Accessibility in Office for iPad

Office for iPad apps work with the accessibility features in your iPad. This topic tells you about the settings that help you to get your work done, whether you’re using Word, Excel, OneDrive, OneNote, or PowerPoint on the iPad.

In this topic
  1. Use accessibility settings in Office for iPad

  2. Use VoiceOver with Office for iPad

  3. Navigate in Office for iPad apps

  4. Use an external keyboard to navigate

  5. Do common tasks in Office For iPad

  6. Learn which features aren't optimized

  7. Give feedback about accessibility in Office for iPad

  8. Find other helpful topics and resources

  9. Technical support for customers with disabilities

Use accessibility settings in Office for iPad

Office for iPad works with the accessibility features of your iPad, such as VoiceOver, Speak Screen, Dictation, Zoom, Invert Colors, and Dynamic Type. You can even use Siri. For example, say, “Hey Siri, start Excel.”

If you have an external keyboard, Office apps support the use of keyboard shortcuts to move around your screen.

Note: Create an Accessibility shortcut to the features you use most with Office apps, such as VoiceOver. To specify the shortcut you want, in iPad Settings, tap General, tap Accessibility, and then tap Accessibility Shortcut. To activate the shortcut, triple-click the Home button.

Zoom in

To use an on-screen magnifier with Office apps, turn on Zoom.

  1. Press the Home button.

  2. Tap Settings, tap General, tap Accessibility, and then tap Zoom.

  3. Turn on Zoom.

  4. To display or hide the magnifier, double-tap with three fingers.

Enlarge menus

To see larger text in Office menus, turn on Dynamic Type. In Outlook, the entire Inbox is enlarged. In Excel, OneNote, PowerPoint, and Word, only the menus are enlarged, but you can pinch in and out to change the zoom of your document.

  1. Press the Home button.

  2. Tap Settings, tap General, tap Accessibility, and then tap Larger Type.

  3. Turn on Larger Accessibility Sizes.

Use high contrast

For better visibility, you can invert the colors on your iPad. For example, in Excel and Word, display white text on a black background.

  1. Press the Home button.

  2. Tap Settings, tap General, and then tap Accessibility.

  3. Turn on Invert Colors.

Dictate your documents

You can dictate text in Office apps. When the insertion point is in a text area of Excel, OneNote, PowerPoint, or Word, you can tap the microphone button to the left of the Spacebar on the on-screen keyboard and then speak your text.

When you’re finished dictating, at the lower center of the screen, tap Done. If VoiceOver is also on, double-tap Done.

If the microphone key doesn’t appear on the keyboard, the text area doesn’t support dictation.

Use VoiceOver with Office for iPad

VoiceOver is the built-in screen reader on the iPhone. To turn on VoiceOver, triple-click the Home button. If this doesn’t work, ask Siri. (“Hey Siri, turn on VoiceOver.”) Or do this:

Note: This topic assumes that you’re using the default gestures, not customized AssistiveTouch settings.

Turn on VoiceOver

  1. Press the Home button.

  2. Tap Settings, tap General, tap Accessibility, and then tap VoiceOver.

  3. Turn on VoiceOver.

Create a Home button shortcut to VoiceOver

  1. Press the Home button.

  2. Tap Settings, tap General, and then tap Accessibility.

  3. Scroll down, and then tap Accessibility Shortcut.

  4. Tap VoiceOver.

  5. To use the shortcut to turn VoiceOver on or off, quickly press the Home button three times.

Open an Office app when VoiceOver is on

Slide your finger over the apps, swiping as necessary to move between screens. VoiceOver names the apps as you touch their icons. When you hear the name of the app you want, to open it, double-tap.

Navigate in Office for iPad apps

When you use VoiceOver to navigate in an Office app, you can use gestures only or a combination of gestures and keyboard shortcuts (if you have an external keyboard).

Use the VoiceOver rotor

On the screen, use the VoiceOver rotor to choose navigation options. For example, if you choose Word, your insertion point moves through the document word by word with each swipe. For help, see About the VoiceOver rotor on iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch on the Apple Support website.

Scroll with VoiceOver on

To scroll through an Office app, move three fingers up or down. When you lift your fingers from the screen, VoiceOver identifies where you are on the page.

Use the ribbon with VoiceOver on

Near the center of the top of most Office for iPad app screens is a ribbon. When you slide a finger over the ribbon, or press VO+Left Arrow or Right Arrow, you hear the name of the tab, such as “Home tab.” If you also hear “Selected,” such as “Home tab, Selected,” the ribbon buttons are also displayed.

  • To display a tab’s buttons on the ribbon, double-tap anywhere on the screen or press VO+Spacebar.

  • To move to another tab, slide your finger to the right or left, or press VO+Left Arrow or Right Arrow, until you hear the name of the tab you want, such as “Insert tab.” Double-tap or press VO+Spacebar.

  • To choose a button beneath an open tab, slide down to hear the names of the buttons. When you hear the button you want, double-tap the button. Or press VO+Left Arrow repeatedly until you hear the button you want.

