Quick Access Toolbar.

  • To browse the available options, press Shift+Tab repeatedly. You can add and remove Quick Access Toolbar buttons and change their order on the toolbar. For instructions, refer to Use a keyboard to customize the Quick Access Toolbar.

The Options window

The Options window contains Word settings, such as personalization, proofreading, and language preferences. The Options window consists of an options category pane on the left and the content pane of the selected category on the right.

  • To open the Options window, press Alt+F, T. You hear: "Word options."

  • To navigate the options categories, press the Down arrow key until you hear the name of the category you want, then press the Tab key to move the focus to the content pane.

  • To navigate the content pane, press the Tab key, Shift+Tab, or the Up and Down arrow keys.

  • To exit the Options window and return to the main view, press the Tab key until you hear "OK," and press Enter. To return to the main view without making changes, press Esc.

Explore a document

Use the Narrator scan mode

To navigate the content of your document by elements, you can use the Narrator scan mode. To turn on the scan mode, press the SR key+Spacebar.

With the scan mode enabled, you can use the Up and Down arrow keys and keyboard shortcuts to navigate your document and cycle between paragraphs, other elements, areas, and landmarks. For detailed information on how to use the Narrator scan mode, refer to Chapter 3: Using scan mode.

To find the JAWS cursor that suits your needs, refer to So Many Cursors, So Little Time, Understanding Cursors in JAWS. To learn how to use the NVDA Browse mode which is also optionally available for Word, refer to 6. Browse Mode.

Use the Navigation pane

You can use the Navigation pane to quickly navigate between parts of the document such as headings or graphics.

  1. To turn on the Navigation pane, press Alt+W, K. You hear: "Navigation, search document, edit box."

  2. Do one of the following:

    • To navigate the headings in the document, press the Tab key until you hear "Heading tab item," press the Tab key until you hear the heading you want, and then press Enter. The focus moves to the beginning of the heading row in the document body.

    • To navigate by certain elements in your document, such as graphics, press the Tab key until you hear "Search, split button," and then press Alt+Down arrow key to expand the menu. Press the Down arrow key until you hear the element you want, for example, "Graphic," and then press Enter to select. The focus moves to the next result button. Press Enter repeatedly to move through the results.

  3. To close the Navigation pane, press Alt+W, K.

Use Read Mode

Read Mode is designed to make reading text easier and includes reading tools such as Read Aloud.

  1. To enable Read Mode, press Alt+W, F.

  2. Do one or more of the following:

    • To access the Read Mode toolbar, press Alt, and then press the Tab key until you hear the name of the menu you want, and then press Enter to select it. Press the Down arrow key to move down on the list of available options, and press Enter to select an option.

    • To use Read Aloud, press Alt+W, R. To access the reading controls, press the Tab key until you reach the option you want, and then press Enter to select it.

      Tip: For the best results, it might be helpful to turn off your screen reader when you use Read Aloud.

  3. To exit Read Mode, press Esc.

Use the Immersive Reader view

With Immersive Reader, you can improve focus, declutter the text you're reading, read scanned texts more easily, and decode complex texts.

  1. To turn on Immersive Reader, press Alt+W, L, 2.

  2. To access the Immersive Reader ribbon and options, press Alt. You hear: "Immersive, Immersive Reader, tab." Press the Tab key to move between the options on the ribbon and press Enter to select an option.

  3. To turn off Immersive Reader, press Alt+W, L, 2.

Use the Focus mode

The Focus mode can help you minimize distractions and concentrate on writing, creating, and collaborating in Word. The Focus mode hides the ribbon and status bar, showing just the Word document itself.

  • To turn on the Focus mode, press Alt+W, O.

  • To turn off the Focus mode, press Esc.

Navigate between floating shapes 

  1. To quickly move the focus to the first floating shape such as a text box or a chart, press Ctrl+Alt+5.

  2. To cycle between the floating shapes, press the Tab key or Shift+Tab.

  3. To return to the normal navigation, press Esc.

Zoom in or out

Zoom in to get a close-up of your document or zoom out to get an overview of the page at a reduced size.

  1. Press Alt+W, Q. You hear “Zoom dialog” or “Zoom window.”

  2. Press the Tab key until you reach the Percent spinner, and then type a percentage or use the Up or Down arrow key to change the percentage.

