Get started using a screen reader in Excel Online

By using a keyboard and a screen reader, you can easily navigate in Excel Online. Keyboard shortcuts help you quickly move between areas and complete tasks.

Notes: 

  • This topic assumes that JAWS users have the Virtual Ribbon Menu feature turned off. When you use Excel Online, we recommend that you use Internet Explorer as your browser.

  • If a shortcut requires pressing two or more keys at the same time, this topic separates the keys with a plus sign (+). If you have to press one key immediately after another, the keys are separated by a comma (,).

  • Excel Online is a web-based application, so the keyboard shortcuts and navigation may be different from those in Excel 2016. Learn more about Accessibility in Office Online.

A few differences between navigating in Excel Online and Excel 2016:

  • To edit, you need to switch from Reading view to Editing view. To switch to Editing view:

    1. Press Ctrl+F6 until you hear "Excel Online", then press Ctrl+F6 again to move to the title bar of the workbook. You'll hear the name of the folder that contains the workbook.

    2. Tab until you hear “Edit Workbook button.”

    3. Press Enter. The Edit Workbook menu opens and you hear “Edit in Excel.”

    4. Press the Tab key or the Down Arrow key. When you hear “Edit in Excel Online, Make quick changes right here in your browser,” press Enter.

  • To move between the Excel Online command ribbon (File, Home, Insert, Data, Review, View, Tell Me, and Open in Excel) and the content of your workbook, use Ctrl+F6 instead of F6.

Tips to navigate quickly:

  • To find a command quickly, use Tell Me. To learn more about the Tell Me feature, watch this video: Using Tell Me to get things done quickly with a screen reader and keyboard

    To use Tell Me, follow these steps:

    1. Select the cell or range of cells where you want to perform an action.

    2. To jump to the Tell Me edit field, press Alt+Q.

    3. Type the command you want (available only in Editing view). For example, type Insert comment.

    4. In the list, use the Up Arrow and Down Arrow keys to select a command and then press Enter. Excel Online performs the action.

  • To jump to a particular cell, use the Go To command: press Ctrl+G, type the cell reference (such as B14), and then press Enter.

  • To jump to the first cell (A1), press Ctrl+Home.

  • To enter an AutoSum for a selected range of cells, press Alt+equal sign (=).

  • To edit a cell, press F2.

In this topic

Keyboard shortcuts

For details about key combinations, see Keyboard shortcuts in Excel Online.

Using screen readers

Here are some things to keep in mind when using a screen reader with Excel Online:

  • The ribbon. The ribbon is the strip at the top of Excel Online, organized by tabs. Each tab displays a different ribbon, which is made up of groups, and each group includes one or more commands. You can navigate the ribbon with just the keyboard.

    • To move back and forth between the command tabs on the ribbon, press Tab and Shift+Tab. When you hear the name of the tab you want (File, Home, Insert, Data, Review, Tell Me, View, or Open in Excel), press Enter. The tab’s toolbar opens.

    • To move to a command on the tab’s toolbar, press the Tab key. When you hear the name of the command you want, press Enter.

    • To move the focus between the command tabs and the cell grid, press Ctrl+F6.

  • Cell grid

    • To move from one cell to another, tab or use the arrow keys.

    • To have the screen reader read a cell or range, move the focus to the cell and use the arrow keys to move through a range.

    • To hear a screen reader read text formatting such as background color, font color, size, and style, select the cell and then press Caps Lock+zero.

  • Sheets: adding, deleting, and renaming tabs

    • To move to the sheet tabs, press Ctrl+F6 until you hear “Region, Scroll to the first sheet button,” and then tab to the sheet you want.

    • When the focus is on a sheet tab, to get additional options such as Insert, Delete, Rename, and Hide/Unhide, press Shift+F10. A context menu opens and you hear “Insert.” Use the arrow keys to select the command you want, and press Enter.

  • Charts: chart type, alt text title and description. Screen readers read charts as images, including the name of the chart and its tooltip, but with no other details.

  • Formulas. To insert a function in a cell:

    1. In a cell, press F2 and then Ctrl+A. (In Narrator, press F2 and then press Shift+F3 twice).

    2. The Insert function dialog box opens with the focus on the Commonly used category, with the Sum function selected.

    3. Select the function you want.

      • To insert the Sum function, tab to the OK button and press Enter.

      • To insert a different function, use the arrow keys to select a different category, tab to the Function list to select the function you want, and then press the OK button.

  • Comments. Screen readers read a comment after reading the content of a cell.

  • Hyperlinks. Screen readers read link text and destination after reading the content of a cell.

  • PivotTables. You can’t create a PivotTable in Excel Online, but you can view a PivotTable you created in Excel.

    • To select a cell in a PivotTable, tab or use the arrow keys.

    • To open the PivotTable Fields pane, press Ctrl+F6.

    • To move from one field button to another, use the arrow keys, and then, to select a field, press Enter.

    • To jump to the lower section of the pane, press the Tab key and then, to access the contextual commands, use the arrow keys.

    • To close context menus, press Esc.

Here are some tips for using specific screen readers in Excel Online:

JAWS When entering Excel Online, JAWS automatically turns off Virtual Cursor. If you find that Virtual Cursor is on, you can turn it off by pressing Insert+Z.

Window-Eyes To turn off Browse Mode, press Ctrl+Shift+A.

Narrator Narrator does not read tables, conditional formatting and slicers, and form controls.

Common tasks in Excel Online

For steps to accomplish particular tasks in Excel Online, see the following articles:

More information

For information about the accessibility features of your browser, go to your browser’s website.

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.

Share Facebook Facebook Twitter Twitter Email Email

Was this information helpful?

Great! Any other feedback?

How can we improve it?

Thank you for your feedback!

×