Read or add speaker notes and comments in a presentation using a screen reader

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.

Use PowerPoint 2016 with your keyboard and Narrator, the built-in Windows screen reader, to add and read speaker notes in your PowerPoint 2016 presentation. With speaker notes you can add reminders or talking points for the presenter. When the Notes pane or the Comments pane is open in the view, your screen reader can read the notes and comments.

Notes: 

In this topic

Add speaker notes

Add speaker notes in your presentation to tell a story to your audience beyond the slide content. You can use the speaker notes as private reminders of the slide content, too.

  1. To display the Notes pane, in the Normal view, press Alt+W, P, N.

  2. On the slide where you want to add notes, press F6 until you hear: "Slide notes pane or Slide notes."

  3. Type your notes.

  4. To exit the Notes pane, press F6.

Read speaker notes

  1. To hear if a slide has notes, in the Normal view, press F6 and the Up or Down arrow keys until you hear the title or number of the slide and its position in the list of slides. If there are speaker notes on the slide, you hear: “Has notes.”

    Tip: The focus always starts on the slide itself. Each time you press F6, the focus moves to the Comments pane, status bar and zoom buttons, ribbon, Notes pane, and thumbnail image. To move through the areas in the other direction, press Shift+F6.

  2. To display the Notes pane, in the Normal view, press Alt+W, P, N.

  3. Press F6 until you hear “Notes page pane” or “Slide notes” and then press Caps Lock+M to listen to the note.

Add a comment

You can add comments on slides if you're, for example, reviewing someone else's work.

If you want to comment on a specific piece of text or an object, select it. To find out how to select in PowerPoint 2016 using keyboard shortcuts, refer to Use keyboard shortcuts to create your presentation.

  1. On a slide, in the Normal view, when you hear a piece of text or an object you want to comment on, press Alt+R, C. The Comments pane opens.

  2. Type your comment.

  3. To quickly add a new comment, in the Comments pane, press Tab until you hear "New comment button" and then press Spacebar. Type your new comment.

  4. To exit the Comments pane, press Esc.

  5. To close the Comments pane, press Alt+R, P, P.

Read comments

  1. To hear if the slide has comments, in the Normal view, press F6 and the Up or Down arrow keys until you hear the title or number of the slide and its position in the list of slides. If there are comments on the slide, you hear: “Has comments.”

  2. To open the Comments pane, press Alt+R, P, P. You hear: “New comment button.”

    If the Comments pane is already open, press F6 or Shift+F6 until you hear: "New comment button."

  3. Press Tab until you hear: "Next button."

  4. To move to and hear the first comment, press Spacebar. To move to and hear the comment and reply to this comment, press Tab.

  5. If there are multiple comments on one slide, to move to the next comment or comment thread, press the Down arrow button.

  6. To close the Comments pane, press Alt+R, P, P.

See also

Create a presentation using a screen reader

Save a presentation using a screen reader

Use keyboard shortcuts to create your presentation

Basic tasks to create a presentation in PowerPoint with a screen reader

Set up your device to work with accessibility in Office 365

Learn how to navigate PowerPoint using accessible features

Use PowerPoint 2016 for Mac with your keyboard and VoiceOver, the built-in Mac OS screen reader, to add and read speaker notes and comments in your presentation.

Notes: 

In this topic

Add speaker notes

Add speaker notes in your presentation to tell a story to your audience beyond the slide content. You can use the speaker notes as private reminders of the slide content, too. You can add the speaker notes in the Normal view if you're adding only short notes, or on the Notes page if you're planning to write more notes per slide.

Add speaker notes in the Normal view

  1. On the slide where you want to add speaker notes, press F6 until you hear: " Notes pane, layout area."

  2. Type your speaker notes for the slide. When you're done, to move away from the Notes Pane, press F6.

Add speaker notes on a Notes page

  1. On the slide where you want to add speaker notes, in the Normal view, press Command+3. You hear: "Notes page, layout area."

  2. On the Notes page, press Tab until you hear: "Edit text, you're currently on a text area." Then type your speaker notes.

  3. To move to the notes on another slide, on the Notes page, press Option+Control+Shift+Up arrow key until you hear "Notes pane, layout area" and then press Option+Right or Left arrow key.

  4. To return to the Normal view, press Command+1.

Read speaker notes

You can listen to the notes on your headset and then deliver them verbally to your audience, or let the screen reader read the notes out loud. You can listen to the speaker notes either in the Normal view or the Notes page when you're creating or editing your presentation. When you're delivering a slide show, you can use the Presenter view.

Read speaker notes in the Normal view

  1. On the slide, press F6 until you hear: "Notes pane, layout area."

  2. In the Notes Pane, press Control+Command+Right arrow key. You hear: "Edit text, insertion at beginning of text, <the speaker notes text>."

