Use a screen reader to format text in your email in Outlook

Use a screen reader to format text in your email in Outlook

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.

For people who aren't using a screen reader, see Change the size or formatting of text or Make text and apps bigger (in Windows), or Format email messages in Outlook for Mac.

Use Outlook with your keyboard and screen reader to add or edit text in your email message. We have tested it with Narrator and JAWS, but it might work with other screen readers as long as they follow common accessibility standards and techniques. You can change the font, apply different formatting options, and use headings to improve readability of your message.

Notes: 

In this topic

Add or edit text

  1. To start composing an email, in your inbox, press Ctrl+N. You hear: "Untitled, message, <message format>, window, To, editing."

    Note: To learn more about composing an email in Outlook, refer to Create and send email.

  2. When composing an email message, if needed, press the Tab key repeatedly to go to the message body. When the focus moves to the message body, Narrator announces: "<Message title> message, editing." In JAWS, you hear: "Message, edit."

  3. If you're composing a new message, start typing.

    If there's text you want to modify or continue composing, use the arrow keys to navigate the message text, and Shift+arrow keys to select text. Type to add or replace text.

Change the font

  1. When composing an email message, select the piece of text you want to change, or place the focus in the message body if there's no text yet. To select text, use the arrow keys to navigate the message text, and Shift+arrow keys to select.

  2. Press Alt+H, F, F. The focus moves to the font field. You hear: "Font." In JAWS, you hear the currently selected font.

  3. Press the Down arrow key to move through the font options. The screen reader announces the fonts as you move. When on the font you want to use, press Enter. The selected font is applied.

Change the default font for email messages

When you change the default font, the selected font is applied every time you use Outlook. You can change the default font for new messages that you compose, and your replies and forwarded messages independently.

  1. In Outlook, press Alt+F, T to open the Outlook Options window on the File tab. You hear: "Outlook options."

  2. Press M to go to the options for Mail. You hear: "Mail."

  3. Press Alt+F to go to the Stationery and Fonts button, and press Enter. The Signatures and Stationery dialog opens with the Personal Stationery tab selected, and you hear: "Signatures and Stationery."

  4. To move to the option you want to change, select one of the following:

    • To change the default font for new email messages that you compose, press Alt+F.

    • To change the default font for replies and forwards, press Alt+O.

    • To change the default font for composing and reading plain text messages, press Alt+N.

  5. The Font dialog opens with the focus in the Font field. To scroll through the font options, press the Down arrow key. The screen reader announces the fonts as you move. To select an option, press Enter. The Font dialog closes and you return to the Signatures and Stationery dialog.

  6. To accept the change and apply the new font, press the Tab key repeatedly until you hear "OK, button," and press Enter.

  7. To close the Outlook Options window and return to the Outlook main view, press Esc.

Change the font size

  1. When composing an email message, select the text to be resized, or place the focus in the message body if there's no text yet.

  2. Press Alt+H, F, S. The focus moves to the font size field. You hear "Font size" and the currently selected font size.

  3. Type the new font size you want to use, and press Enter. The new size is applied.

Change the default font size for email messages

When you change the default font size, the selected size is applied every time you use Outlook. You can change the default font size for new messages that you compose, and your replies and forwarded messages independently.

  1. In Outlook, press Alt+F, T to open the Outlook Options window on the File tab. You hear: "Outlook options."

  2. Press M to go to the options for Mail. You hear: "Mail."

  3. Press Alt+F to go to the Stationery and Fonts button, and press Enter. The Signatures and Stationery dialog opens with the Personal Stationery tab selected, and you hear: "Signatures and Stationery."

  4. To move to the option you want to change, select one of the following:

    • To change the default font size for new email messages that you compose, press Alt+F.

    • To change the default font size for replies and forwards, press Alt+O.

    • To change the default font size for composing and reading plain text messages, press Alt+N.

  5. The Font dialog opens with the focus in the Font field. To move to the Size field, press Alt+S. You hear "Size" and the current font size. To change it, type the size you want to use, such as 16, and press Enter. The Font dialog closes and you return to the Signatures and Stationery dialog.

  6. To accept the change and apply the new font size, press the Tab key repeatedly until you hear "OK, button," and press Enter.

  7. To close the Outlook Options window and return to the Outlook main view, press Esc.

Change the font size for your inbox items

The layout of your inbox is called a view, and you can customize it—or even build new views—using the View tab in your Outlook.

  1. In Outlook, go to your inbox, and press Alt+V, V. The Advanced View Settings: Compact dialog opens. You hear: "Advanced View Settings."

    Tip: To quickly go to your inbox, press Ctrl+Shift+I.

