Use a screen reader to read or add speaker notes and comments in PowerPoint

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 PowerPoint 2016 with your keyboard and Narrator, the built-in Windows screen reader, to add and read speaker notes in your PowerPoint 2016 presentation. With speaker notes you can add reminders or talking points for the presenter. When the Notes pane or the Comments pane is open in the view, your screen reader can read the notes and comments.

Notes: 

In this topic

Add speaker notes

Add speaker notes in your presentation to tell a story to your audience beyond the slide content. You can use the speaker notes as private reminders of the slide content, too.

  1. To display the Notes pane, in the Normal view, press Alt+W, P, N.

  2. On the slide where you want to add notes, press F6 until you hear: "Slide notes pane or Slide notes."

  3. Type your notes.

  4. To exit the Notes pane, press F6.

Read speaker notes

  1. To hear if a slide has notes, in the Normal view, press F6 and the Up or Down arrow keys until you hear the title or number of the slide and its position in the list of slides. If there are speaker notes on the slide, you hear: “Has notes.”

    Tip: The focus always starts on the slide itself. Each time you press F6, the focus moves to the Comments pane, status bar and zoom buttons, ribbon, Notes pane, and thumbnail image. To move through the areas in the other direction, press Shift+F6.

  2. To display the Notes pane, in the Normal view, press Alt+W, P, N.

  3. Press F6 until you hear “Notes page pane” or “Slide notes” and then press Caps Lock+M to listen to the note.

Add a comment

You can add comments on slides if you're, for example, reviewing someone else's work.

If you want to comment on a specific piece of text or an object, select it. To find out how to select in PowerPoint 2016 using keyboard shortcuts, refer to Use keyboard shortcuts to create PowerPoint presentations.

  1. On a slide, in the Normal view, when you hear a piece of text or an object you want to comment on, press Alt+R, C. The Comments pane opens.

  2. Type your comment.

  3. To quickly add a new comment, in the Comments pane, press the Tab key until you hear "New comment button" and then press Spacebar. Type your new comment.

  4. To exit the Comments pane, press Esc.

  5. To close the Comments pane, press Alt+R, P, P.

Read comments

  1. To hear if the slide has comments, in the Normal view, press F6 and the Up or Down arrow keys until you hear the title or number of the slide and its position in the list of slides. If there are comments on the slide, you hear: “Has comments.”

  2. To open the Comments pane, press Alt+R, P, P. You hear: “New comment button.”

    If the Comments pane is already open, press F6 or Shift+F6 until you hear: "New comment button."

  3. Press the Tab key until you hear: "Next button."

  4. To move to and hear the first comment, press Spacebar. To move to and hear the comment and reply to this comment, press the Tab key.

  5. If there are multiple comments on one slide, to move to the next comment or comment thread, press the Down arrow button.

  6. To close the Comments pane, press Alt+R, P, P.

See also

Use a screen reader to add and format text in PowerPoint

Use a screen reader to save your presentation 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

Learn how to navigate PowerPoint using accessible features

Use PowerPoint 2016 for Mac with your keyboard and VoiceOver, the built-in Mac OS screen reader, to add and read speaker notes and comments in your presentation.

Notes: 

In this topic

Add speaker notes

Add speaker notes in your presentation to tell a story to your audience beyond the slide content. You can use the speaker notes as private reminders of the slide content, too. You can add the speaker notes in the Normal view if you're adding only short notes, or on the Notes page if you're planning to write more notes per slide.

Add speaker notes in the Normal view

  1. On the slide where you want to add speaker notes, press F6 until you hear: " Notes pane, layout area."

  2. Type your speaker notes for the slide. When you're done, to move away from the Notes Pane, press F6.

Add speaker notes on a Notes page

  1. On the slide where you want to add speaker notes, in the Normal view, press Command+3. You hear: "Notes page, layout area."

  2. On the Notes page, press the Tab key until you hear: "Edit text, you're currently on a text area." Then type your speaker notes.

  3. To move to the notes on another slide, on the Notes page, press Option+Control+Shift+Up arrow key until you hear "Notes pane, layout area" and then press Option+Right or Left arrow key.

  4. To return to the Normal view, press Command+1.

Read speaker notes

You can listen to the notes on your headset and then deliver them verbally to your audience, or let the screen reader read the notes out loud. You can listen to the speaker notes either in the Normal view or the Notes page when you're creating or editing your presentation. When you're delivering a slide show, you can use the Presenter view.

Read speaker notes in the Normal view

  1. On the slide, press F6 until you hear: "Notes pane, layout area."

  2. In the Notes Pane, press Control+Command+Right arrow key. You hear: "Edit text, insertion at beginning of text, <the speaker notes text>."

