Basic tasks using a screen reader with email in Outlook

Basic tasks using a screen reader with email in Outlook

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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.

Use Outlook Mail with Narrator, the built-in Windows screen reader, to do the essential basic tasks. You can create and send new emails, read, arrange, and reply to received emails, search and filter emails, work with attachments, and more.

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 can get new features faster, join the Office Insider program.

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

In this topic

Read and reply to or forward an email

Read an email

By default, newest emails are listed first.

  1. In the message list, swipe left or right or slide your finger down to listen to Narrator read the emails. You hear information about each email, including:

    • The sender name

    • The date or time the message was received

    • The subject

    • The first lines of the email contents

  2. To open an email, double-tap the screen. You hear: "Reading pane, message."

    To hear Narrator read the message from top to bottom, swipe up with three fingers.

    To scroll down the message, swipe up with two fingers. To scroll up, swipe down with two fingers.

    To quickly move to the next email, swipe right until you hear "Newer button," and then double-tap the screen. To move to the previous mail, swipe right until you hear "Older button," and then double-tap the screen.

  3. When you've finished reading the message, to return to the inbox, swipe right until you hear "Back button, collapsed," and then double-tap the screen.

Reply to an email

  1. With the email message open, swipe left or right until you hear "Respond, button, collapsed" and then double-tap the screen. You hear: "Respond, menu."

  2. To reply to just the original sender, swipe right. You hear: "Reply button." Double-tap the screen. If the message has multiple recipients and you want to reply to all, swipe right until you hear "Reply all button," and then double-tap the screen.

  3. A new email opens with the same subject and is set to reply to the sender or everyone included in the original email. You hear: "Outlook mail window." The focus is on the message body, and the on-screen keyboard is in the bottom half of the screen.

  4. Type your message.

  5. When you've finished composing the message, swipe right until you hear "Send button," and then double-tap the screen.

Forward an email

  1. With the email open, swipe left or right until you hear "Respond, button, collapsed" and then double-tap the screen. You hear: "Respond menu."

  2. Swipe right until you hear "Forward button," and then double-tap the screen.

  3. A new email opens with the same subject. The focus is on the To text field, and the on-screen keyboard is in the bottom half of the screen.

  4. Type the name of each recipient.

  5. To type a message, swipe right until you hear "Message, editable text," and then double-tap the screen. Type your message.

  6. When you've finished composing the message, swipe right until you hear "Send button," and then double-tap the screen.

Arrange messages

By default, Outlook Mail groups messages by conversation. If you prefer listing your emails one at a time in chronological order instead, you can easily change the way your messages are arranged.

  1. In the inbox, swipe right until you hear "More options button, collapsed," and then double-tap the screen. You hear: "More options, menu."

  2. Swipe right until you hear "Settings button," and then double-tap the screen. You hear: "Settings, Manage accounts button."

  3. Swipe right until you hear "Reading button," and then double-tap the screen. The Reading window opens.

  4. Swipe right until you hear "On, Show messages arranged by conversation, toggle switch" and then double-tap the screen.

  5. To exit the Reading window, slide one finger at the bottom of the screen until you hear "Navigation bar, Back button collapsed," and then double-tap the screen. You hear: "Settings, Reading button."

  6. To exit the Settings window and return to the inbox, slide one finger at the bottom of the screen until you hear "Navigation bar, Back button collapsed," and then double-tap the screen.

Create and send email

Let your screen reader help you create a new email and get your message out there.

  1. In the inbox, swipe right until you hear "Command palette, New button," and then double-tap the screen. A new window with a blank email opens, with the focus on the To field and the on-screen keyboard in the bottom half of the screen.

  2. Type the names or email addresses of the recipients. The list of matching contacts updates as you type. To select a contact, slide your finger down until you hear "Suggestions list>" followed by the contact name you want, and then double-tap the screen.

  3. To add a subject for the email, swipe right. You hear: "Subject, editable text." Double-tap the screen, and type a subject.

  4. To type your message, swipe right. You hear: "Message, editable text." Double-tap the screen, and type your message.

  5. If you want to send a copy or hidden copy of the message, swipe right until you hear "More options button collapsed," and then double-tap the screen.

