Accessibility features in Office 2016

Features available across the Office 2016 suite of desktop applications make these applications accessible to users with vision, dexterity, or other disabilities. This topic summarizes those features and offers links to additional resources. If you’re using Office Online, explore Accessibility features in Office Online.

In this topic

Explore the Office 2016 user interface

The Office 2016 applications share a similar user interface. The name of your document is centered at the top of the screen. App controls, such as Minimize and Close, are in the top right corner.

By default, the Quick Access Toolbar resides at the top left side of the screen. This toolbar can be customized and contains commonly used commands, such as Save, Undo, and Redo.

Below this toolbar is a set of ribbon tabs specific to the capabilities of the application. Examples include File, Home, and View. The ribbon sits below this row of tabs. When you select a tab, a tab-specific ribbon appears. Each ribbon includes commands organized in groups. For example, if you select the View tab, a ribbon appears. From that ribbon, you can pick different commands that arrange how you view the file in the application.

The Office application’s content, whether document, spreadsheet, slide, or other type of content, appears under the ribbon and makes up the majority of the page.

Use Office 2016 with screen readers and voice recorders

To work with Office 2016applications, users who are blind or have low vision can use the JAWS screen reader, the screen reader that comes with Windows, known as Narrator, and many others. These screen readers convert text to speech and read you commands, locations, alt text on images, and the contents of Office 2016 documents.

Office 2016 includes accessible names that can be read and voiced by screen readers as you navigate in the applications. You can also use WindowsSpeech Recognition or a third-party speech tool to use voice commands to work in Office 2016. Also available are built-in keyboard shortcuts for each application.

Use Narrator

  • To turn Narrator on or off on a PC, in Windows, press Windows logo key+Enter.

  • To turn Narrator on or off on a tablet, press Windows logo button+Volume Up.

Add Speak to the Quick Access Toolbar

The Speak command reads selected text, and you can add the Speak command to your Quick Access Toolbar in any Office 2016 desktop application.

  1. To go to the application’s Options dialog box, press Alt+F, T. You hear “Options.”

  2. To modify the Quick Access Toolbar, press the Down Arrow key until you hear “Quick Access Toolbar.”

  3. To get the list of available commands, press Alt+C. You hear “Popular commands.” The focus is in the Choose commands from combo box.

  4. Press the Down Arrow key until you hear “Commands not in ribbon,” and then press the Tab key.

  5. To select the Speak command, press S and then press the Down Arrow key until you hear “Speak.”

  6. To add the Speak command to the Quick Access Toolbar, press Alt+A. To close the dialog box, tab to the OK button and press Enter.

The Speak icon is added to the Quick Access Toolbar. Its keyboard shortcut is based upon the number of commands on your Quick Access Toolbar. For example, if it’s the fifth command in the Quick Access Toolbar, to read a selected section of text, press Alt+5.

Learn about accessibility features in specific Office 2016 applications

Accessibility information

The Microsoft Accessibility website provides more information about assistive technology. A free monthly electronic newsletter is available to help you stay current with accessibility topics about Microsoft products. To subscribe, visit the Microsoft Accessibility Update Newsletter Subscription page.

Technical support for customers with disabilities

Microsoft wants to provide the best possible experience for all our customers. If you have a disability or have 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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