  3. To move away from the Notes Pane, press F6.

Read speaker notes on a Notes page

  1. On a slide, press Command+3. You hear: "Notes page, layout area."

  2. On the Notes page, press the Tab key until you hear: "Edit text, <the notes text>."

  3. To move to the notes on another slide, on the Notes page, press Option+Control+Shift+Up arrow key until you hear "Notes pane, layout area" and then press Option+Right or Left arrow key.

  4. To return to the Normal view, press Command+1.

Read speaker notes in the Presenter view

  1. To switch to the Presenter view, on a slide in the Normal view, press Option+Return. You hear: "Presenter view."

  2. In the Presenter view, press the Left or Right arrow key until you hear: "Notes pane, layout area."

  3. To read the notes text, in the Notes pane, press Control+Option+Shift+Down arrow. You hear: "In edit text, <notes text>." To stop reading, press the Left and Right arrow keys at the same time.

Add comments

You can add comments on slides if you're, for example, working together with others on a presentation or you're reviewing someone else's work.

  1. On the slide where you want to add comments, press F6 until you hear the name of the current tab on the ribbon. Then press the Left or Right arrow key until you hear "Review tab" and press Control+Option+Spacebar. You hear: "Press Review, selected, tab."

  2. On the Review tab, press the Tab key until you hear: "New comment button." Then press Control+Option+Spacebar. You hear: "Edit text, you're currently on a text area." The focus moves to the comment pane in the margin.

  3. Type your comment. When you're done, to navigate away from the comment pane, press F6 until you hear the item or element you want to select.

Read comments

You can use your screen reader to listen to others' comments and to check who's commented on your presentation and when.

  1. In the Normal view, on a slide, press F6 until you hear the current tab on the ribbon. Then press the Left or Right arrow key until you hear "Review tab" and press Control+Option+Spacebar. You hear: "Review tab."

  2. On the Review tab, press the Tab key until you hear: "Show comments menu button."

  3. To expand the Show Comments menu list, press Control+Option+Shift+M.

  4. In the menu list, press the Up or Down arrow key until you hear either "Check mark, Comment pane" or "Comment pane." If you hear "Check mark, Comment pane," press Esc and proceed to the next step. If you hear "Comment pane," press Control+Option+Spacebar.

  5. On a slide, press F6 until you hear: "Comments tab, you're currently on ta tab inside of a task pane."

  6. On the Comments tab, press the Tab key until you hear: "Comment thread." The focus is now on the first comment of the thread. To read the comment, press the Tab key. Your screen reader announces the time when the comment was added and who wrote it.

    To move to the next comment thread, press the Option+Control+Shift+Up arrow key. You hear: "Out of comment thread." Then press the Up or Down arrow key until you hear the next thread.

See also

Use a screen reader to add and format text in PowerPoint

Use a screen reader to save your presentation 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

Learn how to navigate PowerPoint using accessible features

Use PowerPoint 2016 for iOS with VoiceOver, the built-in screen reader for iOS, to add and read speaker notes in your presentation.

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 could get new features faster, visit When do I get the newest features in Office 2016 for Office 365?.

  • 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

Read speaker notes

When you open a presentation in PowerPoint, it opens in the Normal view where VoiceOver can read the speaker notes.

  1. To find out if a slide has speaker notes, swipe right until you reach the slide thumbnail pane. When you reach the thumbnail pane and the slide contains speaker notes, VoiceOver announces, for example: "Slide 1 of 8, <title of the slide>, has notes."

  2. To open the Notes text field, swipe left until you hear: "Notes button." Double-tap the screen.

  3. The Notes text field opens. To read the notes, swipe right until you hear: "Slide notes, text box, <speaker notes for the slide>."

  4. To close the Notes field, swipe left until you hear "Close, button," and double-tap the screen.

Add speaker notes

You can use speaker notes as private reminders of what to say when presenting your slides to the audience.

  1. On the slide where you want to add speaker notes, swipe right until you hear: "Notes, button." Then double-tap the screen. The Notes text field opens.

    Note: If you hear "Notes" instead of "Notes button," the Notes text field is already opened in PowerPoint.

  2. To go to the text field, swipe right until you hear: "Slide notes, text box, text field."

  3. To start adding notes, double-tap the screen and type your notes using the on-screen keyboard. To go to the keyboard, swipe right until you hear: "Q."

    Tip: You can also find the keyboard by exploring the items on the screen. To explore, place a finger on the screen and drag it around. VoiceOver announces the items as you land on them. To select an item, lift your finger and double-tap the screen.