  2. To go to the font settings, press Alt+O. The Other Settings dialog opens. In Narrator, you hear: "Other settings, Column font." In JAWS, you hear "Other settings, dialog."

  3. To move to the option you want to change, select one of the following:

    • To change the font size for the column headings in your inbox, press Alt+C.

    • To change the font size for the message titles displayed in your inbox, press Alt+W.

    • To change the font size for the message preview displayed in your inbox, press Alt+T.

  4. The Font dialog opens with the focus in the Font field, and you hear: "Font." To move to the Size field, press Alt+S. You hear "Size" and the current font size. To change it, type the size you want to use, such as 16, and press Enter. The Font dialog closes and you return to the Other Settings dialog.

  5. Press the Tab key repeatedly until you hear "OK, button," and press Enter. The Other Settings dialog closes.

  6. To close the Advanced View Settings: Compact dialog and apply the new font size, press the Tab key until you hear "OK, button," and press Enter. You return to the Outlook main view.

Use theme fonts

  1. When composing an email message, press Alt+P, T, F. The list of theme fonts opens, and you hear: "Office." In JAWS you hear: "Office button selected."

  2. Press the Down or Up arrow key to move through the font options. The screen reader announces them as you move.

  3. When on an option you want, press Enter.

Apply bold, italic, or underline

  1. When composing an email message, select the piece of text you want to format.

  2. Select a formatting option:

    To do this

    Press

    Apply bold formatting.

    Ctrl+B

    Apply italic formatting.

    Ctrl+I

    Apply underline formatting.

    Ctrl+U

Add headings

  1. When composing an email message, select the piece of text you want to turn into a heading, or place the focus where you want to insert a heading.

  2. Press Alt+O, L. The Styles selection opens, and you hear: "Styles." In JAWS, you hear: "Styles group box."

  3. Use the arrow keys to move through the style options. The screen reader announces them as you move.

  4. When on the heading style you want to use, press Enter. If there was a piece of text selected, the heading style is applied to it. If you're inserting a new heading, you can type the heading now.

See also

Use a screen reader to create bulleted or numbered lists in Outlook

Use a screen reader to check spelling and grammar in Outlook

Keyboard shortcuts for Outlook

Keyboard shortcuts for navigating mail in Outlook

Use keyboard shortcuts to zoom in or out in Outlook

Basic tasks using a screen reader with email in Outlook

Set up your device to work with accessibility in Office 365

Use a screen reader to explore and navigate Outlook Mail

Use Outlook for Mac with your keyboard and VoiceOver, the built-in Mac OS screen reader, to add or edit text in your email message. You can change the font and font size or the text display size. You can also apply other formatting options, such as bold, italic, and underline.

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 Mac OS screen reader, VoiceOver. To learn more about using VoiceOver, go to VoiceOver Getting Started Guide.

In this topic

Add or edit text

  1. To start composing an email, in your inbox, press Command+N. A new message window opens with the focus on the To field. You hear: "To edit text."

    Note: To learn more about composing an email in Outlook for Mac, refer to Create and send email.

    Tip: To quickly go to your inbox, press Command+1.

  2. When composing an email message, if needed, press the Tab key repeatedly to go to the message body. When the focus moves to the message body, you hear "Edit text," followed by the current text insertion point.

  3. If you're composing a new message, start typing.

    If there's text you want to modify or continue composing, use the arrow keys to navigate the message text. If needed, select the piece of text. Type to add or replace text.

    Note: To select a piece of text, press Shift+arrow keys.

Change the font

  1. When composing an email message, select the piece of text you want to change, or place the focus in the message body if there's no text yet. When the focus moves to the message body, you hear "Edit text," followed by the current text insertion point.

  2. Press Command+D. You hear: "Font."

  3. To go to the list of font options, press the Tab key until you hear the current font and "Font combo box." Press the Down or Up arrow key to move through the font options. When you hear the font you want to use, press Enter. The new font is applied.

Change the default font for email messages

When you change the default font, the selected font is applied every time you use Outlook for Mac. You can change the default font for new messages that you compose, and your replies and forwarded messages independently.

  1. In Outlook for Mac, press Command+Comma (,). The Outlook Preferences dialog opens.

  2. Press the Tab key repeatedly until you hear: "Fonts, button." Press Control+Option+Spacebar to select. The Fonts dialog opens.

  3. To move to the option you want to change, select one of the following:

    • To change the default font for new email messages that you compose, press Control+Option+Right arrow key until you hear "New mail," press Control+Option+Right arrow key once, and then press Control+Option+Spacebar.

    • To change the default font for replies and forwards, press Control+Option+Right arrow key until you hear "Reply or forward," press Control+Option+Right arrow key once, and then press Control+Option+Spacebar.

