Accessibility in Excel

Office Accessibility Center > Accessibility support for Excel

Excel 2016 includes accessibility features that make it easy for users with limited dexterity, low vision, or other disabilities to work with files. This means you can use keyboard shortcuts, a screen reader, or a speech recognition tool to work with Excel 2016.

In this topic

Explore the Excel 2016 user interface

In Excel 2016, the name of your workbook is centered at the top of the screen. App controls, such as Minimize and Close, are in the top right corner. By default, the Quick Access Toolbar resides at the upper left side of the screen. This toolbar can be customized and contains commonly used commands, such as Save, Undo, and Redo.

Below this toolbar is a set of ribbon tabs, such as Home, Insert, Formulas, Data, Review, and Power Pivot. The ribbon sits below this row of tabs. When you select a tab, a tab-specific ribbon appears. Each ribbon includes commands organized in groups. For example, if you select the Insert tab, a ribbon appears. From that ribbon, you can pick different items, such as tables, charts, hyperlinks, or illustrations, to insert into your worksheet.

The cell grid of the active worksheet appears under the ribbon and makes up the majority of the page. Some commands, such as Review or Find, open a window in the center of the worksheet. Other commands, like Share, open a pane to the right or left of the worksheet..

Below the cell grid is a bar that contains a tab for each worksheet in the workbook. You can scroll through this row of tabs to select a worksheet. The currently selected worksheet is referred to as the “active worksheet.”

At the bottom of the Excel window is the status bar. At the right of the status bar are commands for viewing the worksheet (for example, in Normal view or Page Break Preview) and a Zoom level slider control and button. When you select a group of cells, the status bar displays the average, count, and sum of the numbers in the selected cells. You can change what is listed on the status bar by customizing the way Excel summarizes the data. To customize the status bar, press F6 until you hear “Status bar, Toolbar.” (In Narrator, you hear “On, Normal button.” Press Shift+F10. On the Customize Status Bar menu, to select the options you want (for example, Numerical count, Max, Min, and Scroll Lock), use the Up the Arrow key and the Down Arrow key and press Enter.

For general information about navigating the ribbon, panes, or a workbook, refer to Accessibility in Office 2016 and Windows 10.

Use a screen reader and keyboard shortcuts

To navigate in Excel 2016 and to cycle through screen elements (worksheet, ribbon, task pane (if open), and status bar/toolbar), press F6 (forward) and Shift+F6 (backward). To switch to the next workbook window when more than one workbook window is open, press Ctrl+F6. To move between cells or columns in a table, press the Tab key (forward) and Shift+Tab (backward) or use the arrow keys. To select a cell, move the focus to the cell. To browse within menus or lists, press the Up Arrow key or the Down Arrow key, and then, to make a selection, press Enter. To exit a menu or mode, press Esc. To move to the next or previous worksheet in an open workbook, press Ctrl+Page Down or Ctrl+Page Up. For more details, read Keyboard shortcuts in Excel 2016 for Windows.

Excel 2016 includes accessible names that can be read by screen readers as you work in the application. You can use Narrator, the built-in screen reader in Windows, or a third-party screen reader, such as JAWS. For information on using Excel 2016 with a screen reader, see Get help for using a screen reader with Excel 2016.

Change worksheet size and view

To get a close-up view of your worksheet or a selection in your worksheet, you can zoom in, or, to see more of the page at a reduced size, you can zoom out.

Zoom in to or out from a worksheet by using the keyboard

  1. Press Alt+W, Q. If you are using a screen reader, you hear “Zoom dialog” or “Zoom window.”

  2. To select a zoom percentage, use the Up Arrow and Down Arrow keys. To enter a custom percentage, select the Custom radio button and type the percentage you want.

  3. When you hear the percentage you want, tab to the OK button and press Enter.

Zoom in to or out from a worksheet by using the mouse

Do one of the following:

  • On the status bar at the bottom of the worksheet, use the Zoom slider control.

  • On the View tab, in the Zoom group, click Zoom. In the Zoom dialog box, select the zoom setting that you want or type a percentage, and then click OK.

Zoom to a selected range of cells by using the keyboard

  1. Select the cell, range of cells, or table you want to zoom to.

  2. Press Alt+W, G. The zoom level automatically increases to a larger percentage (for example, 300% or 400%).

  3. To restore the selection to the 100% zoom level, press Ctrl+Z or Alt+W, J.

Zoom to a selected range of cells by using the mouse

  1. Select the cell, range of cells, or table you want to zoom to.

  2. Do one of the following:

    • On the status bar at the bottom of the worksheet, use the Zoom slider control.

