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Narrator provides a more succinct and efficient reading experience while in Excel. Announcements are prioritized based on the information you need to skim a workbook and are customizable using convenient keyboard shortcuts.

Narrator Excel extension Installation

Follow these steps to install Narrator with Excel extension:

  1. Start Narrator using CTRL + Windows + Enter key.

  2. Narrator will automatically download Narrator with Excel extension along with other extensions that may be available from the Microsoft store. You will be notified that the extension has been successfully installed.

  3. Open Excel and begin navigating to hear the updated Narrator announcements.

Customizing Narrator announcements for Excel

The following table shows you a set of new keyboard commands now available. Continue to subsequent sections to learn more about each shortcut. 

Announcement Categories

Announcements are grouped into four categories:

  • Value, the information written in the cell. E.g., “test data” or “blank.”

  • Name, the cell reference. E.g., “A 1”.

  • Context, the information. E.g., “entering table” or announcing the header of a column you just entered.

  • Properties, the descriptive information about the contents of the cell. E.g., “formula” or “filtered.”




Toggle On and Off optimized announcements

Narrator + Alt + O

Move context announcement (toggle first or third)

Narrator + Alt + C

Value > Name > Context > Properties (default)
Context > Value > Name > Properties

Swap name and value announcements

Narrator + Alt + N

Value > Name > Context > Properties (/default)
Name > Value > Context > Properties
This also applies to range selection announcements.

Read current context (repeat context announcement and add all known context information)

Narrator + Shift + C


  • In a table, say size, where you are, and table name.

  • In the page layout view, say page grid.

  • In split panes, say the pane name.

Read ItemStatus information

Narrator + Shift + S

Read the information that is defined in the ItemStatus property in the last focused cell.

Read selection

Narrator + Shift + E

Read the current cell or range of cells that have been selected.

Toggle On and off optimized announcements 

By default, if you have Narrator Excel extension installed then optimized messaging will be enabled. If you would like to disable the setting, press Narrator + Alt + O.

Note: The state of this command is not saved, which means that if the Narrator is restarted then optimized messaging will default to on again.

Move the context announcement 

The Narrator announces 'Value > Name > Context > Properties', by default. For example, if you are entering a table called Table 1 with a Fruits column where A2 has a cell value of Apple, you would hear: “Apple, A2, entering Table 1, Fruits, filter dropdown". 

If you prefer to hear the context first, press Narrator + Alt + C. This switches the announcement order to 'Context > Value > Name > Properties'.

For example, if you are entering a table called Table 1 with a Fruits column where A2 has a cell value of Apple, you would hear: “Entering Table 1, Fruits, apple, A2, filter dropdown.”  

Press Narrator + Alt + C again to toggle back to the original order of 'Value > Name > Context > Properties'. 

Swap the name and value announcements

Narrator announces 'Value > Name > Context > Properties', by default. For example: “First name, A1.” 
Press Narrator + Alt + N key, if you would prefer to hear the cell reference first, so 'Name > Value > Context > Properties'. In this situation, you would hear: “A1, First name.”  

This setting also applies to range selection announcements. 

Read current context

Press Narrator + Shift + C key to repeat the current context of where you are within Excel. 

Read ItemStatus information

ItemStatus is a cell property that contains a larger collection of attributes like formatting. To hear the ItemStatus property on demand, press Narrator + Shift + S

Read selection

To read the currently selected cell or range of cells, press Narrator + Shift + E key. 

Examples of changed announcements

Here are some examples of the changes you can expect to hear,

  • More succinct reading while navigating in the grid and selecting cells, both within tables and in spreadsheets that do not use tables.

  • Explicit announcements if a cell is blank.

  • Succinct, explicit announcements when cells contain non-text or unclear information like conditional formatting, data validation, and formulas.

  • Better handling of merged cells.

  • More information about collaborators as you interact with cells that someone else has selected or is editing.

Turn off Narrator

To Turn off Narrator, press Control + Windows + Enter. To toggle on and off optimized Narrator announcements, use Narrator + Alt + On key.

Next: Appendix G: List of Issues and Bugs fixed

Go back to the Table of Contents

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