Basic tasks using a screen reader with Skype for Business

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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 Skype for Business with your keyboard and Narrator, the built-in Windows screen reader, to do the essential basic tasks. You can start audio and video conversations, use instant messaging (IM), and meet with others.

Notes: 

In this topic

Open Skype for Business

To start Skype for Business, do one of the following:

  • Press the Windows logo key, type Skype for Business, and press Enter.

  • In a meeting invitation, select the Join Skype Meeting link.

  • Start Windows (if you have checked the Automatically start the app when I log on to Windows check box in the Personal tab of the Options dialog box).

Note: Sign in with your organization credentials—not with your Skype name or Microsoft account.

Automatically start Skype when you start Windows

  1. To open the Options dialog box, press Alt+T, then press O. You hear “General.”

  2. Press P. You hear: “Personal.”

  3. Press Alt+U. You hear: “Automatically start the app when I log on to Windows.”

  4. Press Spacebar until you hear: “Checked.”

  5. Press Enter. The Options dialog box closes, and the focus moves to the search box in the main window.

Change your status

When Skype for Business starts, some screen readers read your name, availability, location, and a personal note, which appear at the top of the main window and can be seen by other Skype users.

To change the information or photo that appears, press Shift+Tab until you hear the name of the option you want, and then press Spacebar.

Work with screen readers

See also

Use a screen reader to join an online meeting in Skype for Business

Use a screen reader to make or receive a call in Skype for Business

Keyboard shortcuts for Skype for Business

Set up your device to work with accessibility in Office 365

Learn how to navigate Skype for Business using accessible features

Use Skype for Business for Mac with your keyboard and VoiceOver, the built-in Mac OS screen reader, to do the essential basic tasks. You can start audio and video conversations, use instant messaging (IM), and meet with others.

Notes: 

In this topic

Open Skype for Business and sign in

  1. To go to the Applications list, in Finder, press Shift+Command+A.

  2. Type S to go straight to applications that start with an “S”, and press the Tab key until you hear: “Skype for Business.”

  3. To open Skype for Business for Mac, press Command+Down arrow key.

  4. Type your email address. Press Tab, type your password, and press Enter. You hear: “Now in Skype for Business window. Main navigation group.”

  5. To sign in or out, press Command+G.

    Tip: When signing in with your credentials, press the Tab key until you hear: “Remember my password, unchecked, check box.” Press Control+Option+Spacebar to select the Remember my password check box. You hear: “Check remember my password.” The next time you open Skype, you can simply press Enter to sign in to your account.

Work with VoiceOver screen reader

In Skype for Business for Mac, you can use VoiceOver, the built-in Mac OS screen reader. A screen reader converts text to speech and reads aloud commands, locations, lists, and buttons, in addition to the content itself.

Here are some notes about working with VoiceOver:

Change your availability status

  1. In the main navigation group, press Control+Option+Shift+Down arrow key to interact with the group. You hear: “My profile button.” Then press Spacebar twice. You hear: “Menu.”

  2. Press Up or Down arrow key to browse to the status you would like to display in your profile: Available, Busy, Do Not Disturb, Be Right Back, Off Work, or Appear Away.

  3. To select the status, press Spacebar. To go back to My Profile in the main navigation group, press Esc.

Make a call

  1. In the main navigation group, press Control+Option+Shift+Down arrow to interact with the group. Then press the Tab key until you hear: “Contacts.”

  2. To go to your contact list, press Spacebar, and then press the Tab key until you hear: “Contacts table.”

  3. Press the Down arrow key to browse through the contacts, until you hear the name of the person you want to call. If you need to expand a contact group, press the Right arrow key.

  4. To start a call with the selected contact, press Tab until you hear "Call button," and then press Control+Option+Spacebar.

  5. When you are in a call, you can use several keyboard shortcuts:

    • To turn the video call on or off, press Shift+Command+V.

    • To mute or unmute the microphone, press Shift+Command+M.

    • To stop end the call, press Shift+Command+E.

Chat via IM

  1. In the main navigation group, press Control+Option+Shift+Down arrow key to interact with the group. Then press the Tab key until you hear: “Contacts.”

  2. To go to your contact list, press Spacebar, and then press the Tab until you hear: “Contacts table.”

  3. Press the Down arrow key to browse your contacts, until you hear the name of the person with whom you want to start a chat. If you need to expand a contact group, press the Right arrow key.

