Use a screen reader to format text in your email in Outlook

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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.

Use Outlook 2016 with your keyboard and Narrator, the built-in Windows screen reader, to add or edit text in your email message. You can change the font, apply different formatting options, and use headings to improve readability of your message.

Notes: 

In this topic

Add or edit text

  1. When composing an email message, if needed, press the Tab key repeatedly to go to the message body. When the focus moves to the message body, Narrator announces: "<Message title> message, editing." In JAWS, you hear: " Message, edit."

  2. If you're composing a new message, start typing.

    If there's text you want to modify or continue composing, use the arrow keys to navigate the message text, and Shift+arrow keys to select text. Type to add or replace text.

Change the font

  1. When composing an email message, select the piece of text you want to change, or place the focus in the message body if there's no text yet.

  2. Press Alt+H, then F, F. The focus moves to the font field.

  3. Press the Down arrow key to move through the font options. The screen reader announces the fonts as you move. When on the font you want to use, press Enter. The selected font is applied.

Change the default font for email messages

When you change the default font, the selected font is applied every time you use Outlook. You can change the default font for new messages that you compose, and your replies and forwarded messages independently.

  1. In Outlook, press Alt+F, T to open the Outlook Options window on the File tab.

  2. Press M to go to the options for Mail.

  3. Press Alt+F to go to the Stationery and Fonts button, and press Enter. The Signatures and Stationery dialog opens with the Personal Stationery tab selected.

  4. To move to the option you want to change, select one of the following:

    • To change the default font for new email messages that you compose, press Alt+F.

    • To change the default font for replies and forwards, press Alt+O.

    • To change the default font for composing and reading plain text messages, press Alt+N.

  5. The Font dialog opens with the focus in the Font field. To scroll through the font options, press the Down arrow key. To select an option, press Enter. The Font dialog closes and you return to the Signatures and Stationery dialog.

  6. To accept the change and apply the new font, press the Tab key repeatedly until you hear "OK, button," and press Enter.

  7. To close the Outlook Options window and return to the Outlook main view, press Esc.

Change the font size

  1. When composing an email message, select the text to be resized, or place the focus in the message body if there's no text yet.

  2. Press Alt+H, then F, S. The focus moves to the font size field.

  3. Type the new font size you want to use, and press Enter. The new size is applied.

Change the default font size for email messages

When you change the default font size, the selected size is applied every time you use Outlook. You can change the default font size for new messages that you compose, and your replies and forwarded messages independently.

  1. In Outlook, press Alt+F, T to open the Outlook Options window on the File tab.

  2. Press M to go to the options for Mail.

  3. Press Alt+F to go to the Stationery and Fonts button, and press Enter. The Signatures and Stationery dialog opens with the Personal Stationery tab selected.

  4. To move to the option you want to change, select one of the following:

    • To change the default font size for new email messages that you compose, press Alt+F.

    • To change the default font size for replies and forwards, press Alt+O.

    • To change the default font size for composing and reading plain text messages, press Alt+N.

  5. The Font dialog opens with the focus in the Font field. To move to the Size field, press Alt+S. The screen reader announces the current font size. To change it, type the size you want to use, such as 16, and press Enter. The Font dialog closes and you return to the Signatures and Stationery dialog.

  6. To accept the change and apply the new font size, press the Tab key repeatedly until you hear "OK, button," and press Enter.

  7. To close the Outlook Options window and return to the Outlook main view, press Esc.

Change the font size for your inbox items

The layout of your inbox is called a view, and you can customize it—or even build new views—using the View tab in your Outlook.

  1. In Outlook, go to your inbox, and press Alt+V, V. The Advanced View Settings: Compact dialog opens.

  2. To go to the font settings, press Alt+O. The Other Settings dialog opens.

  3. To move to the option you want to change, select one of the following:

    • To change the font size for the column headings in your inbox, press Alt+C.

    • To change the font size for the message titles displayed in your inbox, press Alt+W.

    • To change the font size for the message preview displayed in your inbox, press Alt+T.

  4. The Font dialog opens with the focus in the Font field. To move to the Size field, press Alt+S. The screen reader announces the current font size. To change it, type the size you want to use, such as 16, and press Enter. The Font dialog closes and you return to the Other Settings dialog.

