Learn how to navigate OneNote using accessible features

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 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.

OneNote 2016 includes accessibility features that make it easier for people with disabilities like limited dexterity or low vision to work with notebooks, sections, and pages. For more information about accessibility settings and features that are platform-specific, see Set up your device to work with accessibility in Office 365.

Notes: 

In this topic

Get to know the OneNote layout

Because OneNote is cloud-based, you can use the same notebook on all your devices. OneNote syncs the content automatically.

When you open OneNote, the focus is on the title of a notebook page. For example, the first time you open OneNote, you'll hear, "Title. OneNote: One place for all your notes."

OneNote 2016 offers three views: Normal view, Full page view, and Dock to Desktop view. Dock to Desktop is the same as Normal view, but docked to one side of your screen. For more information about Full page view, see Use full screen mode.

In Normal view. OneNote 2016 has a top bar that contains ribbon tabs. Like most Office products, each ribbon tab opens a ribbon of related commands. For a list of keyboard shortcuts you can use to open each ribbon tab, see Navigate by using a keyboard.

Below the top bar are two panes, a page pane and a navigation pane. A page contains one or more content blocks where you can enter notes.

Navigate by using a keyboard

You can use OneNote 2016 with keyboard shortcuts. For details, refer to Keyboard shortcuts in OneNote 2016 for Windows.

  • To move between navigation panes, menus, and the content area, press F6.

  • To move within a content area, use the arrow keys.

    Note: In the main content block of OneNote, don't use the Tab key to navigate. In that pane, pressing Tab makes the content indent.

  • To move between buttons and menu items, press Tab, and to activate them, press Spacebar.

The ribbon tabs in OneNote are File, Home, Insert, Draw, History, Review, View, and Learning Tools. Other special tabs, such as a Layout tab for tables, appear only when needed.

This table shows the shortcuts that open each ribbon tab:

To open this tab

Press

Home

Alt+H

Insert

Alt+N

Draw

Alt+D

History

Alt+S

Review

Alt+R

View

Alt+W

Learning tools

Y2

Special features for using OneNote

Use full screen mode

You can use OneNote 2016's full screen mode to make the page view simpler. This makes it easier for you and your screen reader to navigate through a page.

  1. To move to the main tab menu bar, on a OneNote 2016 page, press Alt until you hear the currently selected tab.

  2. On the main tab menu bar, press Tab until you hear: "Full screen modes, button collapsed," then press Enter. A submenu opens. You hear: "Full screen drawing button," and then press Enter.

    You're now using the full screen mode. The focus is on the main content area.

  3. To exit the full screen mode, press Alt. You hear the first item on the tool bar. Then press Tab until you hear: "Exit full screen drawing button." Then press Enter.

Change text size

You can change the size of text in title bars, menus, message boxes, palette titles, icons, and tool tips without adjusting your screen’s resolution. 

  1. In any view, press the Windows logo key. You hear: “Start window, Search box, editing.”

  2. In the search box, type "Make text larger." You hear: "Make text and other items larger or smaller." Then press Enter. You hear: "Settings windows, Display one, custom."

  3. In the Settings window, press Tab until you hear: "Advanced display settings hyperlink." Then press Enter. You hear: "Advanced display settings window."

  4. Press Tab until you hear: "Advanced sizing or text and other items hyperlink." Then press Enter. You hear: "Display windows, Control panel home link."

  5. Press Tab until you hear: "Desktop element, title bars, editable combo box, collapsed." To expand the combo box list, press Alt+Down arrow key. Press the Down and Up arrow keys to move on the list. When you hear an option you want to modify, press Enter.

  6. Press Tab until you hear: "Font size, <current font size>." To expand the combo box list, press Alt+Down arrow key. Press the Down and Up arrow keys to move on the list. When you hear an option you want to modify, press Enter.

  7. Press Tab until you hear: "Unchecked bold checkbox." If you want the text bolded, press Spacebar. You hear: "Checked."

  8. Press Tab until you hear: "Apply button." Then press Enter.

See also

Use a screen reader to share and collaborate on notebooks in OneNote

Use a screen reader to insert content to notebooks in OneNote

Keyboard shortcuts in OneNote for Windows

Use a screen reader to do basic tasks in OneNote

Set up your device to work with accessibility in Office 365

Make your OneNote notebooks accessible

OneNote for Mac on Office 365 offers accessibility features that enhance the extensive features that are built in to the Mac OS. This topic gives an overview of those features, including tips on navigation by using just the keyboard.

