Basic tasks using a screen reader with Excel

Basic tasks using a screen reader with Excel

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.

Use Excel 2016 with your keyboard and a screen reader, such as JAWS or Narrator, the built-in Windows screen reader, to do basic tasks in Excel 2016. Start the app and create a new workbook to insert your data. Create simple formulas, sort or filter your data, and add charts to show what your data means.

Notes: 

In this topic

Start Excel

To start Excel 2016, do one of the following:

  • Press the Windows logo key, type "Excel," and then press Enter.

  • On your device or the file storage you're using, navigate to the Excel 2016 workbook you want to open and press Enter. The workbook opens in Excel.

Create a new workbook

Excel files are called workbooks. Each workbook contains sheets, typically called spreadsheets or worksheets. You can add as many sheets as you want to a workbook, or you can create new workbooks to keep your data separate.

  1. In Excel, to start creating a new workbook, press Alt+F, N.

  2. To open a blank workbook, press L.

Enter your data

As you enter data in the sheet, you work with rows, columns, and cells. Cells are referenced by their location in the row and column on the sheet, so cell A1 is in the first row of column A. On a new sheet, cell A1 is the default selection.

  1. To select an empty cell where you want to start entering your data, press the arrow keys. As you move to cells in the workbook, in JAWS, you hear the cell reference and the contents of the cell. When you select an empty cell, you hear, for example, “Blank, G4.” In Narrator, you hear the cell reference but not the contents of the cell.

  2. In the cell, type text or a number.

  3. To enter the contents in the cell and move to the next cell in the column, press Enter. To move to the next cell in the row, press the Tab key. You can also use the arrow keys.

Use AutoSum to add your data

You can use the AutoSum function to quickly add numbers you’ve entered in your sheet.

  1. Select the cell where you want to put the total. This is typically to the right of or below the numbers you’re adding.

  2. To enter the AutoSum function in the cell, press Alt+H, U, and then S.

    Tip: You can change which cells are selected for the AutoSum function. To select the range of cells you want to add, hold down the Shift key and press the arrow keys.

  3. When you’ve confirmed that the AutoSum function is creating a formula for the cells you want, press Enter. AutoSum adds the numbers in the selected cells, and the total goes in your selected cell.

  4. To hear the result of AutoSum calculation, move back to the cell containing the AutoSum function. You hear the number, the fact that this is a result of a formula, and the cell reference, for example, “538, Has formula, G6.”

Create a simple formula

You can enter simple formulas to add, subtract, multiply, or divide the numbers in your sheet. You create a formula by combining cell references (like B4 or D6) that contain the numbers you want to calculate with the math operator. The operators are the plus sign (+) for addition, the minus sign (-) for subtraction, the asterisk (*) for multiplication, and the forward slash (/) for division.

  1. Select the cell where you want to put the result of the formula. This is typically to the right of or below the numbers you’re calculating.

  2. Type the equal sign (=). An Excel formula always starts with the equal sign.

  3. To create your formula, type a combination of cell references (like B4 or D6) and math operators. For example, =B4+B5, =B4-B5, =B4*B5, or =B4/B5.

    Tip: To do quick calculations, Instead of cell references, you can enter numbers in your formula, for example, =20+10, =20-10, =20*10, or =20/10.

  4. Press Enter. The numbers are calculated and the result goes in your selected cell.

    Tip: If you want the cursor to stay in the active cell, press Ctrl+Enter.

Apply a number format

To distinguish between different types of numbers, add a number format, like currency, percentage, or date.

  1. Select the cells that contain the numbers you want to format.

  2. To open the number format combo box, press Alt+H, N.

  3. To browse through the available number formats, press the Down Arrow key or the Up Arrow key.

    Tip: If the number format you want is not in this list, like Special or Custom, to exit the list of number formats, press Esc. To open the Number tab in the Format Cells dialog box, press Alt+H, O, and then E. To browse through the list of available number formats, press the Tab key and then press the Down Arrow key or the Up Arrow key.

  4. To apply a selected number format to the selected cells, press Enter.

Filter or sort data in a table

When you create a table from your data in a sheet, you can analyze the data in a variety of ways, including quickly filtering or sorting.

  1. To select the group of data that you want to analyze as a table, select the first cell. Then, to move to the last cell of data (typically the opposite corner of the group of cells), hold down the Shift key and press the arrow keys. After selecting the group of cells, you hear the cell reference and contents of the first cell in the range and then the cell reference and contents of the last cell in the range. (In Narrator, you hear the cell reference and contents of the first cell in the range.)

  2. To open the Quick Analysis tool, press Ctrl+Q.

  3. To move to the Tables tab, press T.

  4. To select Table grid, press the Tab key and then press Enter. Your selected data is formatted as a table. Column headings are added, and the rows are formatted in alternating colors.

  5. Filter the table by the contents of a column.

    1. Move to the heading of the column that contains the data you want to filter by.

    2. Select the arrow in the column heading.

    3. Press the Tab key until you hear “Select All, Checked.”

    4. To clear this check box, press Spacebar.

    5. To browse through the filter choices, press the Down Arrow key, and to select the check boxes containing the data you want to filter by, press Spacebar. Press Enter.

    6. To remove the filter and show all data again, repeat steps a–c. To select the Select All check box, press Spacebar. Press Enter.

  6. Sort the table.

    1. Move to the heading of the column you want to sort the table by.

    2. Select the arrow in the column heading.

    3. To select Sort Smallest to Largest (for numbers) or Sort A to Z (for text), press S. To select Sort Largest to Smallest or Sort Z to A, press O.

Calculate numbers in a table

With the Quick Analysis tools, you can quickly calculate your numbers. Whether it’s a sum, average, or count, Excel shows the calculation results below or next to your numbers throughout the table.

  1. To select the group of data you want to calculate as a table, select the first cell. Then, to move to the last cell of data (typically the opposite corner of the group of cells), hold down the Shift key and press the arrow keys.

