Accessibility features in Sway

The accessibility features in Sway help make your content available to more people. This topic tells you what’s available today, but please check back—Sway is evolving.

Note: When you use Sway, we recommend that you use Internet Explorer as your browser. In this topic

In this topic

Explore the Sway user interface

With Sway, you can create interactive reports, presentations, personal stories, and more. You provide the content, such as text, images, videos, and embedded items, and Sway does the rest, making sure that your finished layout looks beautiful on virtually any device.

Sway is a web app that includes these top-level pages:

  • The Home page (http://www.sway.com), where you can get tutorials, examples, and related links. You don’t have to be signed in to Sway to view the home page.

  • My Sways, which lists all the Sways associated with the account you used to sign in. This includes Sways that you’ve created and any Sways that have been shared with you.

  • Authoring, the view where you create or edit a selected Sway.

  • Play, where you can view your Sway like a slide show.


When authoring in Sway, you work in four main areas:

  • The top navigation bar, which includes authoring commands and app-level options.

  • The task pane, which displays the Insert, Cards, Design, or Layout panes.

  • Storyline, where you add, import, edit, format, and arrange the content of a selected Sway. To add a piece of content, insert a Card. To display certain Cards together in the finished Sway, make a group.

  • Preview, which shows you what your finished Sway looks like.

Tip: If you are using keyboard shortcuts to navigate, to move the focus through these areas in Windows, press Ctrl+F6. On the Mac, press Control+Fn+F6. For more details, see Sway keyboard shortcuts.

Turn on Accessibility view

When viewing a Sway, you can turn on Accessibility view. This view displays a high-contrast style for easier reading, disables any animations, and supports keyboard navigation for use with screen readers.

To turn on Accessibility view :

  • If you’re using a mouse or touchscreen, on the More options menu (shown as three dots on the Sway toolbar), choose Accessibility view.

  • If you’re using a screen reader, on the More options menu, when Accessibility view is selected, you hear “Displays this Sway in a high contrast design with full keyboard functionality and screen reader access to all content.”

    Note: If Internet Explorer blocks the sway.com pop-up box, a notification message appears. To move the focus to the notification, press Alt+N and then, to allow the pop-up box, press A. You may need to enable Accessibility view again.

What does Accessibility view do?

When you turn on Accessibility view in Sway, here’s what happens:

  • The entire Sway is loaded into memory to allow Assistive Technology to access all of the content and provide jump locations (for example, a jump to the next heading).

  • The color scheme changes to black and white to provide high contrast for text.

  • The navigation switches to vertical scrolling to make it easier to navigate the Sway with a keyboard or with Assistive Technology.

  • The layout is presented vertically to allow users to focus on one piece of content at a time.

  • Specialized groups (for example, grids, slide shows, stacks, or comparisons) are broken apart to provide easier access to the content.

  • Interactive elements are marked with focus indicators to allow keyboard-only users to know what has the focus.

  • Excessive animations are removed to reduce unnecessary distractions and to aid Assistive Technology.

How to use Accessibility view

While viewing any Sway:

  • To navigate through any selectable options, on your physical or on-screen keyboard, press the Tab key.

  • To zoom a selected image in your current Sway, press Spacebar. To close the image and go back to the Sway, press Esc.

  • To search for text within a Sway, use the Search box. On the More Options menu, choose Find, and then type your text.

Make images and video accessible with alt text

To make images and video accessible to people who use screen readers, you can review the alternative (alt) text in a storyline. Sway creates alt text for an image based on its file name. Or, if you use an image that includes alt text already, such as a photo from the web, Sway includes that text.

To review the alt text for images and videos:

  1. On the More options menu (shown as three dots on the Sway toolbar when editing a Storyline), choose Accessibility Checker.

  2. In the Accessibility Checker pane, choose Review default alternative text or Review all alternative text.

  3. In the Alternative text box, type or edit the text.

  4. If you have more images or videos, choose the Next Item button and continue adding and reviewing the alt text. Otherwise, choose Done.

Make links accessible

With the Accessibility Checker, you can review the hyperlinks in your Sway and make sure they’re accessible to all users.

  1. On the More options menu (shown as three dots on the Sway toolbar when editing a Storyline), choose Accessibility Checker.

  2. In the Accessibility Checker pane, choose Review unclear hyperlink text.

  3. In the Display Text box, make sure the linked text is meaningful and describes the content behind the link, and not “click here” or other generic phrases.

  4. If you have more links to review, choose the Next Item button and continue reviewing the display text. Otherwise, choose Done.

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 visit the Microsoft Disability Answer Desk site to find the contact details for your region.

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