    Swipe right until you hear "Show Cc and Bcc button," and then double-tap the screen. You hear: "Addressing, Cc editing." Add the recipients of a copy.

    To send a hidden copy, swipe right until you hear "Bcc editable text," and then double-tap the screen. Add the recipients.

  6. When you've finished composing the message, swipe left until you hear "Send button," and then double-tap the screen.

Use search and filter to find email

Waste no time excavating through lists or archives for that important email. Use search and filter to quickly find what you're looking for.

Search for an email

  1. In the inbox, swipe left or right until you hear "Search button," and then double-tap the screen. You hear: "Search, editing."

  2. The focus moves to the search text field, and the on-screen keyboard is in the bottom half of the screen. Start typing your search words. The search results list updates as you type.

  3. To browse through the search results, swipe left or right until you hear Narrator read the details of the messages as you move through the list.

  4. When you hear the email you want, to open it, double-tap the screen.

  5. To exit Search, swipe left until you hear "Close Search button," and then double-tap the screen.

Use filter to find an email

  1. In your inbox, swipe left or right until you hear "Filter, all, button collapsed," and then double-tap the screen.

  2. Swipe right until you hear the filtering option you want, and then double-tap the screen.

  3. To browse through the emails matching the filter, swipe right. Narrator reads the message details as you move through the list.

  4. When you hear the email you want to open, double-tap the screen.

  5. To remove the filtering option, and view all emails in the message list, swipe left or right until you hear "Filter, <current filter>, button collapsed," and then double-tap the screen. Swipe left until you hear "All, non-selected," and then double-tap the screen.

Open or add attachments

You can open and add attachments in your emails using Narrator.

Open an attachment

Narrator announces if a received email has attachments.

  1. Open the email with one or more attachments.

  2. Swipe left until you hear "Message header, Download," followed by the file name and size, and "Attachment," and then double-tap the screen.

  3. When the download is complete, you hear: "Open," followed by the file name and size, and: "Attachment." To open the attachment, double-tap the screen.

Add an attachment

You can send files like resumes, photos, or meeting invitations as attachments.

Attach a file

  1. When you're composing a message, swipe right until you hear "Attach button," and then double-tap the screen. You hear: "Choose an app."

  2. Do one of the following:

    • To attach a recent file, double-tap the screen.

    • To add a file from your device, swipe right until you hear "This device," and then double-tap the screen.

  3. Browse to the file you want, and then double-tap the screen to select. To attach the file, swipe right until you hear "Done, app bar button," and then double-tap the screen.

Attach a photo

  1. When you're composing a message, swipe right until you hear "Attach button," and then double-tap the screen. You hear: "Choose an app."

To take a photo with the device camera:

  1. Swipe right until you hear: "Camera," and then double-tap the screen. The camera activates.

  2. Swipe right until you hear "Take photo button," and then double-tap the screen.

  3. Swipe right until you hear "Done, app bar button," and then double-tap the screen.

To attach an image from Photos:

  1. Swipe right until you hear "Photos," and then double-tap the screen.

  2. Browse to the image you want, and then double-tap the screen to select.

  3. Swipe right until you hear "Done, app bar button," and then double-tap the screen.

Turn visual or audio notifications on or off

You can quickly turn notifications on or off.

  1. In the inbox, swipe right until you hear "More options button," and then double-tap the screen. You hear: "More options popup, custom."

  2. Swipe right until you hear "Settings button," and then double-tap the screen. You hear: "Settings, Manage accounts button."

  3. Swipe right until you hear "Settings, Notification button," and then double-tap the screen. The Notifications window opens.

  4. To turn on or off all notifications, swipe right until you hear "Show notifications in the action center," and double-tap to toggle the setting on or off.

  5. To turn on or off separate notifications types, turn on all notifications as instructed in the previous step, and then swipe right until you hear the options you want to select or deselect, and double-tap the screen.

See also

Use a screen reader to format text in your email in Outlook

Basic tasks using a screen reader with the calendar in Outlook

Use a screen reader to explore and navigate Outlook Mail

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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