Use a screen reader to highlight a file or folder in a document library in SharePoint Online

Use a screen reader to highlight a file or folder in a document library in SharePoint Online

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 SharePoint Online with your keyboard and a screen reader to highlight important files, folders, or links in a document library by pinning them to the top of the document library. We have tested it with Narrator, JAWS, and NVDA, but it might work with other screen readers as long as they follow common accessibility standards and techniques. When you pin an item, a thumbnail image appears at the top of the document library page, which makes it easier for users to find it.

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.

  • To learn more about screen readers, go to How screen readers work with Microsoft Office.

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

In this topic

Spotlight an item in document library

Notes: 

  • The highlight area is specific to a single folder or library view. When you use custom views, you need to pin the item in each view where you want it to appear.

  • You can highlight a maximum of three items per library, folder, or view.

  • This procedure is not available in classic mode.

  1. Sign in to your organization’s Office 365 account, start the SharePoint app, and then open your document library.

    Tip: Document libraries in SharePoint Online have two different views: classic and SharePoint Online experience. For most people, SharePoint Online experience is the default. However, if you hear “Check it out button” when navigating your document library, you’re using the classic experience. To view SharePoint Online document libraries, when you hear “Check it out button,” press Enter. After the view of your document library changes to the SharePoint Online experience and the focus moves from the Check it out button to the New link, you hear the name of your document library, followed by “New.”

  2. Go to the document library that contains the file, folder, or link you want to highlight.

  3. In List view or Tiles view, select the item you want to spotlight.

    Tips: 

    • To select an item, press the Tab key until you hear: “List of folders and files." In JAWS, you hear: "Entering table."

    • To switch between List view and Tiles view:

      • Make sure no files or folders are selected. The New button and View menu are available on the menu only when no files are selected in the document library.

      • Press the Tab key until you hear: “New.”

      • Press the Right arrow key until you hear “View options,” and press Enter.

      • Press the Down arrow key until you hear “List” or “Tiles,” and press Enter.

  4. Press Shift+Tab until you hear: “Share.”

  5. Press the Right arrow key until you hear “Pin to top,” and press Enter. A thumbnail image of the item appears at the top of your library.

    Tip: If the Pin to top option is not available on the menu bar, press the Right arrow key until you hear “More commands,” and press Enter. In the submenu, press the Down arrow key until you hear “Pin to top” and then press Enter.

Notes: You can easily work on an item by selecting the thumbnail image:

  1. To select a thumbnail image, press the Tab key until you hear “Pinned items,” and then press the Right arrow key until you hear the name of the spotlighted item you want.

  2. To open the selected spotlighted item, press Enter.

    To open a context menu with a list of additional actions you can take on the spotlighted item, for example, Rename, Alert me, Version History, and Check out:

    1. Press the Tab key until you hear: “Share.”

    2. Press the Right arrow key until you hear “More commands,” and then press Enter.

    3. In the context menu, to make your selection, press the Down arrow key until you hear the option you want, and then press Enter.

Change the order of spotlighted items

When you have more than one item spotlighted, you can change the order in which they appear by moving an item to the left or right.

  1. Sign in to your organization’s Office 365 account, start the SharePoint app, and then open your document library.

  2. To view SharePoint Online document libraries, press the Tab key until you hear “Check it out button.” Press Enter. After the view of your document library changes to the SharePoint Online view and the focus moves from the Check it out button to the New link, you hear the name of your document library, followed by “New.”

    Tip: If you don’t hear “Check it out button,” you’re already using the SharePoint Online view.

  3. Go to the document library, folder, or view where the item is spotlighted.

  4. To select the item you want to reorder, tab until you hear “Pinned items,” and then press the Right arrow key until you hear the name of the spotlighted item you want to move to a new position.

  5. Press Shift+Tab until you hear: “Share.”

  6. Press the Right arrow key until you hear “Edit Pin,” and press Enter.

    Tip: If the Edit pin option is not available on the menu bar, press the Right arrow key until you hear “More commands” and then press Enter. In the submenu, press the Down arrow key until you hear “Edit pin” and then press Enter.

  7. To select the Move right or Move left option, press the Down arrow key until you hear the one you want, and then press Enter.

