Learn how to navigate SharePoint Online using accessible features

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.

SharePoint Online includes accessibility features that make it easy for users with disabilities like low vision to work with SharePoint home page.

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.

Navigate on the SharePoint Online home page

Here are the basics for navigating on the SharePoint Online home page.

  • To cycle through groups of screen elements (for example, the Following or Recent group in the left pane or the Frequent or Suggested group on the main screen), press the Tab key (forward) or Shift+Tab (backward). To select an item, press Enter.

  • To cycle through a list of sites under most groups, press the Up arrow key or the Down arrow key. (If you don’t hear the name of the site, press the arrow key a second time.)

  • To cycle through a list of items in the Suggested group, press the Left arrow key or the Right arrow key.

  • In most cases, when you press Enter, a link opens on a new browser tab. To return to the SharePoint home page, repeatedly press the Tab key or Shift+Tab until one of the browser tabs has the focus, and then press the Left arrow key or the Right arrow key until you hear “SharePoint tab selected.” Press Enter.

  • To exit a menu or mode, press Esc.

Note: After you press Enter to select an item under one of the groups, you might then hear a prompt about allowing pop-ups. To move the focus to the notification bar and allow the site to open, press Alt+N, A. The selected site opens in a separate tab. To close the notification bar, press Alt+N again, press the Tab key until you hear "Close, button," and then press Enter.

For more details, go to Keyboard shortcuts in SharePoint Online.

See also

Use a screen reader to explore Following and Recent sites list in SharePoint Online

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

Keyboard shortcuts in SharePoint Online

Basic tasks using a screen reader with SharePoint Online

Make your SharePoint site accessible

SharePoint Online includes accessibility features that make it easy for users with disabilities like low vision to work with SharePoint sites, pages, and document libraries.

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.

In this topic

Get to know the SharePoint Online Modern Experience layout

Main view

After you've signed in, SharePoint Online opens to the main view. On the top of the page, there's a navigation bar with the following buttons:

  • App Launcher

  • Office 365

  • SharePoint

  • Notifications

  • Settings

  • Help

  • My account

Below the navigation bar, there's a toolbar containing the following items:

  • Search text field

  • Create site button

  • Create news post button

Below the toolbar, the navigation pane is displayed on the left. The navigation pane lists links to, for example, sites that you're following and recent sites. Next to the navigation pane, to the right, the main content area takes up most of the remaining space on the screen. The main content area displays a collection of feeds and activities, for example, news from different sites, sites that you've frequently visited, and suggested sites.

Site home page

On the top of the page, there's the navigation bar as in the main view.

Below the navigation bar, there's a row that contains the Search text field.

Below that row, the navigation pane is displayed on the left. The navigation pane lists links to, for example, the home page of a site, documents, pages, and document libraries in a site. On the bottom of the navigation pane, there's the Edit button. Next to the navigation pane, to the right, there's the main content area that takes up most of the remaining space on the screen. On the top left part of the main content area, there's a banner with the site name and info on the security and publicity of the site. To the right of the site name, there are the Following/Not following button and the Group conversations link. Below these items, there's the Group membership button. Below the site name banner and the items, there's a toolbar with the following buttons:

  • New

  • Edit

  • Publish

When you're editing a site, the toolbar displays the following buttons:

  • Save and close

  • Discard changes

  • Publish

The main content area includes the items that have been added to the site, for example, calendar events, news, activities. On the bottom right of the main content area, there are the following buttons: Feedback and Get the mobile app.

Document library

In a document library, the navigation bar, Search field, navigation pane, and the site name banner with its items are in the same location as on a SharePoint Online site. The toolbar resides below the banner and contains the following buttons:

  • New

  • Upload

  • Sync

  • Flow

  • More commands

  • View options

  • Filters pane

  • Details

Below the toolbar, there's the main content area. The top part of the area contains the pinned items. Below the pinned items, there are the items that have been added in the document library. On the bottom right of the main content area, there's the Feedback button.

Navigate using the keyboard

  • To navigate in SharePoint Online and to cycle through screen elements, press the Tab key (forward) or Shift+Tab (backward).

