Learn how to navigate Skype for Business using accessibility features

Learn how to navigate Skype for Business using accessibility features

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 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.

Skype for Business includes accessibility features that make it easier for people with disabilities like limited dexterity or low vision to use the meeting and messaging app. For more information about accessibility settings and features that are platform-specific, see Set up your device to work with accessibility in Office 365.

Notes: 

In this topic

Get to know the Skype for Business layout

Using Skype for Business, you can schedule and conduct online meetings that include as many as 250 attendees. Plus, you can call colleagues and send messages to them. The elements included in the Skype for Business UI change based on the communication element you select: contacts, conversations, phone calls, or meetings.

If you’re a person with low vision or visual disabilities, or if you have limited mobility, build a mental model of the Skype for Business UI. The areas and specific elements of the UI are described in the below table.

Area

Elements you'll find in this area

First row: Menu bar or your personalized post

  • If you use the default view for the app, the What’s happening today text box is in the first row. It shows your personalized post.

  • If you change the default view to show the menu bar for the app, the menu bar is in the first row, followed by the What’s happening today text box.

Second row: Information about you

  • User name

  • Status menu. Shows your status, such as Available, Busy, or Do Not Disturb, among other options.

  • Set Your Location buttons and text box. Shows your location or allows you to set your location.

Third row: A tag group that changes the information shown in the main area of the UI and options button

  • Contacts tab. Shows information about your contacts.

  • Chat Rooms tab (if available for your account). Shows information about chat rooms you belong to or are following.

  • Conversations tab. Shows information about your current and past conversations.

  • Phone tab. Shows information about your voice mail and a dial pad to make phone calls (if available for your account).

  • Meetings tab. Shows information about your upcoming meetings.

  • Options button. Enables you to access settings for the app.

  • Show Menu button. Enables you to access the following buttons and menus:

    • File menu

    • Meet Now button

    • Tools menu

    • Help menu

    • Show Menu Bar toggle. Shows or hides the menu bar for the app on the first row of the UI.

Variable number of rows: Information that corresponds to the communication element you selected

If you select the Contacts tab, the following information is shown:

  • Find someone search box. Searches for people in your organization or in the Skype for Business directory (if available in your organization).

  • Contact view tabs:

    • Groups tab. Groups and shows your contacts by your favorites, your custom groups and other contacts.

    • Status tab. Groups and shows your contacts by their status, such as Online or Away, and so forth.

    • Relationships tab. Groups and shows your contacts by their privacy relationship with you, such as Colleagues, Friends and Family, or Workgroups, among others.

    • New tab. Shows the people who have added you to their contact lists.

    • Add a contact, create a group, and customize the Contacts list button. Adds contacts, creates groups, and sets display options.

  • The contact details for each person include name, status, and device capabilities (such as Video Capable).

If you select the Conversations tab, the following information is shown:

  • All conversations tab. Shows all your current and past conversations.

  • Missed conversations tab. Shows your missed conversations.

  • Calls tab. Shows your call history.

  • Each of your conversations or each call in your call history.

If you select the Phone tab, the following information is shown (if enabled for your account):

  • Find someone or a room, or dial a number search box. Searches for people in your organization or enter a phone number to dial.

  • Dial pad buttons. Enables you to enter a phone number or redial the last phone number and make a phone call.

  • See Voice Mail Options menu. Shows a menu that includes the following commands: Call Voice Mail, Change Greetings, and Set Up Voice Mail.

  • Each of your voice mails.

If you select the Meetings tab, the following information is shown:

  • Meet Now button. Starts a meeting now.

  • Each of your meetings grouped by the scheduled date.

Last row: Information about your primary device

Select Primary Device menu. Shows audio and video information about your primary device.

Navigate using the keyboard

The following are some frequently used keyboard shortcuts for Skype for Business:

  • To show or hide the menu bar in the top row of the Skype for Business UI, press Alt. With the menu bar shown and immediately after pressing Alt, to open any menu, press the letter that’s underlined in the name of the menu (often the first letter). Then, to open one of the items on the menu, press the letter that’s underlined in the name of the menu item (often the first letter). For example, to open the Options menu item on the Tools menu, press Alt+T+O.