  2. To open the Quick Analysis tool, press Ctrl+Q.

  3. To move to the Totals tab, press O and then press the Tab key.

  4. To browse through the calculation options, which include Sum, Average, Count, % Total, and Running, for either horizontal data or vertical data, press the Right Arrow key.

  5. Select a calculation option, and press Enter. The selected group of data is calculated as specified.

  6. To hear the results, select the cells containing the formulas one by one. You hear the formula result, the fact that the cell contains a formula, and the cell reference.

Format or highlight your data as a table

Conditional formatting or sparklines can highlight your most important data or show data trends. You can use the Quick Analysis tool to quickly apply these highlights.

  1. To select the group of data you want to highlight with conditional formatting or sparklines, select the first cell. Then, to move to the last cell of data (typically the opposite corner of the group of cells), hold down the Shift key and press the arrow keys.

  2. To open the Quick Analysis tool, press Ctrl+Q.

  3. To move to the Formatting tab, press F. To move to the Sparklines menu, press S. To move to the tab options, press the Tab key.

  4. To browse through the formatting or sparklines options, press the Right Arrow key or the Left Arrow key. Formatting options for numbers include Data Bars, Color, Icon Set, and more. Formatting options for text include Text Contains, Duplicate Values, Unique Values, Equal To, and Clear Format. Sparklines options include Line, Column, and Win/Loss and are available only when numbers are selected.

  5. Select a formatting or sparklines option, and press Enter. Your selected group of data is formatted as specified.

Note: Learn more about how to Analyze trends in data using sparklines.

Show your data in a chart

The Quick Analysis tool recommends a specific chart and quickly creates a visual presentation of your data.

  1. To select the group of numbers and labels you want to represent as a chart, select the first cell. Then, to move to the last cell of data (typically the opposite corner of the group of cells), hold down the Shift key and press the arrow keys.

  2. To open the Quick Analysis tool, press Ctrl+Q.

  3. To move to the Charts tab, press C, and then press the Tab key.

  4. To browse through the chart options, press the Right Arrow key or the Left Arrow key.

  5. Select the chart type you want and press Enter. The chart representing your selected group is added to the worksheet as an embedded object.

Note: Learn about other ways to Create a chart in Excel 2016 for Windows.

Save your work

  1. Press Ctrl+S. If this is the first time you’re saving this workbook, in the just-opened Save As Backstage view, select its storage location and give it a name.

  2. To move to the Save As location choices, press the Tab key.

  3. To select the storage location for the workbook, like OneDrive or This PC, press the Down Arrow key or the Up Arrow key. Or, to open the Save As dialog box, move to Browse and press Enter.

  4. To browse to a folder within your selected storage location, press the Tab key. To move to a folder higher in the hierarchy, select Up One Level. To move to the list of folders, repeatedly press the Tab key. To move through the list, press the Tab key or arrow keys. To select a folder, press Enter.

  5. Tab to the Enter file name here box, and type a name for your workbook.

  6. Tab to the Save button, and press Enter.

Print your work

  1. To open the Print Backstage view, press Ctrl+P.

  2. Tab through the print settings, including Print Properties, Print One Sided, Portrait Orientation, Normal Margins, and Page Setup. To change a selected setting, press Enter. To select a different setting, press the Down Arrow key or Up Arrow key and then press Enter.

  3. When the print settings are the way you want, to select Print, press Shift+Tab until you hear “Print.” Press Enter. Your printer prints the workbook.

See also

Use a screen reader to find and replace data in Excel

Excel keyboard shortcuts and function keys for Windows

Set up your device to work with accessibility in Office 365

Learn how to navigate in Excel using accessible features

Use Excel 2016 for Mac with your keyboard and a screen reader, such as VoiceOver, the built-in Mac OS screen reader, to do basic tasks, such as create a new workbook, enter data in it, create simple formulas, and print your work.

Notes: 

In this topic

Start Excel

Use Finder and VoiceOver to easily start Excel 2016 for Mac.

  1. To go to the Applications list in Finder, press Shift+Command+A.

  2. Type M to go straight to applications that start with an "M" and then press the Tab key until you hear: "Microsoft Excel application."

  3. To open Excel 2016 for Mac, press Command+Down arrow key.

Create a new workbook

Excel files are called workbooks, and they each have one or more worksheets. To create a new workbook in Excel 2016 for Mac, press Command+N. Excel opens a blank workbook in a separate window, placing focus in the first cell in the sheet. You hear: “Excel ready.”

Enter your data

As you enter data in the worksheet, you work with rows, columns, and cells. Cells are referenced by their row and column location on the sheet, so cell A1 is in the first row of column A. On a new sheet, cell A1 is the default selection.

  1. To move between cells, press Control+Option+an arrow key. You hear the cell names as you move between them. If the cell has text in it, VoiceOver reads that text.

  2. To enter or replace text in a cell, type the text, number, or formula.

  3. To move to the next cell, press Enter or the Tab key to move to the next cell.

Use AutoSum to add up numbers

You can use the AutoSum function to quickly add up numbers you’ve entered in your sheet.

  1. Move the focus to the cell that is to the right of the numbers that you want to add up, or just below them.

  2. To insert the AutoSum formula, press Command+Shift+T.

AutoSum adds up the numbers and places the result in the cell you selected.

Create a simple formula

You can enter simple formulas to add, subtract, multiply, or divide the numbers in your sheet. You create a formula by combining cell references (like B4 or D6) that contain the numbers you want to calculate with the math operator. The operators are the plus sign (+) for addition, the minus sign (-) for subtraction, the asterisk (*) for multiplication, and the forward slash (/) for division.

  1. Move to a cell, and then type an equal sign (=), which tells Excel that this cell will contain a formula.

  2. To create the formula, type a combination of numbers and calculation operators, like the plus sign (+) for addition, the minus sign (-) for subtraction, the asterisk (*) for multiplication, or the forward slash (/) for division. For example, enter =2+4, =4-2, =2*4, or =4/2.

