Use a screen reader to get notified when a file or folder changes 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.

Use SharePoint Online with your keyboard and a screen reader such as JAWS or Narrator, the built-in Windows screen reader, to create alerts that notify you about changes to files and folders. When you create an alert, you can specify the delivery method (email or text message), when the alert is sent, and what kind of changes trigger the alert.

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.

Create an alert to notify you when a file or folder is changed

  1. Sign in to your organization’s Office 365 account, start the SharePoint app, and then open your document library.

    Tip: Document libraries in SharePoint Online have two different views: classic and SharePoint Online experience. For most people, SharePoint Online experience is the default. However, if you hear “Check it out button” when navigating your document library, you’re using the classic experience. To view SharePoint Online document libraries, when you hear “Check it out button,” press Enter. After the view of your document library changes to the SharePoint Online experience 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.”

  2. To view SharePoint Online document libraries, press the Tab key until you hear “Check it out button.” Press Enter. After the view of your document library changes to the SharePoint Online experience 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.”

    Tip: If you don’t hear “Check it out button,” you’re already using the SharePoint Online experience.

  3. In List view or Tiles view, select the file or folder you want to receive notifications for.

    Notes: To switch between List view and Tiles view:

    1. So that the New button and View menu are available on the menu, be sure that no files or folders are selected in the document library.

    2. Tab until you hear “New, Create a new folder or Office document in this location."

    3. Press the Right Arrow key until you hear “View menu,” and press Enter.

    4. Press the Down Arrow key until you hear “List” or “Tiles,” and press Enter.

  4. Tab until you hear “Menu, Open.” (In Narrator, you hear “Open.”)

  5. Press the Right Arrow key until you hear “More commands, Other things you can do with the selected item submenu” (in Narrator, “Menu item”), and press Enter. The submenu opens.

  6. Press the Down Arrow key until you hear “Alert me,” and press Enter. The Alert me when items change dialog box opens.

  7. Tab until you hear “Alert Title edit,” and type a new title for the alert if you want. (In Narrator, you hear “Alert title.”)

  8. To move to the Users edit box, press the Tab key. Your name and email address are listed. To add other users to send alerts to, press the Tab key and then type a semicolon (;) and a user’s name or email address.

  9. To specify a delivery method, press the Tab key. You hear “Email radio button selected.” Depending on how your account is set up, other delivery options, such as the ability to receive notifications by text message, may be available. If the Text message button is available, to select it, press the Down Arrow key. If you select this option, you can also choose to have the URL sent in the text message. To do this, press the Down Arrow key and then Spacebar.

  10. To specify how to filter or restrict the alerts, press the Tab key. You hear “Anything changes radio button selected.” To select one of the other options (Someone else changes a document, Someone else changes a document created by me, or Someone else changes a document last modified by me), use the Down Arrow key.

  11. To specify how frequently you want to be alerted, press the Tab key. You hear “Send notification immediately radio button selected.” To select Send a daily summary or Send a weekly summary, use the Down Arrow key. If you select one of these two options, to move to the Hour combo box to specify the time, press the Tab key, and then, to select a time, use the Down Arrow key.

  12. Tab to the OK button, and press Enter.

See also

Use a screen reader to review the version history for a file in a document library in SharePoint Online

Use a screen reader to review file activity in a document library in SharePoint Online

Keyboard shortcuts in SharePoint Online

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

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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