  • To move forward through the elements of the Skype for Business UI, press the Tab key, or to move back, press Shift+Tab key. To move between some elements, you may need to use the arrow keys.

  • To initiate any type of communication with a contact, select the contact and then press Enter to open a separate communication window.

For more information on the keyboard shortcuts specifically for Skype for Business, go to Keyboard shortcuts in Skype for Business.

Special considerations for Skype for Business

Change IM text size

If you want to change the size of text displayed in conversations, perform the following steps:

  • In a conversation window, select the More Options button.

  • Select the IM Text Display Size menu item.

  • Select the text display size you want.

    Note: This changes the text size on your screen but not the size of the text in the message that you send.

Adjust screen reader volume when you initiate or receive a call

If you have Dolby audio controls on your computer, you may notice that the volume of the audible feedback from your screen reader decreases when you initiate or receive a call with Skype for Business. This is a known issue and is being addressed in Windows 10 for all audio-device manufacturers. However, until the fix is implemented for all devices, you can eliminate this volume decrease by using either of the following two methods:

  • Attach external USB speakers. Non-USB speakers use your device’s built-in audio with the Dolby driver. Attach external USB speakers to your device, instead of using your device’s built-in speakers or speakers plugged into the headphone jack.

  • Disable the Dolby feature of the audio driver. To disable the Dolby feature, perform the following steps:

    1. In Windows 10, go to the Control Panel and open the Sound settings.

    2. In the Sound settings dialog box, select the Playback tab and then select your audio device.

    3. Select the Properties button, and then, in the Properties dialog box, select the Dolby tab and turn off the Dolby feature. Select the OK button.

    4. In the Sound settings dialog box, select the OK button.

Turn on teletypewriter (TTY) mode in Skype for Business

If you use a teletypewriter (TTY) device, to turn on TTY mode in Skype for Business, take these steps:

  1. From the menu bar, select Tools > Options, or press the Options button.

  2. Select the Phones tab, and then, in the Phone accessibility area, select the Turn on TTY mode check box.

  3. Select the OK button.

Operate Skype for Business with speech recognition

Speech recognition tools are helpful for people who have limited mobility and who need to use voice commands (rather than the keyboard or mouse) to operate Microsoft products, including Skype for Business.

You can use third-party speech recognition tools or the functionality called Speech Recognition, which is included with the Windows operating system. To enable Speech Recognition on your computer, refer to Use speech recognition.

See also

Make or receive a call using Skype for Business with a screen reader

Share your screen using Skype for Business with a screen reader

Keyboard shortcuts in Skype for Business

Set up your device to work with accessibility in Office 365

Make your meeting more accessible with Skype for Business

Skype for Business on Mac includes accessibility features that make it easier for people with disabilities like limited dexterity or low vision to use the meeting and messaging app. For more information about accessibility settings and features that are platform-specific, see Set up your device to work with accessibility in Office 365.

Notes: 

In this topic

Get to know the Skype for Business on Mac layout

Using Skype for Business, you can schedule and conduct online meetings that include as many as 250 attendees. Plus, you can call colleagues and send messages to them. The elements included in the Skype for Business UI change based on the communication element you select: conversations, meetings, phone calls, or contacts.

If you’re a person with low vision or visual disabilities, or if you have limited mobility, build a mental model of the Skype for Business UI. The areas and specific elements of the UI are described in the below table.

Area

Elements you'll find in this area

First column: Main navigation group

  • My profile popup button:

    • Modify your availability info

    • Write a personalized status message

  • Chats tab

  • Meetings tab

  • Calls tab

  • Contacts tab

Second column: a pane that lists the items related to each main item on the navigation group

  • Chats:

    • Search for chats box

    • A list of IMs

  • Meetings:

    • A list of upcoming meetings

  • Calls:

    • All calls option

    • Missed calls option

    • Saved calls (if you have any

    • Voicemail option (depending on your settings)

  • Contacts include:

    • Search for Contacts box

    • Favorites contacts group

    • Other Contacts group

Third column: a pane showing the details of the item selected in the second column.

  • See the details of instant messages, calls, contacts, and meetings.

  • Join meetings when you have selected a meeting.

By default, Skype for Business on Mac starts with the Contacts tab selected, and the focus is on Search for Contacts.

