Accessibility in Excel 2016 for Windows

Excel 2016 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, a screen reader, or a speech recognition tool to work with Excel 2016.


Explore the Excel 2016 user interface

In Excel 2016, the name of your workbook 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 upper 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, such as Home, Insert, Formulas, Data, Review, and Power Pivot. 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 tables, charts, hyperlinks, or illustrations, to insert into your worksheet.

The cell grid of the active worksheet appears under the ribbon and makes up the majority of the page. Some commands, such as Review or Find, open a window in the center of the worksheet. Other commands, like Share, open a pane to the right or left of the worksheet..

Below the cell grid is a bar that contains a tab for each worksheet in the workbook. You can scroll through this row of tabs to select a worksheet. The currently selected worksheet is referred to as the “active worksheet.”

At the bottom of the Excel window is the status bar. At the right of the status bar are commands for viewing the worksheet (for example, in Normal view or Page Break Preview) and a Zoom level slider control and button. When you select a group of cells, the status bar displays the average, count, and sum of the numbers in the selected cells. You can change what is listed on the status bar by customizing the way Excel summarizes the data. To customize the status bar, press F6 until you hear “Status bar, Toolbar.” (In Narrator, you hear “On, Normal button.” Press Shift+F10. On the Customize Status Bar menu, to select the options you want (for example, Numerical count, Max, Min, and Scroll Lock), use the Up the Arrow key and the Down Arrow key and press Enter.

For general information about navigating the ribbon, panes, or a workbook, refer to Accessibility in Office 2016 and Windows 10.

Use a screen reader and keyboard shortcuts

To navigate in Excel 2016 and to cycle through screen elements (worksheet, ribbon, task pane (if open), and status bar/toolbar), press F6 (forward) and Shift+F6 (backward). To switch to the next workbook window when more than one workbook window is open, press Ctrl+F6. To move between cells or columns in a table, press the Tab key (forward) and Shift+Tab (backward) or use the arrow keys. To select a cell, move the focus to the cell. 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. To move to the next or previous worksheet in an open workbook, press Ctrl+Page Down or Ctrl+Page Up. For more details, read Keyboard shortcuts in Excel 2016 for Windows.

Excel 2016 includes accessible names that can be read by screen readers as you work in the application. You can use Narrator, the built-in screen reader in Windows, or a third-party screen reader, such as JAWS. For information on using Excel 2016 with a screen reader, see Get help for using a screen reader with Excel 2016.

Change worksheet size and view

To get a close-up view of your worksheet or a selection in your worksheet, you can zoom in, or, to see more of the page at a reduced size, you can zoom out.

Zoom in to or out from a worksheet by using the keyboard

  1. Press Alt+W, Q. If you are using a screen reader, you hear “Zoom dialog” or “Zoom window.”

  2. To select a zoom percentage, use the Up Arrow and Down Arrow keys. To enter a custom percentage, select the Custom radio button and type the percentage you want.

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

Zoom in to or out from a worksheet by using the mouse

Do one of the following:

  • On the status bar at the bottom of the worksheet, use the Zoom slider control.

  • On the View tab, in the Zoom group, click Zoom. In the Zoom dialog box, select the zoom setting that you want or type a percentage, and then click OK.

Zoom to a selected range of cells by using the keyboard

  1. Select the cell, range of cells, or table you want to zoom to.

  2. Press Alt+W, G. The zoom level automatically increases to a larger percentage (for example, 300% or 400%).

  3. To restore the selection to the 100% zoom level, press Ctrl+Z or Alt+W, J.

Zoom to a selected range of cells by using the mouse

  1. Select the cell, range of cells, or table you want to zoom to.

  2. Do one of the following:

    • On the status bar at the bottom of the worksheet, use the Zoom slider control.

    • On the View tab, in the Zoom group, click Zoom to Selection. To restore the selection to the 100% zoom level, on the Quick Access Toolbar, click Undo, or, on the View tab, in the Zoom group, click 100%.

Add Speak commands to the Quick Access Toolbar

The Speak commands read selected text, and you can add them to your Quick Access Toolbar in Excel 2016.

  1. To go to the Options dialog box, press Alt+F, T. You hear “Options” or “Excel Options window.”

  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 move to the Speak commands, press S and then press the Down Arrow key until you hear “Speak Cells,” the first Speak command option.

  6. To select another Speak command, use the Down Arrow key. The options are: Stop Speaking Cells, Speak Cells by Columns, Speak Cells by Rows, and Speak Cells on Enter.

  7. To add a selected Speak command to the Quick Access Toolbar, press Alt+A.

  8. To close the dialog box, tab to the OK button and press Enter.

The Speak command icon is added to the Quick Access Toolbar. The 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 selection, press Alt+5.

Use Tell Me

When you don’t know the keyboard shortcut or when you want to know about more options, use the Tell me what you want to do box.

  1. Optional. Select the text, cell, or other Office object you want to work with.

  2. Press Alt+Q. You hear “Tell me what you want to do.”

  3. Type a keyword or phrase, and then, to browse the search results, press the Down Arrow key. For example, for options related to fonts, such as italics and font size, type font. Some results may be submenus with more choices.

  4. To choose a result, press Enter.

Create accessible Excel workbooks

For tips about how to create an accessible workbook, see Checklist: Create an accessible spreadsheet in Excel.

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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