To find out more about how to use the built-in accessibility features, see Set up your device to work with accessibility in Office 365. To learn how to use OneNote, see Use a screen reader to do basic tasks in OneNote.

Notes: 

In this topic

Get to know the OneNote layout

When you open OneNote for Mac, the OneNote menu appears at the top of the screen, with its menu items added after the Apple menu. The name of your document appears centered below this menu. By default, the Quick Access Toolbar resides to the left of the screen. This toolbar contains commonly used commands, such as Undo, and Redo. The notifications and the sharing options icon are on the same line and on the right side of the screen. Below them is the Help Improve Office menu.

Under this line, you find a set of ribbon tabs, such as Insert and View. The ribbon sits below this row of tabs. When you select a tab, a tab-specific ribbon appears. Each ribbon includes commands organized in groups. For example, the Insert tab switches to a ribbon that lets you pick different items, such as tables or pictures, to insert into your document.

Navigate in OneNote by using the keyboard

  • To go to the location where you can open other notebooks or create a new one, press Command+O.

  • For a list of the open notebooks, press Control+G.

  • To search notebooks, press VO+F.

Navigate in a OneNote notebook

  • To switch between sections in a notebook, press Command + Shift + { or }

  • To switch between pages in a section, do the following:

    1. To move the focus on list of page, press Command + Control + G.

    2. To select the previous or next page in your section, press the Up arrow key or Down arrow key or Command + PageUp or PageDown key.

    3. To go to the first page of the list, Option + Home. To go to the last page of the list, Option + End.

See also

Use a screen reader to share and collaborate on notebooks in OneNote

Use a screen reader to insert content to notebooks in OneNote

Keyboard shortcuts in OneNote for Mac

Use a screen reader to do basic tasks in OneNote

Set up your device to work with accessibility in Office 365

Make your OneNote notebooks accessible

OneNote for iOS makes use of the built-in iOS accessibility features to help people with disabilities use the app. For example, you can use the built-in iOS screen reader, VoiceOver, or the Dictate tool to enter text.

For more information about accessibility settings and features that work in your device, refer to Set up your device to work with accessibility in Office 365. To learn how to use OneNote, see Use a screen reader to do basic tasks in OneNote.

Notes: 

  • New Office 365 features are released gradually to Office 365 subscribers, so your app might not have these features yet. To learn how you could get new features faster, visit When do I get the newest features in Office 2016 for Office 365?.

  • This topic assumes that you are using the built-in iOS screen reader, VoiceOver. To learn more about using VoiceOver, visit Apple accessibility.

  • This topic assumes that you are using an iPhone. Some navigation and gestures might be different for an iPad.

In this topic

Get to know the OneNote for iOS layout

The OneNote for iOS app contains the following views: Main view, Sections list, Pages list, and the canvas.

The main view in the OneNote for iOS app contains a list of the OneNote notebooks that you have. You can also create new notebooks in this view. At the very top of the main view there is the settings button in the top left corner, a search field next to it in the middle, and a notifications button in the top right corner. Below the top row there is a link to Recent Notes, followed by the list of notebooks. At the bottom of the screen there is a button for adding a new notebook.

To go to a notebook page, you first navigate to a notebook in the main view, then to a notebook section in the Sections list, and then to a notebook page in the Pages list. When you open a notebook page in the Pages list, a canvas opens. Usually, the canvas contains a page title, a date, and one or more content blocks.

When you open the app for the first time, it opens in the main view. Next time, it opens in the view where you left it.

Navigate using touch

Here are some useful gestures for navigating the OneNote for iOS app using touch:

  • To navigate between the items on the screen, swipe right to go forward on the screen, or left to go back on the screen.

  • To select an item or an action, double-tap the screen.

  • To explore what's on the screen, place your finger on the screen and slowly drag it around. VoiceOver announces the items as you reach them. When you hear the name of the item you want to select, lift your finger and double-tap.

  • To edit, move, or delete a notebook, a section, or a page, first place focus on the item and then swipe up or down with one finger to go through the available actions.