  • To navigate and cycle through elements and have your screen reader announce more details, press Caps Lock+Right or Left arrow key.

  • To select an item, press Enter or Alt+Enter.

  • To browse within menus or lists, press the Up arrow key or the Down arrow key, and then, to make a selection, press Enter or Alt+Enter.

  • To browse within menus or lists and have your screen reader announce more details, press Caps Lock+Right or Left arrow key.

  • To exit a menu or mode, press Esc.

  • To open SharePoint Online shortcuts in a separate window, press the question mark sign (?).

  • To open the context menu, press Shift+F10 or Alt+Menu button.

For more details, go to Keyboard shortcuts in SharePoint Online.

Special considerations for SharePoint Online Modern Experience

To find your documents and pages as quickly as possible you can use the site contents pages.

Navigate to a document library

Identifying a document library in the navigation pane can be difficult as the screen readers don't announce the item types as you move inside the pane. You can use the site contents page to browse the list of items and their types to make sure you find the right one.

  1. In the site home page, press the Tab key until you hear: "Entering navigation control, <the current selection in the list>, link."

  2. Press the Down arrow key until you hear "Site contents, link" and then press Enter. The site contents page opens.

  3. Press the Tab key until you hear "List of contents within this site," and then press Caps Lock+Right or Left arrow to browse the list. You hear each item's name, modification date and time, and the item type.

  4. Once you hear the document library you want, press Enter. The document library opens in new tab in Microsoft Edge.

Note: If you know the name, part of the name, or subject of the document library, you use Search. For instructions, go to Search for sites, document libraries, or pages.

Navigate to a page

  1. In the site home page, press the Tab key until you hear: "Entering navigation control, <the current selection in the list>, link."

  2. Press the Down arrow key until you hear "Pages, link" and then press Enter. The Site Pages page opens. The focus is on the first item in the list of pages.

  3. Press the Up or Down arrow key until you hear the page you want, and then press Enter.

  4. Once you hear the document library you want, press Enter. The pages opens in a new tab in Microsoft Edge.

Note: If you know the name, part of the name, or subject of the page, you use Search. For instructions, go to Search for sites, document libraries, or pages.

See also

Use a screen reader to create a team or communication site in SharePoint

Use a screen reader to add images and media to a SharePoint page

Use a screen reader to add content and text to an accessible SharePoint page

Keyboard shortcuts in SharePoint Online

Basic tasks using a screen reader with SharePoint Online

Make your SharePoint site accessible

The SharePoint Online app for iOS includes accessibility features that make it easy for users with disabilities like low vision to work with SharePoint Online sites. For more information about accessibility settings and features that are platform-specific, see Set up your device to work with accessibility in Office 365.

Notes: 

In this topic

Get to know the SharePoint Online app for iOS layout

When you first sign in to the SharePoint Online app for iOS, you land on the Sites home page, which lists available sites. The title is centered at the top of the screen. To the right of the title is the Search button.

Below the title row are the Frequent and Following tabs. Below the tabs is a vertical list of sites within the selected tab.

At the bottom of the screen is a menu bar, which contains the following tabs from left to right:

  • News: Provides a vertical list of the latest activity from the sites.

  • Links: Provides a vertical list of links and resources for your organization.

  • Sites: Opens to the Sites page, from which you can select and go to a SharePoint Online site.

  • People: Provides a vertical list of the contacts you work with.

  • Me: Provides access to your personal SharePoint Online settings. The page contains a vertical list of settings.

Navigate by touch

  • To navigate in SharePoint Online app for iOS and to cycle through screen elements, swipe left or right with one finger.

  • To explore the screen content, drag a finger across the screen.

  • To select an item, double-tap the screen.

  • To browse within menus or lists, swipe left or right, and then, to make a selection, double-tap the screen.

  • To open the context-sensitive menu (when available), double-tap and hold with one finger.

See also

Basic tasks using a screen reader with SharePoint Online

Set up your device to work with accessibility in Office 365

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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