Display conversations in separate windows

By default, Skype for Business on Mac shows all instant message (IM) conversations of a contact are shown in another pane in the same window. However, you may prefer to manage conversations when they are in a separate window.

  1. In the Skype for Business preferences, the General tab is selected by default. You hear: “General, selected, button.” Then press Control+Option+Spacebar.

    Note: To go to Preferences, press Command+Comma (,)

  2. Press the Tab key until you hear “Show Conversations in Separate Windows, unchecked check box.” To select the option, press Control+Option+Spacebar.

Turn on sounds for incoming messages and calls

Sound effects for incoming messages notify you of a new instant message or an incoming call.

  1. In the Skype for Business preferences, press the Left or Right arrow key, or Tab until you hear: “Notifications, selected, button.” Then press Control+Option+Spacebar.

  2. Press the Left or Right arrow key, or the Tab key until you hear: “Play sounds related to calls, unchecked check box.” To select the option, press Control+Option+Spacebar.

  3. Press the Left or Right arrow key, or the Tab key until you hear: “Play sounds related to messages, unchecked check box.” To select the option, press Control+Option+Spacebar.

    Tip: If you don’t want to display notifications when you’re sharing your screen, press the Left or Right arrow key, or the Tab key until you hear: “Stop notifications while sharing screens, unchecked check box.” To select the option, press Control+Option+Spacebar.

Navigate using the keyboard

With VoiceOver turned on, make sure Quick Nav is on, too. The Control and Option keys are called the “VoiceOver keys,” or “Control+Option keys.” To enter VoiceOver commands, press and hold the Control+Option keys, along with one or more other keys. In this topic, the actual key names are used instead of Control+Option.

  • To navigate around the main window, press the Control+Option+arrow keys.

  • To interact with items, press Control+Option+Shift+Down arrow key.

  • To select and deselect an item, press Control+Option+Spacebar.

  • To exit items, press Control+Option+Shift+Up arrow key.

  • 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 a list, press Esc.

  • To access the menu bar, press Control+Option+M. You hear: “Menu bar, Apple.”

For more details, see Keyboard shortcuts in Skype for Business.

Use the VoiceOver Item Chooser

To easily navigate around Skype for Business, you can also use VoiceOver Item Chooser. To activate Item Chooser, press Control+Option+I. You hear: “Item Chooser-menu.” Then use the arrow keys to move in the menu and listen to the content.

Go to Skype for Business preferences

Press Command+Comma (,). You hear: “Preferences, General.” Then navigate around the window to listen to the options.

See also

Make or receive a call using Skype for Business with a screen reader

Share your screen using Skype for Business with a screen reader

Keyboard shortcuts in Skype for Business

Set up your device to work with accessibility in Office 365

Make your meeting more accessible with Skype for Business

Skype for Business app for iPhone and iPad includes accessibility features that make it easier for people with disabilities like limited dexterity or low vision to use the meeting and messaging app. For more information about accessibility settings and features that are platform-specific, see Set up your device to work with accessibility in Office 365.

Notes: 

  • New Office 365 features are released gradually to Office 365 subscribers, so your app might not have these features yet. To learn how you could get new features faster, visit When do I get the newest features in Office 2016 for Office 365?.

  • This topic assumes that you are using the built-in iOS screen reader, VoiceOver. To learn more about using VoiceOver, visit Apple accessibility.

  • This topic assumes that you are using an iPhone. Some navigation and gestures might be different for an iPad.

In this topic

Get to know the Skype for Business layout

After you start the Skype for Business app on iPhone, you'll find the following elements in the layout:

Note: Skype for Business chooses what to show based on recent activity. What appears on your device might vary.

  • Your profile, Meetings button, Phone button for calls (if available for your account), and Contacts button.

  • Search for contacts box.

  • Upcoming heading (if you have any upcoming meetings).

  • Recent heading, which lists any recent communications, including meetings.

Navigate using touch

Navigate by touch with VoiceOver.

  • To scroll up, down, left, or right, swipe three fingers in that direction.

  • To select a command or UI element, tap once.

  • To activate the selected command or UI element, double-tap.