  • To hide and show the buttons on the ribbon, double-tap the ribbon or a tab.

Use an external keyboard to navigate

You can use an external keyboard to work in Office for iPad apps. Basic editing shortcuts work, such as Command+X (Cut), Command+C (Copy), and Command+V (Paste).

If you use VoiceOver with an external keyboard and you want to use keyboard shortcuts, make sure that QuickNav is turned off. On your external keyboard, press the Left Arrow and Right Arrow keys at the same time. VoiceOver announces that QuickNav is turned off. To turn QuickNav back on, press the arrow keys again.

Find more keyboard shortcuts for:

Use Sticky Keys

With Sticky Keys, you can use key combinations without having to hold down the modifier key. For example, when Sticky Keys are enabled, to use the Cut command (Command+X), press Command and then press X.

To turn on Sticky Keys:

  1. Press the Home button.

  2. Double-tap Settings, double-tap General, double-tap Accessibility, and then double-tap Keyboard.

  3. Double-tap Sticky Keys.

Use Slow Keys

To adjust the amount of time between when you press a key and when it is activated, activate Slow Keys.

To turn on Slow Keys:

  1. Press the Home button.

  2. Double-tap Settings, double-tap General, and then double-tap Accessibility.

  3. Scroll down, and then double-tap Keyboard.

  4. Double-tap Slow Keys.

  5. To set the amount of time between keys, tap the plus or minus icon. (If VoiceOver is on, you hear “Increment, Button” and “Decrement, Button.”)

Do common tasks in Office for iPad

These procedures assume that you have turned on VoiceOver and are familiar with using it.

Start an Office for iPad app

To start an app, use the method you find easiest:

  • Slide your finger over the apps, swiping as necessary to move between screens. VoiceOver names the apps as you touch their icons. When you hear the name of the app you want, to open it, double-tap the icon.

  • To use Siri, hold the Home button and then ask Siri to open the app. For example, say, “Hey, Siri, open Excel.”

The app starts and opens the most recently viewed document or the File Open screen.

Start a new document from the File Open screen

If this is the first time you’ve started an Office app, the File Open screen is displayed and you hear “Account settings,” which is the option in the upper-left section. The New button is selected, and a list of options is displayed, including a blank workbook, document, or presentation, along with templates for common types of files.

Slide your finger over the options until you hear the name of the type of file you want, such as “Blank Workbook.” To open it, double-tap the option.

To go to the File Open screen when you’re working in an Office app, in the upper-left section of the screen, double-tap the Save and Close button.

Open a recently used workbook

  1. Open a recently used workbook

  2. When you hear “Recent button,” double-tap the button. Toward the top of the screen is a list of files which have been opened in the past week, followed by a list of older files.

  3. Swipe your finger down over the workbooks until you hear the name of the one you want, and then double-tap the file.

Connect to a cloud storage service or SharePoint

To use your iPad to access files that are saved on your computer, you can connect Office to OneDrive, Dropbox, or a team site. That way, when you save your work in the cloud, you can open it using an Office app for iPad.

  1. In the upper-left section of the File Open screen, double-tap the Account Settings button. You hear “Account.”

    Tip: If you’re working in an Office app, to go to the File Open screen, in the upper-left section of the screen, double-tap the Save and Close button.

  2. In the Account dialog, under the Connected Services heading, do one of the following:

    • Choose a cloud service, such as OneDrive or Dropbox, if listed, and sign in.

    • Choose SharePoint. You must have a corporate account that is valid for the SharePoint sites which you want to access.

    • Choose Add a Service. The screen lists services which are available to add, in this order: OneDrive, OneDrive for Business, and Dropbox. Select the service you’d like to add, and then follow the sign-in instructions. The next time you go to the Account menu, your new service is listed under Connected Services.

Learn which features aren't optimized

We’re working on delivering great accessibility features, and we still have more to do. Here’s a list of things we haven’t yet optimized:

  • Excel. Text format announcements in VoiceOver, data validation, sparklines, paste values, and auto-filling a series of data

  • PowerPoint. Search and text format announcements in VoiceOver

  • Word. SmartArt, charts, resizing shapes, and co-authoring

Give feedback about accessibility in Office for iPad

Please help us improve Office for iPad.

  1. To send feedback in Excel, PowerPoint, or Word, in the upper-left section of the application, go to the File menu, which is the second icon from the left. If VoiceOver is on, you hear “File button.”

  2. On the left, select the Send Feedback button.

  3. Select either Tell Us What You Like or Tell Us What Would Be Better. Type in the text box provided. When the insertion point is in the text box, you hear “Feedback, Text editing.” So that we can find it easily, please include the word "Accessibility" in your feedback.

  4. If you want, provide an optional email address and screenshot.

  5. To send your feedback, select to the Send button.

Find other helpful topics and resources

Accessibility in Excel for iPad

Accessibility in PowerPoint for iPad

Accessibility in Word for iPad

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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