Use a screen reader to edit a document in a document library in SharePoint Online

You and your team can use keyboard shortcuts and a screen reader to edit documents in a SharePoint Online document library.


  • SharePoint Online is a web-based application, so the keyboard shortcuts and navigation may differ from those in the on-premises product (SharePoint Server). Learn more about the differences among SharePoint products and technologies.

  • When you use SharePoint Online, we recommend that you use Internet Explorer as your web browser. Learn more about Internet Explorer keyboard shortcuts, and Learn more about SharePoint Online keyboard shortcuts.

  • Some functionality in SharePoint Online is introduced gradually to organizations that have opted in to the First Release program. Those organizations that are not in the First Release program or are not using the “modern” view in SharePoint document libraries may see a different user interface than what is described in this topic.

  • To complete the steps in this topic, you need to allow pop-ups for your Office 365 website. Learn more about changing security and privacy settings in Internet Explorer.

  • This topic assumes that JAWS users have turned off the Virtual Ribbon Menu feature.

Edit a document

  1. Sign in to your organization’s Office 365 account, start the SharePoint app, and then open your document library. The focus is on the New menu item. Learn how to get started.

    Note: If the SharePoint Online view is displayed, the Return to classic SharePoint link appears in the navigation pane, and you hear “Document Center” when your library is displayed. If SharePoint Online view is not displayed, the Check it out button appears. To display SharePoint Online view, tab to this button and press Enter. You hear “Document Center” followed by the name of your library. The focus moves to the New button in the menu bar, and you hear the name of your document library, followed by “New.”

  2. If the focus is not on the New button, press Tab until you hear the library name and “New. Create a new folder or Office document in this location.”

  3. Tab to the library’s column headers. You hear “Column headers. Use menus to sort, filter, or group by a column.” (In Narrator, you hear “Table. Name. Modified. Modified by,” followed by the names of library items.“)

  4. Press the Down Arrow key until you hear your document name, and then press Enter.

  5. You can edit in Word or, if you prefer, with Word Online in the browser. Press Enter and then the Tab key until you hear your choice.

    • To edit in Word, you hear “Edit in Word, Use the full functionality of Microsoft Word.”

    • To edit in the browser, you hear, “Edit in browser, Make quick changes right here using Word Online.”

  6. Press Enter. The focus moves to the document editing area.

  7. Edit the document.

  8. To close, press Alt+F, X. You hear “Leaving menus, Internet Explorer dialog, Do you want to close all tabs or the current tab?”

  9. Press the Right Arrow key. You hear “Close current tab button; To activate, press Spacebar.”

  10. Press Enter. Your document is automatically saved. The focus returns to the library.

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