Use a screen reader with Surface Duo

Surface Duo runs on Android and has the screen reader TalkBack installed. TalkBack describes the action on your screen verbally so that you can use your Surface Duo without seeing the screen. For a full set of TalkBack documentation, go to the Android Accessibility Help site. 

To turn on the Volume key shortcut for accessibility:

  1. Go to Settings > Accessibility > Volume key shortcut

  2. Turn on Use service

  3. Tap Shortcut service, then choose the accessibility feature you want to start when you press the Volume up + Volume down buttons for 3 seconds. By default, once turned on the Volume key shortcut will turn on TalkBack.

Learn more about the volume key shortcut

To turn TalkBack on:

  • Press the Volume up and Volume down buttons for 3 seconds


  • Go to Settings > Accessibility > TalkBack and turn on Use service.

  • The first time you turn on TalkBack, you’ll need to allow the service to start, and there will be a bit of setting up to do.

Learn more about how to get started with TalkBack

Basic default TalkBack gestures


Do this

Turn TalkBack on

Press both volume keys for 3 seconds

Move to the next item

Swipe right

Move to the previous item

Swipe left

Activate an item

Double tap

Scroll in a page

Drag with two fingers slightly separated

Go back

Swipe down then left

Open notifications

Swipe right then down

Open local context menu

Swipe up then right

Open global context menu

Swipe down then right

All TalkBack gestures

This table gives the default gesture for each action, but you can customize them

To customize your TalkBack gestures, go to Settings > Accessibility > TalkBack > Settings > Gestures. Then tap the gesture you want to customize.

Select to Speak

Have any text on your Surface Duo read aloud using Select to Speak. For more details, go to Android Accessibility Help.

To turn on Select to Speak, go to Settings > Accessibility > Select to Speak and then turn on Use service.

More about Surface Duo accessibility and TalkBack

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