Use a screen reader to read pages in OneNote

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 OneNote 2016 with your keyboard and Narrator, the built-in Windows screen reader, to read OneNote 2016 pages. With a screen reader, you can easily recognize lists and headings. You can also check the descriptions of graphics in alt text (if available).

Notes: 

In this topic

Read a page in OneNote 2016

Your screen reader reads aloud through a page in OneNote 2016, announcing pictures, lists and list items, tables and their content, headings, and hyperlinks.

  1. To switch to the full screen mode for easier navigation, press F11.

  2. Navigate to the page you want to read. Then do one of the following:

    • With Narrator, if you do not hear: "Content block, editing" when you open the notebook, press the Down arrow key until you do. Then press Caps Lock+M. Narrator starts to read continuously from your current location. Alternatively, press the arrow keys to move to the next or previous line, for example, in the OneNote 2016 page title.

    • With JAWS, press Insert+Down arrow key to hear the whole page. Alternatively, use the arrow keys to navigate to readable elements one by one. For other JAWS reading commands, refer to JAWS Reading Commands.

  3. To stop the continuous reading at any time, press Ctrl or give any other command.

Read the alternative text of images

If your OneNote 2016 page has images with alternative text (alt text) titles and descriptions, Narrator reads the description when you navigate to the image with the arrow keys. In continuous reading mode, Narrator announces the picture object, but not the heading or the description. JAWS announces only the picture object and heading but doesn’t read the alt text.

  1. Navigate to the graphic, and press Shift+F10. The context menu opens.

  2. In the menu, press the Down arrow key until you hear: “Alt text”. Then press Enter. You hear: “Alternative Text, custom title, editing, <title text>.”

    In JAWS, you hear: “Leaving menu, Alternative Text, <title text>, title, edit.”

  3. To move to the alt text description, press the Down arrow key. You hear: “<Description text>.”

    In JAWS, you hear: “Description, edit, <description text>.”

  4. To exit the Alternative Text window, press Tab until you hear: “OK button”. Then press Enter.

Use Scan Mode

If OneNote 2016 doesn’t support a command in the focused area, Narrator says: “Not an explorable text”. In this case, you can use Narrator Scan Mode to navigate and read text.

To turn on Scan Mode, press Caps Lock+Spacebar. For more info on Scan Mode, refer to Using Scan Mode.

Adjust the screen reader’s verbosity level

You can change the level of detail your screen reader provides on the text's characteristics of a OneNote 2016 page.

In Narrator, you can choose between six different levels, from hearing only the text to hearing detailed info on formatting. For more info on the Narrator verbosity levels, refer to Reading text.

To adjust Narrator verbosity, press Caps Lock+A until you hear the level you want.

To adjust JAWS verbosity, press Insert+V. Then press the Down arrow key to navigate to the verbosity settings.

See also

Use a screen reader to organize notebooks, sections, and pages in OneNote

Keyboard shortcuts in OneNote for Windows

Use a screen reader to do basic tasks in OneNote

Set up your device to work with accessibility in Office 365

Learn how to navigate OneNote using accessible features

Use OneNote for Mac with your keyboard and VoiceOver, the built-in Mac OS screen reader, to help you read pages. With a screen reader, you can easily recognize lists, hyperlinks, and headings. You can also check the descriptions of graphics and attached files in alternative text (if available).

Notes: 

In this topic

Read a page

Your screen reader reads aloud through a page in OneNote for Mac, announcing texts, pictures and their alternative text descriptions (if available), tables and their content, list items, headings, and hyperlinks. You can also hear if there are attached files on a page, and their alternative text descriptions (if available).

  1. To switch to the full canvas mode for easier navigation, press F6 until you hear: "Undo typing button." Then press Control+Option+Right or Left arrow key until you hear: “Enter full canvas mode button" and press Control+Option+Spacebar. The section and page panes are now hidden.

  2. Navigate to the page you want to read as instructed in Navigate within a notebook, and on the page, do one of the following:

    • To read the whole page starting from your current location, press Control+Option+A.

    • To read the next line or item, press Control+Option+Down arrow key.

    • To read the previous line or item, press Control+Option+Down arrow key.

    • To read the next word, press Control+Option+Right arrow key.

    • To read the previous word, press Control+Option+Left arrow key.

      Tip: To read everything visible in the window, for example, all elements and containers, press Control+Option+Shift+W.

  3. To stop the continuous reading at any time, press Control or give any other command.

Adjust the screen reader's verbosity level

You can change the level of detail your screen reader provides on the text characteristics of a OneNote for Mac page. In VoiceOver, you can choose between three different levels, from hearing only the text to hearing detailed info on formatting.

To adjust VoiceOver verbosity, press Control+Option+V. You hear: “Adjust speech verbosity level.” Press the Up or Down arrow key until you hear the verbosity level you’d like to use. To select an option, press Control+Option+Spacebar.

For a description of the verbosity options, refer to Customizing VoiceOver.

