Use a screen reader to chat in Microsoft Teams

Use a screen reader to chat in Microsoft Teams

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 with visual impairments 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 Microsoft Teams with your keyboard and a screen reader such as JAWS or NVDA to chat with your contacts. You immediately hear an alert when someone sends you a message.

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 can get new features faster, join the Office Insider program.

  • For keyboard shortcuts, go to Keyboard shortcuts for Microsoft Teams.

  • This topic assumes that you are using JAWS. To learn about JAWS for Windows, refer to JAWS for Windows Quick Start Guide.

  • This topic makes note of the NVDA functionality as well. To learn more about NVDA, go to NV Access | Get Help.

  • This topic assumes you are using this app with a PC. Some navigation and gestures might be different for a Windows phone or tablet.

In this topic

Start a group chat

  1. In the Conversations tab of the Teams view, press Ctrl+F6 until you hear: "Start a new conversation." The focus moves to the message compose box.

  2. To expand the compose box to access more editing options, press Ctrl+Shift+X. To collapse the box, press Ctrl+Shift+X again.

  3. Type your message. You can also add attachments or even emoji, stickers, or memes to spice up your message.

  4. To send a message, press Ctrl+Enter.

The chat messages are displayed in the content pane. To browse the messages with JAWS, press the H or Shift+H keys to move between the different headings in the list. The heading levels are:

  • Heading 2: Title of the main content area

  • Heading 3: Date separators in the conversation.

  • Heading 4: Individual messages under a date.

  • Heading 5: Replies to messages.

With NVDA, to browse the messages, press the Tab key or Shift+Tab until you find the most recent message. Then switch to focus mode by pressing the NVDA key+Spacebar, and use the Up and Down arrow keys.

Start a private chat

  1. Press Ctrl+2 to open the Chat view. The list pane now shows your Favorites, if any, Recent contacts, and Suggested contacts.

  2. With JAWS, press Ctrl+F6 until you hear: "Chat list." With NVDA, you hear: "Tab control."

  3. Press the Tab key once, and then press the Up or Down arrow key until you hear the name of the contact you want to chat with, followed by their availability information.

    Tip: If the contact you seek is not in your Favorites, Recent, or Suggested lists, press Ctrl+E to use the Search field to find them. For more information, refer to Use a screen reader to search for a conversation, person, or file in Microsoft Teams.

  4. Press Enter, type your message, and press Enter again. The message is sent.

The chat messages are displayed in the content pane. To browse the messages with JAWS, press the H or Shift+H keys to move between the different headings in the list. The heading levels are:

  • Heading 2: Title of the main content area

  • Heading 3: Date separators in the conversation.

  • Heading 4: Individual messages under a date.

  • Heading 5: Replies to messages.

With NVDA, to browse the messages, press the Tab key or Shift+Tab until you find the most recent message. Then switch to focus mode by pressing the NVDA key+Spacebar, and use the Up and Down arrow keys.

Tip: To quickly start a chat and send a message, press Ctrl+E to move to the search field at the top of the screen. Type /chat, press Enter, type the name of the person you want to chat with, press Enter, type your message, and then press Enter.

Add an attachment

  1. In the message compose box, press Ctrl+O. The attachment picker opens.

  2. Press the Up or Down arrow key until you find the location from where you'd like to add a file, and then press Spacebar.

    You can add files from a cloud or locally from your computer.

  3. To add files from a cloud:

    1. In the Documents dialog, press the Up or Down arrow key to move in the list of folders or files, and press Enter to open a folder.

    2. When you find the file you'd like to attach, press Enter. Press the Tab key until you find the Share button, and press Enter. The file is attached to your message.

    To add local files:

    1. In the Windows Open dialog, press the Tab key to navigate the main areas of the dialog, and use the arrow keys to move inside a main area.

    2. When you've moved the focus to the right file, press Alt+O. The file is attached to your message.

Add an emoji

  1. In the message compose box, press the Tab key. Press the Right arrow key until find the Emoji button, and press Enter. The emoji list opens.

  2. Press the Tab key to move to the emoji list. Press the Left or Right arrow key to move in the list.

  3. When you hear an emoji you'd like to add, press Enter. The emoji is added to your message.

Add a sticker or meme

  1. In the message compose box, press the Tab key. Press the Right arrow key until you find the Sticker button, and press Enter. The sticker and meme list opens.