  5. Press the Tab key repeatedly until you hear: "OK, button" and press Enter. The Other Settings dialog closes.

  6. To close the Advanced View Settings: Compact dialog and apply the new font size, press the Tab key until you hear: "OK, button" and press Enter. You return to the Outlook main view.

Use theme fonts

  1. When composing an email message, press Alt+P, then T, F. The list of theme fonts opens.

  2. Press the Down or Up arrow key to move through the font options. The screen reader announces them as you move.

  3. When on an option you want, press Enter.

Apply bold, italic, or underline

  1. When composing an email message, select the piece of text you want to format.

  2. Select a formatting option:

    To do this

    Press

    Apply bold formatting.

    Ctrl+B

    Apply italic formatting.

    Ctrl+I

    Apply underline formatting.

    Ctrl+U

Add headings

  1. When composing an email message, select the piece of text you want to turn into a heading, or place the focus where you want to insert a heading.

  2. Press Alt+O, L. The Styles selection opens.

  3. Use the arrow keys to move through the style options. The screen reader announces them as you move.

  4. When on the heading style you want to use, press Enter. If there was a piece of text selected, the heading style is applied to it. If you're inserting a new heading, you can type the heading now.

See also

Use a screen reader to create bulleted or numbered lists in Outlook

Use a screen reader to check spelling and grammar in Outlook

Keyboard shortcuts for Outlook

Keyboard shortcuts for navigating mail in Outlook

Use keyboard shortcuts to zoom in or out in Outlook

Basic tasks using a screen reader with email in Outlook

Set up your device to work with accessibility in Office 365

Learn how to navigate in Outlook using accessible features

Use Outlook for Mac with your keyboard and VoiceOver, the built-in Mac screen reader, to add or edit text in your email message. You can change the font and font size and apply other formatting options, such as bold, italic, and underline.

Notes: 

In this topic

Add or edit text

  1. When composing an email message, if needed, press the Tab key repeatedly to go to the message body. When the focus moves to the message body, you hear: "Document, text."

  2. If you're composing a new message, start typing.

    If there's text you want to modify or continue composing, use the arrow keys to navigate the message text, and Shift+arrow keys to select text. Type to add or replace text.

Change the font

  1. When composing an email message, select the piece of text you want to change, or place the focus in the message body if there's no text yet. When the focus moves to the message body, you hear: "Document, text."

  2. Press Command+D. You hear: "Font."

  3. Press the Down or Up arrow key to move through the font options. When you hear the font you want to use, press Enter. The new font is applied.

Change the default font for email messages

When you change the default font, the selected font is applied every time you use Outlook for Mac. You can change the default font for new messages that you compose, and your replies and forwarded messages independently.

  1. In Outlook for Mac, press Command+comma (,). The Outlook Preferences dialog opens.

  2. Press the Tab key repeatedly until you hear: "Fonts, button." Press Control+Option+Spacebar to select. The Fonts dialog opens.

  3. To move to the option you want to change, select one of the following:

    • To change the default font for new email messages that you compose, press the Tab key once and then press Control+Option+Spacebar.

    • To change the default font for replies and forwards, press the Tab key twice and then press Control+Option+Spacebar.

    • To change the default font for composing and reading plain text messages, press the Tab key three times and then press Control+Option+Spacebar.

  4. The Font dialog opens with the focus in the Font field. To scroll through the font options, press the Down arrow key. To select an option, press Enter. The Font dialog closes and you return to the Fonts dialog.

  5. To close the Fonts dialog and return to the Outlook main view, press Control+Option+Command+Esc, and then Enter.

Change the font size

  1. When composing an email message, select the piece of text you want to change, or place the focus in the message body if there's no text yet.

  2. To change the font size by two points:

    • Press Command+Plus sign (+) to increase the size.

    • Press Command+Minus sign (-) to decrease the size.

Change the default font size for email messages

When you change the default font size, the selected size is applied every time you use Outlook for Mac. You can change the default font size for new messages that you compose, and your replies and forwarded messages independently.

  1. In Outlook for Mac, press Command+, (comma). The Outlook Preferences dialog opens.

  2. Press the Tab key repeatedly until you hear: "Fonts, button." Press Control+Option+Spacebar to select. The Fonts dialog opens.

  3. To move to the option you want to change, select one of the following:

    • To change the default font size for new email messages that you compose, press the Tab key once and then press Control+Option+Spacebar.

    • To change the default font size for replies and forwards, press the Tab key twice and then press Control+Option+Spacebar.