  4. To close the keyboard when you're done, swipe right until you hear: "Hide keyboard." Then double-tap the screen.

See also

Use a screen reader to work with slides in PowerPoint

Use a screen reader to show your presentation with PowerPoint

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

Set up your device to work with accessibility in Office 365

Learn how to navigate PowerPoint using accessible features

Use PowerPoint for Android with TalkBack, the built-in Android screen reader, to add and read speaker notes or comments in a presentation. With speaker notes, you can add reminders or talking points for the presenter. With comments, you can give your colleagues feedback about their 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 could get new features faster, visit When do I get the newest features in Office 2016 for Office 365?.

  • 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

Add speaker notes

You can use speaker notes as private reminders of what to say when presenting your slides to the audience.

  1. On the slide where you want to add speaker notes, swipe left or right until you hear: "Notes, button." Then double-tap the screen. The Notes text field opens.

  2. To go to the text field, swipe right until you hear: "Slide notes."

  3. To start adding notes, double-tap the screen.

  4. Use the on-screen keyboard to type your notes.

  5. To close the text field when you're done, swipe down-then-left.

Read speaker notes

When you're browsing the list of slides in the Thumbnail view, TalkBack tells you if the slide has notes. You hear the number and title of the slide, followed by "has notes." To read the notes, you need to open the slide in the Editing view. When you're delivering a slide show, you can use the Presenter view to read your notes.

Read speaker notes in Editing view

  1. To open the slide with comments in the Editing view, double-tap the screen when on the slide. You hear: "Edit button."

  2. Double-tap the screen. The slide opens in the Editing view.

  3. Swipe left or right until you hear "Notes button," and then double-tap the screen.

  4. The Notes text field opens. To read the notes, swipe right until you hear "Slide notes," followed by the speaker notes for the slide.

  5. To close the Notes field, swipe left until you hear "Close, button," and then double-tap the screen.

Read speaker notes while delivering a slide show

  1. In the Thumbnail or Editing view, swipe left or right until you hear "Present button," and then double-tap the screen.

  2. Swipe right until you hear the slide you want, and then double-tap the screen.

  3. To read the notes, swipe left until you hear "Slide notes," followed by the notes for the slide.

Add comments

You can add comments on slides if you're, for example, working with others on a presentation or you're reviewing someone else's work.

  1. On the slide where you want to add comments, swipe left or right until you hear "New comment, button," and then double-tap the screen. The Comments text field opens.

  2. Use the on-screen keyboard to type your notes.

  3. To close the text field when you're done, swipe down-then-left.

Read comments

When you're browsing the list of slides in the Thumbnail view, TalkBack tells you if the slide has comments. You hear the number and title of the slide, followed by "has comments." To read the comments, you need to open the slide in the Editing view.

  1. To open the slide with comments in the Editing view, double-tap the screen when on the slide. You hear: "Edit button."

  2. Double-tap the screen. The slide opens in the Editing view.

  3. Swipe left until you hear "Not checked, More options switch," and then double-tap the screen. You hear "Tab menu," followed by the currently selected tab.

  4. To open the tab menu, double-tap the screen.

  5. Swipe right until you hear "Review tab," and then double-tap the screen.

  6. Swipe right until you hear "Previous button," and then double-tap the screen. The Comments pane opens.

  7. Keep swiping right to read all comments in the selected slide one by one.

  8. To close the Comments pane, swipe left or right until you hear "Close button," and then double-tap the screen.

See also

Use a screen reader to work with slides in PowerPoint

Use a screen reader to insert and edit pictures and tables 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

Learn how to navigate PowerPoint using accessible features

Use PowerPoint Mobile with Narrator, the built-in Windows screen reader, to add and read speaker notes or comments in a presentation. With speaker notes, you can add reminders or talking points for the presenter. With comments, you can give your colleagues feedback about their presentations.

Notes: 

In this topic

Add speaker notes

You can use speaker notes as private reminders of what to say when presenting your slides to the audience.

  1. On the slide where you want to add speaker notes, swipe left or right until you hear: "Notes, button." Then double-tap the screen. The Notes text field opens.

  2. To go to the text field, swipe left until you hear: "Slide notes."

  3. To start adding notes, double-tap the screen. You hear: "Slide notes, pane."

  4. Use the on-screen keyboard to type your notes.

  5. To close the text field when you're done, slide one finger in the top right corner of the screen until you hear "Close button," and then double-tap the screen.

Read speaker notes

To find out if the slide has notes and then read the notes, you need to open the slide in the Editing view.

