Get started using a screen reader with a modern document library in SharePoint Online

Read out loud symbol with the label Screen reader content. This topic is about using a screen reader with Office

This article is for people who use a screen reader program with the Office products and is part of the Office Accessibility content set. For more general help, see Office Support home.

A document library in SharePoint Online is a great tool for sharing documents within your team or organization. Use SharePoint Online with your keyboard and screen reader such as JAWS or Narrator, the built-in Windows screen reader, to upload, sync, create, view, and share documents in “modern” document libraries.

Notes: 

  • New Office 365 features are released gradually to Office 365 subscribers, so your app might not have these features yet. To learn how you could get new features faster, visit When do I get the newest features in Office 2016 for Office 365?.

  • For keyboard shortcuts, go to Keyboard shortcuts in SharePoint Online.

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

  • This topic makes note of the JAWS functionality as well. To learn more about JAWS for Windows, go to JAWS for Windows Quick Start Guide.

  • This topic assumes you are using this app with a PC. Some navigation and gestures might be different for a Windows phone or tablet.

  • When you use SharePoint Online, we recommend that you use Microsoft Edge as your web browser. Because SharePoint Online runs in your web browser, the keyboard shortcuts are different from those in the desktop program. For example, you’ll use Ctrl+F6 instead of F6 for jumping in and out of the commands. Also, common shortcuts like F1 (Help) and Ctrl+O (Open) apply to the web browser – not SharePoint Online.

In this topic

Start the SharePoint app and open a document library

  1. Sign in to your organization’s Office 365 account.

  2. To open the App launcher, move the focus to the App launcher link by pressing the Tab key until you hear, “Menu, Open the App launcher to access your Office 365 apps.” Press Enter.

  3. If you’re using Narrator, to open the SharePoint app, do the following: in the App launcher, move the focus to the SharePoint app by pressing the Tab key until you hear “Go to SharePoint, Link.” Press Enter.

  4. If you’re using JAWS, to open the SharePoint app, do the following:

    1. To open the My apps page, press the Tab key until you hear, “View all my apps, Link.” Press Enter.

    2. Move the focus to the Search apps box (one of the first elements on the page). You hear “Leaving menus, My apps, Edit, Type text.”

    3. Type sharepoint.

    4. Move the focus to the only search result on the page: SharePoint app. You hear “SharePoint link.” Press Enter.

  5. To open the site that contains your document library, press the Tab key until you hear the name of the site. To open the site, press Enter.

  6. To move the focus to your document library, press the Tab key until you hear the name of the library. To open it, press Enter.

Note: To learn what the user interface looks like and how to navigate with the keyboard in SharePoint Online, refer to Accessibility features in SharePoint Online.

View modern document libraries in SharePoint Online

SharePoint Online document libraries have a new look, called the modern look, which resembles that of OneDrive.

Note: The previous look is called classic. Some functionality in SharePoint Online is introduced gradually to organizations that have opted in to the First Release program. Organizations that do not participate in the First Release program or are not using the modern view in SharePoint Online document libraries may see a different user interface than the one described in the online help topics. Learn more about modern document libraries in SharePoint Online.

  1. To view modern document libraries in SharePoint Online, press the Tab key until you hear “Check it out button.”

    Tip: If you don’t hear “Check it out button,” you’re already using the modern view of your document library.

  2. Press Enter. After the view of your document library changes to the modern view and the focus moves from the Check it out button to the New link, you hear the name of your document library, followed by “New.”

Work with screen readers

Screen readers are apps that enable people who are blind or have low vision to hear audible feedback for the elements of a user interface (UI). As with the UI in other Microsoft products, the UI elements for SharePoint Online include names that screen readers can understand (accessible names).

When you use a screen reader with SharePoint Online, the screen reader reads the accessible names aloud to you (along with any other relevant information), while the focus of the screen reader moves to each element of the UI that you’re using in SharePoint Online.

For example, when you select the Upload link in a document library, the focus of the screen reader moves to that link and the screen reader says, “Upload.” When you select a document or folder, you hear the name of it.

Narrator

To turn Narrator on or off, press Windows logo key+Enter. For information about Narrator, refer to Hear text read aloud with Narrator.

JAWS

For information about JAWS, refer to the JAWS Screen Reader documentation.

See also

Use a screen reader to check out or check in files in a document library in SharePoint Online

Use a screen reader to create a custom view of a document library in SharePoint Online

Keyboard shortcuts in SharePoint Online

Get started using a screen reader with the SharePoint Online home page

Accessibility features in SharePoint Online

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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