Accessibility in Excel for iPad

Excel for iPad works with accessibility features of your iPad, such as VoiceOver. You can use gestures or an external keyboard.

Notes: 

In this topic

Explore the Excel for iPad user interface

When you open a workbook in Excel 2016 for iPad, its name appears at the top of the screen, centered below the status bar screen. Below that is the Excel menu bar, which includes the ribbon tabs. Your workbook is below the formula bar.

When you work with cells and formulas, to select a cell, tap. Then, to display the on-screen keyboard and move the insertion point into the formula bar where you can edit the cell contents, double-tap.

To go to other worksheets in the workbook, use the tabs at the bottom of the screen.

Use VoiceOver to work in Excel for iPad

VoiceOver can help you navigate in Excel, whether you use gestures or an external keyboard. To turn on VoiceOver, say, “Hey Siri, start VoiceOver.” For other methods, see Accessibility in Office for iPad.

Notes: 

  • We recommend using an external keyboard with VoiceOver.

  • To use keyboard shortcuts, make sure that Quick Nav is turned off. On your external keyboard, press the Left Arrow and Right Arrow keys at the same time. VoiceOver announces that Quick Nav is turned off. To turn Quick Nav back on, press the arrow keys again.

  • To navigate using an external keyboard, press the VO shortcut key, Control+Command, together with the Left Arrow or Right Arrow keys.

Open Excel

Excel opens the File Open view or, if you worked in Excel before, it opens the last workbook you worked on.

To open a different workbook or to start a new one:

  1. If a workbook is already open, in the menu bar, double-tap the Save and Close button. You hear “Account settings, Button.” Recently opened workbooks are listed.

  2. To open a recent workbook, flick to the right or press VO+Right Arrow repeatedly until you hear the name of the workbook you want. Double-tap anywhere on the screen.

  3. To start a new workbook, flick to the left or press VO+Left Arrow repeatedly until you hear “New, Button,” and then double-tap. Choose Blank Presentation or one of the design themes, and then, to open the presentation, double-tap.

Navigate in Excel

VoiceOver helps you move within Excel by naming the items on the screen. For example, to orient yourself, swipe your finger near the top center of the screen until you hear the workbook name. Below that, the Excel menu bar and ribbon appear. As you move the VoiceOver cursor, you hear the name of the buttons and ribbon tabs.

Tips: 

  • To find text in the worksheet or to find and replace text, use the Search button to the right of the ribbon.

  • When the VoiceOver cursor is on the formula bar, which is below the ribbon, VoiceOver says, “Formula content.”

  • To hear the worksheet’s row numbers, slide your finger down the left edge. To hear the column letters, below the formula bar, slide your finger to the right.

  • To work with cells, tap anywhere inside a worksheet. You hear the cell name.

  • To scroll in a worksheet, use three fingers to swipe up and down or left to right. VoiceOver identifies the cell range as you scroll.

  • To locate all the sheets in the current workbook, use the sheet tabs in the lower-left side of the screen. In the lower-right corner, the Sum option indicates the total of the currently selected cell range.

Use the on-screen keyboard

When you edit a cell, the keyboard is displayed in the bottom half of the screen. Two keyboards are available: the standard Apple keyboard and a custom formula keyboard you can use to quickly access numbers and symbols for your formulas.

Use the two keyboards as follows:

  • To switch to the formula keyboard, on the middle-right side of the screen, tap the 123 button. If you’re using VoiceOver, swipe until you hear “Formula keyboard, Button” and then double-tap.

  • To switch to the standard keyboard, double-tap the Abc button. If you’re using VoiceOver, swipe until you hear “Standard keyboard, Button” and then double-tap the button.

  • To close the keyboard, in the lower-right corner of the screen, double-tap the keyboard icon. If you’re using VoiceOver, when this button is selected, you hear “Hide keyboard.” Double-tap the button.

Common tasks in Excel for iPad

These procedures assume that you have turned on VoiceOver and are familiar with using it.

Enter and edit cells

  1. Move the VoiceOver cursor to the cell you want to edit. You hear the cell name.

  2. To select the cell, double-tap anywhere on the screen or press VO+Spacebar. You hear “Selected,” and selection handles appear around the cell.

  3. To edit the selected cell in the formula bar, double-tap anywhere on the screen or press VO+Spacebar. You hear “Formula content. Text mode is editing.”

Use the shortcut menu

The shortcut menu (also called the contextual menu) pops up when you tap and hold a cell, the formula bar, a text box, or other objects. It gives you quick access to common commands, such as Cut, Copy, Paste, and Clear.

When VoiceOver is on, to open the shortcut menu, move to the to the cell or object you want to edit and then double-tap with two fingers. You can use standard VoiceOver swiping gestures to move through the menu and then select various options.

The shortcut menu closes after you choose an option or if you select another cell.

Select a range of cells

If you’re using an external keyboard, select the starting cell and then hold down Shift while pressing an arrow key. For example, to select from B6 to F6, select B6, and then press Shift+Right Arrow key four times.

Otherwise, do this:

  1. Move the VoiceOver cursor to the cell where you want to start the range selection. You hear the cell name.

  2. To select a range, double-tap and hold until you hear a sound to alert you that you are now selecting a range and then drag your finger. VoiceOver announces the selected range as you drag.

