Get started using a screen reader with the SharePoint Online home page

You can move around and do basic tasks on the SharePoint Online home page by using a screen reader and keyboard shortcuts. SharePoint Online works with Narrator, the built-in screen reader in Windows, and with third-party screen readers like JAWS.

Notes: 

In this topic

Start SharePoint Online

  1. Go to portal.office.com or login.microsoftonline.com and sign in to your Office 365account.

  2. To open the SharePoint Home page, tab to the SharePoint link. You hear “Go to SharePoint, Link.” Press Enter.

By default, the SharePoint Online home page includes a left navigation pane made up of a search box, a list of SharePoint sites you are following (the Following group), a list of sites you have visited (the Recent group), and a list of links. At the top of the main screen is the Frequent group, which lists SharePoint sites you have visited or edited frequently. Below the Frequent group is the Suggested group, which lists related SharePoint sites.

Note: To learn more about navigation options and keyboard shortcuts in SharePoint Online, refer to Accessibility features in SharePoint Online.

Work with screen readers

SharePoint Online works with Narrator and JAWS, among other screen readers. Screen readers convert text to speech and read aloud commands, locations, alt text, and the contents of SharePoint Online screens and pop-up windows.

Note: If your screen reader stops reading or behaves unexpectedly, press Alt+Tab to leave the current window, and then press Alt+Tab again to return to it. This resets the screen readers’ focus on the current window.

Use the SharePoint Online Home page with JAWS

When you work in the Frequent and Suggested groups on the SharePoint Online home page, you can use JAWS table commands to navigate. That is, you can work with each group as a separate table. For example, when you move to the Frequent group, you hear “Frequent table, Column 1, Row 1.”

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

Use the SharePoint Online home page with Narrator

Here are some notes about working with Narrator.

  • To turn Narrator on or off on a PC, in Windows, press Windows logo key+Enter.

  • To turn Narrator on or off on a tablet, press Windows logo button+Volume Up.

  • If Narrator doesn’t read a newly opened window, press F5. Refreshing the browser window resets the focus and Narrator reads the window.

  • When you work in the Frequent and Suggested groups on the SharePoint Online home page, to move to the group titles, press the Tab key. To move within the list of links for each group, press the arrow keys.

For more information about Narratorr, refer to Hear text read aloud with Narrator.

Do more tasks with SharePoint Online and a screen reader

You can use a screen reader and keyboard shortcuts to navigate and do tasks on pages throughout SharePoint Online. From the SharePoint Online home page there are a variety of navigation options, and you can also select which sites you want to follow.

Navigate on the SharePoint Online home page

Here are the basics for navigating on the SharePoint Online home page.

  • To cycle through groups of screen elements (for example, the Following or Recent group in the left pane or the Frequent or Suggested group on the main screen), press the Tab key (forward) or Shift+Tab (backward). To select an item, press Enter.

  • To cycle through a list of sites under most groups, press the Up Arrow key or the Down Arrow key. (If you don’t hear the name of the site, press the arrow key a second time.)

  • To cycle through a list of items in the Suggested group, press the Left Arrow key or the Right Arrow key.

  • In most cases, when you press Enter, a link opens on a new browser tab. To return to the SharePoint home page, repeatedly press the Tab key or Shift+Tab until one of the browser tabs has the focus, and then press the Left Arrow key or the Right Arrow key until you hear “SharePoint tab selected.” Press Enter.

  • To exit a menu or mode, press Esc.

Note: After you press Enter to select an item under one of the groups, you might then hear a prompt about allowing pop-ups. To move the focus to the notification bar and allow the site to open, press Alt+N, A. The selected site opens in a separate tab. To close the notification bar, press Alt+N again, tab to the Close button, and then press Enter.

For more details, go to Keyboard shortcuts in SharePoint Online.

Select sites to follow

The Suggested group on the main page includes a list of sites recommended for you. From this list, you can select sites you want to add to the Following group in the left pane.

  1. On the SharePoint home page, tab to the Suggested group. You hear “Use the arrows to navigate to the Follow this site check box.”

  2. To move to a different suggested site, press the Right Arrow key or the Left Arrow key.

  3. To move the focus to the Follow this site check box, press the Up Arrow key or the Down Arrow key. You hear “Follow site” followed by the name of the selected site; for example, “Follow site: Team site.”

  4. To select the Follow this site check box, press Spacebar.

Explore more tasks

Refer to the following links to explore more tasks you can do with SharePoint Online and your screen reader.

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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