Learn how to navigate Skype for Business using accessible features

Learn how to navigate Skype for Business using accessible features

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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.

Skype for Business includes accessibility features that make it easier for people with disabilities like limited dexterity or low vision to use the meeting and messaging app. For more information about accessibility settings and features that are platform-specific, see Set up your device to work with accessibility in Office 365.

Notes: 

In this topic

Get to know the Skype for Business layout

Using Skype for Business, you can schedule and conduct online meetings that include as many as 250 attendees. Plus, you can call colleagues and send messages to them. The elements included in the Skype for Business UI change based on the communication element you select: contacts, conversations, phone calls, or meetings.

If you’re a person with low vision or visual disabilities, or if you have limited mobility, build a mental model of the Skype for Business UI. The areas and specific elements of the UI are described in the table below.

Area

Elements you'll find in this area

First row: Menu bar or your personalized post

  • If you use the default view for the app, the What’s happening today? text box is in the first row. It shows your personalized post.

  • If you change the default view to show the menu bar for the app, the menu bar is in the first row, followed by the What’s happening today? text box.

Second row: Information about you

  • User name

  • Status menu. Shows your status, such as Available, Busy, or Do Not Disturb, among other options.

  • Set Your Location text box and button. Shows your location or allows you to set your location.

Third row: A tab group that changes the information shown in the main area of the UI and options button

  • Contacts tab. Shows information about your contacts.

  • Chat Rooms tab (if available for your account). Shows information about chat rooms you belong to or are following.

  • Conversations tab. Shows information about your current and past conversations.

  • Phone tab. Shows information about your voice mail and a dial pad to make phone calls (if available for your account).

  • Meetings tab. Shows information about your upcoming meetings.

  • Options button. Enables you to access settings for the app.

  • Show Menu Bar button. Enables you to access the following buttons and menus:

    • File menu

    • Meet Now button

    • Tools menu

    • Help menu

    • Show Menu Bar toggle. Shows or hides the menu bar for the app on the first row of the UI.

Variable number of rows: Information that corresponds to the tab you selected

If you select the Contacts tab, the following information is shown:

  • Find someone search box. Searches for people in your organization or in the Skype for Business directory (if available in your organization).

  • Contact view tabs:

    • Groups tab. Groups and shows your contacts by your favorites, your custom groups, and other contacts.

    • Status tab. Groups and shows your contacts by their status, such as Online or Away, and so forth.

    • Relationships tab. Groups and shows your contacts by their privacy relationship with you, such as Colleagues, Friends and Family, or Workgroups, among others.

    • New tab. Shows the people who have added you to their contact lists.

    • Add a contact, create a group, and customize the Contacts list button. Adds contacts, creates groups, and sets display options.

  • The contact details for each person include name, status, and device capabilities (such as Video Capable).

If you select the Conversations tab, the following information is shown:

  • All conversations tab. Shows all your current and past conversations.

  • Missed conversations tab. Shows your missed conversations.

  • Calls tab. Shows your call history.

  • Each of your conversations or each call in your call history.

If you select the Phone tab, the following information is shown (if enabled for your account):

  • Find someone or a room, or dial a number search box. Searches for people in your organization or enter a phone number to dial.

  • Dial pad buttons. Enables you to enter a phone number or redial the last phone number and make a phone call.

  • See Voice Mail Options menu. Shows a menu that includes the following commands: Call Voice Mail, Change Greetings, and Set Up Voice Mail.

  • Each of your voice mails.

If you select the Meetings tab, the following information is shown:

  • Meet Now button. Starts a meeting now.

  • Each of your meetings grouped by the scheduled date.

Last row: Information about your primary device

Select Primary Device menu. Shows audio and video information about your primary device.

Navigate using the keyboard

You can use Skype for Business with keyboard shortcuts. For details, refer to Keyboard shortcuts in Skype for Business. The following are some frequently used keyboard shortcuts for Skype for Business:

  • To move forward through the elements of the Skype for Business UI, press the Tab key, or to move back, press Shift+Tab key.

  • To browse within the Menu Bar or move between tabs, press the Right or Left arrow keys.

  • To move between items in a list pane, press Up or Down arrow keys.

  • To select an item, press Enter. To close a dialog or move focus back, press Esc.

  • To show or hide the menu bar in the top row of the Skype for Business main window, press Alt. There are four menus on the menu bar: File (Alt+F), Meet Now (Alt+M), Tools (Alt+T), and Help (Alt+H). You can open the items in the menu by first pressing the shortcut for the menu, and then the letter (underlined) for the menu item. For example, to open the Options menu item in the Tools menu, press Alt+T, O.

  • To open each tab in the main window:

    • Press Ctrl+1 to open the Contacts tab.

    • Press Ctrl+2 to open the Chats Rooms tab.