  3. To save the formula and run the calculation, press Enter. Or, to run the calculation while keeping the cursor in the active cell, press Ctrl+Enter.

  1. Select the cell where you want to put the result of the formula. This is typically to the right of or below the numbers you’re calculating.

  2. Type the equal sign (=). An Excel formula always starts with the equal sign.

  3. To create your formula, type a combination of cell references (like B4 or D6) and math operators. For example, =B4+B5, =B4-B5, =B4*B5, or =B4/B5.

    Tip: To do quick calculations, Instead of cell references, you can enter numbers in your formula, for example, =20+10, =20-10, =20*10, or =20/10.

  4. Press Enter. The numbers are calculated and the result goes in your selected cell.

    Tip: If you want the cursor to stay in the active cell, press Ctrl+Enter.

Excel runs the calculation and places the result in the cell.

Apply a number format

You can display different types of numbers in Excel by applying a format, like currency, percentage, or date.

  1. Select the cell or cells you want to format. To select a sequence of cells, press Shift+an arrow key until all the cells you want are selected.

  2. To display the Format Cells window, press Command+1. You hear: “Format cells.”

  3. To move through the list, press the Tab key.

  4. To browse the formatting types, press the Up arrow or Down arrow key. You hear the category name, such as Currency or Date.

  5. Some categories offer a variety of formats. For example, you can select the specific Date format such as 3/14/15 or 14-Mar-15. To hear the types of formatting for a given category, press the Tab key. To hear the format options, press the Up arrow or the Down arrow key.

  6. To select a specific format and apply it to the selected cells, press Enter.

Save your work

To save your changes to a file that you have saved previously, press Ctrl+S.

If this is the first time you've save this file:

  1. Press Ctrl+S. The focus moves to the Save As text field.

  2. Type the name you want to use for your workbook, and then do one of the following:

    1. To save the file on your computer, press the Tab key until you hear: “Where.” Then press Control+Option+Spacebar, and navigate to the location where you want to save your workbook with the Up Arrow or the Down Arrow key. To confirm the selection, press Control+Option+Spacebar.

    2. To save the file online, press the Tab key until you hear: “Online Locations button.” Then press Control+Option+Spacebar, and press Control+Option+Right arrow key to move to list areas, such as the list of OneDrive and SharePoint locations. To move through items in a list, press the Up arrow or the Down arrow key. To view the items within an online location, press the Right arrow key. To select a folder or file name, use the Up arrow or the Down arrow key.

  3. Press Enter to save the file in the selected location.

Print your work

  1. Press Command+P.

  2. To select a printer from the printer list, press Control+Option+Right arrow key, and then press the Down arrow key to hear the names of the printers in the list.

  3. To select a printer, press Enter.

  4. Press Control+Option+Right arrow key until you hear “Print button,” and then press Control+Option+Spacebar to print.

See also

Make your Excel spreadsheets accessible

Keyboard shortcuts in Excel 2016 for Mac

Set up your device to work with accessibility in Office 365

Learn how to navigate in Excel using accessible features

Use Excel for iOS with VoiceOver, the built-in iOS screen reader, to do basic tasks, such as open the app, create a workbook, or enter your data.

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 touch capabilities in Excel for iOS, go to Excel for iPhone touch guide.

  • 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.

  • The availability of the printing options described in this topic depend on the features of your printer. For details, refer to the printer manual.

In this topic

Open Excel

  1. On your iPhone’s home screen, drag one finger around the screen until you hear “Excel,” and then double-tap the screen.

When you start Excel for the first time, you may need to sign in to your Microsoft account. For instructions, go to Sign in at the first use.

Tip: If you did not sign out of the Excel app the last time you used it, the app opens without prompting you to sign in.

Sign in to Excel

You can sign in to Excel for iOS the first time you open the app or later on. After you sign in to Excel, your account is also available in other Office apps. You can use Excel without signing in, too.

Sign in at the first use

  1. When you open Excel for the first time, the app starts the initial setup, and then you hear: “Use Excel on the go."

  2. Swipe right until you hear "Email or phone number, text field," and then double-tap the screen.

  3. Use the on-screen keyboard to type your email address or phone number. When you're done, drag one finger around the screen until you hear "Next, button," and then double-tap the screen. The Next button is located in the middle of the screen.

  4. Swipe right until you hear "Enter password, password, secure text field, required," and then double-tap the screen.

  5. Use the on-screen keyboard to type your password.

  6. When you're done, drag one finger around the screen until you hear "Sign in, button,” and then double-tap the screen. The Sign in button is located in the middle of the screen. You hear: “You’re all set.”

    If you hear “Don’t miss anything,” swipe right until you hear the option you want, “Turn on notifications” or “Not now,” and then double-tap the screen.

Sign in after the first use

When you decide to make the most of your workbooks, you can sign in to Excel for iOS even after you've already used the app without a sign-in.

  1. Open Excel.

  2. Drag one finger around the bottom left of the screen until you hear “Account button,” and then double-tap the screen.

  3. Swipe right until you hear "Sign in, button" and then double-tap the screen.

  4. Drag one finger around the screen until you hear "Email, phone, or Skype, text field, required," and then double-tap the screen.

  5. Use the on-screen keyboard to type your email address, phone number, or Skype name. When you're done, drag one finger around the screen until you hear "Next, button," and then double-tap the screen. The Next button is located in the center of the screen.

  6. Swipe right until you hear "Password, secure text field," and then double-tap the screen.

  7. Use the on-screen keyboard to type your password.

  8. When you're done, drag one finger around the screen until you hear "Sign in, button," and then lift your finger off the screen. The Sign in button is located in the middle of the screen.

Open a workbook

Open a recent workbook

  1. Open Excel.

  2. To open a recent workbook, drag one finger around the bottom of the screen until you hear “Recent button,” and then double-tap the screen.

