Use a screen reader to explore and navigate Visio

Use a screen reader to explore and navigate Visio

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 with visual impairments 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 Visio with your keyboard and a screen reader to navigate the views and explore the elements on the screen. We have tested it with Narrator and JAWS, but it might work with other screen readers as long as they follow common accessibility standards and techniques.

Notes: 

In this topic

Navigate the main view

To navigate in the Visio view and to cycle through the main screen elements, press F6 or Shift+F6. The main screen elements are, in order:

  • The ribbon tabs, with the focus on the currently selected tab, such as the Home tab

  • The main content area with the active diagram when using JAWS

  • The Shapes pane which lists all available shape categories and the shapes of the selected category

  • The status bar

Tip: To navigate to the active diagram using Narrator, press F6 until you reach the Shapes pane, and then press the Tab key.

Navigate inside a screen element

  • To navigate within a screen element, press the Tab key (forward) or Shift+Tab (backward).

  • To navigate inside the Shapes pane using Narrator, press the SR key+Right or Left arrow key.

  • To select an item, press Enter.

  • To browse within menus or lists, press the arrow keys, and then, to make a selection, press Enter.

  • To exit a menu or mode, press Esc.

Navigate the Quick Access toolbar

The Quick Access toolbar at the top left of the screen contains, for example, the Save button.

  1. To navigate to the Quick Access toolbar, press Alt+H. You hear: "Home tab."

  2. Press the Up arrow key. The focus moves to the Quick Access toolbar.

  3. To move on the toolbar, press the Left and Right arrow keys.

Navigate to the App controls

The App controls at the top right of the screen include, for example, the Minimize and Close buttons.

  1. To navigate to the App controls, press Alt+H. You hear: "Home tab." Then press the Up arrow key. The focus moves to the Quick Access toolbar.

  2. Press the Tab key until you hear "Ribbon display options," and then press the SR key+Right arrow key until you hear the button you want.

Navigate the ribbon tabs

The ribbon tabs group options by different categories. The tabs in Visio include, for example, the Home tab with options for formatting text, the Insert tab for inserting new pages or images, the Design for changing the appearance of a page or diagram, and the View tab for zooming and changing views.

  • To navigate to the ribbon tabs, press F6 or Shift+F6 until you hear the currently selected ribbon tab, for example: "Ribbon tabs, Selected, Design tab."

  • To move between the ribbon tabs, press the Left or Right arrow keys until you hear the tab you want. The tab is selected, and the ribbon is displayed below the tab.

  • Alternatively, you can use the Keyboard shortcuts for Visio to move to and select a ribbon tab.

Navigate the ribbon

The ribbon sits below the row of ribbon tabs. When you select a tab, a tab-specific ribbon appears below the tab. Each ribbon includes options organized into groups. For example, if you select the Insert tab, you can pick different items, such as pictures, charts, or callouts, to insert into your diagram from the ribbon.

  • To move to the ribbon from the selected ribbon tab, press the Tab key. You hear the first option on the ribbon.

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

  • To select an option, press Enter or Spacebar.

  • To expand a collapsed menu, press Alt+Down arrow key.

  • Alternatively, you can use the Keyboard shortcuts for Visio to work with the ribbon.

Navigate a diagram

Visio includes accessible names that can be read by screen readers as you work in the application. If a diagram has been created using a Visio template or sample diagram, the navigation order has been defined so that it's easier for the screen reader users to understand the flow of the diagrams. The screen readers also announce the starting and ending points for connectors.

  • To navigate to the active diagram with Narrator, press F6 or Shift+F6 until you reach the Shapes pane, and then press the Tab key.

  • To navigate to the active diagram with JAWS, press F6 or Shift+F6 until you hear the first element in the diagram.

  • To move between the elements of the active diagram, press the Tab key.

Switch between views

In addition to the main view, Visio has the following commonly used views:

  • The File menu, which contains options such as New, Open, andSave.

    • To open the File menu, press Alt+F. You hear: "File, info."

    • To navigate the File menu, press the Up or Down arrow key until you hear the menu item you want, and then press Enter to open the tab with further options.

    • To navigate inside the further options tab, press Tab or Shift+Tab until you hear the option you want.

    • To exit the File menu and return to the main view, press Esc.

  • The Options window, which contains Visio settings, such as personalization, ease of access, proofreading, and language preferences.

    • To open the Options window, press Alt+F, T. You hear: "Visio options window." The focus is on the option categories pane.

    • To navigate the option categories, press the Down arrow key until you hear the name of the category you want.

    • To move the focus to the options of the selected category, press the Tab key.

    • To navigate the options, press the Up and Down arrow keys until you hear the option you want and then press Enter to select it.

    • To exit the Options window and return to the main view, press the Tab key until you hear "OK," and press Enter. To return to the main view without making changes, press Esc.

Special considerations for Visio

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. The search results are updated as you type.

  2. Press the Down arrow key until you hear "Change high contrast theme," and then press Enter. The High contrast settings window opens.

  3. Press the Tab key until you hear "High contrast theme," followed by the currently selected theme.

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

  5. Press the SR key+Right arrow key until you hear "Apply button," and 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 create a Visio diagram

Use a screen reader to read Visio diagrams

Keyboard shortcuts for Visio

Set up your device to work with accessibility in Office 365

Make your Visio diagram accessible to people with disabilities

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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