  3. To move away from the Notes Pane, press F6.

Read speaker notes on a Notes page

  1. On a slide, press Command+3. You hear: "Notes page, layout area."

  2. On the Notes page, press Tab until you hear: "Edit text, <the notes text>."

  3. To move to the notes on another slide, on the Notes page, press Option+Control+Shift+Up arrow key until you hear "Notes pane, layout area" and then press Option+Right or Left arrow key.

  4. To return to the Normal view, press Command+1.

Read speaker notes in the Presenter view

  1. To switch to the Presenter view, on a slide in the Normal view, press Option+Return. You hear: "Presenter view."

  2. In the Presenter view, press the Left or Right arrow key until you hear: "Notes pane, layout area."

  3. To read the notes text, in the Notes pane, press Control+Option+Shift+Down arrow. You hear: "In edit text, <notes text>." To stop reading, press the Left and Right arrow keys at the same time.

Add comments

You can add comments on slides if you're, for example, working together with others on a presentation or you're reviewing someone else's work.

  1. On the slide where you want to add comments, press F6 until you hear the name of the current tab on the ribbon. Then press the Left or Right arrow key until you hear "Review tab" and press Control+Option+Spacebar. You hear: "Press Review, selected, tab."

  2. On the Review tab, press Tab until you hear: "New comment button." Then press Control+Option+Spacebar. You hear: "Edit text, you're currently on a text area." The focus moves to the comment pane in the margin.

  3. Type your comment. When you're done, to navigate away from the comment pane, press F6 until you hear the item or element you want to select.

Read comments

You can use your screen reader to listen to others' comments and to check who's commented on your presentation and when.

  1. In the Normal view, on a slide, press F6 until you hear the current tab on the ribbon. Then press the Left or Right arrow key until you hear "Review tab" and press Control+Option+Spacebar. You hear: "Review tab."

  2. On the Review tab, press Tab until you hear: "Show comments menu button."

  3. To expand the Show Comments menu list, press Control+Option+Shift+M.

  4. In the menu list, press the Up or Down arrow key until you hear either "Check mark, Comment pane" or "Comment pane." If you hear "Check mark, Comment pane," press Esc and proceed to the next step. If you hear "Comment pane," press Control+Option+Spacebar.

  5. On a slide, press F6 until you hear: "Comments tab, you're currently on ta tab inside of a task pane."

  6. On the Comments tab, press Tab until you hear: "Comment thread." The focus is now on the first comment of the thread. To read the comment, press Tab. Your screen reader announces the time when the comment was added and who wrote it.

    To move to the next comment thread, press the Option+Control+Shift+Up arrow key. You hear: "Out of comment thread." Then press the Up or Down arrow key until you hear the next thread.

See also

Create a presentation using a screen reader

Save a presentation using a screen reader

Keyboard shortcuts in PowerPoint 2016 for Mac

Basic tasks to create a presentation in PowerPoint with a screen reader

Set up your device to work with accessibility in Office 365

Use PowerPoint 2016 for iOS with VoiceOver, the built-in screen reader for iOS, to add and read speaker notes in your presentation.

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

Read speaker notes

When you open a presentation in PowerPoint, it opens in the Normal view where VoiceOver can read the speaker notes.

  1. To find out if a slide has speaker notes, swipe right until you reach the slide thumbnail pane. When you reach the thumbnail pane and the slide contains speaker notes, VoiceOver announces, for example: "Slide 1 of 8, <title of the slide>, has notes."

  2. To open the Notes text field, swipe left until you hear: "Notes button." Double-tap the screen.

  3. The Notes text field opens. To read the notes, swipe right until you hear: "Slide notes, text box, <speaker notes for the slide>."

  4. To close the Notes field, swipe left until you hear "Close, button," and double-tap the screen.

Add speaker notes

You can use speaker notes as private reminders of what to say when presenting your slides to the audience.

  1. On the slide where you want to add speaker notes, swipe right until you hear: "Notes, button." Then double-tap the screen. The Notes text field opens.

    Note: If you hear "Notes" instead of "Notes button," the Notes text field is already opened in PowerPoint.

  2. To go to the text field, swipe right until you hear: "Slide notes, text box, text field."

  3. To start adding notes, double-tap the screen and type your notes using the on-screen keyboard. To go to the keyboard, swipe right until you hear: "Q."

    Tip: You can also find the keyboard by exploring the items on the screen. To explore, place a finger on the screen and drag it around. VoiceOver announces the items as you land on them. To select an item, lift your finger and double-tap the screen.

  4. To close the keyboard when you're done, swipe right until you hear: "Hide keyboard." Then double-tap the screen.

See also

Use a screen reader to work with slides in PowerPoint

Show your presentation using a screen reader with PowerPoint

Basic tasks to create a presentation in PowerPoint with a screen reader

Set up your device to work with accessibility in Office 365

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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