  3. Swipe right until you hear the file you want, and then double-tap the screen.

Open an older workbook

  1. Open Excel.

  2. To open an older workbook, drag one finger around the bottom of the screen until you hear “Open button,” and then double-tap the screen.

  3. Swipe right until you hear the file location you want, and then double-tap the screen.

  4. Navigate to the file and double-tap the screen to open it.

Note: If you're already working on a workbook and want to open another one, drag one finger around the top part of the screen until you hear “Close file, button,” and then double-tap the screen. To open a recent or an older workbook, follow the steps above.

Create a new workbook

Excel files are called workbooks. Each workbook contains sheets, typically called spreadsheets or worksheets. You can add as many sheets as you want to a workbook, or you can create new workbooks to keep your data organized.

  1. Open Excel.

  2. Drag one finger around the bottom of the screen until you hear “New, button” and then double-tap the screen. You hear: "Blank workbook."

  3. To open a blank workbook, double-tap the screen. To use another template, swipe right until you hear the name of the workbook template you want, and then double-tap the screen.

Note: If you're already working on a workbook and want to create a new one, drag one finger around the top part of the screen until you hear “Close file, button,” and then double-tap the screen. To create a new workbook, follow steps 2-3 above.

Create a new worksheet in the workbook

  1. In a workbook, drag your finger around the bottom edge of the screen until you hear “Add sheet button,” and then double-tap the screen. The new sheet opens, and the focus stays on the Add Sheet button.

  2. To move the focus back to the sheet, drag your finger around the screen until you hear the name of a cell, for example, "Column B, row 3, B3," and then double-tap the screen.

Enter your data

As you enter data in the sheet, you work with rows, columns, and cells. Cells are referenced by their location in the row and column on the sheet, so cell A1 is in the first row of column A. On a new sheet, cell A1 is the default selection.

  1. On your worksheet, drag one finger around the screen to find the cell you want to work on.

  2. Double-tap the screen. You hear “Selected,” followed by the cell details. The cell is now selected.

  3. To open the on-screen keyboard, double-tap the screen again. Use the on-screen keyboard to type the numbers or text that you want.

  4. Once you're done, drag one finger around the top right of the screen until you hear “Enter button,” and then double-tap the screen.

Apply a number format

You can display different types of numbers by applying a format to a cell such as currency, percentage, or date.

  1. On the worksheet, drag your finger around the screen to find the cell you want to work on, and then double-tap the screen to select the cell.

  2. To close the on-screen keyboard, double-tap the screen again.

  3. Drag one finger around the top part of the screen until you hear “Show ribbon button," and then double-tap the screen. You hear the current tab, for example, “Data, tab.”

  4. If necessary, to go to the Home tab, double-tap the screen, and then swipe left until you hear: “Home tab.” Then double-tap the screen.

  5. Swipe right until you hear “Number format button,” and then double-tap the screen. You hear: “Number format.”

  6. Drag one finger down the screen until you hear the format you want such as Currency, Time, or Percentage.

  7. To select a format, double-tap the screen.

    Tip: Some of the format options have also submenus that offer more options. To check if there are submenus, swipe right from the option. If the option has a submenu, you hear: “More info.” To open the submenu, double-tap the screen.

Save your work

Excel for iOS automatically saves your work, but you can change the name of the file and select the location of the file.

Save a copy of your file with a new name

  1. In an Excel worksheet, drag one finger around the top part of the screen until you hear “File button,” and then double-tap the screen.

  2. Swipe right until you hear the menu item “Save a copy button,” and then double-tap the screen. You hear: “Save as, file name, text field.” The on-screen keyboard opens.

  3. To change the file name, use the on-screen keyboard to type the new file name.

  4. Once you're done, drag one finger around the bottom right corner of the screen until you hear “Done,” and then double-tap the screen to save the file.

Select the location of your file

  1. In an Excel worksheet, drag one finger around the top part of the screen until you hear “File button,” and then double-tap the screen.

  2. Swipe right until you hear “Save a copy button,” and then double-tap the screen. You hear: “Save as, file name, text field.”

  3. Swipe right until you hear the location where to save your file, such as OneDrive or iPhone. Double-tap the screen to select the location.

  4. In the location option you selected, swipe left or right until you hear the possible folder or other sub-location you want, and then double-tap the screen.

  5. Swipe right until you hear “Save button,” and then double-tap to save the file in the selected location.

    Tip: If you are trying to save a file with a name that already exists, you hear “Replace file?” Swipe right until you hear “Cancel button” or “Replace button,” depending on what you want to do. Double-tap the screen to confirm your choice.

Print your work

Print your worksheet directly from your iPhone to a printer that supports AirPrint. To learn more about AirPrint and the supported printers, refer to Use AirPrint to print from your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch.

  1. Make sure that your iPhone and printer are connected to the same Wi-Fi network.

  2. In an Excel file, drag one finger around the top part of the screen until you hear “File button,” and then double-tap the screen.

  3. Swipe right until you hear “Print, button” and then double-tap the screen. You hear: “File, Back button."

  4. Swipe right and you hear: "AirPrint, button." Double-tap the screen. The Layout Options page opens.

  5. Drag one finger down the screen to browse the list of layout options. To select an option, double-tap the screen.

  6. To select the printer, swipe right until you hear “Next, button.” If you’re prompted to allow online file conversion, swipe right until you hear “Allow,” and then double-tap the screen. The Printer Options page opens.

  7. To select your printer, swipe right until you hear “Printer, Select printer, button,” and then double-tap the screen. Swipe right until you hear the printer you want and then double-tap the screen. The focus returns to the Printer Options page.

  8. To set the number of copies to be printed, swipe right until you hear “One copy” or the current selection. To change the current number of copies, swipe right until you hear “Decrement” or “Increment,” and then double-tap the screen.

