Learn how to navigate PowerPoint using accessible features

Learn how to navigate PowerPoint 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.

PowerPoint 2016 includes accessibility features that make it easy for users with disabilities like limited dexterity, low vision, or other disabilities to work with presentations. 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 PowerPoint 2016 layout

When you open a PowerPoint 2016 presentation or create a new one, the name of your presentation is centered at the top of the screen. Because you are in Normal view, app controls such as Minimize and Close are in the upper-right corner. By default, the Quick Access toolbar resides at the upper-left side of the screen. This toolbar can be customized and contains commonly used commands, such as Save, Undo, Redo, and Start From Beginning.

Below the toolbar is a set of ribbon tabs, such as Home, Insert, Design, Transitions, Animations, Slide Show, and View. The ribbon sits below this row of tabs (JAWS calls it the "lower ribbon"). When you select a tab, a tab-specific ribbon appears. Each ribbon includes commands organized into groups. For example, if you select the Insert tab, a ribbon appears. From that ribbon, you can pick different items, such as tables, pictures, shapes, or equations, to insert into your presentation.

Three panes appear below the ribbon. The Slides pane is on the left. It includes thumbnails of the slides or the text on your presentation slides. On the right is the active slide, and underneath that is the Notes pane. The lower-right corner of the screen contains View buttons and Zoom controls.

These toolbars, panes, and controls remain until you switch to a different view.

Navigate using the keyboard

To navigate in PowerPoint 2016 and to cycle through the screen landmarks, press F6. The landmarks are, in order:

  • The active slide

  • The buttons and controls in the lower-right corner

  • The top toolbar and ribbon tabs

  • The Slides pane

To cycle through the screen elements of the current landmark, press the Tab key (forward) or Shift+Tab (backward). To select an item, press Enter. To browse within menus or lists, press the arrow keys, and then, to make a selection, press Enter. For example, you can switch between the text fields of the active slide by pressing Tab, or move between the slide thumbnails in the Slides pane with the Down and Up arrow keys. To exit a menu or mode, press Esc.

Tip: To quickly move the focus to the first floating shape such as a text box or an image, press Ctrl+Alt+5. Then, to cycle through the floating shapes, press the Tab key. To return to the normal navigation, press Esc.

For more details, refer to Use keyboard shortcuts to create PowerPoint presentations and Use keyboard shortcuts to deliver PowerPoint presentations.

PowerPoint 2016 includes accessible names that can be read by screen readers as you work in the application. You can use Narrator, the built-in screen reader in Windows, or a third-party screen reader, such as JAWS. For information on using PowerPoint 2016 with a screen reader, refer to Basic tasks to create a presentation in PowerPoint with a screen reader.

Special considerations for PowerPoint 2016

To make the content easier to read and select, you can increase contrast or invert colors on your computer using the high contrast settings of Windows. To start using a high contrast theme quickly, press left Alt+left Shift+Print Screen, then press Enter to activate the high contrast theme.

Windows offers you several high contrast themes. To find the one that works best for you:

  1. Press the Windows logo key, then type "high contrast" in the search box. Your screen reader says: "High contrast settings, system settings."

  2. Press Enter. You hear: "Settings window, High contrast theme," followed by the name of the currently selected theme.

  3. Use the Down and Up arrow keys to browse the high contrast themes until you find one that works for you.

  4. Press Tab until you hear "Apply button," then press Enter to activate the selected theme.

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 work with slides in PowerPoint

Use a screen reader to add and format text in PowerPoint

Use keyboard shortcuts to create PowerPoint presentations

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

Set up your device to work with accessibility in Office 365

Make your PowerPoint presentations accessible

PowerPoint for Mac includes accessibility features that make it easy for users with disabilities like limited dexterity, low vision, or other disabilities to work with presentations. 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.

Notes: 

In this topic

Get to know the PowerPoint for Mac layout

When you open a PowerPoint presentation or create a new one, the name of your presentation is centered at the top of the screen. App controls, such as Minimize and Close buttons, are at the upper left corner. By default, the Quick Access Toolbar resides next to them at the upper left of the screen. This toolbar can be customized and contains commonly used commands, such as Save, Undo, and Redo. The Search in Presentation text field and the Feedback button are at the upper right corner of the screen.

Below this row is a set of ribbon tabs. It includes tabs such as Home, Insert, Design, Transitions, Animations, Slide Show, Review, and View. The ribbon sits below the row of tabs. When you select a tab, a tab-specific ribbon appears. Each ribbon includes commands organized into groups. For example, if you select the Insert tab, you can pick different items from the ribbon, such as tables, pictures, or shapes, to insert into your presentation. On the far right on the tabs row, there are the Share button and the Expand/Collapse ribbon button.

