Use a screen reader to align text and paragraphs in Outlook

Use a screen reader to align text and paragraphs in Outlook

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 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 a keyboard and screen reader to change the alignment of your message text in Outlook. We have tested it with Narrator and JAWS, but it might work with other screen readers as long as they follow common accessibility standards and techniques. You'll learn how to quickly center text, align it right or left, or justify to align with both margins.

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.

  • To learn more about screen readers, go to How screen readers work with Microsoft Office.

  • Depending on the screen reader you use, you may need to adjust the verbosity settings to hear the screen reader describe how the text is aligned.

In this topic

Align text

Alignment determines the appearance and orientation of the edges of the paragraph: left-aligned, right-aligned, centered, or justified text.

  1. When composing an email, place the focus anywhere in the paragraph that you want to align.

  2. Choose the alignment option:

    • To align the text to the left, press Alt+H, and then press A, L.

    • To align the text to the right, press Alt+H, and then press A, R.

    • To center the text, press Alt+H, and then press A, C.

    • To justify the text, press Alt+O, and then press A, J.

    Note: For people who have a reading disability, such as dyslexia, justified text can be very difficult to read, so consider using other alignment options.

Customize paragraph alignment

You can add indentation in paragraphs from the left or right margins of the page.

  1. When composing a message, select the paragraphs you want to indent.

  2. Do one of the following:

    • To add indent to the left, press Alt+H, and then press A, O.

    • To add indent to the right, press Alt+H, and then press A, I.

Tip: In Outlook you can also use the paragraph formatting options to, for example, change the amount of space between lines of text or between paragraphs. To learn more about line and paragraph spacing, refer to Use a screen reader to change the indentation and spacing options in Outlook.

Align text using Tell Me

When you don’t know the keyboard shortcut or want to learn about more options, try using the Tell me what you want to do box.

  1. Place the focus anywhere in the paragraph you want to align.

  2. To move to the Tell me what you want to do box, press Alt+Q.

  3. Type a keyword or phrase related to your task, and then press the Down arrow key to choose from the search results. For example, type align text for related actions such as the Align Right button.

  4. To choose an option, press Enter.

See also

Use a screen reader to change the indentation and spacing options in Outlook

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

Keyboard shortcuts for Outlook

Basic tasks using a screen reader with email in Outlook

Set up your device to work with accessibility in Office 365

Use a screen reader to explore and navigate Outlook Mail

Use Outlook for Mac with your keyboard and VoiceOver, the built-in Mac OS screen reader, to modify text and paragraph alignment. You can center text, align it right or left, or justify it to adjust the spacing between words in a paragraph so the left and right edges are even.

Notes: 

In this topic

Align text

Alignment determines the appearance and orientation of the edges of the paragraph: left-aligned, right-aligned, centered, or justified text.

  1. When composing an email, select the paragraphs you want to align.

    Tip: To select a piece of text, hold down Shift and press the arrow keys to move the cursor.

  2. Press Control+Option+M. You hear: "Menu bar, Apple."

  3. Press the Tab key until you hear "Format," and then press the Down arrow key until you hear: "Alignment sub-menu."

  4. Press the Right arrow key. You hear: "Alignment sub-menu."

  5. Press the Down arrow key until you hear the option you want.

    Note: For people who have a reading disability, such as dyslexia, justified text can be very difficult to read.

    Tips: You can also use keyboard shortcuts to quickly align the selected text to the right, left or center:

    • To align the text to the left, press Command+Left brace ({).

    • To align the text to the right, press Command+Right brace (}).

    • To center the text, press Command+Vertical bar (|).

Customize paragraph alignment

You can add indentation in paragraphs from the left or right margins of the page.

  1. When composing a message, select the paragraphs you want to indent.

  2. Do one of the following:

    • To add indent to the left, press Command+Right square bracket (]).

    • To add indent to the right, press Command+Left square bracket ([).

See also

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

Use a screen reader to create bulleted or numbered lists in Outlook

Keyboard shortcuts for Outlook

Basic tasks using a screen reader with the calendar in Outlook

Set up your device to work with accessibility in Office 365

Use a screen reader to explore and navigate Outlook Mail

Use Outlook Web App with your keyboard and a screen reader to modify text and paragraph alignment. We have tested it with Narrator, but it might work with other screen readers as long as they follow common accessibility standards and techniques. You'll learn how to center text or align it right or left when composing a message with Mail.

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.

  • To learn more about screen readers, go to How screen readers work with Microsoft Office.

  • This topic assumes that the Reading pane is off.

  • When you use Outlook Web App, we recommend that you use Microsoft Edge as your web browser. Because Outlook Web App 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 Web App.

  • We're currently updating Outlook.office.com (Outlook on the Web). Some people are already using the new Outlook, and for others the classic version will be the default experience until we complete the update. For more information, go to Get help with the new Outlook on the web. Since the instructions in this topic apply to the new experience, we recommend that you switch from the classic experience to the new Outlook. To switch to the new Outlook, press Ctrl+F6 until you hear "Command, Try the new Outlook," and then press Enter. If you hear "Command toolbar" instead of "Command, Try the new Outlook," you're already using the new Outlook.

In this topic

Align text

Alignment determines the appearance and orientation of the edges of the paragraph: left-aligned, right-aligned, or centered text.

  1. When composing an email, select the paragraphs you want to align.

  2. Press the Tab key until you hear: "Formatting options."

  3. Do one of the following:

    • To align the text to the left, press the Right or Left arrow key until you hear "Align left button," and press Spacebar.

    • To align the text to the right, press the Right or Left arrow key until you hear "Align right button," and press Spacebar.

    • To center the text, press the Right or Left arrow key until you hear "Center button," and press Spacebar.

  4. After selecting an alignment option, the focus moves to the email message body.

Customize paragraph alignment

You can add indentation in paragraphs from the left or right margin of the page.

  1. When composing a message, select the paragraphs you want to indent.

  2. Press the Tab key until you hear: "Formatting options."

  3. Do one of the following:

    • To add indent to the left, press the Right or Left arrow key until you hear "Decease indent button," and press Spacebar.

    • To add indent to the right, press the Right or Left arrow key until you hear "Increase indent button," and press Spacebar.

  4. The focus moves to the email message body.

See also

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

Use a screen reader to create bulleted or numbered lists in Outlook

Keyboard shortcuts for Outlook

Basic tasks using a screen reader with email 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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