Work with formulas

To create formulas and add functions, you can type in the formula bar or use the insert function button or Formulas tab on the ribbon. These options make it easy to choose a function, which then appears in the formula bar, with touchable tokens that help you place variables in the correct order.

Add a function with the insert function button

  1. Select a cell and, to the left of the formula bar, double-tap the insert function button. If VoiceOver is on, double-tap the button. An equal sign is added to the formula bar, and the Functions dialog opens.

  2. To hear the function names, slide your finger down. To hear details about the function, slide to the right of the function name until you hear “more info” and then double-tap. A dialog opens with details about the function. To return to the list of functions, slide your finger to the top left of the dialog until you hear “Back” and then double-tap.

  3. To insert the function you want, when you hear its name, double-tap. You hear the location of the cell, “Text field, Is editing,” the name of the function, the names of the arguments for this function, and then the name of the currently selected argument.

  4. Slide your finger to the right of the formula bar until you hear “Enter,” and double-tap.

Add a function with the Formulas tab

  1. Select a cell, and then slide your finger over the ribbon until you hear “Formulas tab.” To open it, double-tap.

  2. Slide your finger down until you hear the name of a formula category button. When you’re on the first button on the tab, you hear “AutoSum.” To locate other formula categories on the ribbon, swipe to the right or press VO+Right Arrow.

  3. Double-tap the formula category you want. A list of functions opens. To browse down the list, flick to the right anywhere on the screen. To browse up, flick left. After each function is named, you hear “More Info.” To learn more about a function, double-tap More Info.

  4. When you hear the name of the function you want, double-tap it. The function is inserted into the formula bar. You hear the location of the cell, “Text field, Is editing,” the name of the function, the names of the arguments for this function, and then the name of the currently selected argument. The first argument is selected.

  5. To edit the selected argument, do one of the following:

    • Type the values you want.

    • To use a cell reference, tap a cell in the worksheet, and then, to select the cell’s data, double-tap.

  6. After you add an argument, to move to the next or previous argument in the formula bar:

    • If you’re using the on-screen keyboard, swipe up or down.

    • If you’re using an external keyboard, press the Left Arrow or Right Arrow key.

  7. When the formula is complete, press Return or slide your finger to the right of the formula bar until you hear “Enter” and then double-tap.

Sort and filter

When you move to a cell that contains a sort or filter element, VoiceOver announces it.

To select the filter, while VoiceOver cursor is on the cell that contains the filter, swipe to the right. The filter is selected. Then, to open the filter menu, double-tap.

Find and read comments

When you move to a cell that has a comment, VoiceOver announces that the cell contains a comment. To hear the comment, swipe to the right. The comment is selected, and VoiceOver reads it.

To add a comment:

  1. Select a cell, and then, on the Review tab, choose the Comment button. You hear, “Insert a comment, Button.”

  2. Double-tap anywhere on the screen. The Comments pane opens to the right of the worksheet. The insertion point is in a text box. You hear “Text mode, Is editing.”

  3. Type your comment.

  4. To close the Comments pane, move to the Close button and double-tap or press VO+Spacebar.

Edit objects

These procedures assume that you have turned on VoiceOver and are familiar with using it.

Resize or rotate an object

  1. Tap the object you want to edit. VoiceOver identifies the object.

  2. To select the object, double-tap anywhere on the screen. You hear “Selected,” and selection handles appear around the object.

  3. To resize, flick to the right or press VO+Right Arrow until you hear the name of the section handle you want to use: center left, top center, or top left. To increase or decrease the size, flick up or down, or press VO+Up Arrow or VO+Down Arrow. VoiceOver tells you the width and height in points.

  4. To rotate, flick to the right or press VO+Right Arrow until you hear “Rotate handle” and then flick up or down, or press VO+Up Arrow or VO+Down Arrow. VoiceOver identifies the degree of rotation.

Add text to an object

  1. Tap the object you want to edit. VoiceOver identifies the object.

  2. To select the object, double-tap anywhere on the screen. You hear “Selected.”

  3. To place the insertion point in the object, double-tap again. You hear “Text field, Is editing.”

  4. Type the text you want.

Learn which features aren't optimized

We’re dedicated to creating a great, accessible experience and have more work to do. We haven’t yet optimized text format announcements in VoiceOver, data validation, sparklines, paste values, or auto-filling a series of data.

Please let us know which accessibility features are most important to you. To send feedback:

  1. In the upper menu bar, go to the File menu, which is the second icon from the left. If VoiceOver is on, you hear “File button.”

  2. Choose the Send Feedback button.

  3. Choose either Tell Us What You Like or Tell Us What Would Be Better. Type in the text box provided. When the insertion point is in the text box, you hear “Feedback, Text field.” So that we can find it easily, in your feedback, please include the word Accessibility.

  4. If you want, provide an optional email address and screenshot.

  5. To send your feedback, double-tap the Send button.

Technical support for customers with disabilities

The Microsoft Accessibility website provides more information about assistive technology. A free monthly electronic newsletter is available to Microsoft Accessibility help you stay current with accessibility topics about Microsoft products. To subscribe, visit the Microsoft Accessibility Update Newsletter Subscription page.

Microsoft wants to provide the best possible experience for all our customers. If you have a disability or have 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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