See also

Zoom a page in OneNote 2016 for Mac

Keyboard Shortcuts in OneNote for Mac

Use a screen reader to do basic tasks in OneNote

Set up your device to work with accessibility in Office 365

Learn how to navigate OneNote using accessible features

Use OneNote for iOS with VoiceOver, the built-in iOS screen reader, to read OneNote 2016 pages. With a screen reader, you can easily recognize lists and headings. You can also check the descriptions of graphics in alt texts (if available).

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

Read a page

Your screen reader reads aloud through a page in OneNote for iOS, announcing pictures and links.

  1. Navigate to the page you want to read. Then swipe right until you hear "Page title," followed by the title text.

  2. Swipe down with two fingers to start reading the whole page from the title onwards.

  3. To stop the reading at any time, tap once with two fingers.

Read the alternative text of images

If your OneNote for iOS page has images with alternative text (alt text) titles or descriptions, VoiceOver reads the title and description and says "Image" when you encounter an image in reading mode.

See also

Use a screen reader to organize notebooks, sections, and pages in OneNote

Use a screen reader to do basic tasks in OneNote

Set up your device to work with accessibility in Office 365

Learn how to navigate OneNote using accessible features

Use OneNote for Windows 10 with Narrator, the built-in Windows screen reader, to help you read pages. With a screen reader, you can easily recognize lists and headings. You can also check the descriptions of graphics in alternative texts (if available).

Notes: 

In this topic

Read a page

Your screen reader reads aloud through a page in OneNote for Windows 10, announcing pictures, lists, and headings.

Note: If you did not sign out of OneNote for Windows 10 the last time you used it, the app opens without prompting you to sign in.

  1. Navigate to the page you want to read. Then do one of the following:

    • With Narrator, if you do not hear: "Content block, editing" when you open the notebook, press the Down arrow key until you do. Then press Caps Lock+M. Narrator starts to read continuously from your current location. Alternatively, press the Down or Up arrow keys to move to the next or previous line.

      Note: If OneNote for Windows 10 doesn’t support a command in the focused area, Narrator says: “Not an explorable text”. In this case, you can use Narrator Scan Mode to navigate and read text. To turn on Scan Mode, press Caps Lock+Spacebar.

    • With JAWS, press Insert+Down arrow key to hear the whole page. Alternatively, use the arrow keys to navigate to readable elements one by one. For other JAWS reading commands, refer to JAWS Reading Commands.

  2. To stop the continuous reading at any time, press Ctrl or give any other command.

Read the alternative text of images

If your OneNote for Windows 10 page has images with alternative text (alt text) titles and descriptions, Narrator reads the title and the description when you navigate to the image with the arrow keys, or when you use continuous reading mode.

JAWS reads the title and the description when you navigate to the image, but skips images in continuous reading mode.

Adjust the screen reader’s verbosity level

You can change the level of detail your screen reader provides on the text's characteristics of a OneNote for Windows 10 page.

In Narrator, you can choose between six different levels, from hearing only the text to hearing detailed info on formatting. For more info on the Narrator verbosity levels, refer to Reading text.

To adjust Narrator verbosity, press Caps Lock+A until you hear the level you want.

To adjust JAWS verbosity, press Insert+V. Then press the Down arrow key until you hear: "User verbosity," followed by the current level, and press Spacebar until you hear the level you want. Press Enter to close the Quick Settings menu.

See also

Use a screen reader to share and collaborate on notebooks in OneNote

Keyboard shortcuts in OneNote for Windows 10

Use a screen reader to do basic tasks in OneNote

Learn how to navigate OneNote using accessible features

Use OneNote Online with your keyboard and Narrator, the built-in Windows screen reader, to read OneNote Online pages. With a screen reader, you can easily recognize lists and headings. You can also check the descriptions of graphics in alt texts (if available).

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 OneNote 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 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 OneNote Online, we recommend that you use Microsoft Edge as your web browser. Because OneNote 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 OneNote Online.

In this topic

Read a page

Your screen reader reads aloud through a page in OneNote Online, announcing pictures, lists, and headings.

  1. Navigate to the page you want to read. When you open a page, you hear the name of the notebook, followed by "Editing area, editing, main landmark, title." This tells you that the focus is on the title area.

  2. Press Tab to move to the main text. Narrator reads the first line of text.

  3. Press Caps Lock+M to have Narrator start reading continuously from your current location. Alternatively, press the Down or Up arrow keys to move to the next or previous line.

  4. To stop the continuous reading at any time, press Ctrl or give any other command.

Read the alternative text of images

If your OneNote Online page has images with alternative text (alt text) descriptions, Narrator reads the description and says "Image" when you navigate to the image with the arrow keys, or when you use continuous reading mode.

Note: In OneNote 2016 and OneNote for Windows 10 you can add two kinds of alt text to an image: a title and a description. In OneNote Online, any alt text you add is always a description. Narrator may not read alt text titles in OneNote Online.

Read lists and headings

If your OneNote Online page has bulleted or numbered lists or headings, Narrator announces the list or heading level when you navigate to a list item or heading with the arrow keys. It also announces headings when you use continuous reading mode.

See also

Zoom in and out of notes in OneNote Online

Keyboard shortcuts in OneNote Online

Use a screen reader to do basic tasks in OneNote

Learn how to navigate OneNote 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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