    • To change the default font size for composing and reading plain text messages, press the Tab key three times and then press Control+Option+Spacebar.

  4. The Font dialog opens with the focus in the Font field. To move to the Size field, press the Tab key until you hear "<current font size>, Size, combo box." Type the new font size and press Enter. The Font dialog closes and you return to the Fonts dialog.

  5. To close the Fonts dialog and return to the Outlook main view, press Control+Option+Command+Esc, and then Enter.

Apply bold, italic, or underline

  1. When composing an email message, select the piece of text to be formatted, or place the focus in the message body.

  2. Select a formatting option:

    To do this

    Press

    Apply bold formatting.

    Command+B

    Apply italic formatting.

    Command+I

    Apply underline formatting.

    Command+U

See also

Use a screen reader to create bulleted or numbered lists in Outlook

Use a screen reader to check spelling and grammar in Outlook

Keyboard shortcuts for Outlook for Mac

Basic tasks using a screen reader with email in Outlook

Set up your device to work with accessibility in Office 365

Learn how to navigate in Outlook using accessibility features

Use Outlook for iOS with VoiceOver, the built-in iOS screen reader, to add o edit text in your email message.

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?.

  • This topic assumes that you are using the built-in iOS screen reader, VoiceOver. To learn more about using VoiceOver, visit Apple accessibility.

  • This topic assumes that you are using an iPhone. Some navigation and gestures might be different for an iPad.

In this topic

Add text to a new email message

  1. When you start composing a new email message, the focus is placed in the To field. You hear: "To, text field." To move to the message body, swipe right until you hear: "Multi-line text field."

  2. Double-tap the screen, and start typing using the on-screen keyboard.

Edit text in an email message

  1. When composing an email message, swipe right or left to move to the message body, if needed. When the focus moves to the message body, you hear: "Multi-line text field."

  2. Double-tap the screen. Swipe up or down repeatedly to move through the text letter by letter until you reach the spot for editing or adding text.

  3. Swipe right to move to the on-screen keyboard and edit the text using the keyboard. To hide the on-screen keyboard when done, tap the screen once.

See also

Use a screen reader to check spelling and grammar in Outlook

Basic tasks using a screen reader with email in Outlook

Set up your device to work with accessibility in Office 365

Learn how to navigate in Outlook using accessibility features

Use Outlook for Android with TalkBack, the Android built-in screen reader, to add or edit text in your email message.

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?.

  • This topic assumes that you are using the built-in Android screen reader, TalkBack. To learn more about using TalkBack, go to Android accessibility.

  • This topic assumes you are using this app with an Android phone. Some navigation and gestures might be different for an Android tablet.

In this topic

Add text to a new email message

  1. When composing an email message, swipe right until you hear: "Message body."

  2. Double-tap the screen to place the focus in the message body.

  3. Start typing using the on-screen keyboard.

Edit text in an email message

  1. When composing an email message, first locate the piece of text you want to edit. You can, for example, swipe up until you hear the navigation mode that's most suitable for your purpose, such as "Words" or "Lines."

  2. Swipe left or right until you hear the piece of text you want to edit or continue composing. The focus is right in front of the announced word or line of text.

  3. Use the on-screen keyboard to edit the text.

See also

Use a screen reader to insert a picture or image in Outlook

Basic tasks using a screen reader with email in Outlook

Set up your device to work with accessibility in Office 365

Learn how to navigate in Outlook using accessible features

Use Outlook Mail with Narrator, the built-in Windows screen reader, to add or edit text in your email message. You can change the font and font size, and use headings to improve readability of your message.

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?.

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

In this topic

Add text to a new email message

  1. When composing an email message, swipe right repeatedly to go to the message body. When the focus moves to the message body, you hear: "Message, editable text."

  2. Double-tap the screen, and start typing using the on-screen keyboard.

Edit text in an email message

  1. When composing an email message, move the focus to the message body text and locate the piece of text you want to edit. You can, for example, swipe up until you hear the navigation mode that's most suitable for your purpose, such as "Words" or "Lines."

  2. Swipe left or right until you hear the piece of text you want to edit or continue composing.

  3. Use the on-screen keyboard to edit the text.

Change the font

  1. When composing an email message, swipe right until you reach the message body. You hear: "Message, editable text." Double-tap the screen.