  3. Press the Tab key until you reach the OK button and press Enter.

Use Search

To find an option or perform an action quickly, use the Search text field. To learn more about the Search feature, go to Find what you need with Microsoft Search in Office.

Note: Depending on the version of Office you are using, the Search text field at the top of the app window might be called Tell Me instead. Both offer a largely similar experience, but some options and search results can vary.

  1. Select the item or place in your document, presentation, or spreadsheet where you want to perform an action. For example, in an Excel spreadsheet, select a range of cells.

  2. To go to the Search text field, press Alt+Q.

  3. Type the search words for the action that you want to perform. For example, if you want to add a bulleted list, type bullets.

  4. Press the Down arrow key to browse through the search results.

  5. Once you've found the result that you want, press Enter to select it and to perform the action.

See also

Use a screen reader to insert and change text in Word

Use a screen reader to insert a picture or image in Word

Keyboard shortcuts in Word

Basic tasks using a screen reader with Word

Set up your device to work with accessibility in Microsoft 365

Make your Word documents accessible to people with disabilities

What's new in Microsoft 365

Use Word for Mac with your keyboard and VoiceOver, the built-in MacOS screen reader, to explore and navigate the different views and move between them.

Decorative icon Need instructions on how to get started with Word, but not using a screen reader? See Word help & learning.

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

Navigate the main view

When you open a Word document for editing, you land on the main view. To navigate the main view, press F6 (forward) and Shift+F6 (backward). The focus moves through the following elements in the main view, in order:

  • The main content area, which shows the document content. This is where you edit the document. When the focus is on the content area, you hear the page you're on, followed by the location of the text insertion point.

  • The status bar at the bottom of the screen, which contains document statistics such as page count, word count, text language, and the zoom level. When the focus moves to the status bar, you hear the current page number, followed by the total number of pages, for example, "Page six of fourteen." To browse the options on the status bar, press Control+Option+Right or Left arrow key.

  • The quick access toolbar at the top of the screen, which contains, for example, the AutoSave, Print, and Undo buttons and the name of the document. You hear "Autosave" when the focus moves to the quick access toolbar. To move between the options on the toolbar, press Control+Option+Right or Left arrow key.

  • The row of ribbon tabs, which includes tabs such as Home, Insert, Review, View, and the Share and Comments buttons. When the focus moves to the ribbon tabs, you hear the currently selected tab, for example, "Home, selected tab."

    • To navigate the row of ribbon tabs, press Control+Option+Right or Left arrow key until you hear the name of the tab or control you want, and press Control+Option+Spacebar to select it and display the ribbon.

    • The ribbon containing the options specific to the currently selected tab is located below the row of ribbon tabs. To navigate from the row of ribbon tabs to the ribbon, press the Tab key until you hear the ribbon you're entering and the first option on the ribbon. For example, with the View tab selected, you hear: "Entering View tab commands scroll area." To navigate between the options on the ribbon, press Control+Option+Right or Left arrow key.

Navigate between views

In addition to the main view, Word has the following commonly used views and areas:

Word start page

When you open the Word app, you land on the start page. On the start page, you can create a new document, browse templates, open an existing document, and access your account info. The start page consists of a tab pane on the left and the contents of a selected tab on the right.

  • To navigate the tab pane, press the Tab key. To display the tab contents, press Control+Option+Spacebar.

  • To navigate from the tab pane to the content pane of the selected tab, press the Tab key until you hear: "Entering scroll area." To browse the available sections in the content pane, press Control+Option+Right arrow key. To interact with a section, press Control+Option+Shift+Down arrow key. To stop interacting with a section, press Control+Option+Shift+Up arrow key.

  • To navigate to the start page from the main view, press Shift+Command+P.

The app menu bar

The app menu bar contains additional options and controls, for example, for editing text and formatting tables. You can also access the File menu with options to start a new document or open an existing one.

  1. To move the focus to the app menu bar, press Control+Option+M.

  2. To browse the options on the menu bar, press Control+Option+Right arrow key.

  3. To exit the menu bar, press Esc.

The Word Preferences window

In the Word Preferences window, you can access Word settings such as AutoCorrect and ribbon options.

  1. To open the Word Preferences window, press Command+Comma (,).

  2. To navigate the window, press the Tab key. To select a setting, press Spacebar. The setting dialog box opens. To navigate within a setting dialog box, press the Tab key or the arrow keys.

