Accessibility features in OneNote

Office Accessibility Center > Accessibility support for OneNote

To get the most out of your OneNote 2016 experience, use the accessibility features to create notebooks and pages, and share your work with others.

Notes: 

  • This topic assumes that you are using the built-in Windows screen reader Narrator. To learn more about using Narrator, refer to Get Started using a screen reader with OneNote.

  • If you did not sign out of OneNote 2016 the last time you used it, the app opens without prompting you to sign in.

  • Your work in OneNote 2016 is automatically saved every few seconds as you work.

  • This topic assumes that JAWS users have the Virtual Ribbon Menu feature turned off.

In this topic

Use screen readers

OneNote 2016 works with screen readers such as Narrator and JAWS. When your screen reader is on, you hear a spoken description of whatever you select or activate on your device. This includes commands, locations, lists, and buttons, in addition to the contents of OneNote 2016 views, toolbars, menus, and pop-up windows. For details, refer to Keyboard shortcuts in OneNote 2016 for Windows.

To learn more about Narrator, refer to Get started with Narrator.

To learn about JAWS for Windows, refer to JAWS for Windows Quick Start Guide.

Use an external keyboard

You can use OneNote 2016 with keyboard shortcuts. To move between navigation panes, menus, and the editing area, press F6. To move between buttons and menu items, press Tab, and to activate them, press Spacebar.

You can also use keyboard shortcuts to make navigating your notebooks easier. Refer to Touch gestures and keyboard shortcuts in OneNote for more information.

To find out more about Narrator keyboard shortcuts, refer to Narrator keyboard commands and touch gestures.

To find out more about JAWS keyboard shortcuts, refer to JAWS Keystrokes.

Use and modify the Windows accessibility settings

You can change the system accessibility settings to customize Windows to better suit your needs. You can find the main accessibility related settings on the Ease of Access menu under Settings. You can also launch accessibility features like Narrator or Magnifier in the Ease of Access settings.

To quickly open the Ease of Access settings, press the Windows logo key+U.

Magnify the screen content

Magnify parts of your screen content with the Magnifier tool to, for example, view details or a picture in a note.

To quickly start Magnifier, press the Windows logo key+the plus key (+). To zoom in, press the Windows logo key+the plus key. To zoom out, press the press the Windows logo key+the minus key (-).

When the focus is on the Magnifier tool, you can change its settings on the Magnifier toolbar. Press Tab or Shift+Tab to move on the toolbar. To select an option or options list, press Spacebar. To exit an option or options list, press Esc.

To exit Magnifier and close the tool, press the Windows logo key+Esc.

Change color contrast

If you need more color contrast to see text and items on your screen better and make it easier on your eyes, you can turn on the high contrast mode. To quickly activate the high contrast option, press left Alt+left Shift+Print Scrn. For further instructions, refer to Turn on high contrast mode.

Change text size

You can change the size of text in title bars, menus, message boxes, palette titles, icons, and tool tips without adjusting your screen’s resolution. 

  1. In any view, press the Windows logo key. You hear: “Start window, Search box, editing.”

  2. In the search box, type "Make text larger." You hear: "Make text and other items larger or smaller." Then press Enter. You hear: "Settings windows, Display one, custom."

  3. In the Settings window, press Tab until you hear: "Advanced display settings hyperlink." Then press Enter. You hear: "Advanced display settings window."

  4. Press Tab until you hear: "Advanced sizing or text and other items hyperlink." Then press Enter. You hear: "Display windows, Control panel home link."

  5. Press Tab until you hear: "Desktop element, title bars, editable combo box, collapsed." To expand the combo box list, press Alt+Down arrow key. Press the Down and Up arrow keys to move in the list. When you hear an option you want to modify, press Enter.

  6. Press Tab until you hear: "Font size, <current font size>." To expand the combo box list, press Alt+Down arrow key. Press the Down and Up arrow keys to move in the list. When you hear an option you want to modify, press Enter.

  7. Press Tab until you hear: "Unchecked bold checkbox." If you want the text bolded, press Spacebar. You hear: "Checked."

  8. Press Tab until you hear: "Apply button." Then press Enter.

Use Cortana

Use Cortana, your virtual voice controlled assistant, to carry out basic tasks in OneNote 2016. To learn more about Cortana and how to set it up, refer to What is Cortana.

Note: Cortana is available only in select countries and languages. To check if your country and language are supported, refer to Cortana's regions and languages.

Note: If you are using Cortana with voice for the first time, she will ask your permission to ask you a few questions to understand what is important to you. If you’re OK with this, press Tab until you hear “Accept” and then press Enter. If you don’t want to answer the questions, press Tab until you hear “No thanks” and press Enter.

  1. In any view, press the Windows logo key. You hear: “Start window, Search box, editing.”

  2. Press Tab until you hear “Microphone button” and then press Enter. Tell Cortana what you’d like to do. For example, say: “Write a note.” Then follow Cortana’s instructions.