  • To navigate around the canvas, swipe right or left with one finger. When you're editing a canvas item, double-tap the screen with two fingers to bring up the context menu.

  • To exit the search pane and dismiss the search mode, swipe a letter "z" with two fingers.

See also

Use a screen reader to share and collaborate on notebooks in OneNote

Use a screen reader to insert content to notebooks in OneNote

Use a screen reader to do basic tasks in OneNote

Set up your device to work with accessibility in Office 365

Make your OneNote notebooks accessible

OneNote for Windows 10 includes accessibility features that make it easier for people with disabilities like limited dexterity or low vision to work with notebooks, sections, and pages.

Many accessibility features are built-in to your computer or device, such as the Narrator screen reader, Magnifier, and settings for high contrast colors. To learn how to use OneNote, see Use a screen reader to do basic tasks in OneNote.

Notes: 

In this topic

Get to know the OneNote for Windows 10 app layout

When you open the OneNote app, you'll hear the title of the last notebook you had open.

Press F6 to go to the top bar (you'll hear Home tab). The top bar contains the Navigation pane button and tabs for the ribbon (Home, Insert, Draw, and View). You'll also find other options, described in the next section.

Navigate OneNote for Windows 10 by using a keyboard

The primary navigation keys are F6 and the Tab key

  • When using a keyboard to move between navigation panes, menus, and the editing area, press F6.

  • To move between buttons and menu items, press Tab, and to activate them, press Enter.

    Note: In the main content pane of OneNote, don't use the Tab key to navigate. In that pane, pressing Tab makes the content indent.

When you press F6, it stops at one of these places:

  • The ribbon tabs: Home, Insert, Draw, and View. When you go to the ribbon by pressing F6, you may hear 'Home tab, item'.

    Each tab opens a ribbon of commands, such as page editing options. Note that Zoom commands are on the View tab.

  • The Notebook navigation pane (you may hear 'Recent Notes, button' or the name of one of your notebooks).

    The navigation pane contains a list of notebooks, and offers you the ability to open or create more notebooks. You'll also find app settings and user account info.

  • The Search button (you may hear 'Search, button').

    Type the text that you want to search for an press Enter.

  • The Section navigation pane (you may hear the name of one of your sections).

    This shows a list of sections and contains the New Section button.

  • The Page navigation pane (you may hear the name of one of your pages).

    You'll find a list of pages and New Page button here.

  • The Page Canvas (you may hear 'OneNote current page, content block') - this is where you can edit the page content.

Navigate by using keyboard shortcuts

For the full list of OneNote for Windows 10 keyboard shortcuts, refer to Keyboard shortcuts in OneNote for Windows 10.

Some useful keyboard shortcuts are listed in the table below:

To do this

Press

Open the notebook navigation pane

CTRL+G

Put focus on the current section in the list

CTRL+Shift+G

Put focus on the current page in the list

CTRL+Alt+G

Create a new section

CTRL+T

Create a new page

CTRL+N

Hide navigation pane

You can simplify your OneNote for Windows 10 view, and hide the navigation pane.

  1. Navigate to the Full Screen Modes button as instructed in Use full screen mode and press Enter.

  2. On the Full Screen Modes submenu, press the Down arrow key until you hear: "Off, Hide navigation button." Then press Enter.

  3. To display the navigation pane again, move to the Full Screen Modes submenu and press the Down arrow key until you hear: "On, Hide navigation button." Then press Enter.

Use full screen mode

You can use OneNote for Windows 10 full screen mode to make the page view simpler. This makes it easier for you and your screen reader to navigate through a page.

  1. To move to the main tab menu bar, on a OneNote for Windows 10 page, press Alt until you hear the currently selected tab.

  2. On the main tab menu bar, press Tab until you hear: "Full screen modes, button collapsed," then press Enter. A submenu opens. You hear: "Full screen drawing button," and then press Enter.

    You're now using the full screen mode. The focus is on the main content area.

  3. To exit the full screen mode, press Alt. You hear the first item on the tool bar. Then press Tab until you hear: "Exit full screen drawing button." Then press Enter.

Change text size

You can change the size of text in title bars, menus, message boxes, palette titles, icons, and tool tips without adjusting your screen’s resolution. 