    • On the View tab, in the Zoom group, click Zoom to Selection. To restore the selection to the 100% zoom level, on the Quick Access Toolbar, click Undo, or, on the View tab, in the Zoom group, click 100%.

Add Speak commands to the Quick Access Toolbar

The Speak commands read selected text, and you can add them to your Quick Access Toolbar in Excel 2016.

  1. To go to the Options dialog box, press Alt+F, T. You hear “Options” or “Excel Options window.”

  2. To modify the Quick Access Toolbar, press the Down Arrow key until you hear “Quick Access Toolbar.”

  3. To get the list of available commands, press Alt+C. You hear “Popular commands.” The focus is in the Choose commands from combo box.

  4. Press the Down Arrow key until you hear “Commands not in ribbon,” and then press the Tab key.

  5. To move to the Speak commands, press S and then press the Down Arrow key until you hear “Speak Cells,” the first Speak command option.

  6. To select another Speak command, use the Down Arrow key. The options are: Stop Speaking Cells, Speak Cells by Columns, Speak Cells by Rows, and Speak Cells on Enter.

  7. To add a selected Speak command to the Quick Access Toolbar, press Alt+A.

  8. To close the dialog box, tab to the OK button and press Enter.

The Speak command icon is added to the Quick Access Toolbar. The keyboard shortcut is based upon the number of commands on your Quick Access Toolbar. For example, if it’s the fifth command in the Quick Access Toolbar, to read a selection, press Alt+5.

Use Tell Me

When you don’t know the keyboard shortcut or when you want to know about more options, use the Tell me what you want to do box.

  1. Optional. Select the text, cell, or other Office object you want to work with.

  2. Press Alt+Q. You hear “Tell me what you want to do.”

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

  4. To choose a result, press Enter.

Create accessible Excel workbooks

For tips about how to create an accessible workbook, see Checklist: Create an accessible spreadsheet in Excel.

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.

Use the Excel for Android accessibility features to create spreadsheets, filter data, work with charts, and more. You can use an external keyboard and a screen reader to work with Excel.

Notes: 

In this topic

Explore the Excel for Android User Interface

Area of the UI

Common elements of the Excel Mobile UI

Top: Buttons and the Insert function switch, and the formula bar

  • File

  • More Options

  • File

  • Search

  • Share

  • Undo

  • Insert function switch. Double-tap the switch to access the function library.

  • Formula bar

Main content area: worksheet

By default:

  • Worksheet, which includes column headings, row headings, and cells

Bottom: Sheet information

  • Sheet name tab.

  • Add Sheet button. Adds a worksheet and displays it in the window.

  • After tapping More Options on the top:

    • Tabs on the ribbon (in order): Home, Insert, Draw, Formulas, Data, Review, and View, plus the groups that are activated when an object is selected.

    • Tell me search button

Use TalkBack screen reader, touch gestures, and external keyboard shortcuts

Excel for Android works with the screen reader TalkBack. When TalkBack is on, you hear a spoken description of whatever you select or activate on your device. This includes commands, locations, lists, and buttons, in addition to the contents of Excel screens, menus, and pop-up windows. When you navigate to objects such as charts and graphics, you may hear an alternative text, if one has been added. For details, refer to Get started using TalkBack with Excel for Android.

To learn more about TalkBack, go to Get started on Android with TalkBack.

To find more about how to work with touch in TalkBack, refer to Explore by touch in TalkBack.

If you’re using an external keyboard, refer to Use TalkBack keyboard shortcuts.

Turn on TalkBack

You can turn TalkBack on either when you set up your Android phone or later after the setup. You can also activate a shortcut for turning on TalkBack. For instructions, refer to Turn on TalkBack.

  1. To turn on TalkBack after setup, go to Settings > Accessibility.

  2. Tap TalkBack and tap the toggle switch to turn it on.

  3. Select OK.

Use global and local context menus

As you navigate using TalkBack, two context menus are available to help you find settings and controls. The global context menu contains commands that work anywhere. The local context menu commands depend on the focused item.

To learn more about the global and local context menu, refer to Use global and local context menus.

Use Tell Me

Use the Tell Me search when you want to know about more options, quickly do a task, or check where an option or tab is located on the screen.