  4. Press Spacebar, and then press the Tab key until you hear: “Chat button.”

  5. To start the chat, press Control+Option+Spacebar. You hear: “You are currently on a text area.”

  6. Type the message. To send, press Enter.

See also

Use a screen reader to join an online meeting in Skype for Business

Use a screen reader to make or receive a call in Skype for Business

Keyboard shortcuts for Skype for Business

Set up your device to work with accessibility in Office 365

Learn how to navigate Skype for Business using accessible features

Use Skype for Business with VoiceOver, the built-in iOS screen reader, to do the essential basic tasks. You can start audio and video conversations, use instant messaging (IM), and meet with others.

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

Open the Skype for Business app and sign in

  1. To select the Skype for Business app, move the focus until you hear “Skype for Business,” and then tap the app.

  2. To open the selected app, double-tap it. As the app opens and the Sign in heading is selected, you hear: “Sign in.” After you open the Skype for Business app, the user interface (UI) contains seven elements that you can select (in the following order from top to bottom):

    • Sign in heading

    • User name box

    • Password box

    • Save My Password toggle button

    • Show Advanced Options link

    • Sign in button

    • Sign-in help link

  3. Move the focus to the second UI element on the screen: User name box. You hear: “Organization sign in address.” Type your user name, including the domain.

  4. Swipe right or left until you hear "Next button," and then double-tap the screen. The focus moves to the Password box, and you hear: “Password, Secure text field.” Type your password.

  5. To move the focus to the Sign in button, swipe right or left until you hear: “Sign in button.” Double-tap the screen.

    As Skype for Business signs in to your account and the focus moves to your profile picture at the top of the screen, you hear “My info” followed by your status and “Button.”

    Tip: If you did not sign out of Skype for Business the last time you used it, the app opens without prompting you to sign in.

Work with VoiceOver screen reader

  1. Go to Settings > General > Accessibility > VoiceOver.

  2. On the VoiceOver screen, you can turn the screen reader on and adjust settings, such as speaking rate, hints, pitch, notifications, and more.

See also

Use a screen reader to join an online meeting in Skype for Business

Use a screen reader to make or receive a call in Skype for Business

Set up your device to work with accessibility in Office 365

Learn how to navigate Skype for Business using accessible features

Use Skype for Business for Android with TalkBack, the built-in Android screen reader, to do the essential basic tasks. You can start audio and video conversations, use instant messaging (IM), and meet with others.

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

Open Skype for Business for Android for the first time

The first time you open the Skype for Business for Android app, you provide profile information and personal preferences.

  1. On your mobile device, swipe right or left with two fingers to go to the home screen where the Skype for Business for Android app. Swipe right with one finger until TalkBack announces the app. Double-tap the screen.

  2. On the sign-in screen, the focus move the focus to the Organization sign-in address box. You hear: "Organization sign-in address, edit box." Double-tap the scree and type your sign-in address, typically your email address.

  3. Swipe right or left until you hear "Continue button," and then double-tap the screen.

  4. The focus moves to the Password box. You hear: "Password, edit box." Double-tap the box and type your password. Swipe right or left until you hear "Continue button," and then double-tap the screen.

  5. On the next screen, the focus moves to theWhat’s your phone number? box. You hear: "Android phone number, edit box." Type the phone number you want to use to make and receive work calls and to join meetings from Skype for Business for Android.

  6. On the same screen, be sure that the Sync Contacts check box is selected. Swipe right or left until you hear "Sync contacts checkbox is checked." If the check box is "unchecked," when on the check box, double-tap the screen. This merges your Skype for Business for Android contacts into your mobile device’s contact list.

  7. Swipe right or left until you hear "Continue button," and then double-tap the screen.

  8. The focus move to an introduction screen with information about Skype contacts, upcoming meetings, and conversations. To move to the next screen, swipe left with two fingers.

  9. The second screen gives you more information about working with your contacts, slide down this screen. To move to the next screen, swipe left with two fingers.

  10. The last screen gives you information about working with your calendar. To start using the app, swipe right until you hear "Next," and then double-tap the screen.

    Your Skype for Business for Android screen appears, containing the search box for contacts in your company directory, upcoming appointments, and recent conversations.

Open Skype for Business for Android and sign in

  1. From the home screen of your mobile device, navigate to the screen containing the Skype for Business for Android app. Swipe right with one finger until TalkBack announces the app. Double-tap the screen.

