Use a screen reader to trace an email message in the Exchange admin center

Use a screen reader to trace an email message in the Exchange admin center

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.

Use the Exchange admin center (EAC) with your keyboard and a screen reader to trace email messages. This is helpful if users are wondering if their messages are delayed or possibly lost in delivery. With message tracing, you can follow messages as they pass through Exchange Online and determine if a targeted email message was received, rejected, deferred, or delivered.

We have tested it with Narrator in Microsoft Edge and with JAWS in Chrome, but it might work with other screen readers and web browsers as long as they follow common accessibility standards and techniques.

Notes: 

In this topic

Create a new message trace

You might need a message trace when a user contacts you about messages that are not delivered or are taking longer than usual to be delivered. You can trace a message using various criteria, including email address, date range, delivery status, and message ID.

  1. On the EAC dashboard, press the Tab key until you hear: “Left navigation hamburger, expanded.” If you hear "Collapsed" instead of "Expanded," press Spacebar to expand the menu before continuing.

  2. With Narrator, press the SR key+Right arrow key until you hear: "Mail flow, expanded." With JAWS, press the Down arrow key instead. If you hear "Collapsed" instead of "Expanded," press Spacebar to expand the menu before continuing.

  3. With Narrator, press the SR key+Right arrow key until you hear: "Message trace." With JAWS, press the Down arrow key instead. Then press Enter. The Message trace list view opens, listing the default queries.

  4. Press the Tab key until you hear "Start a trace, menu item," and press Enter. The New message trace pop-up window opens. The focus is on the Close button.

  5. To specify senders (one or more), press the Tab key. You hear: "Enter display names and people picker." Do one of the following:

    • To specify an internal user, type the user's name or part of it. When you stop typing, the EAC displays a list of search results and your screen reader announces the name and address of the first result. Use the Down and Up arrow keys to browse the results. When you find the user you want, press Enter to add them to the trace. The focus stays in the Senders box, so you can add more users by performing another search.

    • To specify an external user, type their full email address. When you stop typing, the EAC announces the address. Press Enter to add it to the trace. The focus stays in the Senders box, so you can add more users by performing another search.

    • To specify all email addresses matching a wildcard search, use an asterisk (*) or a question mark (?) in your search. You can type, for example, *@contoso.com or user?@contoso.com. When you stop typing, your screen reader announces the wildcard query. Press Enter to add it to the trace.

      Note: You cannot add multiple entries if you use a wildcard.

  6. To specify recipients (one or more) instead of or in addition to the senders, press the Tab key. You hear: "Enter display names and people picker." Then add people using the options described in the previous step.

  7. Press the Tab key. You hear: "Custom time range." Do one of the following:

    • If you want to trace messages from a specific time range, press Enter. Then press the Tab key, and use the Up and Down arrow keys to browse the Time zone options until you find the one you want. Press the Tab key to move the focus to the Start date box, press Enter to open the calendar grid, and use the arrow keys to find the date you want. Press Enter to select the date and move the focus to the start time box. Press Spacebar, and use the Up and Down arrow keys to select the start time. Then press the Tab key to move the focus to the End date box and set the end date and time in the same way.

    • If you want to trace messages from a relative time range, for example, from the last 2 days, press the Tab key. The focus moves to the time range slider. You hear "Slider," followed by the current time range. Use the Left and Right arrow keys to adjust when the time range ends. Each press of the Left arrow key makes the time range longer, and each press of the Right arrow key makes it shorter. To adjust when the time range begins, press the Tab key and use the Left and Right arrow keys as above. After each adjustment, your screen reader announces the current time range, for example, "From 7 days to 12 hours ago."

    Tip: For 10 days or less, the results are available instantly as a Summary report. If you specify a time range that's even slightly greater than 10 days, the results will be delayed as they are only available as a downloadable CSV file. For more information, go to Message trace in the modern Exchange admin center. This topic only discusses the use of Summary queries, which are selected by default.

  8. Press the Tab key until you hear "Expand for more details, button," and press Enter. Then press the Tab key and use the Up and Down arrows to browse through the Delivery status options until you find the one you want.

  9. Press the Tab key. If you have a Message ID from a user, you can paste it here to help narrow the search results. The Message ID can be found in the header of the message in the Message-ID: field. The Message ID might include angle brackets (< >). Be sure to include them in the string. 

  10. Press the Tab key until you hear "Search, button," and press Enter. The Message trace search results page opens and shows the date, sender, recipient, subject, and status of the message(s) that are a result of the message trace. To browse the results, press the Tab key until your screen reader announces the details of the first result, then use the Down and Up arrow keys to navigate the list.

Run a recent trace again

The EAC remembers the last 10 message traces you have made without needing to save them. You can quickly run any of them again.

  1. On the EAC dashboard, press the Tab key until you hear: “Left navigation hamburger, expanded.” If you hear "Collapsed" instead of "Expanded," press Spacebar to expand the menu before continuing.

  2. With Narrator, press the SR key+Right arrow key until you hear: "Mail flow, expanded." With JAWS, press the Down arrow key instead. If you hear "Collapsed" instead of "Expanded," press Spacebar to expand the menu before continuing.

  3. With Narrator, press the SR key+Right arrow key until you hear: "Message trace." With JAWS, press the Down arrow key instead. Then press Enter. The Message trace list view opens, listing the default queries.

  4. Press the Tab key. You hear: "Default queries, tab item." Press the Right arrow key until you hear "Autosaved queries," and press Enter. The Autosaved queries tab opens, listing the last 10 queries that were run but not saved manually.

  5. Press the Tab key until you hear the name and details of the most recent query. If it's not the one you want, use the Down and Up arrow keys to browse the list, and press Enter to open the details pop-up window for that query.

  6. Press Shift+Tab until you hear "Search, button," and press Enter. The Message trace search results page opens and shows the date, sender, recipient, subject, and status of the message(s) that are a result of the message trace. To browse the results, press the Tab key until your screen reader announces the details of the first result, then use the Down and Up arrow keys to navigate the list.

See also

Use a screen reader to open the Exchange admin center

Message trace in the modern Exchange admin center

Permissions in Exchange Online

About admin roles

Feature permissions in Exchange Online

Keyboard shortcuts in the Exchange admin center

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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