  2. To move to the stickers and memes category pane, press Shift+Tab. To move in the pane, press the Up or Down arrow keys. To select a folder, press Enter. The focus moves to the list of stickers and memes in the category.

  3. Press the Left or Right arrow key to move through the list. To select, press Spacebar.

  4. Edit the sticker or meme text to your liking, and when you're done, press the Tab key until you find the Done button, and then press Spacebar.

Pin or unpin a chat

You can pin a chat, which puts it at the top of the Recent tab.

  1. In the Recent tab, press the Up and Down arrow keys to navigate to the chat you want to pin or unpin.

  2. To open the More options menu, press Spacebar.

  3. If the chat is currently unpinned, you hear: "Pin." Press Enter to pin the chat. If the chat is currently pinned, you hear: "Unpin." Press Enter to unpin the chat.

Mute or unmute a chat

You can mute a chat to stop receiving notifications from it.

  1. In the Recent tab, press the Up and Down arrow keys to navigate to the chat you want to mute or unmute.

  2. To open the More options menu, press Spacebar.

  3. To mute a chat, press the Down arrow key until you hear "Mute," and then press Enter. To unmute a previously muted chat, press the Down arrow until you hear "Unmute," and then press Enter.

See also

Use a screen reader to search for a conversation, person, or file in Microsoft Teams

Use a screen reader to check recent activity in Microsoft Teams

Keyboard shortcuts for Microsoft Teams

Basic tasks using a screen reader with Microsoft Teams

Set up your device to work with accessibility in Office 365

Use a screen reader to explore and navigate Microsoft Teams

Video: Start chats and make calls

Use Microsoft Teams on Mac with your keyboard and VoiceOver, the built-in Mac OS screen reader, to chat with your contacts. You immediately hear an alert when someone replies to your message. Add attachments, emoji, and memes to you messages. Pin a chat to always keep it at the top of your recent chats. Mute a chat to stop receiving notifications.

Notes: 

In this topic

Start a group chat

  1. When you're on the Conversations tab, press C. The focus moves to the message compose box.

    Tip: To expand the compose box and access more editing options, press Command+Shift+X.

    The box is automatically collapsed when the message is sent. You can also press the Tab key once to move to the Collapse button, and then press Control+Option+Space to select.

  2. Type your message. To send the message, press Control+Return.

    Tip: When the compose box is not expanded, you can send a message by just pressing Return.

You can use VoiceOver heading navigation, such as Control+Option+Command+H (find next heading) and Control+Option+Command+M (find next heading of the same level) to browse the messages in the content pane. The heading levels are:

  • Heading 2: Title of the main content area

  • Heading 3: Date separators in the conversation

  • Heading 4: Individual messages under a date

  • Heading 5: Replies to messages

Start a private chat

  1. Press Option+2 to open Chat. The list pane now shows your Favorites, if any, Recent contacts, and Suggested contacts.

  2. Press Command+F6 until you hear: "Horizontal splitter."

  3. Press the Right arrow key until you hear the name of the contact you want to chat with, followed by their availability information.

    Tip: If the contact you seek is not in your Favorites, Recent, or Suggested lists, press Command+E to use the Search field to find them. For more information, refer to Use a screen reader to search for a conversation, person, or file in Microsoft Teams.

  4. Press Control+Option+Spacebar, type your message, and press Return. Your message is sent.

  5. When the person replies to your message, VoiceOver announces it with the person's name and the text in the message.

You can use VoiceOver heading navigation, such as Control+Option+Command+H (find next heading) and Control+Option+Command+M (find next heading of the same level) to browse the messages in the content pane. The heading levels are:

  • Heading 2: Title of the main content area

  • Heading 3: Date separators in the conversation

  • Heading 4: Individual messages under a date

  • Heading 5: Replies to messages

Tip: To quickly start a chat and send a message, press Command+E to move the focus to the search field at the top of the screen. Type /chat, press Return, type the name of the person you want to chat with, press Return, type your message, and then press Return.