  2. Swipe right until you hear your name and sign-in address. Double-tap the screen. Skype for Business for Android opens.

    Tip: If you did not sign out of Skype for Business for Android the last time you used it, the app opens without prompting you to sign in.

Sign out of Skype for Business for Android

  1. In Skype for Business for Android, swipe left until you hear: “View profile settings menu, button.” Double-tap the screen.

  2. Swipe right until you hear: “Sign out.” Double-tap the screen. You hear: “Signing out of Skype for Business.”

See also

Use a screen reader to join an online meeting in Skype for Business

Use a screen reader to make or receive a call in Skype for Business

Set up your device to work with accessibility in Office 365

Learn how to navigate Skype for Business using accessible features

Use Skype for Business in Outlook on the web with Narrator, the built-in Windows screen reader, to do the essential basic tasks. Skype for Business operates as part of Outlook on the web rather than as a standalone app. You can start audio and video conversations, use instant messaging (IM), and meet with others.

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 Skype for Business in Outlook on the web, we recommend that you use Microsoft Edge as your web browser. Because Skype for Business in 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

Open Skype for Business in Outlook on the web

Skype for Business Online must be launched inside of Outlook on the web, and it runs inside of Outlook on the web. Skype for Business Online is not a standalone app.

  1. Open Outlook on the web by going to http://outlook.office.com. Sign in to your Office account.

  2. To move to the Office Online toolbar, press Ctrl+F6 until you hear: “Open the App Launcher.”

  3. To open the Skype for Business pane, press the Tab key until you hear “Use the Down arrow key to use the Skype for Business conversations pane.” Then, press the Down arrow key.

    The Skype for Business pane opens, and the All Contacts list tab is active.

Work with screen readers

In Skype for Business in Outlook on the web, you can use Narrator, the built-in Windows screen reader, or a third-party screen reader, such as JAWS. A screen reader converts text to speech and reads aloud commands, locations, lists, and buttons, in addition to the content itself.

Here are some notes about working with Narrator or JAWS:

  • To turn Narrator on or off on a PC, in Windows, press Control+Windows logo key+Enter.

  • If your screen reader stops reading or behaves unexpectedly, press Alt+Tab to leave the current window, and then press Alt+Tab again to return to it. This resets the screen reader's focus on the current window.

  • 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.

After starting your screen reader, in Outlook on the web, to navigate to Skype for Business in Outlook on the web, press Ctrl+F6 until you hear: “Open the App Launcher.” Then, press the Tab key until you hear “Use the Down arrow key to use the Skype for Business conversations pane.”

To navigate through the Skype for Business controls, use the Tab key or the Down arrow key. Because this version of Skype for Business operates inside of Outlook on the web, it is easy to move out of the Skype controls and into the Outlook on the web controls. Fortunately, it’s just as easy to move back by pressing Ctrl+F6 or Shift+Tab. Learn more in Learn how to navigate Skype for Business using accessible features.

Start a conversation

  1. When the focus is on the Open the Skype Panel button, to get to the first name in your Contacts list, press the Tab key. To move down through the list, press the Down arrow key. You hear the name of each contact as it is selected.

  2. When you hear the name of the person you wish to chat with, press Enter. The Conversation pane opens and the focus is in the Edit Chat box. You hear the name of the contact and that contact’s current status.

    1. To invite additional people to this conversation, press the Tab key until you hear: “Add people to this conversation.” Then, type in the name of the people you want to add to the conversation. To select additional contacts from your All contacts list, press Enter. After you have added the new contacts, press the Tab key until you hear “Add button” and then, to add those people to your chat, press Enter.

    2. To move the focus to the Chat input box, press the Tab key. You hear: “Chat input.”

  3. In the Conversation pane, type your message in the Message box.

  4. To send your message, press Enter.

End a conversation

  1. When you are ready to end the conversation, to get to the Skype for Business menu panel, press the Tab key. You hear “Search conversation,” and the focus is in the first menu item.

  2. Press the Tab key until you hear the contact’s name. For more options, press Shift+F10. You hear the first available menu option. If the conversation is open with one person, you hear: “Close conversation.” If it has more than two participants, you hear: “View profile.”

  3. To place the focus on Close conversation, use the Down arrow key and then press Enter.

See also

Use a screen reader to add people to your contacts in Skype for Business

Use a screen reader to send an Instant Message in Skype for Business

Keyboard shortcuts in Outlook on the web

Learn how to navigate Skype for Business 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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