  3. To close the Word Preferences window and return to your document, press Esc.

Explore a document

To navigate around a Word document, you can use the keyboard shortcuts, the VoiceOver features such as rotor, or the Navigation Pane.

Use the keyboard shortcuts

One of the quickest ways to move around in a document is to use the keyboard shortcuts. For a full list of keyboard shortcuts for navigating a document, refer to the "Navigate the document" section in Keyboard shortcuts in Word.

Use the VoiceOver rotor, Quick Nav, or Item Chooser

You can use the VoiceOver features such as rotor, Quick Nav, or Item Chooser to navigate directly to an item, for example, a section heading or link.

Use the Navigation Pane

Use the Navigation Pane to quickly navigate between parts of the document such as headings.

  1. To turn on the Navigation Pane, press Command+F6 until you hear the name of the current ribbon tab. Press Control+Option+Right arrow key until you hear "View, tab," and press Control+Option+Spacebar. Press the Tab key until you hear "Navigation pane, toggle button," and press Control+Option+Spacebar.

  2. To move the focus to the navigation pane, press Command+F6 until you hear: "Thumbnails pane, selected."

  3. Press Control+Option+Right arrow key until you hear "Document map, tab," and then press Control+Option+Spacebar.

  4. Press Control+Option+Right arrow key until you hear "Table," and then press Control+Option+Shift+Down arrow key to open the headings table.

  5. To move between the headings, press the Down or Up arrow key until you find the heading you want, and then press Control+Option+Spacebar to move the focus to the beginning of the heading in the document body.

See also

Use a screen reader to insert and change text in Word

Use a screen reader to insert a picture or image in Word

Keyboard shortcuts in Word

Basic tasks using a screen reader with Word

Set up your device to work with accessibility in Microsoft 365

Make your Word documents accessible to people with disabilities

What's new in Microsoft 365

Use Word for iOS with VoiceOver, the built-in iOS screen reader, to explore and navigate the different views and move between them.

Decorative icon Need instructions on how to get started with Word, but not using a screen reader? See Word help & learning.

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

Navigate the main view

When you open a Word document for editing, you land on the main view. It contains the following main elements:

  • The top menu bar, which contains options such as Close file, Share, and File.

    • To move the focus to the top menu bar, tap near the top of the screen with four fingers. You hear the name of the document. Then swipe right once. The focus is now on the top menu bar. To browse the available options, swipe right repeatedly.

  • The document content area, which appears under the top menu and takes up the majority of the screen.

    • To move the focus to the content area, swipe right or left until you hear the name of the document, followed by the file extension, for example "Docx" and the current page. VoiceOver starts to read the page content.

  • The quick toolbar, which appears at the bottom of the screen when you've selected an editable element in the content area. It contains document formatting options for the selected element.

    • To go to and navigate the quick toolbar, select an editable element in the document, and swipe right until you reach the toolbar buttons.

  • The ribbon menu, which pops up from the bottom of the screen and contains tabs with different sets of tools and options. The ribbon options specific to the selected tab are displayed below the tab name.

    • To go to the ribbon menu, tap near the top of the screen with four fingers, swipe right until you hear "Show ribbon," and double-tap the screen. You hear the currently selected tab.

    • To switch to another tab, double-tap the screen, swipe left or right until you hear the name of the tab you want, and then double-tab the screen.

    • To navigate the ribbon options, swipe left or right.

Navigate between views

In addition to the main view, Word has the following commonly used views:

The Home, New, and Open tabs

When you open the Word app, you land on the Home tab. This tab lists the documents that you've recently worked on and documents that others have shared with you. At the top of the Home tab, you can find the Search text field to search for a document.

The New tab is where you can start a new document. Here you can also find the available templates.

On the Open tab, you can access the document storage locations that are available to you, such as OneDrive, SharePoint, and your iPhone. You can browse for a file in each location and open it for editing.

  • To navigate the contents of each tab, swipe left or right. To select a file, folder, or storage location, double-tap the screen.

  • To switch between the Home, New, and Open tabs, tap near the bottom of the screen with four fingers, swipe left or right until you hear the tab you want, and then double-tap the screen.

