Navigate in Word Online with keyboard and screen reader

Learn how to get around with keyboard and a screen reader in Word Online, the web-based app for reading and editing Word 2016 documents. This topic offers tips for getting started.


  • Word Online is a web-based application, so the keyboard shortcuts and navigation may be different from those in Word 2016. Learn more about accessibility features in Word Online.

  • This topic assumes that JAWS users have the Virtual Ribbon Menu feature turned off.

In this article

Tips for using a screen reader in Word Online

Here are some things to keep in mind as you use a screen reader with Word Online.

  • Navigation.

    To move the focus between the command tabs on the ribbon and your document, press Ctrl+F6. When the focus is on the ribbon, to move back and forth between the command tabs in Word Online, press the Tab key and Shift+Tab, and when you hear the name of the tab you want (File, Home, Insert, Page Layout, Review, and View), press Enter.

  • Browser.

    Word Online does not have access keys. Pressing the Alt key moves the focus to the browser menu bar (File, Edit, View, Favorites, Tools, and Help).

  • Reading view and Editing view.

    Word Online first opens your documents in Reading view, which is meant just for reading, not editing. For a more accessible reading view, see Accessibility features in Word Online. To make changes to documents, switch to Editing view.

  • Tell Me box.

    As a shortcut to commands when you’re editing in Word Online, press Alt+Q to jump to Tell Me, and then type the command you want. Use the Up and Down arrows to select a command, and then press Enter. If you don’t find what you want, return to your document by pressing Esc.

  • Comments.

    Screen readers can’t read comments in Reading view and may refer to a comment as a link. Switch to Editing view. See Comment in the browser.

In addition, screen readers may vary in how they work with Word Online and the browser you use:

  • JAWS.

    When starting Word Online, JAWS automatically turns off Virtual Cursor. If you find that Virtual Cursor is on, turn it off by pressing Insert+Z.

  • Window Eyes.

    To turn off Browse Mode, press Ctrl+Shift+A.

  • Windows Narrator.

    Narrator does not read the following Word Online elements: Hyperlinks on texts in shapes and textboxes, screen tip of a hyperlink, videos (videos are indistinguishable from an image), comments in pop outs (use the comment pane).

Get started in Word Online

With Word Onlineyou use your web browser to create, view, and edit the personal documents that you store on OneDrive or Dropbox.

Switch to Editing view to make changes

In Editing view, you have access to the ribbon so you can make changes to a document.

  1. To move the focus to the browser window, press F6.

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

    Tips:  To use the ribbon, press Ctrl+F6 until you reach the tabs. Press the Tab key and Shift+Tab to move between ribbon tabs, and then, to select a tab and enter the ribbon, press Enter.

    For details about using key combinations, see Keyboard shortcuts in Word Online.

Share documents online

Your document is online, so you can share it by sending a link instead of an email attachment. People can read it in their web browser or mobile device.

  1. To move focus to the ribbon, press Ctrl+F6 until you hear the tab name (usually the Home tab).

  2. Press Shift+Tab until you hear “File button,” and press Enter.

  3. Press the Down Arrow key until you hear “Share,” and press Enter.

  4. With focus on the Share with People option, press Enter.

  5. In the Enter names or email addresses edit box, type the email addresses of the people you want to share with, separated by a semi-colon. When you’re finished, press Enter.

  6. To specify view-only permissions (not edit), tab to Choose a permission level box, press the Down Arrow key, and select Can view.

  7. Tab to the Email body text field, and type a message to include if you want.

  8. Tab to the Share button, and press Enter.

Additional information

Here are links to additional articles that can help:

Keyboard shortcuts in Word Online

Insert a picture using a screen reader in Word Online

Print your document using a screen reader in Word Online

Accessibility features in Word Online

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 visit the Microsoft Disability Answer Desk site to find out the contact details for your region.

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