    • Press Ctrl+3 to open the Conversations tab.

    • Press Ctrl+4 to open the Phone tab.

    • Press Ctrl+5 to open the Meetings tab.

  • To start communicating with a contact, on the Contacts list, press the Up or Down arrow key repeatedly until you hear the contact, and then press Enter to open the options menu. Press the Tab key to navigate the menu. To select an option, press Enter.

Special considerations for Skype for Business

Change IM text size

If you want to change the size of text displayed in conversations, perform the following steps:

  1. In a conversation window, press the Tab key until you hear "More options button," and then press Enter. The More Options menu opens.

  2. To select the IM Text Display Size menu item, press T.

  3. To select the text display size you want, use the Down arrow key until you hear the size you want, and then press Enter.

    Note: This changes the text size on your screen but not the size of the text in the message that you send.

    Tip: To quickly move the focus back to your IM input area, press Ctrl+Shift+M.

Adjust screen reader volume when you initiate or receive a call

If you have Dolby audio controls on your computer, you may notice that the volume of the audible feedback from your screen reader decreases when you initiate or receive a call with Skype for Business. This is a known issue and is being addressed in Windows 10 for all audio-device manufacturers. However, until the fix is implemented for all devices, you can eliminate this volume decrease by using either of the following two methods:

  • Attach external USB speakers. Non-USB speakers use your device’s built-in audio with the Dolby driver. Attach external USB speakers to your device, instead of using your device’s built-in speakers or speakers plugged into the headphone jack.

  • Disable the Dolby feature of the audio driver. To access the Dolby feature, perform the following steps:

    1. In Windows 10, press the Windows logo key+I to open Settings, and type sound. Press the Down arrow key until you hear "Sound," and press Enter.

    2. In the Sound settings dialog box, press the Down arrow key until you hear your current audio device, and then press Alt+P to open the Properties.

    3. To open the Dolby tab, press the Tab key until you hear "Dolby," and then press the Right arrow key until you hear: "Selected, Dolby tab."

Turn on teletypewriter (TTY) mode in Skype for Business

If you use a teletypewriter (TTY) device, to turn on TTY mode in Skype for Business, take these steps:

  1. In Skype for Business, to open the Options menu item on the Tools menu, press Alt+T+O. You hear: "Skype for Business, Options."

  2. Press the Down arrow key until you hear "Phones tab item,"and then press the Tab key until you hear: "Unchecked, Turn on TTY checkbox."

  3. To turn on TTY mode, press Spacebar. You hear: "Checked."

Operate Skype for Business with speech recognition

Speech recognition tools are helpful for people who have limited mobility and who need to use voice commands (rather than the keyboard or mouse) to operate Microsoft products, including Skype for Business.

You can use third-party speech recognition tools or the functionality called Speech Recognition, which is included with the Windows operating system. To enable Speech Recognition on your computer, refer to Use speech recognition.

See also

Use a screen reader to make or receive a call in Skype for Business

Use a screen reader to share your screen in Skype for Business

Keyboard shortcuts in Skype for Business

Basic tasks using a screen reader with Skype for Business

Set up your device to work with accessibility in Office 365

Make your meeting more accessible with Skype for Business

Skype for Business on Mac includes accessibility features that make it easier for people with disabilities like limited dexterity or low vision to use the meeting and messaging app. For more information about accessibility settings and features that are platform-specific, see Set up your device to work with accessibility in Office 365.

Notes: 

In this topic

Get to know the Skype for Business on Mac layout

Using Skype for Business, you can schedule and conduct online meetings that include as many as 250 attendees. Plus, you can call colleagues and send messages to them. The elements included in the Skype for Business UI change based on the communication element you select: conversations, meetings, phone calls, or contacts.

If you’re a person with low vision or visual disabilities, or if you have limited mobility, build a mental model of the Skype for Business UI. The areas and specific elements of the UI are described in the below table.

Area

Elements you'll find in this area

First column: Main navigation group

  • My profile popup button:

    • Modify your availability info

    • Write a personalized status message

  • Chats tab

  • Meetings tab

  • Calls tab

  • Contacts tab

Second column: a pane that lists the items related to each item on the main navigation group

  • Chats:

    • Search for chats box

    • A list of IMs

  • Meetings:

    • A list of upcoming meetings

  • Calls:

    • All calls option

    • Missed calls option

    • Saved calls (if you have any)

    • Voicemail option (depending on your settings)

  • Contacts include:

    • All Contacts option, where you have:

      • Search for Contacts box

      • Favorites contact group

      • Other Contacts contact group

    • New Contacts option (for people who are not in your contacts but have added you as a contact)

Third column: a pane showing the details of the item selected in the second column.

  • Contains details of chats and contacts, such as a chat log or a contact card.