  • To navigate to a tab when you're editing a document in the main view, tap near the top of the screen with four fingers, swipe right until you hear "Close file," and double-tap the screen. The focus moves to the tab from where you opened the document you just closed.

The File menu

The File menu contains options such as Save a Copy, Export, and Print.

  1. To open the File menu, tap near the top of the screen with four fingers, swipe right until you hear "File," and double-tap the screen.

  2. To navigate the menu, swipe left or right.

  3. To exit the menu, swipe left until you hear "Done," and double-tap the screen.

The Search view

In the Search view, you search the currently open document and browse search results.

  1. To navigate to the Search view when you're editing a document, swipe left until you hear "Find," and double-tap the screen. Use the on-screen keyboard to type the search words.

  2. To browse the search results, tap near the top of the screen with four fingers, swipe left until you hear "Next search result" or "Previous search result," and double-tap the screen.

  3. To exit the Search view, swipe right until VoiceOver starts to read the document content, and then double-tap the screen.

Explore a document

  • To explore the text of a document, swipe right or left until you hear VoiceOver announce the currently open page, followed by "Content." Swipe up or down to change the screen reader navigation mode, for example, to headings, paragraphs, lines, or words, and then swipe right or left to navigate.

  • Use the VoiceOver rotor to choose how you want to move through a document when you swipe up or down. For example, if you choose "Words," the focus moves through the document word by word with each swipe.

    • To use the rotor, rotate two fingers on your phone screen as if you're turning a dial. You hear the first rotor option. Keep rotating your fingers until you hear the option you want, and lift your fingers to select the option. To navigate by the selected element, swipe up or down.

  • To scroll through a document, swipe up or down with three fingers. When you lift your fingers off the screen, VoiceOver announces the page you're on.

  • Use the Mobile view to simplify the page layout, which could make it easier to read and edit text on your phone's screen. Swipe left or right until you reach the Mobile view button, and then double-tap the screen. To return to the Print view, swipe left until you hear "Print view," and double-tap the screen.

Use VoiceOver with an external keyboard

If you use VoiceOver with an external keyboard and you want to use keyboard shortcuts to navigate and edit your document, make sure Quick Nav is turned off. To turn Quick Nav off, on your external keyboard, press the Left and Right arrow keys simultaneously. To turn Quick Nav back on, press the Left and Right arrow keys again.

For the keyboard shortcuts, refer to Keyboard shortcuts in Word.

See also

Use a screen reader to insert and change text in Word

Use a screen reader to insert a picture or image in Word 

Basic tasks using a screen reader with Word

Set up your device to work with accessibility in Microsoft 365

Make your Word documents accessible to people with disabilities

What's new in Microsoft 365

Use Word for Android with TalkBack, the built-in Android screen reader, to explore and navigate the different views and move between them.

Decorative icon Need instructions on how to get started with Word, but not using a screen reader? See Word help & learning.

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

Navigate the main view

When you open a Word document for editing, you land on the main view. It contains the following main elements:

  • The top menu bar, which contains buttons such as More options to open the ribbon, SearchUndo, and Menu to open options for saving and sharing, for example.

    • To go to the top menu bar from the document content, swipe left until you hear "Menu."

    • To navigate the top menu, swipe left and right.

  • The main content area, which appears under the top menu and takes up the majority of the screen. To move the focus to the content area, swipe right until you hear the name of the document and its file extension, for example, "Docx."

  • The quick toolbar, which appears at the bottom of the screen when you've selected an editable element in the content area. It contains document formatting options for the selected element.

    • To go to and navigate the quick toolbar, select an editable element in the document, and swipe right until you reach the toolbar buttons.

  • The ribbon, which pops up from the bottom of the screen and contains tabs with different editing tools and options.

    • To go to the ribbon, slide one finger near the top of the screen until you hear "More options, button," and double-tap the screen. You hear the currently selected ribbon tab. The ribbon options specific to the selected tab are displayed below the tab name.

    • To switch to another tab, double-tap the screen, swipe left or right until you hear the name of the tab you want, and double-tab the screen.

    • To navigate the ribbon options, swipe left or right.

Navigate between views

In addition to the main editing view, Word has the following commonly used views and areas:

The Recent, Shared, and Open views

When you open the Word app, you land on the Recent view. It lists the documents that you've recently worked on. To browse the list, swipe right or left. To select a document, double-tap the screen. The document opens in the editing view.