Below the ribbon, there are three panes. The Thumbnail pane is on the left. It includes thumbnails of the slides or the text on your presentation slides. To the right of the Thumbnail pane, there's the Slide pane showing the active slide. It's the main content area where you edit and add content to your slides. Under the Slide pane, there's the Notes pane.

When open, the Comments pane resides next to the Slide pane area on the far right of the screen.

At the bottom of the screen, there's the Status bar including items such View buttons and Zoom controls.

Navigate using the keyboard

To navigate in PowerPoint and to cycle through the screen landmarks, press F6. The landmarks are, in order:

  • Slide pane

  • The buttons and controls in the lower-right corner on the status bar

  • Ribbon tabs

  • Thumbnail pane

To navigate the screen elements of the current landmark, use the following shortcuts:

  • To cycle through the screen elements of the current landmark, press the Tab key (forward) or Shift+Tab (backward).

  • To select an item, press Spacebar.

  • To browse within menus or lists, press the arrow keys, and then, to make a selection, press Spacebar. For example, use the Down and Up arrow keys to move between the slides in the Thumbnail pane.

  • To move between options on a ribbon, press the Tab key.

  • To switch between the text fields of the active slide, press Caps lock+Right or Left arrow key.

  • To exit a menu or mode, press Esc.

For more details, refer to Keyboard shortcuts in PowerPoint 2016 for Mac.

See also

Use a screen reader to work with slides in PowerPoint

Use a screen reader to add and format text in PowerPoint

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

Make your PowerPoint presentations accessible

PowerPoint 2016 for iOS includes accessibility features that make it easy for users with disabilities like limited dexterity, low vision, or other disabilities to work with presentations. 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.

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 can get new features faster, join the Office Insider program.

  • For touch capabilities in PowerPoint 2016 for iOS, go to PowerPoint for iPhone touch guide.

  • 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 PowerPoint for iOS layout

When you open a PowerPoint 2016 for iOS presentation or create a new one, the name of your presentation is centered at the top of the screen.

Below the presentation name, there's a toolbar with the following buttons from left to right: Save and close, File, Undo, Show ribbon, Start slide show from this slide, Search, and Share.

Double-tapping the File button opens the File menu which contains items and buttons such as Save a Copy, Print, and Properties.

Below the toolbar, there's the main slide content area, the so-called canvas. It shows a single editable slide. This is where you can add or modify content in the slide.

Below the slide canvas, there's a bar that displays the number of the current slide and the total number of slides in the presentation on the left of the screen. On the right, there's the Notes button.

Below this bar, there's the thumbnail pane where all the slides in the presentation are listed as thumbnails. Here you can select a slide to be edited. On the far right of the thumbnail pane, there's the New slide button.

At the bottom of the screen, there's a context-specific menu bar. The buttons on the context-specific menu bar change depending on what is selected in the main content area (for example, a whole slide, a table, or a text box in the slide). By default, it contains the following items when the focus is on an entire slide: Layout, Insert Comment, Table, Insert pictures, Shapes, Draw a text box, Insert picture from camera, Undo, Show ribbon, and Hide keyboard.

Double-tapping the Show ribbon button opens the Tabs menu bar. It includes the following items and buttons from left to right: Tabs menu list, Tell Me, Undo, Redo, and Hide ribbon.

The context-specific Tabs menu list contains the following tabs by default:

  • Home

  • Insert

  • Draw

  • Design

  • Transitions

  • Animations

  • Slide Show

  • Review

Depending on what is selected in the main content area, new tabs appear. For example, when the focus is on a table, the Table tab is displayed in the list. Double-tapping the menu list items opens new editing options.

Navigate by touch

  • To navigate in PowerPoint 2016 for iOS and to cycle through screen elements, swipe left or right with one finger.

  • To explore the screen content, drag a finger across the screen.

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

  • To browse within menus or lists, swipe left or right, and then, to make a selection, double-tap the screen.

  • To open the context-sensitive menu (when available), double-tap the screen with two fingers.

Use Tell Me

To find a command or an option quickly, use the Tell Me search.

  1. In the Editing view of your presentation, swipe left or right with one finger until you hear “Show ribbon," and then double-tap the screen. You hear the name of the current tab.

  2. Swipe right until you hear "Tell me what you want to do," and then double-tap the screen. You hear: "Text field, is editing, Tell me what you want to do."

  3. Use the on-screen keyboard to type a search word, for example, bullets or table. The list of search results is updated as you type.