For more info on Tell Me, refer to Do things quickly with Tell Me.

  1. In your Excel document, swipe left or right with one finger until you hear: “More Options button. Double-tap to activate.” Then double-tap the screen with one finger. You hear: “Tab menu, Home selected, double-tap to activate.”

  2. Swipe right until you hear: “Tell me button. Double-tap to activate.” Then double-tap on the screen. You hear: “Tell me what you want to do.”

  3. Swipe right until you hear: “Edit box, tell me what you want to do.” Then double-tap on the screen. You hear: “Showing <keyboard language> keyboard.”

  4. To type a search word, slide your finger across the keyboard at the bottom of the screen until you hear the character you’d like to type, and then lift your finger. As you type, a list of search results opens.

  5. To browse the search results, swipe left or right with one finger. You hear the search results. Some results may have submenus with more choices. TalkBack announces search results with submenus. You hear: “<Search result> menu, double-tap to activate.” To open the menu, double-tap the screen.

  6. To choose a result, double-tap the screen.

Use Excel for Android with speech recognition

Speech recognition tools can help you use voice commands to operate Excel instead of touch navigation or an external keyboard. For more information on how to download and turn on Voice Access app, refer to Get Started with Voice Access.

Zoom in or out

Magnify your worksheet content to, for example, view the contents of a single cell or a selected range of cells.

Zoom in on or out of a worksheet

To zoom in to your Excel worksheet, place two fingers on the screen and slide them apart. To zoom out, place two fingers on the screen and pinch them together.

Zoom in on or out of a selected range of cells

  1. In your Excel document, swipe left or right with one finger until you hear: “More Options button. Double-tap to activate.” Then double-tap the screen with one finger. You hear: “Tab menu, Home selected. Double-tap to activate.”

  2. On the Home tab, swipe left or right until you hear: “Select Range Three period button, double-tap to activate.” Then double-tap the screen. You hear: “Select cell or range. Showing <keyboard language> keyboard.” The onscreen keyboard pops out.

  3. To type a cell or cell range value you want to zoom in or out, swipe left or right until you hear “Edit box, editing,” and then slide your finger on the keyboard on the bottom of the screen until you hear the letters and numbers of the cells. Then swipe left or right until you hear: “OK –button. Double-tap to activate.” Then double-tap the screen. The focus moves to the selected range.

  4. To move the focus to the top of the document, first swipe up without lifting your finger, then down.

  5. Swipe left or right with one finger until you hear: “More Options button. Double-tap to activate.” Then double-tap the screen with one finger. You hear: “Tab menu, Home selected. Double-tap to activate.” Double-tap the screen.

  6. In the tabs menu, swipe right until you hear: “View tab. Double-tap to activate.” Then double-tap the screen.

  7. On the View tab, swipe right until you hear either “Zoom In button. Double-tap to activate” or “Zoom Out button. Double-tap to activate.” Then double-tap the screen. The focus moves to the selected cell or range of cells that is now zoomed in or out.

Change color contrast and invert colors

To make the content easier to read and select, you can increase contrast or invert colors in your device.

Note: Changing color contrast and inverting colors are experimental features. They are not guaranteed to work with all buttons and surfaces.

  1. On a home screen, swipe down from the top of the screen with two fingers. You hear: “Notification shade.” The notification area opens.

  2. Swipe down with two fingers: “You hear the name of the option in focus.”

  3. Swipe left or right until you hear: “Open Settings button. Double-tap to activate.” Then double-tap the button. You hear: “Settings.”

  4. Tap anywhere on the screen, and then swipe left or right until you hear: “Accessibility, double-tap to activate.” Then double-tap the screen. You hear: “Accessibility.”

  5. Do either or both of the following:

    • Swipe right until you hear: “High contrast text, experimental, off-switch, double-tap to activate”. Then double tap the item. You hear: “On.”

    • Swipe right until you hear: “Color inversion, experimental, may affect performance, off-switch, double-tap to activate”. Then double tap the item. You hear: “On.”

Create accessible Excel workbooks

You can format spreadsheets, cells, charts, tables, graphs, and images in Excel to make them more accessible. For tips on how to make a spreadsheet accessible, refer to Make your Excel spreadsheets accessible.

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.

See also

Get started using TalkBack with Excel for Android

Use TalkBack to insert and edit a table in Excel for Android

Excel for Android Phones Help

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