Use Speech Recognition

You can use your voice to dictate text in OneNote 2016 and to control the app when you enable Speech Recognition in Windows.

Tip: Use a USB headset to improve the accuracy of Speech Recognition and to indicate to your coworkers that you’re using Speech Recognition. 

Set up Speech Recognition

If you're using Speech Recognition for the first time, you need to set it up.

  1. In any view, press the Windows logo key. You hear: “Start window, Search box, editing.”

  2. In the search box, type "speech." You hear: "Windows Speech Recognition, desktop app." Then press Enter. You hear: "Set up Speech Recognition window, next button." The setup wizard opens.

  3. Follow the wizard's instructions and go through the whole setup process.

    After you complete the setup, you can walk through a tutorial to learn voice commands and train your PC to recognize your voice.

    To learn more about Speech Recognition commands, refer to Windows Speech Recognition commands

Activate Speech Recognition

After you've configured Speech Recognition, you can start it by saying “Start listening.”

Use full screen mode

You can use OneNote 2016's full screen mode to make the page view simpler. This makes it easier for you and your screen reader to navigate through a page.

  1. To activate the full screen mode, press F11. You hear: "Ribbon tabs, pane updated."

  2. To return from the full screen mode to the normal view, press F11 again. You hear: "Ribbon tabs, pane updated."

Read alternative text

To quickly get an idea what the images or attachments on your OneNote 2016 page are all about, let you screen reader read their alternative text (if available).

When you come across an image or attachment while navigating through a page, your screen reader will automatically announce the alternative text title and description for the item. If there's no alt text, the screen reader will announce the item only.

Create accessible OneNote notebooks

You can format your notes and notebooks in OneNote 2016 to make them more accessible for everyone. For tips on how to make a notebook accessible, refer to Make your OneNote notebooks accessible.

See also

Keyboard shortcuts in OneNote 2016 for Windows

Get Started using a screen reader with OneNote

Use a screen reader to do basic tasks in OneNote 2016

Use a screen reader to read pages in OneNote

Use a screen reader to organize notebooks, sections, and pages in OneNote

Use a screen reader to share and collaborate on notebooks in OneNote

Use a screen reader to insert content to notebooks in OneNote 2016

OneNote for Windows 10 has been especially designed for people who use screen readers. With its new look and feel, you can navigate through notebooks, sections, and pages more easily and effectively. With OneNote for Windows 10, you can create notes, lists, drawings, and more. You can also share your notebook or page via email, or use Notebook Presence to work together with your colleagues. For instructions on how to turn on the new design and features, refer to Turn on OneNote Preview for Windows 10, Mac, or iPad.

Notes: 

  • This topic assumes that you are using the built-in Windows screen reader Narrator. To learn more about using Narrator, refer to Get Started using a screen reader with OneNote.

  • If you did not sign out of OneNote for Windows 10 the last time you used it, the app opens without prompting you to sign in.

  • Your work in OneNote for Windows 10 is automatically saved every few seconds as you work.

  • This topic assumes that JAWS users have the Virtual Ribbon Menu feature turned off.

In this topic

Use a screen reader

OneNote for Windows 10 works with screen readers such as Narrator and JAWS. When your screen reader is on, you hear a spoken description of whatever you select or activate on your device. This includes commands, locations, lists, and buttons, in addition to the contents of OneNote for Windows 10 views, toolbars, menus, and pop-up windows. For details, refer to Get Started using a screen reader with OneNote.

To learn more about Narrator, refer to Get started with Narrator.

To learn about JAWS for Windows, refer to JAWS for Windows Quick Start Guide.

Use keyboard shortcuts

When using a keyboard to move between navigation panes, menus, and the editing area, press F6. To move between buttons and menu items, press Tab, and to activate them, press Spacebar.

To find out more about Narrator keyboard shortcuts, refer to Narrator keyboard commands and touch gestures.

To find out more about JAWS keyboard shortcuts, refer to JAWS Keystrokes.

Hide navigation

You can simplify your OneNote for Windows 10 view, and hide the navigation pane.

  1. Navigate to the Full Screen Modes button as instructed in Use full screen mode and press Enter.

  2. On the Full Screen Modes submenu, press the Down arrow key until you hear: "Off, Hide navigation button." Then press Enter.

  3. To display the navigation pane again, move to the Full Screen Modes submenu and press the Down arrow key until you hear: "On, Hide navigation button." Then press Enter.

Use full screen mode

You can use OneNote for Windows 10's full screen mode to make the page view simpler. This makes it easier for you and your screen reader to navigate through a page.

  1. To move to the main tab menu bar, on a OneNote for Windows 10 page, press Alt until you hear the currently selected tab.

  2. On the main tab menu bar, press Tab until you hear: "Full screen modes, button collapsed," then press Enter. A submenu opens. You hear: "Full screen drawing button," and then press Enter.

    You're now using the full screen mode. The focus is on the main content area.

  3. To exit the full screen mode, press Alt. You hear the first item on the tool bar. Then press Tab until you hear: "Exit full screen drawing button." Then press Enter.

