Accessibility in Word 2016

Word 2016 includes accessibility features that make it easy for users with limited dexterity, low vision, or other disabilities to work with files. This means you can use keyboard shortcuts, a screen reader, or a speech recognition tool to work with Word for 2016.

Notes

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

In this topic

Explore the Word for 2016 user interface

In Word, the name of your document is centered at the top of the screen. App controls, such as Minimize and Close, are at the upper-right corner. By default, the Quick Access Toolbar resides at the upper left of the screen. This toolbar can be customized and contains commonly used commands, such as Save, Undo, and Redo.

Below this line is a set of ribbon tabs. It includes tabs such as Insert, Design, and Review. The ribbon sits below this row of tabs. Selecting a tab brings up a tab-specific ribbon. Each ribbon includes commands organized in groups. For example, the Insert tab switches to a ribbon that lets you pick different items to insert into your document, such as hyperlinks or pictures.

Document content appears under the ribbon and makes up the majority of the page. Some commands, such as Review or Find, will open panes to the right or left of the document body.

Use a screen reader and keyboard shortcuts

To navigate in Word for 2016 and to cycle through screen elements, press the Tab key (forward) or Shift+Tab (backward). To select an item, press Enter. To browse within menus or lists, press the Up Arrow key or the Down Arrow key, and then, to make a selection, press Enter. To exit a menu or mode, press Esc. For more details, see Keyboard shortcuts for Microsoft Word 2016 for Windows.

Note You can customize keyboard shortcuts or create your own.

Word for 2016 includes accessible names that can be read by screen readers as you work in the application. You can use Narrator, the built-in screen reader in Windows, or a third-party screen reader, such as JAWS. For information on using Word for 2016 with a screen reader, refer to Get started using a screen reader in Word 2016.

By default, Word displays KeyTips above commands when you press the Alt key or use a keyboard shortcut to select a tab on the ribbon. You can change this setting.

Set KeyTips using the keyboard
  1. To open the Word Options dialog box, press Alt+F, T. If using a screen reader, you hear “Word Options, Categories list box” or “Word Options.”

  2. To move to the Advanced options for working with Word pane, press A and then press the Tab key. You hear “Advanced editing options” or “Advanced,” and the focus moves to the first option.

  3. Press H until you get to the Show shortcut keys in ScreenTips check box.

  4. To select or clear the check box, press Spacebar.

  5. To close the Word Options dialog box, press Enter. Or tab to the OK button and press Enter.

Note This setting change affects all of your Office programs.

Change page size and view

You can zoom in to get a close-up view of your document or zoom out to see more of the page at a reduced size. You can also use Read Mode in Word. Read Mode improves the resolution and display of text, making it easier to read on the screen.

Zoom by using the keyboard
  1. Press Alt+W, Q. If using a screen reader, you hear “Zoom dialog” or “Zoom window.”

  2. Tab to the Percent spin box, and then type a percentage or use the Up Arrow key or the Down Arrow key to select a percentage.

  3. Tab to the OK button and press Enter.

Zoom by using the mouse
  1. On the View tab, in the Zoom group, click Zoom.

  2. In the Percent box, select the zoom setting that you want, or type a percentage.

For more information, see the instructions for your pointing device.

Enter Read Mode by using the keyboard
  1. Press Alt+W, F. If using a screen reader, you hear “Reading layout.” (In Narrator, you hear the file name.)

  2. To return to Print Layout, press Alt+W, E. You hear “Print edit.”

Enter Read Mode by using the mouse
  1. On the View tab, in the Views group, click Read Mode.

  2. To return to Print Layout, click View and then click Edit Document.

Increase contrast

You may find Word easier to use if you adjust the theme to one that provides more contrast.

Use the keyboard to change the theme to increase contrast
  1. To open the Office Account pane in Backstage view, press Alt+F, D. If using a screen reader, you hear “Account tab” and the focus moves to the Office Theme box.

  2. To open the Office Theme box, press Y, 1. You hear the name of the currently selected theme.

  3. Select a theme and press Enter. The Dark Gray theme provides the greatest contrast.

Tip This change affects all of your Office 2016 applications.

Use the mouse to change the theme to increase contrast
  1. Click File.

  2. Click Account. The Office Account pane opens

  3. To change the theme, in the Office Theme box, select a theme. The Dark Gray theme provides the greatest contrast.

Tip This change affects all of your Office 2016 applications.

Note You may also want to choose a higher-contrast theme in Windows or use other accessibility settings. Go to Make your PC easier to use for more information.

Turn off click and type

If you are using adaptive technology that doesn’t work well with the click-and-type feature of Word, you can turn the feature off.

Turn off click and type using the keyboard
  1. To open the Word Options dialog box, in Backstage view, press Alt+F, T. If using a screen reader, you hear “Word Options, Categories list box” or “Word Options.”

  2. To open the Advanced options, press A and then the Tab key. You hear “Advanced” and the name of the first option.

  3. To move to the Enable click and type check box, press C. Then, press Spacebar to select or clear the check box.

  4. To close the Word Options dialog box, press Enter.

Turn off click and type using the mouse
  1. Click File.

  2. Click Options.

  3. Click Advanced.

  4. Select or clear Enable click and type, and then press OK.

Use Tell Me

When you don’t know the keyboard shortcut or when you want to know about more options, use the Tell me what you want to do box.

  1. Optional. Select the text, cell, or other Office object you want to work with.

  2. Press Alt+Q. You hear “Tell me what you want to do.”

  3. Type a keyword or phrase, and then, to browse the search results, press the Down Arrow key. For example, for options related to fonts, such as italics and font size, type font. Some results may be submenus with more choices.

  4. To choose a result, press Enter.

Create accessible documents

For tips about making your documents more accessible, see Checklist: Create accessible Word documents.

In addition, Word offers a built-in accessibility checker tool that can help. to learn how, see Find and fix accessibility issues in Word 2016 and Check for accessibility issues in Office 2016.

Technical support for customers with disabilities

Microsoft wants to provide the best possible experience for all our customers. If you have a disability or have 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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