Add an attachment

  1. In the compose box, press Command+O. The attachment picker opens.

  2. Press the Up or Down arrow key until you find the cloud location from where you'd like to add a file, and then press Return to select.

  3. Press the Up or Down arrow key to move in the list of folders or files.

  4. When you find the file you'd like to attach, press Return. You hear: "Selected." Press the Tab key until you find the Upload button, and then press Return. The file is added to your message.

Attach a local file

  1. To attach a file from your computer to your message, press Command+O.

  2. Press the Down arrow key until you hear "Upload from my computer," and then press Return. The dialog for selecting a file opens.

  3. Press the Tab key to navigate the main parts of the dialog, and use the arrow keys to move inside them.

  4. When you've moved the focus to the file you want, press Return. The file is added to your message.

Add an emoji

  1. In the compose box, press Option+Q.

  2. Press the Tab key to move to the emoji list. Press the Left or Right arrow key to move in the list.

  3. When you hear an emoji you'd like to add, press Control+Option+Spacebar. The emoji is added to your message.

Add a sticker or a meme

  1. In the compose box, press the Tab key until VoiceOver announces: "Attachment."

  2. Press the Right arrow key until you reach the Sticker button. Press Control+Option+Spacebar to open the menu.

  3. To move to the stickers and memes category pane, press Shift+Tab. To move in the pane, press the Right or Left arrow keys. To select a category, press Return.

  4. To move to the list of stickers and memes in a category, press the Tab key. Then press the Left or Right arrow keys to move through the list. To select an item, press Control+Option+Spacebar.

  5. If you want, you can edit the sticker or meme text. When ready, press the Tab key until you reach the Done button. Press Control+Option+Spacebar to select.

    The sticker or meme is added to your message in the compose box.

Pin or unpin a chat

You can pin a chat to keep it at the top of the list of your most recent chats in the Chat view.

  1. Press Command+2 to go to the Chat view.

  2. Press Command+F6 until you hear "Recent" and press Return.

  3. Press the Tab key once to move to the list of recent chats, and then press Control+Option+Shift+Down arrow key to enter the list.

  4. Press the Down or Up arrow key to navigate to the chat you want to pin or unpin.

  5. Press Spacebar. The More options menu opens.

  6. If the chat is currently unpinned, you hear: "Pin." Press Return to pin. If the chat is currently pinned, you hear: "Unpin." Press Return to unpin.

Mute or unmute a chat

You can mute a chat to stop receiving notifications. To start receiving notifications again, unmute it.

  1. Press Command+2 to go to the Chat view.

  2. Press Command+F6 until you hear "Recent" and press Return.

  3. Press the Tab key once to move to the list of recent chats, and then press Control+Option+Shift+Down arrow key to enter the list.

  4. Press the Down or Up arrow key to navigate to the chat you want to mute or unmute.

  5. Press Spacebar. The More options menu opens.

  6. To mute a chat, press the Down arrow key until you hear "Mute," and then press Return. To unmute a previously muted chat, press the Down arrow until you hear "Unmute," and then press Return.

See also

Use a screen reader to search for a conversation, person, or file in Microsoft Teams

Use a screen reader to check recent activity in Microsoft Teams

Keyboard shortcuts for Microsoft Teams

Basic tasks using a screen reader with Microsoft Teams

Set up your device to work with accessibility in Office 365

Use a screen reader to explore and navigate Microsoft Teams

Use Microsoft Teams for iOS with VoiceOver, the built-in Mac OS screen reader, to chat with your contacts. You immediately hear an alert when someone replies to your message.

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 can get new features faster, join the Office Insider program.

  • 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

Start a group chat

  1. In the channel where you want to compose your message, on the Conversations tab, swipe right until you hear "Start a new conversation, text field." Double-tap the screen.

  2. Type the message using your on-screen keyboard. To go to the keyboard, swipe right until you hear: "Q."

  3. After typing, to send the message, swipe right or left until you hear "Send button" and then double-tap the screen.

    Tip: You can also send a message that includes a photo saved on your phone. To send a photo, while typing your message, swipe right or left until you hear: "Tap to attach images." Double-tap the screen. Swipe right until you hear "Photo library" and double-tap the screen. Then select a photo from your Photos library.