See also

Use VoiceOver to make a call in Skype for Business on iPhone and iPad

Use VoiceOver to share your screen in Skype for Business on iPhone and iPad

Set up your device to work with accessibility in Office 365

Make your meeting more accessible with Skype for Business

Skype for Business app for Android includes accessibility features that make it easier for people with disabilities like limited dexterity or low vision to use the meeting and messaging app. For more information about accessibility settings and features that are platform-specific, see Set up your device to work with accessibility in Office 365.

Notes: 

  • New Office 365 features are released gradually to Office 365 subscribers, so your app might not have these features yet. To learn how you could get new features faster, visit When do I get the newest features in Office 2016 for Office 365?.

  • This topic assumes that you are using the built-in Android screen reader, TalkBack. To learn more about using TalkBack, go to Android accessibility.

  • This topic assumes you are using this app with an Android phone. Some navigation and gestures might be different for an Android tablet.

In this topic

Get to know the Skype for Business layout

After you start the Skype for Business app on an Android phone, you'll find the following elements in the layout:

Note: Skype for Business chooses what to show based on recent activity. What appears on your device might vary.

  • Your profile, Meetings button, Phone button for calls (if available for your account), and Contacts button.

  • Search for contacts, or Search in the company directory box (depending on your account settings).

  • Upcoming heading (if you have any upcoming meetings).

  • Recent heading, which lists any recent communications, including meetings.

Navigate using touch

Navigate by touch with TalkBack.

  • To scroll up, down, left, or right, swipe two fingers in that direction.

  • To select a command or UI element, tap once.

  • To activate the selected command or UI element, double-tap.

See also

Use TalkBack to make a call in Skype for Business for Android

Use TalkBack to share a presentation in Skype for Business for Android

Set up your device to work with accessibility in Office 365

Make your meeting more accessible with Skype for Business

Skype for Business in Outlook on the web includes accessibility features that make it easier for people with disabilities like limited dexterity or low vision to use the messaging app.

Notes: 

  • New Office 365 features are released gradually to Office 365 subscribers, so your app might not have these features yet. To learn how you could get new features faster, visit When do I get the newest features in Office 2016 for Office 365?.

  • For keyboard shortcuts, go to Keyboard shortcuts in Outlook on the web.

  • This topic assumes that you are using the built-in Windows screen reader, Narrator. To learn more about using Narrator, go to Get started with Narrator.

  • This topic assumes you are using this app with a PC. Some navigation and gestures might be different for a Windows phone or tablet.

  • When you use Skype for Business in Outlook on the web, we recommend that you use Microsoft Edge as your web browser. Because Skype for Business in Outlook on the web runs in your web browser, the keyboard shortcuts are different from those in the desktop program. For example, you’ll use Ctrl+F6 instead of F6 for jumping in and out of the commands. Also, common shortcuts like F1 (Help) and Ctrl+O (Open) apply to the web browser – not Outlook on the web.

In this topic

Get to know the Skype for Business layout

Skype for Business in Outlook on the web runs in Outlook on the web. To open it, you choose the Skype button on the same bar that contains the Office 365 App Launcher.

After you start Skype for Business, you'll find the following elements in the layout:

  • Contacts list. The app opens with the focus in the Contacts list. You can choose between the All contacts tab, to read everyone on your list, or the Online tab to read who is online now.

  • Search Skype box, to search for a contact.

  • New chat button, a new IM session with the selected contact.

  • Opened conversations (if you have any).

Navigate using the keyboard

Navigate in Skype for Business in Outlook on the web and cycle through screen elements using your keyboard.

  • To move through the elements in Skype for Business in Outlook on the web, press the Tab key (forward) or Shift+Tab key (backward). To select, press Enter.

  • To move from the All Contacts tab to the Contacts list, press the Tab key until you hear the name of the first contact.

  • To move through the names of your contacts in the Contacts list, press the Down arrow key or the Up arrow key. When you arrive on a contact, you hear the contact's name or email and current status. To start a conversation with the currently selected contact, press Enter.

  • To exit Skype for Business, press Esc.

See also

Use a screen reader to send an instant message from Skype for Business in Outlook on the web

Use a screen reader to add a contact in Skype for Business in Outlook on the web

Make your meeting more accessible with Skype for Business

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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