Basic tasks using a screen reader with Mail

Basic tasks using a screen reader with Mail

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.

Use Mail for Windows 10 with your keyboard and a screen reader to do the essential basic tasks. 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 create and send new emails, read, arrange, and reply to received emails, search and filter emails, work with attachments and the Focused inbox.

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In this topic

Create and send email

Let your screen reader help you create a new email and get your message out there.

  1. In the inbox, press Ctrl+N. You hear: "Addressing, To." A new window with a blank email opens, with the focus on the To email address field.

  2. Type the names or email addresses of the recipients. The list of matching contacts updates as you type. To select a contact, press the Down arrow key until you hear the contact name you want, and then press Enter.

  3. If you want to send a copy or hidden copy of the message, press the Tab key until you hear "Cc, Bcc button," and then press Enter. You hear: "Addressing, Cc editing." Add the recipients of a copy.

    To send a hidden copy, press the Tab key until you hear "Addressing, Bcc, editing," and then add the recipients.

  4. To add a subject for the email, press the Tab key until you hear: "Subject, editing." Type a subject for your message.

  5. To type your message, press the Tab key until you hear: "Message, editing." Type your message.

  6. When you've finished composing the message, press Alt+S to send it.

Read and reply to or forward an email

Open and read an email

By default, newest emails are listed first.

  1. Press the Tab key until you hear the first message in the message list.

  2. In the message list, press the Down arrow key to browse the messages. You hear information about each email, including the sender name and the subject.

  3. To open an email, press Enter. You hear: "Reading pane, message."

  4. To hear Narrator read the message from top to bottom, press the SR key+R.

  5. When you've finished reading the message, to return to the inbox, press Esc.

Reply to an email

  1. With the email message open, do one of the following:

    • To reply to just the original sender, press Ctrl+R.

    • If the message has multiple recipients and you want to reply to all of them, press Ctrl+Shift+R.

    A new email opens with the same subject and is set to reply to the sender or everyone included in the original email. You hear: "Reading pane, message, editing." The focus is on the message body.

  2. Type your message.

  3. When you've finished composing the message, press Alt+S to send it.

Forward an email

  1. With the email open, press Ctrl+F. A new email opens with the same subject. The focus is on the To email address field.

  2. Type the name of each recipient.

  3. To type a message, press the Tab key until you hear "Message, editable text," and then type your message.

  4. When you've finished composing the message, press Alt+S to send it.

Arrange messages

By default, Mail groups messages by conversation. If you prefer listing your emails one at a time in chronological order instead, you can change the way your messages are arranged.

  1. Press the Tab key until you hear "Settings button," and then press Enter. You hear: "Settings pane."

  2. Press the Down arrow key until you hear "Message list," and then press Enter.

  3. Press the Tab key until you hear "Selected, Grouped by conversation."

  4. To list your emails one at a time, press the Up arrow key once. The Individual messages option is selected, and the focus returns to the inbox.

Use search and filter to find email

Waste no time digging through lists or archives for that important email. Use search and filter to quickly find what you're looking for.

Search for an email

  1. In the inbox, press Ctrl+E. You hear: "Search, editing." The focus moves to the search text field.

  2. Type your search words and then press Enter.

  3. To browse through the search results, press the Down arrow key. Narrator reads the search results.

  4. When you hear the email you want, press Enter to open it.

  5. To exit Search, press Esc.

Use filter to find an email

  1. In your inbox, press the Tab key until you hear "Filter, all, button collapsed," and then press Enter.

  2. Press the Down arrow key until you hear the filtering option you want, and then press Enter.

  3. To browse through the emails matching the filter, press the Down arrow key. Narrator reads the message details as you move through the list.

  4. When you hear the email you want to open, press Enter.

  5. To remove the filtering option, and view all emails in the message list, press the Tab key until you hear "Filter," followed by the current filter, and then press Enter. Press the Up arrow key until you hear "All," and then press Enter.

Open or add attachments

You can open and add attachments in your emails.

Open an attachment

Narrator announces if a received email has attachments.

  1. In the message list, browse to the email with one or more attachments, and then press Enter to open it.

  2. Press the Tab key until you hear "Message header, Download," followed by the file name and size, and "Attachment."

  3. To open the attachment, press Enter.

Add an attachment

You can send files like resumes or photos.

  1. When you're composing a message, press Alt+I. The Windows Open dialog opens.

  2. Browse to the file you want to attach, and when on the file, press Enter. The file is attached in the email.

Turn notifications on or off

You can turn all or just the audio notifications on or off.

  1. Press the Tab key until you hear "Settings button," and then press Enter. You hear: "Settings pane."

  2. Press the Down arrow key until you hear "Notifications," and then press Enter.

  3. Do one of the following:

    • To turn on or off all notifications, press the Tab key until you hear "Show notification banner," and press Spacebar.

    • To turn on or off just the audio notification, press the Tab key until you hear "Play a sound," and press Spacebar.

  4. To return to the inbox, press Esc twice.

Work with Focused inbox

Focus on the emails that matter the most to you. For all O365 accounts, Mail creates two inboxes: Focused and Other. Your most important emails are sorted into the Focused inbox while the rest remain easily accessible, but out of the way, in the Other inbox.

Switch between the Focused and Other inboxes

By default, Mail opens the Focused inbox.

  1. To move to the Other inbox, press the Tab key until you hear "Other button," and then press Enter.

  2. To move back to the Focused inbox, press the Tab key until you hear "Focused button." To select, press Enter.

Move an email from the Other inbox to the Focused inbox

  1. In your Other inbox, navigate to the email you want to move to the Focused inbox.

  2. When on the email, press Shift+F10. The context menu opens.

  3. Press the Down arrow key until you hear "Move to Focused," and then press Enter. The email is moved, and the focus returns to the Other inbox.

Hide the Focused inbox

You can hide the Focused inbox and work with a single list of messages.

  1. Press the Tab key until you hear "Settings button," and then press Enter. You hear: "Settings pane."

  2. Press the Down arrow key until you hear "Focused inbox," and then press Enter.

  3. Press the Tab key until you hear: "On, Sort messages into Focused and Other."

  4. To hide the Focused inbox, press Spacebar.

  5. To return to the inbox, press Esc twice.

See also

Using Mail for Windows 10 with Narrator

Use a screen reader to work with folders in Mail

Basic tasks using a screen reader with Calendar

Keyboard shortcuts in Mail and Calendar apps for Windows 10

Set up your device to work with accessibility in Office 365

Use a screen reader to explore and navigate 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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