Start a private chat

  1. Swipe left or right until you hear "Chat tab," and then double-tap the screen. You hear: "Selected, Chat tab." The list pane shows your recent conversations, if any.

  2. Swipe left until you hear "New chat button," and then double-tap the screen. You hear: "Search for recipients, Search field." The New Chat window opens and the focus is on the To field.

  3. To search for a contact, swipe right until you hear the first character on the on-screen keyboard.

  4. To type your search words, slide one finger on the keyboard until you hear the character you want, and then double-tap the screen. The character is added in the To field.

  5. The search results are listed as you type. To go to the results, swipe left or right until you hear the contact name. To select the contact, double-tap the screen.

  6. Swipe right until you hear "Type your message here," and then double-tap the screen. You hear: "Text field, is editing, insertion point at start."

  7. Type your message using the on-screen keyboard as instructed above.

  8. To send the message, swipe left until you hear "Send button," and then double-tap the screen. You hear: "Notification, message sent successfully."

    When the person replies to your message, VoiceOver announces a new or an unread message.

See also

Use a screen reader to search for a conversation, person, or file in Microsoft Teams

Basic tasks using a screen reader with Microsoft Teams

Set up your device to work with accessibility in Office 365

Use a screen reader to explore and navigate Microsoft Teams

Use Microsoft Teams for Android with Talkback, the built-in Android screen reader, to chat with your contacts chat with your contacts. You immediately hear an alert when someone sends you a message.

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 can get new features faster, join the Office Insider program.

  • 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

Start a group chat

  1. In the channel where you want to compose your message, swipe right until you hear: "Type a new message button." Double-tap the screen.

  2. Type the message using your on-screen keyboard. To go to the keyboard, place a finger on the screen and drag it around until you hear a keyboard element.

  3. After typing, to send the message, swipe right or left until you hear "Send message button" and double-tap the screen.

    Tip: In your message, you can also send an emoji, a gif, or a photo saved on your phone. While typing your message, swipe right or left until you hear the option you want. Then double-tap the screen to select the option.

Start a private chat

  1. Swipe right until you hear "Chat tab," and then double-tap the screen. You hear the first item in the recent conversations list that's shown in the list pane.

  2. Swipe right until you hear "New chat button," and then double-tap the screen. You hear: "Edit box, To, Search for contacts here." The on-screen keyboard is shown in the bottom half of the screen.

  3. To type your search words, slide one finger on the bottom half of the screen until you hear a character you want, then lift your finger, and then double-tap the screen. The character is added in the To field.

  4. The search results are listed and announced as you type. The focus moves to the first search result. To move in the list, swipe left or right until you hear the contact name. To select the contact, double-tap the screen.

  5. Swipe right until you hear "Type a message here, edit box," and then double-tap the screen.

  6. Type your message using the on-screen keyboard as instructed above.

  7. To send the message, swipe left or right until you hear "Send message button," and then double-tap the screen. You hear: "Message sent successfully."

  8. When the person replies to your message, you hear: "Message received, showing items <number of the current item and its position in the list of items>."

See also

Use a screen reader to search for a conversation, person, or file in Microsoft Teams

Basic tasks using a screen reader with Microsoft Teams

Set up your device to work with accessibility in Office 365

Use a screen reader to explore and navigate Microsoft Teams

Use Microsoft Teams on the web with your keyboard and a screen reader such as JAWS or Narrator, the built-in Windows screen reader, to chat with your contacts. You immediately hear an alert when someone sends you a message.

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 can get new features faster, join the Office Insider program.

  • This topic assumes that you are using the built-in Windows screen reader, Narrator. To learn more about using Narrator, go to Complete guide to 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 Microsoft Teams on the web, we recommend that you use Microsoft Edge as your web browser and Narrator as your screen reader. Because Microsoft Teams 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 Microsoft Teams on the web.

    If you use Chrome or Firefox as your web browser, we recommend that you use JAWS or NVDA as your screen reader.

In this topic

Start a group chat

  1. In the Conversations tab of the Teams view, press C. The focus moves to the message compose box.

  2. Type your message. You can also add attachments or even emoji, stickers, or memes to spice up your message.

  3. To send a message, press Enter.

Start a private chat

  1. Press Ctrl+Shift+2 to open the Chat view. The list pane now shows your Favorites, if any, Recent contacts, and Suggested contacts.

