Get started using a screen reader in Access desktop databases

With Access 2016, you can create desktop databases that work with Narrator, the built-in screen reader in Windows, and with third-party screen readers, such as JAWS (Job Access with Speech).

Note: For more information about screen readers, go to American foundation for the Blind: Screen readers, which lists many of them, including the popular JAWS.

In this topic

Start Access

  1. To start Access 2016, press the Windows logo key. You hear “Search box, Edit.”

  2. Type Access 2016. You hear “Access 2016, Desktop app.”

  3. Press Enter. As the app opens:

    • In Narrator, you hear “Desktop pane.”

    • In JAWS, you hear “Backstage view.”

Work with screen readers

Screen readers are apps that enable people who are blind or have low vision to hear audible feedback for the elements of a user interface (UI). As with the UI in other Microsoft products, the UI elements for Access include names that screen readers can understand (accessible names).

When you use a screen reader with Access, the screen reader reads the accessible names aloud to you (along with any other relevant information), while the focus of the screen reader moves to each element of the UI that you’re using in the Access app.

For example, when you select the Fields tab on the ribbon in Access, the focus of the screen reader moves to that tab and the screen reader says, “Fields tab.” When you select the View button on the Fields tab, you hear “View button.”


To turn Narrator on or off, press Windows logo key+Enter. For information about Narrator, refer to Hear text read aloud with Narrator.


For information about JAWS, refer to the JAWS Screen Reader documentation.

Common tasks

To learn how to perform tasks with screen readers in Access, go to:

To learn more about features that make it easier to see, hear, and use your computer, visit Accessibility in Microsoft Products.

Technical support for customers with disabilities

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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