Use a screen reader with Word 2016 to apply bold, italic, or underline formatting

If you have a vision or reading disability, this article tells you how to format text in Word 2016 by using only your keyboard and screen reader.

Formatting in Word 2016 makes your document easier to read. It also can affect the way words are spoken by a screen reader. To make it easier for you to apply formats on text, keyboard shortcuts are available for the most common format changes that people use, such as bold, italics, and underline.

Note: The procedures in this topic are documented using Narrator and JAWS. For information about how to work with a specific screen reader, contact your assistive technology (AT) manufacturer.

Tip: To hear how text is formatted in JAWS, press Insert+F. In Narrator, press Caps Lock+0. You may need to adjust your screen reader’s verbosity settings.

In this article

Make text bold

Bold format adds visual emphasis to text by making the font thicker on the screen.

Tip: Many screen readers do not read bold formatting. If you want to apply this kind of emphasis in an accessible way, you can use the Strong paragraph style in Word 2016. See Use a screen reader to apply heading and paragraph styles in Word 2016.

  1. Select the text that you want to make bold.

  2. Press Ctrl+B.

Make text italic

Italic text is slanted, and the font appears more like script than conventional print. Italic text is sometimes used to identify the title of an article, or placeholder text that the reader should make a substitution for. For example, some books can record the child's name, and show the placeholder as ChildsName.

Tip: Many screen readers do not read italic formatting. If you want to apply italics in an accessible way, you can use the Emphasis paragraph style. See Use a screen reader to apply heading and paragraph styles in Word 2016.

  1. Select the text that you want to make italic.

  2. Press Ctrl+I.

Underline text

  1. Select the text you want to underline.

  2. Do one of the following:

    • To use the default underline style, press Ctrl+U.

    • To apply a double underline, press Ctrl+Shift+D.

    • To select an underline style, press Alt+H, then in the Underline box, use the arrow keys to select the style you want, and press Enter.

    • To underline just the words but not the spaces, press Ctrl+Shift+W.

Format text using Tell Me

When you don’t know the keyboard shortcut or want to know about more options, try using the Tell me box.

  1. Select the text you want to format.

  2. To move to the Tell Me box, press Alt+Q.

  3. Type a keyword or phrase, then press the Down Arrow key to choose from the search results. For example, type font for options related to fonts, such as italics and font size. Some results may be submenus with more choices.

  4. To choose a result, press Enter.

Related information

Get help for using a screen reader with Word 2016

Keyboard shortcuts for Microsoft Word 2016 for Windows

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