  • Provides a button for joining a selected meeting.

  • Shows a dial pad for calls.

By default, Skype for Business on Mac starts with the Contacts tab selected.

Display conversations in separate windows

By default, Skype for Business on Mac shows all instant message (IM) conversations of a contact in another pane in the same window. However, you may prefer to manage conversations when they are in a separate window. You can change the setting in Preferences.

  1. To go to Preferences, while in Skype for Business, press Command+, (comma).

  2. When opening the Skype for BusinessPreferences for the first time, the General tab is selected by default. You hear: “General, selected, button.”

    Tip: To move between the tabs, press the Tab key. To select a tab, press Control+Option+Spacebar.

  3. If needed, press the Tab key until you hear “Show Conversations in Separate Windows, unchecked check box.” To select the option, press Control+Option+Spacebar.

Switch sounds on or off for incoming messages and calls

Sound effects for incoming messages notify you of a new instant message or an incoming call. Notifications for calls and messages are on by default. You can change the settings in Preferences.

  1. To go to Preferences, while in Skype for Business, press Command+, (comma).

  2. Press the Left or Right arrow key, or the Tab key until you hear: “Notifications, button.” Then press Control+Option+Spacebar.

  3. Press the Left or Right arrow key, or the Tab key until you hear the option you want:

    • “Play sounds related to calls" to switch sounds for calls on or off.

    • “Play sounds related to messages" to switch sounds for messages on or off.

    • "Stop notifications while sharing screens" to switch notifications on or off during screen sharing.

    To select or deselect an option, press Spacebar.

Navigate using the keyboard

With VoiceOver turned on, make sure Quick Nav is on, too. The Control and Option keys are called the “VoiceOver keys,” or “Control+Option keys.” To enter VoiceOver commands, press and hold the Control+Option keys, along with one or more other keys.

  • To navigate around the main window, press the Control+Option+arrow keys. You can also use the Tab key (to go forward) or Shift+Tab (to go backward) to navigate the window.

  • To interact with items, press Control+Option+Shift+Down arrow key.

  • To select and deselect an item, press Control+Option+Spacebar.

  • To exit items, press Control+Option+Shift+Up arrow key.

  • To browse within menus or lists, press the Up arrow key or the Down arrow key, and then, to make a selection, press Spacebar.

  • To exit a menu or a list, press Esc.

  • The application menu is located in the menu bar and it contains the menus and commands for Skype for Business for Mac. To access the menu bar, press Control+Option+M. You hear: “Menu bar, Apple.” Use the Right arrow key to browse through the menus: Skype for Business, File, Edit, Contacts, Conversations, Window, and Help. Press the Down arrow key to open a menu, and Up and Down arrows to browse through the items in a menu. To select an item, press Spacebar.

For more details, see Keyboard shortcuts in Skype for Business.

Use the VoiceOver Item Chooser

To easily navigate around Skype for Business, you can also use VoiceOver Item Chooser. To activate Item Chooser, press Control+Option+I. You hear: “Item Chooser-menu.” Then use the arrow keys to move in the menu and listen to the content.

Go to Skype for Business preferences

To open Preferences, press Command+, (comma). You hear “Preferences,” and the current tab name. Use Control+Option+an arrow key or the Tab key to navigate around the window to hear the options. To select or deselect an option, press Spacebar. To close Preferences, press Esc.

See also

Use a screen reader to make or receive a call in Skype for Business

Use a screen reader to share your screen in Skype for Business

Keyboard shortcuts in Skype for Business

Basic tasks using a screen reader with Skype for Business

Set up your device to work with accessibility in Office 365

Make your Skype for Business meetings more accessible

Skype for Business app for iPhone and iPad includes accessibility features that make it easier for people with disabilities like limited dexterity or low vision to use the meeting and messaging app. For more information about accessibility settings and features that are platform-specific, see Set up your device to work with accessibility in Office 365.

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?.

  • 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.

In this topic

Get to know the Skype for Business layout

After you start the Skype for Business app on iPhone, you'll find the following elements in the layout:

Note: Skype for Business chooses what to show based on recent activity. What appears on your device might vary.

  • Your profile, Meetings button, Phone button for calls (if available for your account), and Contacts button.

  • Search for contacts box.

  • Upcoming heading (if you have any upcoming meetings).

  • Recent heading, which lists any recent communications, including meetings.

Navigate using touch

Navigate by touch with VoiceOver.

  • To scroll up, down, left, or right, swipe three fingers in that direction.

  • To select a command or UI element, tap once.

  • To activate the selected command or UI element, double-tap.