  9. Swipe left until you hear “Print button,” and then double-tap the screen.

For instructions on how to perform more advanced printing tasks, go to Use a screen reader to print an Excel workbook.

See also

Use a screen reader to print an Excel workbook

Use an external keyboard with Excel for iPhone

Use an external keyboard with Excel for iPad

Set up your device to work with accessibility in Office 365

Learn how to navigate in Excel using accessible features

Use Excel with TalkBack, the built-in Android screen reader, to do basic tasks, such as create, edit, or print a workbook.

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 touch capabilities in Excel for Android, go to Excel for Android touch guide.

  • 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

Open Excel for Android

  1. On your Android device’s home screen, drag one finger around the screen until you hear “Apps,” and then double-tap the screen. The icon is located on the bottom center of the screen.

  2. Swipe right until you hear “Excel,” and then double-tap the screen.

When you start Excel for the first time, you may need to sign in to your Microsoft account. For instructions, go to Sign in at the first use.

Tip: If you have turned on Ok Google voice detection in the Google app, you can say “Ok Google, open Excel.”

Tip: If you did not sign out of the Excel app the last time you used it, the app opens without prompting you to sign in.

Sign in to Excel

You can sign in to Excel the first time you open the app or later on. After you sign in to Excel, your account is also available in other Office apps. You can use Excel without signing in, too.

Sign in at the first use

  1. When you open Excel for the first time, the app starts the initial setup, and then you hear: “Sign in to Microsoft account."

  2. Swipe right until you hear "Enter your Email, phone, or Skype, edit box," and then double-tap the screen.

  3. Use the on-screen keyboard to type your email address, phone number, or Skype name. When you're done, drag one finger on the screen until you hear "Go, button," and then lift your finger off the screen. The Go button is located on the bottom right corner of the screen.

  4. Swipe right until you hear "Password, edit box," and then double-tap the screen.

  5. Use the on-screen keyboard to type your password.

  6. When you're done, drag one finger on the screen until you hear "Go, button," and then lift your finger off the screen. The Go button is located on the bottom right corner of the screen.

Sign in after the first use

When you decide to make the most of your workbooks, you can sign in to Excel even after you've already used the app without a sign-in.

  1. Open Excel.

  2. Swipe right until you hear "Sign in," and then double-tap the screen. You hear: "Get things done on the go. Sign in."

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

  4. Swipe right until you hear "Enter your Email, phone, or Skype, edit box," and then double-tap the screen.

  5. Use the onscreen keyboard to type your email address, phone number, or Skype name. When you're done, rag one finger on the screen until you hear "Go, button," and then lift your finger off the screen. The Go button is located on the bottom right corner of the screen.

  6. Swipe right until you hear "Password, edit box," and then double-tap the screen.

  7. Use the on-screen keyboard to type your password.

  8. When you're done, drag one finger on the screen until you hear "Go, button," and then lift your finger off the screen. The Go button is located on the bottom right corner of the screen.

Open a workbook

When Excel opens, you land on the Excel page. It lists your most recent workbooks. You can open one of them or an older workbook.

  • To open a recent workbook, drag one finger on the screen until you hear the file you want, and then double-tap the screen.

  • To open an older workbook, swipe left or right until you hear "Open button," and then double-tap the screen. Swipe right until you hear the location of the file and double-tap the screen. Navigate to the file and double-tap the screen to open it.

Note: If you're already working on a workbook and want to open another one, swipe down-then-left. You land on the Excel page. To open a recent or an older workbook, follow the steps above.

Create a new workbook

Excel files are called workbooks. Each workbook contains sheets, typically called spreadsheets or worksheets. You can add as many sheets as you want to a workbook, or you can create new workbooks to keep your data organized.

  1. Open Excel.

  2. Swipe left or right until you hear “New,” and then double-tap the screen. You hear: "New, Blank workbook."

  3. To open a blank workbook, double-tap the screen. To use another template, swipe right until you hear the name of the workbook template you want to use, and then double-tap the screen.

Note: If you're already working on a workbook and want to create a new one, swipe down-then-left. You land on the Excel page. To create a new workbook, follow the steps 2-3 above.

Create a new worksheet in the workbook

In a workbook, drag your finger around the bottom left of the screen until you hear “Add sheet button,” and then double-tap the screen.

Enter your data

As you enter data in the sheet, you work with rows, columns, and cells. Cells are referenced by their location in the row and column on the sheet, so cell A1 is in the first row of column A. On a new sheet, cell A1 is the default selection.

  1. On the worksheet, drag your finger around the screen to find the cell you want to work on.

  2. To open the context menu, double-tap the screen. You hear: “Cut button.”

  3. Swipe right until you hear “Edit button,” and then double-tap the screen. You hear “Showing <the language of the keyboard>," for example, "English US keyboard."

  4. Use the on-screen keyboard to type the numbers or text that you want.

  5. Once you're done, drag your finger around the top right corner of the screen until you hear “Enter button,” and then double-tap the screen.

Apply a number format

You can display different types of numbers by applying a format to a cell such as currency, percentage, or date.

  1. On the worksheet, drag your finger around the screen to find the cell you want to work on, and then double-tap the screen to activate the cell.

  2. To close the context menu, swipe down-then left.

  3. Swipe left or right until you hear “More Options button," and then double-tap the screen. You hear: “Tab menu, <current tab>, selected.”

  4. Swipe right until you hear “Number format menu,” and then double-tap the screen. You hear: “Number format.”

  5. Swipe right until you hear the format you want such as Currency, Time, or Percentage.

  6. To select a format, double-tap the screen.

    Tip: Some of the format options have also submenus. You hear, for example: “Number menu.” To open the submenu, double-tap the screen.

Create a simple formula

You can create simple formulas to add, subtract, multiply, or divide your numbers.