  2. Press Ctrl+F6 until you hear: "Chat list."

  3. Press the Tab key once and then use the Up and Down arrow keys to find the contact you want to chat with, followed by their availability information.

    Tip: If the contact you seek is not in your Favorites, Recent, or Suggested lists, press Ctrl+E to use the Search field to find them. For more information, refer to Use a screen reader to search for a conversation, person, or file in Microsoft Teams.

  4. Press Enter. You hear: "Type a new message." The focus is now in the message compose box.

  5. Type your message and press Enter to send it.

  6. When the person replies to your message, you hear "Message from," followed by the person's name and the text in the message.

    Note: If you receive a message from someone other than the person you're currently chatting with, or if you receive a message while in another view, you hear the sender's name, followed by the text in the message.

The chat messages are displayed in the content pane. To browse the messages, press Ctrl+F6 until the focus is in the message compose box and press Shift+Tab once. Use the Up and Down arrow keys to hear the earlier messages. To move the focus back to the message compose box, press the Tab key.

Tip: To quickly start a chat and send a message, press Ctrl+E to move to the search field at the top of the screen. Type /chat, press Enter, type the name of the person you want to chat with, press Enter, type your message, and then press Enter. To display the new chat in the content pane, press Enter again.

Add an attachment

  1. In the message compose box, press Ctrl+Shift+O. The attachment picker opens.

  2. Press the Up or Down arrow key until you find the location from where you'd like to add a file, and then press Spacebar.

    You can add files from a cloud or locally from your computer.

  3. To add files from a cloud:

    1. In the Documents dialog, press the Up or Down arrow key to move in the list of folders or files, and press Enter to open a folder.

    2. When you hear the file you'd like to attach, press Enter. With Narrator, you hear: "Selected." Press the Tab key until you find the Share button, and press Enter. The file is attached to your message.

    To add local files:

    1. In the Windows Open dialog, press the Tab key to navigate the main areas of the dialog, and use the arrow keys to move inside a main area.

    2. When you've moved the focus to the right file, press Alt+O. The file is attached to your message.

Add an emoji

  1. In the message compose box, press the Tab key. Press the Right arrow key until find the Emoji button, and press Enter. The emoji list opens.

  2. Press the Tab key to move to the emoji list. Press the Left or Right arrow key to move in the list.

  3. When you hear an emoji you'd like to add, press Enter. The emoji is added to your message.

Add a sticker or meme

  1. In the message compose box, press the Tab key. Press the Right arrow key until find the Sticker button, and press Enter. The sticker and meme list opens.

  2. To move to the stickers and memes category pane, press Shift+Tab. To move in the pane, press the Up or Down arrow keys. To select a folder, press Enter. The focus moves to the list of stickers and memes in the category.

  3. Press the Left or Right arrow key to move through the list. To select, press Spacebar.

  4. If there is a text field, you can edit the sticker or meme text. When you're done, press the Tab key until you find the Done button, and then press Spacebar.

Pin or unpin a chat

You can pin a chat, which puts it at the top of the Recent tab.

  1. In the Recent tab, press the Up and Down arrow keys to navigate to the chat you want to pin or unpin.

  2. To open the More options menu, press Spacebar.

  3. If the chat is currently unpinned, you hear: "Pin." Press Enter to pin the chat. If the chat is currently pinned, you hear: "Unpin." Press Enter to unpin the chat.

Mute or unmute a chat

You can mute a chat to stop receiving notifications from it.

  1. In the Recent tab, press the Up and Down arrow keys to navigate to the chat you want to mute or unmute.

  2. To open the More options menu, press Spacebar.

  3. To mute a chat, press the Down arrow key until you hear "Mute," and then press Enter. To unmute a previously muted chat, press the Down arrow until you hear "Unmute," and then press Enter.

See also

Use a screen reader to search for a conversation, person, or file in Microsoft Teams

Use a screen reader to check recent activity in Microsoft Teams

Basic tasks using a screen reader with Microsoft Teams

Use a screen reader to explore and navigate Microsoft Teams

Video: Start chats and make calls

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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