Unpin a spotlighted item

  1. Sign in to your organization’s Office 365, start the SharePoint app, and then open your document library.

  2. To view SharePoint Online document libraries, press the Tab key until you hear “Check it out button,” and then press Enter. After the view of your document library changes to the SharePoint Online view and the focus moves from the Check it out button to the New link, you hear the name of your document library, followed by “New.”

    Tip: Tip If you don’t hear “Check it out button,” you’re already using the SharePoint Online view.

  3. Go to the document library, folder, or view where the item is spotlighted.

  4. To select the item you want to unpin, press the Tab key until you hear “Pinned items,” and then press the Right arrow key until you hear the name of the spotlighted item you want to move to a new position.

  5. Press Shift+Tab until you hear: “Share.”

  6. To unpin the item:

    • If only one item is pinned, press the Right arrow key until you hear “Unpin,” and then press Enter.

    • If more than one item is pinned, press the Right arrow key until you hear “Edit Pin,” and then press Enter. Press the Down arrow key until you hear “Unpin,” and then press Enter.

Use SharePoint Online with your keyboard and a screen reader to highlight important files, folders, or links in a document library by pinning them to the top of the document library. We have tested it with Narrator, JAWS, and NVDA, but it might work with other screen readers as long as they follow common accessibility standards and techniques. The pinned item appears as a thumbnail image at the top of the document library page.

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.

  • To learn more about screen readers, go to How screen readers work with Microsoft Office.

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

In this topic

Switch to the List view

To list all the items in a document library, you need to switch to the List view.

  1. Go to the document library that contains the file, folder, or link you want to highlight.

  2. Press the Tab key until you hear “Search,” then press the SR key+Right arrow key until you hear “View options,” and then press Enter.

    If you don't hear "View options," remove all possible item selections and try again.

  3. Press the Down arrow key until you hear “List,” and then press Enter.

Pin an item in a document library

The pinned item only appears as highlighted in the folders and library views in which it was originally pinned. If you use custom views, you need to pin the item in each view where you want it to appear as highlighted. You can pin a maximum of three items per library, folder, or view.

  1. Go to the document library that contains the file, folder, or link you want to pin.

  2. To select the item to be pinned, press the Tab key until you hear the first item in the items list. Press the SR key+Left or Right arrow key until you hear the name of the item.

  3. To open the context menu, press Alt+Menu key. You hear: "Menu." If you hear "Menu, pop up, read aloud" instead of "Menu", press Esc to move the focus to the correct context menu.

  4. Press the Down arrow key until you hear “Pin to top,” and then press Spacebar.

Change the order of pinned items

When you have pinned more than one item, you can change the order in which they appear.

  1. Go to the document library, folder, or view where the items are pinned.

  2. To select the item you want to move, press the Tab key until you hear “Pinned items.” Then, press the SR key+Right arrow key until you hear the name of the item.

  3. To open the context menu, press Alt+Menu key. You hear: "Menu." If you hear "Menu, pop up, read aloud" instead of "Menu", press Esc to move the focus to the correct context menu.

  4. In the context menu, press the SR key+Right arrow key until you hear “Edit Pin,” and then press Spacebar.

  5. To select in which direction to move the item, press the Down arrow key until you hear the option you want, and then press Enter.

Unpin an item

  1. Go to the document library, folder, or view where the item is pinned.

  2. To select the item you want to unpin, press the Tab key until you hear “Pinned items.” Then, press the SR key+Right arrow key until you hear the name of the item.

  3. To open the context menu, press Alt+Menu key. You hear: "Menu." If you hear "Menu, pop up, read aloud" instead of "Menu", press Esc to move the focus to the correct context menu.

  4. To unpin an item, in the context menu, press the SR key+Right arrow key until you hear “Edit Pin,” and then press Spacebar. Press the Down arrow key until you hear "Unpin," and then press Spacebar.

See also

Use a screen reader to create a custom view of a document library in SharePoint Online

Use a screen reader to edit a custom view of a document library in SharePoint Online

Keyboard shortcuts in SharePoint Online

Use a screen reader to explore and navigate SharePoint Online

Accessibility features in SharePoint Online

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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