Get started using a screen reader with Skype for Business

You can use a screen reader and Skype for Business to start audio and video conversations, use instant messaging (IM), and meet with others.

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

In this topic

Start Skype for Business

To start Skype for Business, do one of the following:

  • Press the Windows logo key, type Skype for Business, and press Enter.

  • In a meeting invitation, select the Join Online Meeting link.

  • Start Windows (if you check the Automatically start Skype for Business when I log on to Windows check box in the Personal tab of the Options dialog box).

Note: Sign in with your organization credentials—not with your Skype name or Microsoft account.

Automatically start Skype when you start Windows

  1. To open the Options dialog box, press Alt+T, O. You hear “General.”

  2. Press P. You hear “Personal.”

  3. Press Alt+U. You hear “Automatically start the app when I log on to Windows.”

  4. Press Spacebar until you hear “Checked.”

  5. Press Enter. The Options dialog box closes, and the focus moves to the search box in the main window.

Change your status

When Skype starts, some screen readers read your name, availability, location, and a personal note, which appear at the top of the main window and can be seen by other Skype users.

To change the information or photo that appears, press Shift+Tab until you hear the name of the option you want, and then press Spacebar.

Explore the Skype for Business user interface

When you open or refresh the Skype window, the focus moves to the search box so you can quickly locate a contact from your Contact List or organization.

Below the search box, the main window displays the Contacts tab with your Contact List. To start a conversation, select a contact and then choose how to connect—IM, phone, or video. For other views, go to the Conversations tab (Ctrl+3), Phone tab (Ctrl+4), or Meetings tab (Ctrl+5).

Many task-specific keyboard shortcuts are available. See Keyboard shortcuts for Skype for Business.

Show the hidden menu bar

The main window includes a hidden menu bar with four menus: File (Alt+F), Meet Now (Alt+M), Tools (Alt+T), and Help (Alt+H). The menu bar can be read by screen readers when you press the shortcut for any menu. For example, to display the menu bar and open the File menu, press Alt+F.

Or tab to the Show Menu button and select Show Menu Bar.

Work with screen readers

  • In JAWS, when the Conversation window is open, to alert you to an incoming IM, the screen reader says, “Menu.” To play a sound instead, in the Options dialog box, in the Ringtones and Sounds section, unmute the IM notification. For more information, see Accessibility in Skype for Business.

  • If you use JAWS and have Dolby sound on your computer speakers, the volume may drop suddenly when you join a Skype meeting. To find the workaround, see Accessibility in Skype for Business.

  • Narrator may not read notification windows. These windows offer feedback when you send a Skype request.

Do tasks with Skype and a screen reader

Keyboard shortcuts for Skype for Business

Skype for Business accessibility for people with disabilities

Use a screen reader to add people to your contact list in Skype for Business

Use a screen reader to make or receive a call in Skype for Business

Use a screen reader with Skype for Business to check voicemail

Use a screen reader with Skype to send an Instant Message in Skype for Business

Join an online meeting using Skype for Business with a screen reader

Share your screen using Skype for Business with a screen reader

Use a screen reader to mute audio or video in an online meeting

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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