Read alternative text

To quickly get an idea what the images or attachments on your OneNote for Windows 10 page are all about, let you screen reader read their alternative text (if available).

When you come across an image or attachment while navigating through a page, your screen reader will automatically announce the alternative text title and description for the item. If there's no alt text, the screen reader will announce the item only.

Use and modify the Windows accessibility settings

You can change the system accessibility settings to customize Windows to better suit your needs. You can find the main accessibility related settings in the Ease of Access menu under Settings. You can also launch accessibility features like Narrator or Magnifier in the Ease of Access settings.

To quickly open the Ease of Access settings, press the Windows logo key+U.

Magnify the screen content

Magnify parts of your screen content with the Magnifier tool to, for example, view details or a picture in a note.

To quickly start Magnifier, press the Windows logo key+the plus key (+). To zoom in, press the Windows logo key+plus key (+). To zoom out, press the press the Windows logo key+the minus key (-).

When the focus is on the Magnifier tool, you can change its settings on the Magnifier toolbar. Press Tab or Shift+Tab to move on the toolbar. To select an option or options list, press Spacebar. To exit an option or options list, press Esc.

To exit Magnifier and close the tool, press the Windows logo key+Esc.

Change color contrast

If you need more color contrast to see text and items on your screen better, and make it easier on your eyes, you can turn on the high contrast mode. To quickly activate the high contrast option, press left Alt+left Shift+Print Scrn. For further instructions, refer to Turn on high contrast mode.

Change text size

You can change the size of text in title bars, menus, message boxes, palette titles, icons, and tool tips without adjusting your screen’s resolution. 

  1. In any view, press the Windows logo key. You hear: “Start window, Search box, editing.”

  2. In the search box, type "Make text larger." You hear: "Make text and other items larger or smaller." Then press Enter. You hear: "Settings windows, Display one, custom."

  3. In the Settings window, press Tab until you hear: "Advanced display settings hyperlink." Then press Enter. You hear: "Advanced display settings window."

  4. Press Tab until you hear: "Advanced sizing or text and other items hyperlink." Then press Enter. You hear: "Display windows, Control panel home link."

  5. Press Tab until you hear: "Desktop element, title bars, editable combo box, collapsed." To expand the combo box list, press Alt+Down arrow key. Press the Down and Up arrow keys to move on the list. When you hear an option you want to modify, press Enter.

  6. Press Tab until you hear: "Font size, <current font size>." To expand the combo box list, press Alt+Down arrow key. Press the Down and Up arrow keys to move on the list. When you hear an option you want to modify, press Enter.

  7. Press Tab until you hear: "Unchecked bold checkbox." If you want the text bolded, press Spacebar. You hear: "Checked."

  8. Press Tab until you hear: "Apply button." Then press Enter.

Use Cortana

Use Cortana, your virtual voice controlled assistant, to carry out basic tasks in OneNote for Windows 10. To learn more about Cortana and how to set it up, refer to What is Cortana.

Note: Cortana is available only in select countries and languages. To check if your country and language are supported, refer to Cortana's regions and languages.

Note: If you are using Cortana with voice for the first time, she will ask your permission to ask you a few questions to understand what is important to you. If you’re OK with this, press Tab until you hear “Accept” and then press Enter. If you don’t want to answer the questions, press Tab until you hear “No thanks” and then press Enter.

  1. In any view, press the Windows logo key. You hear: “Start window, Search box, editing.”

  2. Press Tab until you hear “Microphone button” and then press Enter. Tell Cortana what you’d like to do. For example, say: “Write a note.” Then follow Cortana’s instructions.

Use Speech Recognition

You can use your voice to dictate text in OneNote for Windows 10 and to control the app when you enable Speech Recognition in Windows.

Tip: Use a USB headset to improve the accuracy of Speech Recognition and to indicate to other people that you’re using Speech Recognition. 

Set up Speech Recognition

If you're using Speech Recognition for the first time, you need to set it up.

  1. In any view, press the Windows logo key. You hear: “Start window, Search box, editing.”

  2. In the search box, type "speech." You hear: "Windows Speech Recognition, desktop app." Then press Enter. You hear: "Set up Speech Recognition window, next button." The setup wizard opens.

  3. Follow the wizard's instructions and go through the whole setup process.

    After you complete the setup, you can walk through a tutorial to learn voice commands and train your PC to recognize your voice.

    To learn more about Speech Recognition commands, refer to Windows Speech Recognition commands

Activate Speech Recognition

After you've configured Speech Recognition, you can start it by saying “Start listening.”

Create accessible OneNote notebooks

You can format your notes and notebooks in OneNote for Windows 10 to make them more accessible for everyone. For tips on how to make a notebook accessible, refer to Make your OneNote notebooks accessible.

See also

Get Started using a screen reader with OneNote

Use a screen reader to do basic tasks in OneNote 2016

Keyboard shortcuts in OneNote 2016 for Windows

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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