Accessibility in Word 2016 for Mac

Word 2016 for Mac has tools and features that can help people with disabilities. There are keyboard shortcuts that let you access commands without using the mouse. And if you have visual disabilities, Word works with VoiceOver.

VoiceOver comes with the Mac OS X operating system. When you turn VoiceOver on, you use VoiceOver key combinations to access things like windows, text, buttons, menus, and so on. When something has focus, your computer reads a verbal tip about it.

Turn on VoiceOver

Before using VoiceOver, make sure your keyboard has access to all controls. On the Apple menu, click System Preferences > Keyboard. On the Shortcuts tab, under Full Keyboard Access…, select All Controls.

Now you can turn VoiceOver on. On the Apple menu, click System Preferences > Accessibility. On the left under Accessibility features, click VoiceOver. In the Accessibility dialog box, check the Enable VoiceOver box. Tip: You can also turn on VoiceOver by pressing COMMAND + F5

VoiceOver commands

After you turn on VoiceOver (see above) you can use VoiceOver commands. To do this, you hold down the VO keys and then press one or more additional keys. The VO keys are the CONTROL and OPTION keys. For example, to use the menu bar in Word, press VO + M (or, CONTROL + OPTION + M). That moves the focus to the Apple menu, and your computer will read aloud: "menu bar, Apple." From there, you can use the tab or arrow keys to move to other menus. If you've never used VoiceOver before, we recommend going to Apple's website and learning more. See VoiceOver for OS X.

Important: Throughout the rest of this document, we abbreviate the CONTROL and OPTION keys as "VO."

Access the main areas of Word

Open a file. By default, the focus will be on the “document, text." To access other areas, press VO + SHIFT + UP ARROW to stop interacting with the document. Then press VO + LEFT ARROW and VO + RIGHT ARROW to move between the main areas of Word. From top to bottom, these are the main areas: Toolbar, Ribbon tabs, Document, and the Status Bar.

Access a ribbon tab

Open a document. Press VO + SHIFT + UP ARROW to stop interacting with the document. Press VO + LEFT ARROW to move to the "ribbon, tab group." Press VO + SHIFT + DOWN ARROW to interact with the "ribbon, tab group." Then, press VO + UP ARROW and then VO + RIGHT ARROW to move focus to the tab you want to use.

Once the tab you want is in focus, press VO + SPACEBAR to select it. To work with the tab, press VO + RIGHT ARROW until you reach the tab "scroll area." Then press VO + SHIFT + DOWN ARROW. Finally, press TAB or the arrow keys to access individual buttons and menus.

Press VO + SPACEBAR to activate a button. When you're done, press VO + SHIFT + UP ARROW twice to stop interacting with the tab.

Access the areas of a Word document

Open a document. Press VO + UP ARROW and VO + DOWN ARROW to move between document areas: From top to bottom, these are the main areas: Header, Document, and Footer. To interact with any of these areas, press VO + SHIFT + DOWN ARROW.

Scroll through a document

Open a document. By default, the focus will be on the document. Press VO + SHIFT + DOWN ARROW to interact with the document. Then press VO + DOWN and UP ARROW to scroll through the pages.

You can also use the vertical scroll bar: Open a document. By default, the focus will be on the document. Press VO + SHIFT + UP ARROW to stop interacting with the document. Then press VO + RIGHT ARROW until you reach the vertical scroll bar. Press VO + SHIFT +DOWN ARROW and then your arrow keys to scroll up and down. Press VO + SHIFT + UP ARROW when you're done.

Select text

To select text, press SHIFT, and then press the arrow keys to include text in the selection.

Read tables

To move through a table, press VO + and the arrow keys to read the cell contents.

Turn on Comments and Track Changes

Open a document. Press VO + SHIFT + UP ARROW to stop interacting with the document. Press VO + LEFT ARROW to move to the "ribbon, tab group." Press VO + SHIFT + DOWN ARROW to interact with the "ribbon, tab group." Then, press VO + UP ARROW and then VO + RIGHT ARROW to move focus to the Review tab. Press VO + SPACEBAR. To work with the tab, press VO + RIGHT ARROW until you reach the tab "scroll area." Then press VO + SHIFT + DOWN ARROW. Finally, press TAB to reach the Track Changes checkbox. Press VO +SPACEBAR to turn the checkbox on.

Press TAB to access the Tracking button. Press VO + SPACEBAR, and then VO + SPACEBAR again to turn on Track Changes. Press TAB to access the Display for Review pop up button, and select All Markup.

When you're done, press ESC and then press VO + SHIFT + UP ARROW twice to stop interacting with the tab.

Use the contextual menu

The contextual menu contains a variety of options. This includes common actions like cut, copy, paste and clear. To open the contextual menu, move focus to a document element, and then press VO + SHIFT + M.

The contextual menu will close automatically after performing an action. If you don’t want to use the contextual menu, just press ESC.

Sign in and open files from the cloud

Connect to OneDrive for the first time

Open Word. Or, if you have a file open already, move the focus to the File menu and select New from Template. The Sign in button will have the focus.

Press VO + SPACEBAR to select Sign in. Type the email address for your OneDrive account, and then press RETURN. Press VO and the arrow keys until you access the Sign in to your Microsoft account HTML content. Press VO + SHIFT + DOWN ARROW and then navigate to the password field. Type your password. Press Return.

When you're done, your account will sync with Word. If you've recently worked with OneDrive files on another device, they will be listed under Recent. If you want to see all OneDrive files, move the focus to Open.

Connect to SharePoint

Open Word. Or, if you have a file open already, move the focus to the File menu and select New from Template.

Press VO + DOWN ARROW to move the focus to Open. Press VO + SPACEBAR. Then press TAB to move the focus to the Add a Place button. Press VO + SPACEBAR to open the Add a Service dialog. Press VO + SHIFT + DOWN ARROW, and then press TAB to move the focus to SharePoint. Press VO + SPACEBAR. Type the URL of your SharePoint site and then press RETURN. Sign in with your organization email address and password.

The SharePoint site is connected with Word. Move the focus to SharePoint, and then press TAB to open the site and its folders.

Features that aren't optimized

We’re still working on delivering great accessibility features, and we have more work to do. Here’s a list of things we haven’t yet optimized: Search, editing of tables, shapes, SmartArt, comments, hyperlinks, charts, and any view that is not Print Layout view.

Give feedback about Word for Mac Accessibility

We’re still working on delivering great accessibility features, and we have more work to do.

We’d love to hear about the things you like and the things that you’d like for us to improve. Here's how to send us feedback: Open a file. Press VO and the arrow keys to access the "ribbon, tab group." Press VO + SHIFT + DOWN ARROW to interact with the "ribbon, tab group." Then, press VO + UP ARROW and then VO + RIGHT ARROW to move focus to the "Help Improve Office" menu button. Then press VO + SPACEBAR, and select the option that applies to your feedback.

After selecting Tell Us What You Like or Tell Us What Can Be Better, there will be three fields: a text field for your feedback, a toggle to either include a screenshot or not (which is set to include by default), and a field for you to provide your email address (optional).

Please include the word ‘Accessibility’ in your feedback so we can find it easily.

See Also

Keyboard shortcuts in Word 2016 for Mac

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