  4. To browse the search results, swipe left or right until you hear the command or option you want.

  5. To select the command or option, double-tap the screen.

See also

Use a screen reader to work with slides in PowerPoint

Use a screen reader to add and format text in PowerPoint

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

Set up your device to work with accessibility in Office 365

Make your PowerPoint presentations accessible

PowerPoint for Android includes accessibility features that make it easy for users with disabilities like limited dexterity, low vision, or other disabilities to work with presentations. 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.

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 can get new features faster, join the Office Insider program.

  • For touch capabilities in PowerPoint for Android, go to PowerPoint for Android touch guide.

  • This topic assumes that you are using the built-in Android screen reader, TalkBack. To learn more about using TalkBack, go to Android accessibility.

  • This topic assumes you are using this app with an Android phone. Some navigation and gestures might be different for an Android tablet.

In this topic

Get to know the PowerPoint for Android layout

Reading view

When you open a PowerPoint for Android presentation or create a new one, the file is opened in the Reading view. The name of your presentation is centered at the top of the screen.

Below the presentation name, there’s a toolbar including switches and buttons such as the File and New slide buttons. Double-tapping the File button opens the File menu which contains buttons such as Settings, New, Open, Save As, and Print.

Below the toolbar, you can find the main content area where the slides are displayed. Drag one finger in this area to hear the slide numbers. Tap a slide to select it. Double-tap the slide, and you hear: “Edit button.” Double-tap the screen, and you enter the Editing view.

Editing view

In the Editing view, the name of your presentation is centered at the top of the screen.

Below the presentation name, there's a toolbar with the following items from left or right: Back switch, More options button, Find switch, Notes button, Present button, and Undo button.

Below the toolbar, there's the slide content area which shows a single editable slide. Here you can, for example, add text or pictures to the slide.

Below the slide content area, at the bottom of the screen, there's a context-specific menu bar. The buttons on the context-specific menu bar change depending on what is selected in the main content area (for example, a whole slide, a table, or a text box in the slide). By default, it contains the following items when the focus is on an entire slide:

  • Tell Me

  • Layout

  • New comment

  • Table

  • Photos

  • Shapes menu

  • Text box

  • Camera

  • Undo

  • More options switch

Double-tapping the More options switch opens or hides the Tab menu bar which contains the following items from left to right:

  • Tabs menu list

  • Tell Me

  • Undo

  • Redo

  • More options switch

The context-specific Tabs menu list contains the following tabs by default:

  • Home

  • Insert

  • Draw

  • Design

  • Transitions

  • Animations

  • Slide Show

  • Review

  • View

Depending on what is selected in the main content area, new tabs appear. For example, when the focus is on a table, the Table tab is displayed in the list. Double-tapping the menu list items opens new editing options.

Navigate using touch

  • To navigate in PowerPoint for Android and to cycle through screen elements, swipe left or right.

  • To explore the screen content, drag a finger across the screen.

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

  • To browse within menus or lists, swipe left or right, and then, to make a selection, double-tap the screen.

  • To open the context-sensitive menu (when available), double-tap the screen with two fingers.

  • To exit a menu, view, or dialog, swipe down-then-left.

Use Tell Me

To find a command or an option quickly, use the Tell Me search.

  1. In the Editing view of your presentation, swipe left or right with one finger until you hear “Tell me button," and then double-tap the screen. You hear: “Tell me what you want to do edit box.”

  2. Double-tap the screen. You hear: “Showing <keyboard language> keyboard.”

  3. Use the on-screen keyboard to type a search word, for example, bullets or table. The list of search results is updated as you type.

  4. To browse the search results, swipe left or right until you hear the command or option you want.

    Some commands and options may have submenus with more choices. TalkBack announces them as “<Search result> menu, double-tap to activate.” To open the menu, double-tap the screen.

  5. To select the command or option, double-tap the screen.

See also

Use a screen reader to work with slides in PowerPoint

Use a screen reader to add and format text in PowerPoint

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

Set up your device to work with accessibility in Office 365

Make your PowerPoint presentations accessible

PowerPoint Mobile includes accessibility features that make it easy for users with disabilities like limited dexterity, low vision, or other disabilities to work with presentations.

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 can get new features faster, join the Office Insider program.

  • For touch capabilities in PowerPoint Mobile, go to PowerPoint Mobile for Windows 10 Touch Guide.

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

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

In this topic

Get to know the PowerPoint Mobile layout

When you open PowerPoint Mobile, in the top right corner of the opening view is the user account button. Below the button is the PowerPoint heading row. Below the heading row are the New and Browse buttons. Below the buttons, in the main content area, is a list of the presentations you've worked on recently.