  1. To go to the Editing view, in the Thumbnail view, double-tap the screen when on the slide. You hear: "Context menu, pop up, Edit button."

  2. Double-tap the screen. The slide opens in the Editing view.

  3. Swipe right until you hear "Notes button," and then double-tap the screen.

  4. The Notes pane opens. To go to the pane, swipe left until you hear: "Slide notes, double-tap to place text in insertion point."

  5. To read the notes, swipe down with three fingers. The Notes text field opens, and Narrator reads the notes.

  6. To close the text field, swipe right until you hear "Close, button," and then double-tap the screen.

Add comments

You can add comments on slides if you're, for example, working with others on a presentation or you're reviewing someone else's work.

  1. On the slide where you want to add comments, swipe right until you hear "New comment button," and then double-tap the screen.

  2. Swipe left until you hear "Comments, Editable text," and then double-tap the screen.

  3. Use the on-screen keyboard to type your notes.

  4. To close the text field when you're done, slide one finger in the top right corner of the screen until you hear "Close button," and then double-tap the screen.

Read comments

To read the comments, you need to open the slide in the Editing view.

  1. To go to the Editing view, in the Thumbnail view, double-tap the screen when on the slide. You hear: "Context menu, pop up, Edit button."

  2. Double-tap the screen. The slide opens in the Editing view.

  3. Swipe right until you hear "New comment button," and then double-tap the screen. The Comments pane opens.

  4. Swipe right or left to read all comments in the selected slide one by one, starting from the latest comment.

  5. To close the Comments pane, swipe left until you hear "Close button," and then double-tap the screen.

See also

Use a screen reader to work with slides in PowerPoint

Use a screen reader to insert and edit pictures and tables in PowerPoint

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

Learn how to navigate PowerPoint using accessible features

Use PowerPoint Online with your keyboard and a screen reader such as JAWS or Narrator, the built-in Windows screen reader, to add and read speaker notes or comments in a presentation. With speaker notes, you can add reminders or talking points for the presenter. With comments, you can give your colleagues feedback about their presentations.

When the Notes pane or the Comments pane is open in the view, your screen reader can read the notes and comments.

Notes: 

  • If you use Narrator with the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update, you have to turn off scan mode in order to edit documents, spreadsheets, or presentations with Office Online. For more information, refer to Turn off virtual or browse mode in screen readers in Windows 10 Fall Creators Update.

  • New Office 365 features are released gradually to Office 365 subscribers, so your app might not have these features yet. To learn how you could get new features faster, visit When do I get the newest features in Office 2016 for Office 365?.

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

  • This topic assumes that you are using JAWS. To learn about JAWS for Windows, refer to JAWS for Windows Quick Start Guide.

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

  • 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

Add speaker notes

You can edit presentations only in the Editing view. For instructions, go to Open a presentation.

  1. In PowerPoint Online, press Ctrl+F6 until you hear "Slide note, main landmark." If you don't hear "Slide note, main landmark," press Alt+Windows logo key, W, P, N to open the Notes pane.

  2. Type your speaker notes for the current slide.

Read speaker notes

  1. Press Ctrl+F6 until you hear the current slide number and heading. Press the Up or Down arrow key until you hear the number of the slide you want. If the slide has notes, you hear: "Has notes."

  2. With the Notes pane open, press Ctrl+F6 until you hear: "Slide note, main landmark."

  3. Press Caps Lock+M. Your screen reader reads the note.

  4. To stop the continuous reading, press Ctrl.

Add comments

You can edit presentations only in the Editing view. For instructions, go to Open a presentation.

  1. In PowerPoint Online, press Ctrl+F6 until you hear "Insert comment button." If you don't hear "Insert comment button," press Alt+Windows logo key, W, S, P, P to open the Comments pane.

  2. Press Enter. You hear: “New, editing.”

  3. Type your comment for the current slide, and then press Enter.

Read comments

  1. Press Ctrl+F6 until you hear the current slide number and heading. Press the Up or Down arrow key until you hear the number of the slide you want. If the slide has comments, you hear: "Has comments."

  2. With the Comments pane open, press Ctrl+F6 until you hear "Insert comment, button."

  3. Press the Tab key to move to the first comment. Your screen reader reads to comment. Press the Tab key to move through and listen to the comments.

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

Learn how to navigate PowerPoint 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.

Expand your skills
Explore training
Get new features first
Join Office Insiders

Was this information helpful?

Thank you for your feedback!

Thank you for your feedback! It sounds like it might be helpful to connect you to one of our Office support agents.

×