  1. In any view, press the Windows logo key. You hear: “Start window, Search box, editing.”

  2. In the search box, type "Make text larger." You hear: "Make text and other items larger or smaller." Then press Enter. You hear: "Settings windows, Display one, custom."

  3. In the Settings window, press Tab until you hear: "Advanced display settings hyperlink." Then press Enter. You hear: "Advanced display settings window."

  4. Press Tab until you hear: "Advanced sizing or text and other items hyperlink." Then press Enter. You hear: "Display windows, Control panel home link."

  5. Press Tab until you hear: "Desktop element, title bars, editable combo box, collapsed." To expand the combo box list, press Alt+Down arrow key. Press the Down and Up arrow keys to move on the list. When you hear an option you want to modify, press Enter.

  6. Press Tab until you hear: "Font size, <current font size>." To expand the combo box list, press Alt+Down arrow key. Press the Down and Up arrow keys to move on the list. When you hear an option you want to modify, press Enter.

  7. Press Tab until you hear: "Unchecked bold checkbox." If you want the text bolded, press Spacebar. You hear: "Checked."

  8. Press Tab until you hear: "Apply button." Then press Enter.

See also

Use a screen reader to share and collaborate on notebooks in OneNote

Use a screen reader to insert content to notebooks in OneNote

Keyboard shortcuts in OneNote for Windows 10

Use a screen reader to do basic tasks in OneNote

Make your OneNote notebooks accessible

OneNote Online runs in a browser, so you can use it from almost any device that can use a browser. Each device platform, such as Windows, Mac, iOS, and so on, offers built-in accessibility features that can make it easier to use OneNote. For example, you can use a screen reader, a magnifier, or a dictation tool. These instructions are written for a Windows PC.

Notes: 

  • New Office 365 features are released gradually to Office 365 subscribers, so your app might not have these features yet. To learn how you could get new features faster, visit When do I get the newest features in Office 2016 for Office 365?.

  • For keyboard shortcuts, go to Keyboard shortcuts in OneNote Online.

  • This topic assumes that you are using the built-in Windows screen reader, Narrator. To learn more about using Narrator, go to Get started with Narrator.

  • This topic assumes you are using this app with a PC. Some navigation and gestures might be different for a Windows phone or tablet.

  • When you use OneNote Online, we recommend that you use Microsoft Edge as your web browser. Because OneNote Online runs in your web browser, the keyboard shortcuts are different from those in the desktop program. For example, you’ll use Ctrl+F6 instead of F6 for jumping in and out of the commands. Also, common shortcuts like F1 (Help) and Ctrl+O (Open) apply to the web browser – not OneNote Online.

In this topic

Get to know the OneNote Online layout

In a OneNote Online window, the Menu bar containing the tabs is at the top. Below the tabs there is a tools ribbon with different options depending on the currently selected tab. Below the ribbon, on the left side of the screen there is the pane area containing the Notebooks list, Sections list, and Pages list. The page editing area stretches from the middle of the screen all the way to the right edge.

The landmarks used in OneNote Online are:

  • List of Microsoft services

  • Menu bar

  • Notebooks list

  • Editing area (canvas).

Navigate OneNote Online by using the keyboard

You can navigate the landmarks in OneNote Online by pressing Ctrl+F6. Pressing F6 jumps back to the browser controls. Also, using common shortcut keys, such as F1 for Help, apply to the web browser, not OneNote Online.

To navigate in OneNote Online and to cycle through the screen elements, press the Tab key to go forward, or Shift+Tab to go backward. To select an item, press Enter. To browse within menus or lists, press the Up or Down arrow key, and to make a selection, press Enter. To exit a menu or a mode, press Esc.

To browse the sections and pages in a notebook, first select the items navigation mode in Narrator by pressing Caps Lock+Up arrow repeatedly until Narrator announces "items." Then press Ctrl+F6 until Narrator announces "Notebooks." Use Caps Lock+Right arrow key after that to cycle through the Sections list and the Pages list.

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.

See also

Use a screen reader to share and collaborate on notebooks in OneNote

Use a screen reader to insert content to notebooks in OneNote

Keyboard shortcuts in OneNote Online

Use a screen reader to do basic tasks in OneNote

Make your OneNote notebooks accessible

Technical support for people 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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