Use PowerPoint Online with a screen reader

You can use a screen reader and PowerPoint Online to create, edit, and deliver engaging presentations. PowerPoint Online works with Narrator, the built-in screen reader in Windows, and with third-party screen readers, such as JAWS. These screen readers convert text to speech to read the contents of PowerPoint Online. To turn Narrator on or off, press Windows logo key+Enter. For more information about Narrator, refer to Hear text read aloud with Narrator. For more information about JAWS, refer to the JAWS Screen Reader documentation.


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

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

In this topic

Start PowerPoint Online

To start PowerPoint Online, do one of the following:

  • Select a PowerPoint presentation that is saved to your OneDrive and then sign in with your Microsoft, school, or work account.

  • Open, and then sign in with a Microsoft, school, or work account.

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

Work with screen readers

Following are some basics tips for using screen readers with PowerPoint Online:

  • Accelerator keys. PowerPoint Online runs in your web browser, so it does not use accelerator keys or KeyTips. For example, if you press Alt, the focus moves to the browser menu bar, and familiar shortcuts, like Ctrl+P (Print) and F1 (Help), run browser commands rather than PowerPoint Online commands. Read more about Keyboard shortcuts in PowerPoint Online.

  • Switching views. PowerPoint Online has three views: Editing view, Reading view, and Slide Show view. You can make changes to the presentation only in Editing view. When you first open a file in PowerPoint Online, the presentation is in Reading view. Tab to Edit Presentation, press Enter, and then select Edit in PowerPoint Online. While in Editing view, to switch to another view, press Ctrl+F6 until the status bar is active, tab to Reading View or Slide Show, and then press Enter.

  • Navigation. To navigate commands in PowerPoint Online, use Tab (forward), Shift+Tab (backward), and Enter. To move the focus to different parts of the PowerPoint Online interface (from the ribbon to the thumbnail pane, for example) and to move in and out of the content of a slide, use Ctrl+F6 (forward) or Ctrl+Shift+F6 (backward). Use keyboard shortcuts to loop through task panes in PowerPoint Online to loop through the task panes in PowerPoint Online. The cycle order is:

    • Slide Panel

    • Comments pane (if open)

    • Notes pane (if open)

    • Status bar (which includes the Notes pane toggle and the different views)

    • PowerPoint Online title bar

    • Ribbon

  • Ribbon commands. To navigate among commands in the PowerPoint Online ribbon or to move among objects on the slide panel or thumbnail pane, press the Tab key (forward) or Shift+Tab (backward) and then press Enter.

  • Accessible Mode view. This view makes PowerPoint Online more accessible to your screen reader. While in Reading view, press Ctrl+; (semicolon). The slides are presented in an outline view in which the content can be read by your screen reader.

  • Tell me what you want to do box. To quickly give a command, move the focus to the Tell me what you want to do box (press Alt+Q) and then type the command you want. To select a command, use the Up Arrow and Down Arrow keys and then press Enter.

Notes: Note the following tips and exceptions when using a screen reader in PowerPoint Online:

  • All screen readers. Slide content is read only in Editing view or Accessible Mode view and not in Reading view or Slide Show view. Also, in hyperlinks, screen readers read the linked text but not the destination, and the link is not actionable.

  • JAWS. To toggle speech on and off, press Insert+Spacebar, S. When working in PowerPoint Online, JAWS automatically turns off Virtual Cursor. If you find that Virtual Cursor is on, to turn it off, press Insert+Z.

  • Narrator. To start or exit Narrator, press Windows logo key+Enter.

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

Do more with PowerPoint Online and a screen reader

With PowerPoint Online, use your web browser to create, view, and edit the presentations you store in a web location, like OneDrive, Dropbox, or SharePoint. For steps to accomplish common tasks in PowerPoint Online, refer to the following articles:

Browser information

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

For information about accessibility in PowerPoint Online, refer to Accessibility in PowerPoint 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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