Get started using a screen reader with Skype for Business

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 Skype for Business with your keyboard and Narrator, the built-in Windows screen reader, to start audio and video conversations, use instant messaging (IM), and meet with others.

Notes: 

In this topic

Start Skype for Business

To start Skype for Business, do one of the following:

  • Press the Windows logo key, type Skype for Business, and press Enter.

  • In a meeting invitation, select the Join Skype Meeting link.

  • Start Windows (if you have checked the Automatically start the app when I log on to Windows check box in the Personal tab of the Options dialog box).

Note: Sign in with your organization credentials—not with your Skype name or Microsoft account.

Automatically start Skype when you start Windows

  1. To open the Options dialog box, press Alt+T, then press O. You hear “General.”

  2. Press P. You hear: “Personal.”

  3. Press Alt+U. You hear: “Automatically start the app when I log on to Windows.”

  4. Press Spacebar until you hear: “Checked.”

  5. Press Enter. The Options dialog box closes, and the focus moves to the search box in the main window.

Change your status

When Skype for Business starts, some screen readers read your name, availability, location, and a personal note, which appear at the top of the main window and can be seen by other Skype users.

To change the information or photo that appears, press Shift+Tab until you hear the name of the option you want, and then press Spacebar.

Explore the Skype for Business user interface

When you open or refresh the Skype for Business window, the focus moves to the search box so you can quickly locate a contact on your Contacts list (Ctrl+1) or in your organization.

Below the search box, the main window displays the Contacts tab with your Contacts list. To start a conversation, select a contact and then choose how to connect—Send an IM, Call, or Start a Video Call. For other views, go to the Conversations tab (Ctrl+3), or Meetings tab (Ctrl+5). Depending on your account, you may have two additional tabs, Chat Rooms (Ctrl+2), and Phone (Ctrl+4).

Many task-specific keyboard shortcuts are available. See Keyboard shortcuts for Skype for Business.

Show the hidden menu bar

The main window includes a hidden menu bar with four menus: File (Alt+F), Meet Now (Alt+M), Tools (Alt+T), and Help (Alt+H). The menu bar can be read by screen readers when you press the shortcut for any menu. For example, to display the menu bar and open the File menu, press Alt+F.

Or tab to the Show Menu button, press Spacebar, and then select Show Menu Bar (S).

Work with screen readers

  • If you use JAWS and have Dolby sound on your computer speakers, the volume for JAWS may drop suddenly when you join a Skype for Business call or meeting. To find the workaround, refer to Accessibility in Skype for Business.

  • If you use Narrator, the volume for calls and meetings may drop suddenly when you join the call or meeting. To find the workaround, refer to Accessibility in Skype for Business.

See also

Use a screen reader to make or receive a call in Skype for Business

Use a screen reader to join an online meeting in Skype for Business

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 accessible features

Use Skype for Business for Mac with your keyboard and VoiceOver, the built-in Mac OS screen reader, to start audio and video conversations, use instant messaging (IM), and meet with others.

Notes: 

In this topic

Open Skype for Business and sign in

  1. To go to the Applications list, in Finder, press Shift+Command+A.

  2. Type S to go straight to applications that Start with an “S” and press the Down arrow key, until you hear: “Skype for Business Application.”

  3. To open Skype for Business for Mac, press Command+Down arrow key.

  4. Type in your email address. Press Tab, type in your password, and press Enter. You hear: “Now in Skype for Business window. Main navigation group.”

  5. To sign in or out, press Command+G.

    Tip: When inserting your credentials to sign in, press Tab, until you hear: “Remember my password, unchecked, check box.” Press Control+Option+Spacebar to select the Remember my password check box. You hear: “Check remember my password.” The next time you open Skype, you can simply press Enter to sign into your account.

Explore Skype for Business user interface

When you start Skype for Business for Mac, the focus is on the main navigation group. To browse the main navigation group, press Control+Tab. To select one of the options in the main navigation group, press Spacebar. The main navigation group contains the following tabs:

  • My profile tab: where you can change your availability status

  • Chats tab: lists your logged chats

  • Meetings tab: lists your scheduled meetings

  • Calls tab: lists your calls

  • Contacts tab: includes the Search for contacts search box and below it, the list of added contacts

You can go back to the main navigation group by turning Quick Nav on, and use the Right or Left arrow keys to navigate, until you hear: “Main Navigation group.” To switch to the main navigation group, make sure you are not inside a table. To quit a table, press Control+Option+Shift+Up arrow. To interact with the main navigation group, press Control+Option+Shift+Down arrow.

Note: When describing interactions with the main navigation group, this topic assumes that you have turned Quick Nav off.

You can also access the application menu, which contains the menus and commands from Skype for Business for Mac. The application menu is located in the menu bar. To go to the menu bar, press Fn+Control+F2. Use the Right arrow key to browse through the menus: Skype for Business, File, Edit, Contacts, Conversations, Window, and Help. Press the Down arrow key to open a menu, and Up and Down arrows to browse through a menu. To select a command, press Spacebar.

Work with VoiceOver screen reader

In Skype for Business for Mac, you can use VoiceOver, the built-in screen reader in Mac. A screen reader converts text to speech and reads aloud commands, locations, lists, and buttons, in addition to the content itself.

Here are some notes about working with VoiceOver.

Do tasks with Skype and a screen reader

Here are some short tasks to help you get started when you use a screen reader:

Change your availability status

  1. In the main navigation group, press Control+Option+Shift+Down arrow to interact with the group. You hear: “My profile button.” Then press Spacebar twice. You hear: “Menu. 7 items.”

  2. Press Up or Down arrow key to browse to the status you would like to display in your profile: Available, Busy, Do Not Disturb, Be Right Back, Off Work, or Appear Away.

  3. To select the status, press Spacebar. To go back to My Profile in the main navigation group, press Esc.

Make a call

  1. In the main navigation group, press Control+Option+Shift+Down arrow to interact with the group. Then press Tab, until you hear: “Contacts button.”

  2. To go to your contact list, press Spacebar, and then press Tab twice. You hear: “Contacts table.”

  3. Press the Down arrow key to browse through the contacts, until you hear the name of the person you want to call. If needed, to expand a contact group, press the Right arrow key.

  4. To start a call with the selected contact, press Shift+Command+R.

  5. When you are in a call, you can use several keyboard shortcuts:

    • To turn the video call on or off, press Shift+Command+V.

    • To mute or unmute the microphone, press Shift+Command+M.

    • To stop end the call, press Shift+Command+E.

Chat via IM

  1. In the main navigation group, press Control+Option+Shift+Down arrow to interact with the group. Then press Tab, until you hear: “Contacts button.”

  2. To go to your contact list, press Spacebar, and then Tab twice. You hear: “Contacts table.”

  3. Press the Down arrow key to browse your contacts, until you hear the name of the person with whom you want to start a chat. If needed, to expand a contact group, press the Right arrow key.

  4. Press Spacebar, and then press Tab, until you hear: “Chat button.”

  5. To start the chat, press Control+Option+Spacebar. You hear: “You are currently on a text area.”

  6. Type in the message. To send, press Enter.

See also

Use a screen reader to add people to your contacts in Skype for Business

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 accessible 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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