Accessibility in Word

Office Accessibility Center > Accessibility support for Word

When you use Word in Office 365 on any computer or device, you can take advantage of the accessibility settings are specific to the device, such as Windows, Mac, or Android. This includes screen readers, speech recognition tools for dictation, and High Contrast settings for increased visibility.

For more information about accessibility settings and features that work in your device, see Set up your device to work with accessibility in Office 365.

Word 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 such as Narrator or JAWS, and Windows Speech Recognition.

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Get to know the Word layout

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

Below this line is a set of ribbon tabs. It includes tabs such as Insert, Design, and Review. The ribbon sits below this row of tabs. Selecting a tab brings up a tab-specific ribbon that includes commands organized in groups. For example, the Insert tab switches to a ribbon that lets you pick different items to insert into your document, such as hyperlinks or pictures.

Document content appears under the ribbon and makes up the majority of the page. Some commands, such as Review or Find, open panes to the right or left of the document body.

Navigate in Word for Windows

To navigate in Word, press the Tab key (forward) or Shift+Tab (backward).

  • To select an item, press Enter.

  • 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.

For more navigation options, see Keyboard shortcuts for Microsoft Word 2016 for Windows.

You can use Narrator, the built-in screen reader in Windows, or a third-party screen reader, such as JAWS. For information on using Word with a screen reader, refer to Get started using a screen reader in Word 2016.

Zoom to magnify or shrink what you see

You can use keyboard shortcuts to zoom in to get a close-up view of your document or zoom out to see more of the page at a reduced size.

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

  2. Tab to the Percent spin box, and then type a percentage or use the Up Arrow key or the Down Arrow key to select a percentage.

  3. Tab to the OK button and press Enter.

Use Read Mode

Read Mode improves the resolution and display of text, making it easier to read on the screen. You can start using Read Mode by using keyboard shortcuts.

  1. Press Alt+W, F. If using a screen reader, you hear “Reading layout.” (In Narrator, you hear the file name.)

  2. To return to Print Layout, press Alt+W, E. You hear “Print edit.”

Increase contrast by changing the theme

You may find Word easier to use if you adjust the theme to one that provides more contrast.

Tip: This change affects all of your Office 365 applications.

  1. In Backstage view, open Office Account by pressing Alt+F, D. If you're using a screen reader, you hear “Account tab” and the focus moves to the Office Theme box.

  2. To open the Office Theme box, press Y, 1. You hear the name of the currently selected theme.

  3. Select a theme and press Enter. The Dark Gray theme provides the greatest contrast.

Tip: You may also want to choose a higher-contrast theme in Windows or use other accessibility settings. Go to Make your PC easier to use for more information.

Turn off click and type

If you are using adaptive technology that doesn’t work well with the click-and-type feature of Word, you can turn the feature off.

  1. To open , In Backstage view, open the Word Options dialog box by pressing Alt+F, T. If you're using a screen reader, you hear “Word Options, Categories list box” or “Word Options.”

  2. To open the Advanced options, press A and then the Tab key. You hear “Advanced” and the name of the first option.

  3. To move to the Enable click and type check box, press C. Then, press Spacebar to select or clear the check box.

  4. To close the Word Options dialog box, press Enter.

Use Tell Me

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.

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.

Word for Android takes advantage of accessibility features in Android devices 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, the built-in TalkBack screen reader, color contrast controls, and magnification.

For more information about accessibility settings and features that work in Android devices, see Set up your device to work with accessibility in Office 365.

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

Word for Android works with the built-in Android 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 Word screens, menus, and pop-up windows.

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

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 item in focus.

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

Use Tell Me

To find a command quickly, use Tell Me. To learn more about the Tell Me feature, watch this video: Using Tell Me to get things done quickly with a screen reader and keyboard.

To use Tell Me to find a command, follow these steps:

  1. Select the cell or range of cells where you want to perform an action.

  2. Jump to the Tell Me edit field by pressing Alt+Q.

  3. Type the command that you want. For example, type "bullets".

  4. Use the Down Arrow key to browse through the results, press Enter to select one.

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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