  1. On the worksheet, drag your finger around the screen to find the cell you want to work on.

  2. To open the context menu, double-tap the screen. You hear: “Cut button.”

  3. Swipe right until you hear “Edit button,” and then double-tap the screen to open the onscreen keyboard.

  4. To create a formula, type a combination of numbers and calculation operators by dragging your finger over the keyboard and lifting your finger at the one you need.

    Type the plus sign (+) for addition, the minus sign (-) for subtraction, the asterisk (*) for multiplication, or the forward slash (/) for division. For example, type =2+4, =4-2, =2*4, or =4/2.

  5. Once you're done, drag your finger around the top right corner of the screen until you hear “Enter button,” and then double-tap the screen. Excel runs the calculation and inserts the result in the cell.

Save your work

Excel automatically saves your work, but you can change the name of the file and select the location of the file.

Save a copy of your file

  1. In an Excel file, to change the name of your file, swipe right until you hear “File button,” and then double-tap the screen. You hear: “File menu opened.”

  2. Swipe right until you hear the menu item “Save as button,” and then double-tap the screen. You hear: “Enter file name.”

  3. To change the file name, swipe right until you hear “Clear button,” and then double-tap the screen to clear the current name of the file.

  4. Swipe left until you hear “Enter file name, edit box,” and then double-tap the screen to open the on-screen keyboard.

  5. Type the file name. Once you're done, swipe right until you hear “Save button,” and then double-tap to save the file.

Select the location of your file

  1. In an Excel file, to change the location of your file, swipe left or right until you hear “File button,” and then double-tap the screen to open the file menu. You hear: “File menu opened.”

  2. Swipe right until you hear the menu item “Save as button,” and then double-tap the screen. You hear “Enter file name.”

  3. Swipe left or right until you hear the location where to save your file, such as OneDrive or This device. Double-tap the screen to select the location.

  4. In the location option you selected, swipe left or right until you hear the possible folder or other sub-location you want, and then double-tap the screen.

  5. Swipe right until you hear “Save button,” and then double-tap to save the file in the selected location.

    Tip: If you are trying to save a file with a name that already exists, you hear “Replace file?” Swipe right until you hear “Cancel button” or “Replace button,” depending on what you want to do. Double-tap the screen to confirm your choice.

Print your work

Make sure you have a printer connected to your device.

  1. In an Excel file, swipe right until you hear “File button,” and then double-tap the screen to open the file menu. You hear: “File menu opened.”

  2. Swipe right until you hear “Print,” and then double-tap the screen. You hear: “Layout options, File menu closed." The Print Options page opens.

  3. To print with the default options, swipe right until you hear "Print, button," and then double-tap the screen.

  4. You hear: “Allow Excel to use an online service from Microsoft to prepare files for printing?” Swipe right until you hear “Allow button,” and then double-tap the screen.

  5. Swipe right until you hear “Drop-down list. Select a printer,” and then double-tap the screen.

  6. Swipe right until you hear the name of the printer you want, and double-tap the screen to activate.

  7. Swipe right until you hear “Print button,” and then double-tap the screen.

For instructions on how to perform more advanced printing tasks, go to Use a screen reader to print an Excel workbook.

See also

Use a screen reader to insert a table in an Excel worksheet

Use a screen reader to print an Excel workbook

Set up your device to work with accessibility in Office 365

Learn how to navigate in Excel using accessible features

Use Excel with Narrator, the built-in Windows screen reader, to do basic tasks, such as sign in to Excel and open a workbook.

Notes: 

In this topic

Open Excel

  1. On your device, in the All apps list, swipe right until Narrator announces "Excel."

  2. Double-tap the screen to open the app.

Note: Excel automatically signs in using the Microsoft account you have set up your phone with. You hear "Start page," followed by your account name and "Button." If you signed out of the Excel app the last time you used it, or if you want to use another account, refer to Sign in to Excel.

Tip: If you have pinned a tile for Excel on your device's home screen, you can also open the app from there. Swipe right until you hear "Excel," followed by the size of the tile, for example "Small, 1 by 1." Double-tap the screen.

Sign in to Excel

You can sign in quickly with the same Microsoft account you have set up your phone with, or choose a different Microsoft, work, or school account.

Sign in with the suggested account

  1. After opening Excel, swipe right until you hear "Sign in button," and then double-tap the screen. You hear "Let's get you signed in," followed by the name of the Microsoft account you have set up your phone with.

  2. To use this account, swipe right until you hear "Continue button," and then double-tap the screen. You hear "Start page," followed by your account name and "Button."

    You are now signed in and the focus is on the start page.

Sign in with a Microsoft account

  1. After opening Excel, swipe right until you hear "Sign in button," and then double-tap the screen. You hear "Let's get you signed in," followed by the name of the Microsoft account you have set up your phone with.

  2. To use a different Microsoft account, swipe right until you hear "Microsoft account, Outlook.com, Hotmail, Live.com, MSN," and then double-tap the screen.

  3. Swipe right until you hear "Continue button," and then double-tap the screen. You hear: "Enter your email, phone, or Skype, editing."

  4. Use the on-screen keyboard to type your email address, phone number, or Skype user name, place the focus to the Enter key, and then double-tap the screen. You hear: "Enter password, editing."

  5. Use the on-screen keyboard to type your password, place the focus to the Enter key, and then double-tap the screen.

  6. If you hear "OK button," you need to enable your Microsoft account by entering your device PIN. Double-tap the screen, and then use the on-screen keyboard to type your PIN.

  7. When you hear "Start page, New button," Excel has finished signing you in. The focus is on the start page.

Sign in with a work or school account

  1. After opening Excel, swipe right until you hear "Sign in button," and then double-tap the screen. You hear "Let's get you signed in," followed by the name of the Microsoft account you have set up your phone with.