See also

Use a screen reader to make or receive a call in Skype for Business

Use a screen reader to share your screen in Skype for Business

Basic tasks using a screen reader with Skype for Business

Set up your device to work with accessibility in Office 365

Make your meeting more accessible with Skype for Business

Skype for Business app for Android includes accessibility features that make it easier for people with disabilities like limited dexterity or low vision to use the meeting and messaging app. For more information about accessibility settings and features that are platform-specific, see Set up your device to work with accessibility in Office 365.

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?.

  • 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

Get to know the Skype for Business layout

After you start the Skype for Business app on an Android phone, you'll find the following elements in the layout:

Note: Skype for Business chooses what to show based on recent activity. What appears on your device might vary.

  • Your profile, Meetings button, Phone button for calls (if available for your account), and Contacts button.

  • Search for contacts, or Search in the company directory box (depending on your account settings).

  • Upcoming heading (if you have any upcoming meetings).

  • Recent heading, which lists any recent communications, including meetings.

Navigate using touch

Navigate by touch with TalkBack.

  • To scroll up, down, left, or right, swipe two fingers in that direction.

  • To select a command or UI element, tap once.

  • To activate the selected command or UI element, double-tap.

See also

Use a screen reader to make or receive a call in Skype for Business

Use TalkBack to share a presentation in Skype for Business for Android

Basic tasks using a screen reader with Skype for Business

Set up your device to work with accessibility in Office 365

Make your meeting more accessible with Skype for Business

Skype for Business in Outlook on the web includes accessibility features that make it easier for people with disabilities like limited dexterity or low vision to use the messaging app.

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 Outlook on the web.

  • 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 Skype for Business in Outlook on the web, we recommend that you use Microsoft Edge as your web browser. Because Skype for Business in Outlook on the web 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 Outlook on the web.

In this topic

Get to know the Skype for Business layout

Skype for Business in Outlook on the web runs in Outlook on the web. There's the Office 365 App Launcher in the top-left corner of Outlook on the web. To the right on the same ribbon is the Skype for Business button for launching Skype for Business.

When you first open the Skype for Business in Outlook on the web, the All contacts tab is active. This first of two tabs displays all of your Skype for Business contacts, listed in alphabetical order by first name. The second of the two tabs, the Online tab, lists the Skype for Business contacts who are currently online.

When you press Enter on a contact, you open a chat with that person. The Contacts pane is replaced with a chat pane. At the top of the chat pane is the contact’s name and status, in addition to the Add people button that lets you add more people to your chat. Below the contact's information are the messages sent in the conversation. At the bottom of the Skype for Business chat pane is the chat input field where you can type your message. The Emoticons icon is on the right-hand side of the chat input field.

There are three controls in the margin to the right. The Search Skype box lets you search Skype for Business for contacts. The Contacts button takes you to the Contacts panes. The New chat button lets you start a new conversation with one or more contacts on Skype for Business.

When you have active conversations ongoing, the participants’ icons appear below these three controls in the right margin.

In the bottom-right margin of the Skype for Business pane there are two additional items: the Toggle chat notifications icon and a Give feedback icon. The first turns the Outlook on the web chat notifications off or on. The second launches a feedback form in a new browser tab, where you can send a message to the Skype for Business team.

Navigate using the keyboard

Navigate in Skype for Business in Outlook on the web and cycle through screen elements using your keyboard and Narrator, the built-in Windows screen reader. You can even use some other screen reader, such as JAWS. To turn Narrator on or off in Windows, press Ctrl+Windows logo key+Enter.

  • After starting your screen reader, to navigate to Skype for Business in Outlook on the web, press Ctrl+F6 until you hear: “Open the App Launcher.” Then press the Tab key until you hear “Use the Down arrow key to use the Skype for Business conversations pane," and press Spacebar.

  • To navigate through the Skype for Business controls, use the Tab key to go forward, and Shift+Tab key to go backward. Use the Down arrow key to move down on a list. To select, press Enter.

    Because this version of Skype for Business operates inside of Outlook on the web, it is easy to move out of the Skype for Business controls and into the Outlook on the web controls. Fortunately, it’s just as easy to move back by pressing Ctrl+F6 or Shift+Tab.

  • To move from the All Contacts tab to the Contacts list, press the Tab key until you hear the name of the first contact.

  • To move through the names of your contacts in the Contacts list, press the Down arrow key or the Up arrow key. When the focus is on a contact, you hear the contact's name or email and current status. To start a conversation with the currently selected contact, press Enter.

  • If your screen reader stops reading or behaves unexpectedly, press Alt+Tab to leave the current window, and then press Alt+Tab again to return to it. This resets the screen reader's focus on the current window.

  • To exit Skype for Business, press Esc.

See also

Use a screen reader to send an Instant Message in Skype for Business

Use a screen reader to add people to your contacts in Skype for Business

Basic tasks using a screen reader with Skype for Business

Make your meeting more accessible with Skype for Business

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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