  2. Swipe right until you hear: "More options, button." Double-tap the screen.

  3. Swipe right until you hear: "Format button collapsed." Double-tap the screen.

  4. The Format menu opens. The focus is on the current font selection. Double-tap the screen to open the Font menu.

  5. Swipe right or left to move through the options. Narrator announces them as you move.

  6. When on a font you want to use, double-tap the screen.

Change the font size

  1. When composing an email message, swipe right until you reach the message body. Narrator announces: "Message, editable text." Double-tap the screen.

  2. Swipe right until you hear: "More options, button." Double-tap the screen.

  3. Swipe right until you hear: "Format, button collapsed." Double-tap the screen.

  4. The Format menu opens. Swipe right. Narrator announces: "Font size button." Double-tap the screen.

  5. Swipe left or right to move through the options. Narrator announces them as you move.

  6. When on a font size you want to use, double-tap the screen.

Apply bold, italic, or underline

  1. When composing an email message, swipe right until you reach the message body. Narrator announces: "Message, editable text." Double-tap the screen.

  2. Swipe right until you hear: "More options, button." Double-tap the screen.

  3. Swipe right until you hear: "Format button collapsed." Double-tap the screen.

  4. The Format menu opens. Swipe right until you hear the formatting you want to use. Double-tap the screen.

  5. To go back to the message, swipe right. You hear: "Navigation bar, back button." Double-tap the screen to select.

    The focus moves back to the message body. Double-tap the screen and then type the text using the on-screen keyboard.

Add headings

  1. When composing an email message, swipe right until you reach the message body. You hear: "Message, editable text." Double-tap the screen.

  2. Swipe right until you hear: "More options, button." Double-tap the screen.

  3. Swipe right until you hear: "Format button collapsed." Double-tap the screen.

  4. The Format menu opens. Swipe right until you hear: "Styles button." Double-tap the screen.

  5. Swipe left or right to move through the options. Narrator announces them as you move.

  6. When on a heading style you want to use, double-tap the screen.

  7. To go back to the message, swipe right. You hear: "Navigation bar, back button." Double-tap the screen to select.

    The focus moves back to the message body. Double-tap the screen and then type the heading using the on-screen keyboard.

See also

Use a screen reader to check spelling and grammar in Word

Basic tasks using a screen reader with email in Outlook

Learn how to navigate in Outlook using accessibility features

Use Outlook on the web with your keyboard and Narrator, the built-in Windows screen reader, to add or edit text in your email message. You can change the font, font size, and apply different formatting options, such as bold, italic, and underline.

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 Outlook on the web.

  • 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 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 Outlook on the web, we recommend that you use Microsoft Edge as your web browser. Because Outlook on the web 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 Outlook on the web.

In this topic

Add text to a new email message

  1. When you start composing a new email, the focus is placed in the To field. To go to the message body, press the Tab key until you hear: "Message body, editing."

  2. Type your message.

Edit existing text in an email message

  1. To edit or continue composing an existing email message, navigate to the message body using the Tab key or Shift+Tab.

  2. Navigate the message text using, for example, the arrow keys until you hear the piece of text you want.

  3. To select the piece of text, press Shift+arrow keys.

  4. To add or replace text, type.

Change the font

  1. When composing an email message, select the text to change, or place the focus into the message body if there's no text yet.

  2. Press the Tab key once. You hear: "Unchecked, font checkbox."

  3. Press Caps Lock+Enter. The font menu opens.

  4. Press the Up or Down arrow key to move through the font options. To select an option, press Enter.

Change the font size

  1. When composing an email message, select the text to change, or place the focus into the message body if there's no text yet.

  2. Press the Tab key once, and then press the Right or Left arrow key until you hear: "Unchecked, font size checkbox."

  3. Press Caps Lock+Enter. The font size menu opens.

  4. Press the Up or Down arrow key to move through the font size options. To select an option, press Enter.

Apply bold, italic, or underline

  1. When composing an email message, select the text to change, or place the focus into the message body if there's no text yet.

  2. Press the Tab key once, and then press the Right or Left arrow key until you hear formatting option you want, such as: "Unchecked, bold checkbox."

  3. Press Caps Lock+Enter to apply the formatting.

See also

Use a screen reader to check spelling and grammar in Outlook

Keyboard shortcuts in Outlook on the web

Basic tasks using a screen reader with email in Outlook

Learn how to navigate in Outlook using accessible features

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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