  2. To use a different account, swipe right until you hear "Work or school account," and then double-tap the screen.

  3. Swipe right until you hear "Continue button," and then double-tap the screen. You hear: "Cancel button."

  4. Swipe left until you hear "Email address, editable text," and then double-tap the screen.

  5. Use the on-screen keyboard to type your email address, select Enter, and double-tap the screen.

  6. Swipe right until you hear "Password, editable text," and then double-tap the screen.

  7. Use the on-screen keyboard to type your password, place the focus to the Enter key, and double-tap the screen.

  8. Your device asks if Windows should remember this account. Depending on which option you want, swipe right until you hear "Skip for now, link" or "Yes button," and then double-tap the screen.

  9. You hear "Account you've added to this app," followed by your account information. Swipe right until you hear "Close button," and then double-tap the screen. You hear "Start page," followed by your account name and "Button."

Open a recent workbook

You can find your recently used workbooks right on the Excel start page.

  1. On the Excel start page, swipe right until you hear "Recent selected." The list of recent workbooks starts here.

  2. Swipe right until you find the workbook you want to open, and then double-tap the screen.

Browse for a workbook

  1. If the workbook you seek is not on the Excel start page, swipe right or left until you hear "Browse button," and then double-tap the screen. You hear: "Choose an app, Recent."

  2. Swipe right until you find the option you want, for example, This Device or OneDrive, and then double-tap the screen.

  3. Swipe right until you find the right folder, for example, Documents, and then double-tap the screen.

  4. Swipe right until you find the right file, and then double-tap the screen. You hear: "Downloading."

  5. Swipe right until you hear "Open workbook app bar button," and then double-tap the screen. You hear "Opening," followed by the name of the workbook.

See also

Use a screen reader to print an Excel workbook

Use keyboard shortcuts with an external keyboard in Excel Mobile for Windows 10

Learn how to navigate in Excel using accessible features

Use Excel Online with your keyboard and Narrator, the built-in Windows screen reader, to do basic tasks, such as create a new workbook, edit a workbook, and print your work.

Notes: 

  • If you use Narrator with the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update, you have to turn off scan mode in order to edit documents, spreadsheets, or presentations with Office Online. For more information, refer to Turn off virtual or browse mode in screen readers in Windows 10 Fall Creators Update.

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

In this topic

Open Excel Online

  1. Go to https://www.office.com.

  2. Press the Tab key until you hear "Sign in to your account," and then press Enter. The Pick an account window opens.

  3. Press the Tab key until you hear the account or user name you want to use to sign in, and then press Enter. You hear: "Enter password, editing."

    If you don't hear the account you want, press the Tab key until you hear "Use another account, button" and then press Enter. Type the email or phone number of the account, and then press Enter.

  4. Type your password, and then press Enter. You hear: "Microsoft Office, home."

  5. To open Excel Online, press the Tab key until you hear "Go to Excel, link," and then press Enter. Excel Online opens.

Open a workbook

You can open a file that you've been working on recently or go to your preferred online repository such as OneDrive and open a file from there.

Open a workbook when starting Excel Online

  1. Open and sign in to Excel Online. The app opens and the focus is on a new blank workbook option.

  2. Do one of the following:

    • To open a recent file, press Shift+Tab key until you hear the recent file you want, and then press Enter. The file opens either in the Editing View or Reading View.

    • To open a document from an online repository, press the Tab key until you hear "Open from <the online repository>," and then press Enter. Navigate to the file you want, and then press Enter. The file opens in the Reading View.

Open a workbook when working in Excel Online

Note: To open a workbook when already working in Excel Online, you must be in the Editing View. The option is not available in the Reading View. For instructions on how to get to the Editing View, go to Switch to the Editing View.

  1. Press Alt+Windows logo key. The focus moves to the ribbon.

  2. To open the File menu, press F. You hear: "Close menu, menu item." If you don't hear this, you're not in the Editing View.

  3. To open the Open menu, press O.

  4. Do one of the following:

    • Press the Tab key until you hear the recent document you want, and then press Enter. The file opens either in the Editing View or Reading View.

    • To open a document from an online repository, press the Tab key until you hear "More on <the online repository>," and then press Enter. Navigate to the file you want, and then press Enter. The file opens in the Reading View.

Open a workbook in the full version of Excel

If you have the full desktop version of Excel, it gives you many more options when working with your files. It's easy to open the full version from Excel Online.

  1. In Excel Online, after opening the workbook you want to edit with the full version, press Ctrl+F6 until you hear: "Selected, Home tab item."

  2. Press the Tab key until you hear "Edit in Excel, button," and then press Enter to open the workbook in Excel 2016. You hear "Dialog, We're opening this in Microsoft Excel" while the program is loading.

  3. After Excel 2016 has opened, you may be asked to sign in. Type your email address and press Enter, and then type your password and press Enter.

    Note: If you are using a work or school account, the sign-in steps may be slightly different. For example, you may need to use a PIN or smartcard to sign in.

    In Excel 2016, the focus is in the first cell of the first row of your workbook.

Switch to the Editing View

If you've opened a workbook in the Reading View, and want to edit the file, you need to switch to the Editing View.

  1. In the Reading View, press Ctrl+F6 until you hear your name or user name.

  2. Press the Tab key until you hear "Edit workbook, button collapsed." Press Enter to expand the menu.

  3. Press the Down arrow key until you hear "Edit in browser," and then press Enter. The file opens in Editing View.

Create a new workbook

You can create a new workbook from a template or from scratch.

Create a workbook when starting Excel Online

  1. Open and sign in to Excel Online. The app opens and the focus is on a new blank workbook option. This workbook option doesn't contain any predefined formatting.

  2. Do one of the following:

    • To open a new blank workbook and start working on it, press Enter.

    • To browse the list of available templates, press the Tab key until you hear the template you want, and then press Enter.

    The new workbook opens, and the focus is on the first cell in the sheet.

Create a workbook when working in Excel Online

Note: To create a new workbook when already working in Excel Online, you must be in the Editing View. The option is not available in the Reading View. For instructions on how to get to the Editing View, go to Switch to the Editing View.

