Accessibility features in Word Online

Word Online includes accessibility features that make it easy for users with limited dexterity, low vision, or other disabilities to work with files. This means you can use Keyboard shortcuts in Word Online, a screen reader, or a speech recognition tool to work with Word Online.

When you use Word Online in Office 365, you use it in the browser of your computer or device. You can take advantage of the accessibility settings are specific to your device, such as Windows, Mac, or Android. For example, you might want to use a screen reader, such as Narrator for a Windows device or VoiceOver for a Mac; Windows Speech Recognition or the Speak tool for dictation; and High Contrast settings for increased visibility. For more information about accessibility settings and features that work in your device, see Set up your device to work with accessibility in Office 365.

In this topic

Get to know the WordOnline layout

Navigate in Word Online by using keyboard shortcuts

Zoom in or out to change the size of what you see

Switch to Accessibility Mode in Reading view

Use Tell Me

Technical support for customers with disabilities Technical support for customers with disabilities

Get to know the Word Online layout

Word Online runs in your web browser. It offers in two views: Reading view and Editing view. Different commands are available depending on the view you are using.

To switch from Reading to Editing view

  1. To switch from Reading view to Editing view, press F6 to reach the button on the toolbar ( you hear, “Tab, Toolbar, List of Microsoft Services button.” )

  2. Tab to the Edit document button and press Enter, and then select Edit in Word Online.

Explore Reading view
  • In Reading view, you can view, share, print, and comment on the document. By default, Word Online opens in Reading view.

    In Reading view, the name Word Online is listed in the title bar at the top of the window. If you're using a screen reader, you'll hear it read aloud. At the left edge of the title bar is the app launcher, the control that contains tiles that link to Microsoft services and Office Online applications, including Mail, Calendar, OneDrive, Excel, PowerPoint, and more.

    Below the title bar is a toolbar that contains the name of your document in the center and a set of commands on the right: Edit Document, Print, Share, Comments, and more.

  • Below the title bar is a toolbar organized into tabs: File, Home, Insert, Page Layout, Review, View, and Open in Word. 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 Insert tab, a ribbon appears. From that ribbon, you can pick different items, such as hyperlinks or pictures, to insert into your document.

Editing view
  • In Editing view, you can enter text, format it, and make changes to your document.

    In Editing view, the title bar at the top of the window includes the app launcher on the left. As you go from left to right on the title bar, you'll find the application name (Word Online), the name of your document, and a Share button on the right.

  • Below the title bar is a toolbar organized into tabs: File, Home, Insert, Page Layout, Review, View, and Open in Word, which opens your document in the desktop version of Word. 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 Insert tab, a ribbon appears. From that ribbon, you can pick different items, such as hyperlinks or pictures, to insert into your document.

In both Reading view and Editing view, document content appears under the ribbon and takes up the majority of the page. Some commands, such as Go To, Show Comments, or Find, open panes to the right or left of the document body. Others, like Zoom, open a pane in the center of the document body. And some, like Share, open a new window. If you're using a screen reader, focus changes in a predictable way.

At the bottom of the Word Online window is the status bar, which indicates the page number and zoom level and, in Editing view, the number of words in the document, as well as the language.

Navigate in Word Online by using keyboard shortcuts

  • To navigate in Word Online and to cycle through screen elements, press the Tab key (forward) or Shift+Tab (backward).

  • To select an item, press Enter.

  • To browse within menus or lists, press the Up Arrow key or the Down Arrow key, and then, to make a selection, press Enter.

  • To exit a menu or mode, press Esc.

For more details, read Keyboard shortcuts in Word Online.

Zoom in or out to change the size of what you see

To get a close-up view of your document, you can zoom in, or, to see more of the page at a reduced size, you can zoom out. You can also use Read Mode in Word. Read Mode improves the resolution and display of text, which makes it easier to read.

Zoom by using keyboard shortcuts

The following keystrokes in Reading view are for Internet Explorer on a Windows computer. Other browsers may work differently.

Zoom from Reading view in Internet Explorer
  • To zoom in, press Ctrl+Plus Sign (+) or Alt+V, Z, and then I.

  • To zoom out, press Ctrl+Minus Sign (-) or Alt+V, Z, and then O.

  • To select a zoom percentage, press Alt+V, Z. If you are using a screen reader, you hear “Zoom in, Control Plus, I” or “Zoom in, Context menu.”

    On the Zoom menu, use the Down Arrow to select the percentage you want, then press Enter.

Zoom from Editing view in Internet Explorer
  1. Press Alt+Q to go to the Tell Me box. You hear “Tell me what you want to do,”

  2. Type zoom and press Enter to open the Zoom dialog box opens. The current zoom percentage radio button (for example, 100%) and the OK button are button selected.

  3. In the Zoom dialog box, press Shift+Tab to move to the Percentage options radio buttons.

  4. To select the percentage you want, use the Down Arrow.

  5. Tab to the OK button and press Enter.

The following steps apply to both Reading and Editing views.

Use the Zoom level button on the status bar
  1. To move the focus to the status bar, press Ctrl+F6. You hear "Toolbar, Page 1 of x."

  2. Tab until you hear the current zoom percentage and “Button, Zoom level,” and then press Enter.

  3. Tab until you hear the current zoom percentage and “Button, Zoom level,” and then press Enter.

  4. When you hear “OK button,” press the Tab key until you hear “Zoom to, Full page” or “Zoom to, Page width.”

  5. To select a zoom percentage, use the Up Arrow and Down Arrow keys.

  6. When you hear the percentage you want, tab to the OK button and press Enter.

Switch to Accessibility Mode in Reading view

If you are using Narrator in Microsoft Edge, Word Online automatically switches to Accessibility Mode each time you open Reading view. In Accessibility Mode, Word Online presents a Portable Document Format (PDF) version of the file with tagging in your browser. Your screen reader reads the text and its formatting from the PDF version in the browser.

You can also switch to Accessibility Mode by using the keyboard.

Note: The following procedure shows steps for Microsoft Edge. Other browsers, such as Internet Explorer, work differently.

Switch to Accessibility Mode by using the keyboard in Microsoft Edge
  1. In Reading view, tab to the Accessibility Mode button and then press Enter. You'll hear, "Accessible reading mode."

  2. Word Online restarts and creates a PDF version of your document with accessibility tagging that works better with some screen readers. When Word Online and the document have restarted, focus is on your document in accessible PDF view.

  3. To switch out of Accessibility Mode, go to the Accessibility Mode button and then press Enter.

Switch to Accessibility Mode by using the keyboard in Internet Explorer
  1. In Reading view, tab to the More button and then press Enter.

  2. On the More menu, move to the Accessibility Mode command and then press Enter. Word Online generates a PDF of the document with accessibility tagging.

  3. To go to the PDF, which opens in the next tab in your browser, press Enter. The PDF opens in your default PDF viewer.

  4. To select the entire document, press Ctrl+A. Your screen reader now reads the document in PDF view. To have your screen reader indicate text formatting such as background color, font color, size, and style, press Caps Lock+0 (zero).

    Tip: Screen reader audio may vary depending on the PDF viewer you’re using. For example, you may have to select the content of the PDF line by line to hear a screen reader read it.

  5. To return to your document in Word Online, move to the appropriate tab in your browser and then press Enter.

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.

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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