    • To change the default font for composing and reading plain text messages, press Control+Option+Right arrow key until you hear "Plain text," press Control+Option+Right arrow key once, and then press Control+Option+Spacebar.

  4. The Font dialog opens with the focus in the Font tab. Press the Tab key once. You hear the current font and "Font combo box."

  5. To scroll through the font options, press the Down arrow key. To select an option, press Control+Option+Spacebar.

  6. The focus returns to the Fonts dialog. To close the dialog and return to the Outlook main view, press Command+W.

Change the text display or font size

You can change the default or temporary font size, or the text size in the folder pane, message list, and reading pane.

Change the font size temporarily

The temporary font size changes will be applied to all mail in the selected folder or subfolder. However, if you navigate to a mail in another folder or subfolder, you will lose your changes.

For instructions on how to set and use a new font size every time you open Outlook for Mac, go to Change the default font size for email messages or Increase the text display size.

  1. When composing an email message, select the piece of text you want to change, or place the focus in the message body if there's no text yet.

  2. To change the font size by two points:

    • Press Command+Plus sign (+) to increase the size. You hear: "Increase font size."

    • Press Command+Minus sign (-) to decrease the size. You hear: "Decrease font size."

Change the default font size for email messages

When you change the default font size, the selected size is applied every time you use Outlook for Mac. You can change the default font size for new messages that you compose, and your replies and forwarded messages independently.

  1. In Outlook for Mac, press Command+Comma (,). The Outlook Preferences dialog opens.

  2. Press the Tab key repeatedly until you hear: "Fonts, button." Press Control+Option+Spacebar to select. The Fonts dialog opens.

  3. To move to the option you want to change, select one of the following:

    • To change the default font size for new email messages that you compose, press Control+Option+Right arrow key until you hear "New mail," press Control+Option+Right arrow key once, and then press Control+Option+Spacebar.

    • To change the default font size for replies and forwards, press Control+Option+Right arrow key until you hear "Reply or forward," press Control+Option+Right arrow key once, and then press Control+Option+Spacebar.

    • To change the default font size for composing and reading plain text messages, press Control+Option+Right arrow key until you hear "Plain text," press Control+Option+Right arrow key once, and then press Control+Option+Spacebar.

  4. The Font dialog opens. To move to the Size field, press the Tab key until you hear the current font size and "Size, combo box." Type the new font size and press Return. The Font dialog closes and you return to the Fonts dialog.

  5. To close the Fonts dialog and return to the Outlook main view, press Command+W.

Increase the text display size

You can change the text size used in the folder pane, message list, and reading pane all at the same time.

Note: This feature requires macOS 10.11 and later.

  1. In Outlook for Mac, press Command+Comma (,). The Outlook Preferences dialog opens.

  2. Press the Tab key repeatedly until you hear: "Fonts, button." Press Control+Option+Spacebar to select. The Fonts dialog opens.

  3. Press the Tab key until you hear the current text display size, for example, "Default," followed by "Slider."

  4. To move the slider to the right and increase the text size, press the Right arrow key until you hear the value you want. The change is applied immediately.

  5. To exit the dialog, press Command+W. The focus returns to your Inbox.

Apply bold, italic, or underline

  1. When composing an email message, select the piece of text to be formatted, or place the focus in the message body.

  2. Select a formatting option:

    To do this

    Press

    Apply bold formatting.

    Command+B

    Apply italic formatting.

    Command+I

    Apply underline formatting.

    Command+U

See also

Use a screen reader to zoom in or out in Outlook

Use a screen reader to create bulleted or numbered lists in Outlook

Use a screen reader to check spelling and grammar in Outlook

Keyboard shortcuts for Outlook for Mac

Basic tasks using a screen reader with email in Outlook

Set up your device to work with accessibility in Office 365

Use a screen reader to explore and navigate Outlook Mail

Use Outlook for iOS with VoiceOver, the built-in iOS screen reader, to add o edit text in your email 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.

In this topic

Add text to a new email message

  1. When you start composing a new email message, the focus is placed in the To field. You hear: "To, text field." To move to the message body, swipe right until you hear: "Multi-line text field."

    Note: To learn how to start composing an email in Outlook for iOS, refer to Create and send email.

  2. Double-tap the screen, and start typing using the on-screen keyboard. To go to the keyboard, swipe right until you hear a keyboard element.

    Tip: You can also find the keyboard by exploring the items on the screen. To explore, place a finger on the screen and drag it around. VoiceOver announces the items as you land on them. To select an item, lift your finger and double-tap the screen.