  1. If you're already working on a workbook and want to create a new one, press Alt+Windows logo key. The focus moves to the ribbon.

  2. To open the File menu, press F. You hear: "Close menu, menu item." If you don't hear this, you're not in the Editing View.

  3. To open the New menu, press N.

  4. Press the Tab key until you hear the template option you want, and then press Enter.

Edit your workbook

To edit your workbook, you need to be in the Editing View. For instructions on how to get to the Editing View, go to Switch to the Editing View.

Enter your data

  1. To move between cells, press the arrow keys. The screen reader announces the cells as you move by their row and column location on the worksheet. The cell A1 is in the first row of the column A. If the cell has text in it, the screen reader reads the text.

  2. To enter or replace text in a cell, type the text, number, or formula.

  3. To move to the next cell, press Enter or the Tab key.

Use AutoSum to sum your numbers

Add up the numbers in your sheet.

  1. Move to the cell to the right of or just below the numbers that you want to sum.

  2. Press Alt+Windows logo key, H, U, S. To perform the calculation, press Enter.

    Excel Online adds up the numbers and places the result in the cell you selected.

Create a simple formula

You can create simple formulas to add, subtract, multiply, or divide your numbers.

  1. Move to the cell to the right of or just below the numbers that you want to calculate.

  2. Type an equal sign (=). You hear: "Editing, equal sign."

  3. To create the formula, type a combination of numbers and calculation operators, like the plus sign (+) for addition, the minus sign (-) for subtraction, the asterisk (*) for multiplication, or the forward slash (/) for division. For example, type one of the following:

    • To add numbers, type =2+4.

    • To subtract numbers, type =4-2.

    • To multiply numbers, type =2*4.

    • To divide numbers, type =4/2.

  4. To perform the calculation, press Enter.

Excel Online runs the calculation and shows the result in the cell you selected.

Apply a number format

You can display different types of numbers in Excel Online by applying a format, like Currency, Percentage, or Date.

  1. Select the cell or cells you want to format. To select several adjacent cells, press Shift+arrow keys.

  2. To open the context menu, press Shift+F10. You hear: "Cut, menu item."

  3. Press the Down arrow key until you hear "Number format," and then press Enter. You hear: "Dialog, Number format."

  4. To select a format, press the Down arrow key until you hear the format you want such as "Currency" or "Date," and then press Enter to select.

Create a table from your data

You can create a table from your data so that you can, for example, quickly filter or sort the data.

  1. Select the cells that you want to include in the table. To select several adjacent cells, press Shift+arrow keys.

  2. To open the Format as Table dialog, press Alt+Windows logo key, H, T, L. You hear: "Dialog, Format as table."

  3. Press Shift+Tab key. You hear "My table has headers," and if the check box is checked or not. To change the selection, press Spacebar.

    Note: Use table headers to make your table more accessible for screen reader users. Screen readers use the header information to understand how to locate table cells.

  4. To create the table, press Enter.

Sort or filter the data in a table

  1. In the table you want to sort or filter, move to a cell with a Sort & Filter drop-down menu. You hear the cell details, followed by "Has a Sort and Filter drop-down menu."

  2. To open the drop-down menu, press Alt+Down arrow key.

  3. Do one of the following:

    • To sort the data, press the Down arrow key until you hear "Sort ascending" or "Sort Descending", and then press Enter.

    • To apply a simple filter, press the Down arrow key until you hear “Filter” and then press Enter. The Filter dialog opens. Press the Down arrow key until you hear the options you want, and then press Spacebar to select or unselect the options. To apply the filter, press Enter.

    • To apply a complex filter, press the Down arrow key until you hear “Text filters,” and then press the Right arrow key. The menu of filters opens. Press the Down arrow key until you hear the option you want and then, press Enter. A dialog opens. Type the values you want and then press Enter.

    • To clear a filter, press the Down arrow key until you hear "Clear filter from," followed by the filtered cell name, and then press Enter.

Show calculations of your numbers

  1. In the cell where you want the total to appear, type an equal sign (=).

  2. Type the name of formula or function you want to use such as sum or average. A list of functions opens and is updated as you type. You hear the first function in the list.

  3. Press the Down arrow key until you hear the function you want, and then press the Tab key to select it.

  4. Type the cell range or other numbers you want to apply the function on, followed by a closing parenthesis, and then press Enter.

Save your work

Excel Online automatically saves your work, but you can change the location or file name and you can download a copy of the file.

Save a copy online

  1. In the Editing View, press Alt+Windows logo key, F, A, A. The Save As dialog opens.

  2. Type a new name for your file.

  3. Press the Tab key. You hear "Replace existing file, check box" and if the check box is selected or not. To change the selection, press Spacebar.

  4. To save your copy online, press Enter.

Rename a workbook

  1. In the Editing View, press Alt+Windows logo key, F, A, R. The Rename dialog opens.

  2. Type a new name for your file.

  3. Press the Tab key until you hear "OK, button," and then press Enter.

Save a copy to a local computer

  1. In the Editing View, press Alt+Windows logo key, F, A, C. The focus moves to an active tab on your workbook.

  2. Press Ctrl+F6 until you hear "Selected," followed by the name of the current tab.

  3. Press Caps Lock+Right or Left arrow key until you hear: "Notification text, What do you want to do with <the file name>."

  4. Press the Tab key until you hear "Save button," and then press Enter. The file is downloaded to the Download folder on your computer.

Print your work

  1. In the Editing View, press Alt+Windows logo key, F, P, P. The Print Settings dialog opens.

  2. To print using the default settings, press the Tab key until you hear "Print button," and then press Enter.

For instructions on how to perform more advanced printing tasks, go to Use a screen reader to print an Excel workbook.

See also

Add comments to an Excel Online worksheet using a screen reader

Use a screen reader to print an Excel workbook

Keyboard shortcuts in Excel Online

Learn how to navigate in Excel using accessible features

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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