Send an Instant Message using Skype for Business with a screen reader

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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 Skype for Business with your keyboard and Narrator, the built-in Windows screen reader, to send an instant message (IM) to anyone who has a Skype for Business account.

Notes: 

In this topic

Send a text message to one person

  1. To launch Skype for Business, press the Windows logo key, type Skype for Business, and press Enter.

    The focus is initially in the Find Someone search box.

  2. Type a person's name or email address. In Narrator, when a name matches your search string, you hear: "Search results, pane updated."

  3. To move through the search results, press the Down arrow key. You hear the names of the contacts.

  4. To send an IM to a selected contact, press Enter. This opens a list of options for that contact.

  5. You hear: "Send an IM button." Press Enter to open an IM chat window with that contact.

  6. You hear the person's name or email address, and their current status. The focus is on the Chat Input field. To send your message, type your text and press Enter.

    Tip: If an IM recipient has a Skype for Business account but their status is anything other than "Available," they may not respond instantly, or the message may go to their email or Conversation History if they are not currently online.

Send a text message to multiple people

You can have a conversation with two or more people at once.

  1. Repeat steps 1-5 as described under Send a text message to one person.

  2. To invite other contacts to join the conversation, press Alt+V, or Tab until you hear “Invite More People button,” and then press Enter. A new window opens with the focus on the edit field.

  3. Type a name or use the Down arrow key to select a name on the list.

  4. Press Tab until you hear "OK button," and then press Enter to add the person to the conversation.

  5. Repeat steps 2-4 until you have invited everyone you want.

When you send a message now, it is sent to everyone you have selected.

Send files in an IM

When you have an IM conversation window open, you can send any kind of a file to the other person.

Tip: When you are in a meeting or a multi-person IM conversation, the files are sent to everyone in that meeting or conversation.

  1. To navigate to the Choose File to Send button, press the Tab key until you hear: “Choose file to send.”

  2. To open the File Select dialog box, press Spacebar. You hear: “Send a file to all participants.”

  3. Navigate through the File Select dialog box and select the file(s) you wish to send.

    Tip: You can send a text response, or you can send a file, but you cannot send both at the same time. If you have text in the Message field that has not been sent, that text will be lost when you send a file.

  4. When you’ve selected the file(s) you want to send, select the Open button and press Enter.

See also

Join an online meeting using Skype for Business with a screen reader

Keyboard shortcuts for Skype for Business

Get started using a screen reader with Skype for Business in Outlook on the web

Set up your device to work with accessibility in Office 365

Learn how to navigate Skype for Business using accessibility features

Use Skype for Business for Mac with your keyboard and VoiceOver, the built-in Mac OS screen reader, to send an instant message (IM) to anyone who has a Skype for Business or Skype account.

Notes: 

Send a text message to one person

  1. Launch Skype for Business for Mac, then press Tab until you hear: "Search for contacts, search text field."

  2. Type in a person’s name or an email address. VoiceOver announces the number of persons found.

  3. Press Tab to move on to the search results table.

  4. Use the Down and Up arrow key to navigate the search results. VoiceOver announces the names and availability statuses as you go through the list.

  5. When on a contact, press Control+Option+Shift+Down arrow to allow item selection.

  6. Press Tab until you hear VoiceOver announce the Chat button.

  7. To open an IM chat window, press Control+Option+Spacebar.

  8. The focus is now on a text field and you can start writing your message. To send the message, press Enter.

  9. You hear a sound when a new chat message arrives. To listen to the messages in the chat:

    1. To go to the chat area above, you need to leave the text message field. To leave, press Control+Option+Left arrow until you hear "Chat history, table."

    2. To enter the table, press Control+Option+Shift+Down arrow. VoiceOver reads the first message on the thread.

    3. To continue listening to messages, press Control+Option+Down arrow.

    4. To exit the chat history table, press Control+Option+Shift+Up arrow.

    5. To return to the IM text field for writing messages, press Control+Option+Right arrow until you hear “Type a message here, edit text.”

See also

Add people to your contacts using Skype for Business with a screen reader

Make or receive a call in Skype for Business for Mac with a screen reader

Keyboard shortcuts in Skype for Business

Set up your device to work with accessibility in Office 365

Learn how to navigate Skype for Business using accessibility features

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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