Differences between the Editor in Office 2016 and Office 365 for screen reader users

Read out loud symbol with the label Screen reader content. This topic is about using a screen reader with Office

This article is for people with visual impairments who use a screen reader program with the Office products and is part of the Office Accessibility content set. For more general help, see Office Support home.

Switching from Office 2016 to Office 365 and using a screen reader? We’ve created this article to get you familiar with the changes and new features in the Editor.

Context menu

In Office 2016, the context menu for text flagged for proofreading includes up to five suggested corrections and other proofreading commands such as Ignore All and Add to Dictionary.

In Office 365, the Editor Context Menu has been completely redesigned for accessibility. Suggestions and proofreading commands are listed in a separate Spelling or Grammar submenu, which is added to the standard context menu. When you open the context menu for text that's been flagged for a proofreading issue, the focus will be on the first suggestion. If you want to move out of the Spelling or Grammar submenu to access standard context menu commands, press Esc.

In the Spelling or Grammar submenu, each suggestion is listed as a split button. To select the suggestion, press Enter or Spacebar. For each spelling or "Possible word choice error" suggestion, you will hear it accompanied a list of synonyms to help you select the intended correction with confidence. To expand the split button and access commands specific to the suggestion, such as Read Aloud, Change All, and Add to AutoCorrect, press the Right arrow key, then navigate inside the submenu with the Up and Down arrow keys, and select the command you want by pressing Enter.

Spelling/Grammar pane

The Spelling/Grammar pane in Office 2016 contains a list of suggestions for an issue, as well as buttons for performing actions such as Ignore, Add to AutoCorrect, and Change All. You can open the Spelling/Grammar pane by pressing F7. If there are spelling or grammar issues in the document, the first such issue is automatically opened in the pane. Press F6 to move the focus to the Spelling/Grammar pane. To navigate in the pane, press the Tab key or Shift+Tab to move the focus between the suggestions and other buttons in the pane.

When you select a suggestion or perform another action for an issue, the next spelling or grammar issue is opened automatically. If there are no more issues remaining in the document, a "Spelling and grammar check is complete" dialog opens on the screen. Close it by pressing Enter.

In Office 365, the Spelling/Grammar pane is replaced with the Editor Overview and Editor panes.

Editor Overview and Editor panes

The Editor Overview Pane is a feature exclusive to Office 365 that lets you browse the list of corrections and refinements in your document, either in a linear fashion or one category at a time. You can open the Editor Overview Pane by pressing F7.

To navigate in the Editor Overview Pane, press the Tab key or Shift+Tab to move the focus between the cards in the pane, and the Up or Down arrow keys to navigate in the cards. Press Enter to select an item.

Selecting a category or the Review All Results button in the Overview Pane takes you to the Editor pane, which contains details on the first issue in the category or list, a list of suggestions, and options such as Ignore Once or Add to Dictionary. To navigate in the Editor Pane, press the Tab key or Shift+Tab, or the Up and Down arrow keys, to move the focus between the suggestions and other buttons in the pane.

When you open the Editor pane, the focus will be on a read-only textbox containing the original sentence that has the spelling or grammar issue. You can use the standard read commands of your screen reader to read and navigate within the original sentence, and confirm where the flagged word(s) are in the sentence.

In the Editor pane, each suggestion is listed as a split button. To select the suggestion, press Enter or Spacebar. For each spelling or "Possible word choice error" suggestion, you will hear it accompanied by a list of synonyms to help you select the intended correction with confidence. To expand the split button and access commands specific to the suggestion, such as Read Aloud, Change All, and Add to AutoCorrect, press Alt+Down arrow key, then navigate inside the submenu with the Up and Down arrow keys, and select the command you want by pressing Enter.

When you select a suggestion or perform another action for an issue, the Editor pane will automatically open the next issue in the same category and focus will once again be on the read-only textbox containing the original sentence. If there are no more issues remaining in the category, the focus returns to the Editor Overview Pane. While in the Editor pane, you can also navigate inside the chosen category or the list of all results with the Next Issue and Previous Issue buttons.

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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