Use a screen reader to check out or check in files in a document library in SharePoint Online

Use a screen reader to check out or check in files in a document library in SharePoint Online

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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.

Use SharePoint Online with your keyboard and a screen reader such as JAWS or Narrator, the built-in Windows screen reader, to check out and check in files in a document library. When you check out a file, you can edit it online or offline, and save it as many times as you need to, but others can’t edit it. When you check in the file, your changes become visible to the team, and the file is available for others to check out and edit as their permissions allow.

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 SharePoint Online.

  • 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 makes note of the JAWS functionality as well. To learn more about JAWS for Windows, go to JAWS for Windows Quick Start Guide.

  • 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 SharePoint Online, we recommend that you use Microsoft Edge as your web browser. Because SharePoint Online 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 SharePoint Online.

In this topic

Check out a file from the document library

  1. Sign in to your organization’s Office 365 account, start the SharePoint app, and then open your document library.

    Tip: Document libraries in SharePoint Online have two different views: classic and SharePoint Online experience. For most people, SharePoint Online experience is the default. However, if you hear “Check it out button” when navigating your document library, you’re using the classic experience. To view SharePoint Online document libraries, when you hear “Check it out button,” press Enter. After the view of your document library changes to the SharePoint Online experience and the focus moves from the Check it out button to the New link, you hear the name of your document library, followed by “New.”

  2. To move to the list of folders and files, press the Tab key until you hear “Column headers.”

  3. To move through the list and select the file you want to check out and edit, press the Down Arrow key or the Up Arrow key. If the file you need is in a subfolder, select the folder, press Enter, and then, to select the file, use the arrow keys.

  4. To move to the menu bar, press Shift+Tab a couple of times until you hear “Open.”

  5. To open the More Commands drop-down menu, press the Right Arrow key several times. Press Enter.

  6. To select the Check Out command, press the Down Arrow key several times. Press Enter. The selected file is checked out to you, and the file is marked accordingly

Note: If others on the team try to edit or check out the file, they are notified that the file is checked out to you. They can still view the file, but the changes you’re making are not visible to them until after you check in the file.

Open the checked-out file for editing

When you check out a file, it is marked as checked out and is locked from editing to others. You can now open or download and then edit the file.

  1. 1. After you check out a file, the focus is on the menu bar. To move to the list of files, press the Tab key a couple of times until you hear “Column headers.”

  2. If the focus isn’t on the right file, press the Down Arrow key until it is. To open the file, press Enter. The file opens in a separate tab on your browser, and you can now make changes. If it’s an Office 365 document, the file opens in the appropriate application (such as Word Online or Excel Online).

    Tip: If you prefer to open it in your desktop application, press Shift+Tab a couple of times until you hear “Open” and then press Enter. To select the desktop application command (for example, Open in Word or Open in PowerPoint), press the Down Arrow key twice and press Enter.

Check in a file to the document library

  1. In SharePoint Online, navigate to your document library.

  2. To move to the list of folders and files, press the Tab key until you hear “Column headers.”

  3. To move through the list and select the file to be checked in, press the Down Arrow key or Up Arrow key. If the file is in a subfolder, select the folder and press Enter. Select the file that you have checked out.

  4. To move to the menu bar, press Shift+Tab a couple of times until you hear “Open.”

  5. To open the More Commands drop-down menu, press the Right Arrow key several times. Press Enter.

  6. To select the Check In command, press the Down Arrow key several times. Press Enter.

  7. In the Check In dialog box which appears, type a comment summarizing the changes you made. Check-in comments are especially helpful when several people work on a file. The comments become part of the document’s version history, which can be important if you ever need to restore the document to an earlier version.

  8. Press Enter. The version of the file you edited replaces the version in the document library and is checked in. Others can now view the changes you made, and if they have permission to do so, they can check out the file and edit it themselves.

Discard your checked-out changes

If you decide not to make or keep any changes in the file, you can discard your checkout so you don’t affect version history.

  1. In SharePoint Online, navigate to your document library.

  2. To move to the list of folders and files, press the Tab key until you hear “Column headers.”

  3. To move through the list and select the appropriate file, press the Down Arrow key or the Up Arrow key. If the file is in a subfolder, select the folder and press Enter. Select the file that you have checked out.

  4. To move to the menu bar, press Shift+Tab a couple of times until you hear “Open.”

  5. Press the Right Arrow key several times until you hear “More Commands,” and then press Enter.

  6. To select the Discard Check Out command, press the Down Arrow key several times. Press Enter.

  7. A message asks if you’re sure you want to lose all the changes you made to the document. If you’re certain, tab to the Discard Check Out button and press Enter. Any changes you made to the document are discarded and the file remains unchanged as it was when you checked it out. Others can now view the changes you made, and if they have permission to do so, they can check out the file and edit it themselves.

See also

Use a screen reader to upload files to a document library in SharePoint Online

Use a screen reader to create a custom view of a document library in SharePoint Online

Keyboard shortcuts in SharePoint Online

Get started using a screen reader with a modern document library in SharePoint Online

Accessibility features in SharePoint 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 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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