Reading view

When you open a PowerPoint Mobile presentation or start to create a new one, the presentation is opened in the Reading view. The name of your presentation is centered at the top of the screen. Below the name, on the left, is the File button. To the right of the button are the following buttons: Present, New slide, Share, and Undo.

All slides in a presentation are listed as thumbnails below the buttons.

Editing view

To move from the Reading view to the Editing view, double-tap the screen on the slide that you want to edit. You hear: "Custom." Swipe right until you hear "Context menu, Edit button," and then double-tap the screen. The Editing view opens. You hear: "Slide pane." The focus is on the main content area.

The name of your presentation is centered at the top of the screen. Below the name to the left is the Back button. To the right of the button are the following buttons: Find, Notes, Present, and Undo.

Below the buttons is the main content area which takes up most of the space on the screen. The selected slide is displayed here.

Below the main content area, the Notes pane is displayed if activated.

Below the Notes pane or main content area is the context-sensitive quick access toolbar. It shows buttons related to the area or item that is currently selected on the slide in the main content area. The More options button is on the far right on the toolbar. Double-tapping the button opens the main menu below the main content area.

On top of the main menu is the menu bar. The current tab name is to the far left of the menu bar. The tab options are listed below the tab name. Double-tap the tab name to open the tab menu, showing all available tabs. To the right of the tab name on the menu bar, there are the following buttons: Tell Me, Undo, Redo, and More options (expanded).

To move from the Editing view to the Reading view, swipe right until you hear "Off, back button," and then double-tap the screen.

Navigate using touch

  • To navigate in PowerPoint Mobile and to cycle through screen elements, swipe left or right.

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

  • To browse within menus or lists, swipe left or right, and then, to make a selection, double-tap the screen.

  • To exit a context menu, quickly draw a Z-shape with two fingers.

See also

Use a screen reader to work with slides in PowerPoint

Use a screen reader to add and format text in PowerPoint

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

PowerPoint Online includes accessibility features that make it easy for users with disabilities like limited dexterity, low vision, or other disabilities to work with presentations.

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 can get new features faster, join the Office Insider program.

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

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

  • This topic makes note of the JAWS functionality as well. To learn more about JAWS for Windows, go to JAWS for Windows Quick Start Guide.

  • 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 PowerPoint Online, we recommend that you use Microsoft Edge as your web browser. Because PowerPoint 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 PowerPoint Online.

In this topic

Get to know the PowerPoint Online layout

When you open a PowerPoint 2016 presentation or create a new one, the horizontal navigation bar is at the top of the screen below the URL address field. The App Launcher button on the far left on the navigation bar. To the right, the app name, the name of the current user, and the path to the location where the open presentation is stored are displayed. The name of your presentation is centered on the navigation bar. To the right of the name, the Share button and the name of the current user are displayed.

Below the navigation bar, there's a set of ribbon tabs, such as Home, Insert, Design, Transitions, Animations, Review, and View. The ribbon sits below the row of tabs (JAWS calls it the "lower ribbon"). When you select a tab, a tab-specific ribbon appears. Each ribbon includes commands organized into groups. For example, if you select the Insert tab, you can pick different items from the ribbon, such as tables, pictures, shapes, or equations, to insert into your presentation.

Below the ribbon, there are three panes. The Thumbnail pane is on the left. It includes thumbnails of the slides or the text on your presentation slides. On the right, there's the Slide pane with the active slide. It's the main content area where you edit and add content in your slides. Under the Slide pane, there's the Notes pane.

On the bottom of the screen, there's the Status bar including items such View buttons and Zoom controls.

Navigate using the keyboard

To navigate in PowerPoint Online and to cycle through the screen landmarks, press Ctrl+F6. The landmarks are, in order:

  • Slide pane

  • Comments pane (if it's open)

  • Slide Notes pane (if it's open)

  • Status bar

  • The top toolbar

  • Ribbon

  • Thumbnail pane

To navigate in the screen elements of the current landmark, use the following shortcuts:

  • To cycle through the screen elements, press the Tab key (forward) or Shift+Tab key (backward). For example, press the Tab key to switch between the text fields of the active slide.

  • To select an item, press Enter.

  • To browse within menus or lists, press the arrow keys, and then, to make a selection, press Enter. For example, press the Down and Up arrow key to move between the slide thumbnails in the Thumbnail pane.

  • To move the focus quickly to the selected tab in the ribbon, press Alt+Windows logo key.

  • To exit a menu or mode, press Esc.

See also

Use a screen reader to work with slides in PowerPoint

Use a screen reader to add and format text in PowerPoint

Keyboard shortcuts in PowerPoint Online

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

Make your PowerPoint presentations accessible

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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