In the Shared view, you can find the documents that others have shared with you. To browse the list, swipe right or left. To select a document, double-tap the screen. The document opens in the editing view.

In the Open view, you can browse the available file storage locations or navigate to a document you want to open.

  • To switch between the Recent, Shared, and Open views, slide one finger near the bottom of the screen until you hear the view you want, and double-tap the screen.

  • At the top of each view, you can find buttons for accessing your account info, and creating a new document. Slide one finger at the top of the screen until you hear "New button," or "Signed in as," followed by your username. In the Recent and Shared views, you can also find a button to search for a document. Swipe right or left until you hear "Search, button," and double-tap the screen.

  • To navigate to the Recent view when you're editing your document in the main view, swipe left or slide one finger near the upper-left corner of the screen until you hear "Back button," and double-tap the screen.

The Word menu

The Word menu contains options for saving, sharing, and printing your document. From here you can also access the Word for Android settings.

  1. To open the Word menu, swipe left until you hear "Menu," and then double-tap the screen.

  2. To navigate the Word menu, swipe left or right until you hear the option you want, and then double-tap the screen.

  3. To exit the menu, swipe down-then-left.

The Find bar

Use the Find bar to search the currently open document and browse the search results.

  1. To navigate to the Find bar when you're editing a document, swipe left until you hear "Find," and then double-tap the screen. Use the on-screen keyboard to type your search words.

  2. To browse the search results, swipe left until you hear "Find previous" or "Find next," and double-tap the screen.

  3. To close the Find bar, swipe right you hear "Close Find bar," and then double-tap the screen.

Explore a document

To explore the text of a document, swipe right or left until you hear the screen reader announce the currently open page, followed by "Content." You can change the screen reader navigation mode, also known as the reading control, for example, to headings, paragraphs, lines, or words. The gestures to change the mode depend on the Android version of your phone. For more information, refer to Use TalkBack gestures.

Use the TalkBack menu

As you navigate your document with TalkBack, you can use the TalkBack menu to quickly find settings and controls and read items on the screen. The TalkBack menu contains commands that work anywhere, in any app. To learn more about the TalkBack menu, refer to Use the TalkBack menu & reading controls.

Note: The TalkBack menu is available on Android version 9.1 and newer.

See also

Use a screen reader to insert and change text in Word

Use a screen reader to insert a picture or image in Word 

Keyboard shortcuts in Word

Basic tasks using a screen reader with Word

Set up your device to work with accessibility in Microsoft 365

Make your Word documents accessible to people with disabilities

What's new in Microsoft 365

Use Word for the web with your keyboard and a screen reader to explore and navigate the different views and move between them. 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.

Decorative icon Need instructions on how to get started with Word, but not using a screen reader? See Word help & learning.

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.

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

  • When you use Word for the web with a screen reader, switch to the full screen mode. Press F11 to toggle the full screen mode on and off.

  • When you use Word for the web, we recommend that you use Microsoft Edge as your web browser. Because Word 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 Word for the web.

In this topic

Navigate the main view

When you open a Word for the web document, you land on the main view. To cycle between the elements in the Word for the web main view, press the Ctrl+F6 (forward) or Shift+Ctrl+F6 (backward). The main elements are, in order:

  • The main content area, which contains the document content. This is where you edit the document. You hear "Document contents, editing" when the focus is on the main content area.

  • The status bar at the bottom of the screen, which contains document statistics such as page count, word count, text language, and the zoom level. When the focus is on the status bar, you hear the number of the page you're currently on and the total number of pages in the document, for example, "Page one of three, button." To navigate within the status bar, press the Tab key or Shift+Tab.

  • The title banner at the top of the screen, which contains the App Launcher button for launching other applications, the name and file path of the currently open file, the Search text field, and buttons for accessing the settings and your account info. You hear "Banner, App launcher" when the focus is on the title banner. To navigate the title banner, press the Tab key or Shift+Tab.

  • The row of ribbon tabs, which includes tabs such as File, Home, InsertView, and Help. When the focus moves to the row of ribbon tabs, you hear "Ribbon tabs," followed by the currently selected tab. To navigate the row of ribbon tabs, use the Right and Left arrow keys. 

