Skype for Business accessibility for people with disabilities

Microsoft is committed to making its products and services easier for everyone to use. This article provides information about the features, products, and services that make Skype for Business accessible for people with disabilities.

Learn how to make Skype for Business easier to use with assistive technologies. These customizations can make it simpler to navigate with keyboard shortcuts and screen readers.

For the complete list of keyboard shortcuts, see Keyboard shortcuts for Skype for Business.

In this topic

Hear alternate text for pictures in Help

Every picture in Skype for Business Help, including screen shots and icons, has associated alternate text (also known as alt text). Users who have difficulty viewing pictures can place the cursor on the picture to read the alternate text, or hear the text if using a screen reader. The alternate text describes what is shown in the picture, or describes the program command that the icon represents.

Turn on incoming-request sounds

When a conversation is in your active window, the JAWS default is to not play a sound when you get a new message. However, JAWS users hear “Menu” whenever a new message is received. JAWS users may want Skype to play a sound when a new invitation is launched.

  1. In the main Skype for Business window, to open the Options window, press Alt+T. You hear “Menu, Tree view.”

  2. Press O. You hear “Tree view.” (Narrator says, “Skype for Business Options window.”)

  3. To move to the Ringtones and Sounds tab, press the Down Arrow key and then, to move to the options for this menu, press the Tab key. You hear “Skype for Business Options window, click to hear each ringtone.”

  4. Press the Tab key until you hear “Play sounds, including ringtones for incoming and IM alerts check box,” and then press Spacebar. You hear “Checked.”

  5. Press the Down Arrow key until you hear “Sounds, mute incoming IM alert sounds when viewing an IM conversation check box.”

  6. If this check box is not selected, press Spacebar.

  7. If this check box is already selected press the Tab key until you hear “OK button,” and then press Spacebar.

Display conversations in separate windows

The default behavior of Skype for Business is to have all instant message (IM) conversations in the same window with a separate tab for each conversation. Some users find it easier to manage conversations when they are in separate windows.

  1. In the main Skype for Businesswindow, to open the Options window, press Alt+T. You hear “Menu, Tree view.”

  2. Press O. You hear “Tree view.” (Narrator says, “Skype for Business Options window.”)

  3. To move to the Phones tab, press the Down Arrow key and then, to navigate to the options for this menu, press the Tab key. You hear “Skype for Business Options window, check spelling options as I type.”

  4. Press the Tab key until you hear “Enable tabbed conversations check box,” and then, to clear it, press Spacebar.

  5. Press the Tab key until you hear “OK button,” and then press Spacebar.

Change font face, size, and color

You can set the default font face, size, and color for text displayed in IM conversations.

  1. In the IM window, press the Tab key until you hear “More options submenu.” Press Enter. You hear “Manage Recordings,” which is the first option in this submenu.

  2. To increase the IM text display size, press T. You hear “200 percent,” which is the first option in this submenu.

  3. To select the desired change in font size, press the Up Arrow or Down Arrow key

    Note: This changes the font size on your screen, not the font that you send. You can increase the font size up to 200 percent of your device’s global default font size.

You can change the size and appearance of messages you send out by pressing Ctrl+Shift+F. You hear “Menu, leaving menu,” and the focus moves to the font color option box.

Keep screen reader sound levels constant during a Skype call

If you have Dolby audio controls on your computer and you use a screen reader (such as JAWS, Windows-Eyes, NVDA, or Narrator), you may notice that the screen reader sound decreases when you start a call with Skype for Business. This is a known issue and is being addressed in Windows 10 and with all audio device manufacturers. However, until the fix is implemented in all devices, there are two ways to avoid this behavior: attach external USB speakers, or disable the Dolby feature of the audio driver.

Solution 1: Attach external USB speakers

Attach external speakers to your device, instead of using your device’s built-in speakers. To avoid the sound-change issue, the external speakers must be USB speakers—not speakers plugged into the headphone jack. Speakers plugged into the headphone jack still use your device’s built-in audio with the Dolby driver.

This is the simplest solution of the two options.

Solution 2: Disable the Dolby feature of the audio driver

  1. In Windows, navigate to Control Panel, and then select Sound .

  2. Navigate to the Playback tab, and, to select your audio device, use the Down Arrow key.

  3. To select the Properties button, press the Tab key several times and then press Enter.

  4. Navigate to the Dolby tab, toggle Dolby Off, and then press Enter.

  5. Navigate to the OK button, and then press Enter.

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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