Edit text in an email message

  1. When composing an email message, swipe right or left to move to the message body, if needed. When the focus moves to the message body, you hear: "Multi-line text field."

  2. Double-tap the screen. Swipe up or down repeatedly to move through the text letter by letter until you reach the spot for editing or adding text.

  3. Swipe right to move to the on-screen keyboard and edit the text using the keyboard.

See also

Use a screen reader to check spelling and grammar in Outlook

Basic tasks using a screen reader with email in Outlook

Set up your device to work with accessibility in Office 365

Use a screen reader to explore and navigate Outlook Mail

Use Outlook for Android with TalkBack, the Android built-in screen reader, to add or edit text in your email 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.

In this topic

Add text to a new email message

  1. When composing an email message, swipe right until you hear: "Message body."

    Note: To learn how to start composing an email in Outlook for Android, refer to Create and send email.

  2. Double-tap the screen to place the focus in the message body.

  3. Start typing using the on-screen keyboard.

    Tip: You can find the keyboard by exploring the items on the screen. To explore, place a finger on the screen and drag it around. TalkBack announces the items as you land on them. To select an item, when on the item, lift your finger. Depending on your device settings, you may need to double-tap the screen to insert the character.

Edit text in an email message

  1. When composing an email message, first locate the piece of text you want to edit. You can, for example, swipe up until you hear the navigation mode that's most suitable for your purpose, such as "Words" or "Lines."

  2. Swipe left or right until you hear the piece of text you want to edit or continue composing. The focus is right in front of the announced word or line of text.

  3. Use the on-screen keyboard to edit the text.

See also

Use a screen reader to insert a picture or image in Outlook

Basic tasks using a screen reader with email in Outlook

Set up your device to work with accessibility in Office 365

Use a screen reader to explore and navigate Outlook Mail

Use Outlook Web App with your keyboard and a screen reader to add or edit text in your email message. We have tested it with Narrator, but it might work with other screen readers as long as they follow common accessibility standards and techniques. You'll learn how to change the font, font size, and apply different formatting options, such as bold, italic, and underline.

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.

  • To learn more about screen readers, go to How screen readers work with Microsoft Office.

  • We're currently updating Outlook.office.com (Outlook on the Web). Some people are already using the new Outlook, and for others the classic version will be the default experience until we complete the update. For more information, go to Get help with the new Outlook on the web. Since the instructions in this topic apply to the new experience, we recommend that you switch from the classic experience to the new Outlook. To switch to the new Outlook, press Ctrl+F6 until you hear "Command, Try the new Outlook," and then press Enter. If you hear "Command toolbar" instead of "Command, Try the new Outlook," you're already using the new Outlook.

  • When you use Outlook Web App, we recommend that you use Microsoft Edge as your web browser. Because Outlook Web App 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 Web App.

In this topic

Add text to a new email message

  1. When you start composing a new email, the focus is placed in the To field. To go to the message body, press the Tab key until you hear: "Message body, editing."

    Note: To learn how to start composing an email in Outlook Web App, refer to Create and send an email.

  2. Type your message.

Edit existing text in an email message

  1. To edit or continue composing an existing email message, navigate to the message body using the Tab key or Shift+Tab.

  2. Navigate the message text using, for example, the arrow keys until you hear the piece of text you want.

  3. To select the piece of text, press Shift+arrow keys.

  4. To add or replace text, type.

Change the font

  1. When composing an email message, select the text to change, or place the focus into the message body if there's no text yet.

  2. Press the Tab key once. You hear "Formatting options," followed by the currently selected option.

  3. Press the Left or Right arrow key until you hear: "Font, button collapsed."

  4. Press Enter. The font menu opens.

  5. Press the Up or Down arrow key to move through the font options. To select an option, press Enter.

Change the font size

  1. When composing an email message, select the text to change, or place the focus into the message body if there's no text yet.

  2. Press the Tab key once. You hear "Formatting options," followed by the currently selected option.

  3. Press the Left or Right arrow key until you hear: "Font size, button collapsed."

  4. Press Enter. The font size menu opens.

  5. Press the Up or Down arrow key to move through the font size options. To select an option, press Enter.

Apply bold, italic, or underline

  1. When composing an email message, select the text to change, or place the focus into the message body if there's no text yet.

  2. Do one or more of the following:

    • To apply bold formatting, press Ctrl+B.

    • To apply italic formatting, press Ctrl+I.

    • To underline the text, press Ctrl+U.

See also

Use a screen reader to check spelling and grammar in Outlook

Use a screen reader to zoom in or out in Outlook

Keyboard shortcuts in Outlook on the web and Outlook.com

Basic tasks using a screen reader with email in Outlook

Use a screen reader to explore and navigate Outlook Mail

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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