    • The ribbon containing buttons specific to the currently selected tab is located immediately below the row of ribbon tabs. To navigate from a ribbon tab to the ribbon, press the Tab key once. You hear the name of the first button in the ribbon. To navigate between buttons on the ribbon, use the Right and Left arrow keys.

    • The row of ribbon tabs also contains controls for additional actions such as switching between modes, sharing the document, displaying the Comments pane, and more. To access the additional controls, press Ctrl+F6 until you hear "Ribbon tabs, and then press the Tab key until you hear "Additional controls, Mode menu," followed by the currently selected mode, for example, "Editing, selected." To browse the additional controls, press the Right arrow key.

Navigate between views

In addition to the main view, Word for the web has the following commonly used views and areas:

The File menu

The File menu contains options such as New, Open, and Save a Copy. You can also access your account info and the app settings. The File menu consists of a tab pane on the left and the contents of a selected tab on the right.

  • To open the File menu, press Alt+Windows logo key+F. You hear: "Close." The Home tab is selected and its contents are displayed in the content pane.

  • To navigate between the tabs in the tab pane, press the Up or Down arrow key until you hear the tab you want to open, for example, "New." Press Enter to open the tab. The content pane of the selected tab opens to the right of the tab pane. The focus moves to the first item in the content pane.

  • To navigate within a content pane, press the Tab key, Shift+Tab, or the arrow keys.

  • To exit the File menu and return to the main view, press Esc.

Reading View

Reading View is designed to make reading text easier for everyone. In Reading View, Word for the web also offers Accessibility Mode, which can make reading a document easier for people who use screen reader. In Accessibility Mode, Word for the web presents a Portable Document Format (PDF) version of the file with tagging in your browser. Your screen reader reads the text and its formatting from the PDF version in the browser.

  • To turn on Reading View, press Alt+Windows logo key, W, F.

  • To navigate to the Reading View toolbar, press Ctrl+F6 until you hear "Accessibility Mode," press the Tab key to explore the options on the toolbar.

  • In Reading View, to turn Accessibility Mode on or off, press Ctrl+F6 until you hear "Accessibility Mode," and press Enter.

  • To exit Reading View, press Ctrl+F6 until you hear "Accessibility Mode," press the Tab key until you hear "Edit document," and press Enter. You hear: "Edit document, Make quick changes right here in  Word." Then do one of the following:

    • To continue editing and reading the document in Word for the web, press Enter.

    • To open the document in the full desktop version of Word, press the Down arrow key until you hear "Open in desktop app," and press Enter.

Explore a document

Use the Navigation Pane

You can use the Navigation Pane to quickly navigate between headings in a document.

  1. To turn on the Navigation Pane, press Alt+Windows logo key, W, K. You hear: "Navigation, search for."

  2. Press the Tab key or Shift+Tab until you hear "Headings," and press Enter. Press the Tab key until you hear the currently selected tab, for example, "Find tab item," and then press the Right arrow key until you hear: "Heading tab item."

  3. Press the Tab key until you hear the heading you want, and press Enter. The focus moves to the beginning of the heading row in the document body.

Use zoom

  1. Press Ctrl+F6 until you hear the current page number followed by the total number of pages in the document, for example, "Page one of three."

  2. To zoom in, press the Tab key until you hear "Zoom in," and press Enter. You hear the new zoom percentage, for example, "90 percent." To zoom out, press the Tab key or Shift+Tab until you hear "Zoom out," and press Enter.

Use Search

To find an option or perform an action quickly, use the Search text field. To learn more about the Search feature, go to Find what you need with Microsoft Search.

Note: Depending on the Office version of you are using, the Search text field at the top of the app window might be called Tell Me instead. Both offer a largely similar experience, but some options and search results can vary.

  1. Select the item or place in your document, presentation, or spreadsheet where you want to perform an action. For example, in an Excel spreadsheet, select a range of cells.

  2. To go to the Search text field, press Alt+Q.

  3. Type the search words for the action that you want to perform. For example, if you want to add a bulleted list, type bullets.

  4. Press the Down arrow key to browse through the search results.

  5. When you've found the result that you want, press Enter to select it and to perform the action.

See also

Use a screen reader to insert and change text in Word

Use a screen reader to insert a picture or image in Word 

Keyboard shortcuts in Word

Basic tasks using a screen reader with Word

Make your Word documents accessible to people with disabilities

What's new 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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