Use a screen reader to chat in Skype (version 8)

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This article is for people with visual impairments who use a screen reader program with the Office products and is part of the Office Accessibility content set. For more general help, see Office Support home.

Use Skype with your keyboard and a screen reader such as Narrator, the built-in Windows screen reader, or NVDA to chat with other Skype users via instant message (IM).

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.

  • For keyboard shortcuts, go to What are hotkeys and how do I use them in Skype?.

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

  • This topic makes note of the NVDA functionality as well. To learn more about NVDA, go to NV Access | Get Help.

  • This topic assumes you are using this app with a PC. Some navigation and gestures might be different for a Windows phone or tablet.

In this topic

Create a chat conversation

  1. In the Skype main window, press Ctrl+N.

  2. Type the person's name, address, or phone number. The search is performed while you type.

  3. To move to the list of results, press the Tab key repeatedly until you hear the first result. If there are more results, browse the list using the Down and Up arrow keys. The screen reader announces the contacts as you move.

    To select a person, press Enter. The focus moves to the Type a message here text input field.

Create a group chat

You can have a conversation with two or more people at once.

  1. In the Skype main window, press Ctrl+G.

    Type a name for the group, then press Enter.

  2. Press the Tab key repeatedly until you hear "Search people and bots," then press Enter to open the Search text input field. In NVDA, you hear: "Search."

  3. To add a person to the group:

    1. Type a name. The search is performed while you type.

    2. To move to the list of results, press the Tab key repeatedly until you hear the first result. If there are more results, browse the list using the Down and Up arrow keys. The screen reader announces the contacts as you move.

      To select a person, press Enter.

    To add more people to the group, return to the Search text input field. Press Shift+Tab until you hear "Close Search," and then press Shift+Tab.

  4. When you have added everyone you want, press Shift+Tab until you hear: "Done," and then press Enter.

    The group chat is created, and the focus moves to the Type a message here text input field.

Create a private conversation

You can invite another person to a private conversation with you. Messages, media files, and calls in a private conversation are encrypted.

Notes: 

  • Private conversations can only be accessed on one device at a time.

  • To keep the information you share private, private conversation content is hidden in the chat list notifications.

  1. In the Skype main window, press Alt+1 to move to the Chats tab, then press Shift+Tab. You hear: "New chat".

  2. To open the "New chat" menu, press Enter.

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

  4. Press the Down arrow key three times. In NVDA, you hear: "New private conversation." Press Enter.

  5. Press the Tab key repeatedly until you hear "Search people," then press Enter to open the Search text input field. In NVDA, you hear: "Search."

  6. Type the name of the person you want to invite to a private conversation. The search is performed while you type.

  7. To move to the list of results, press the Tab key repeatedly until you hear the first result. If there are more results, browse the list using the Down and Up arrow keys. The screen reader announces the contacts as you move.

    To select a person, press Enter. An invitation to join the private conversation is sent to them. They must accept the invitation before you can send them private conversation messages.

To switch between your Skype and private conversations with the same person, in the chat, press the Tab key repeatedly until you hear "Skype conversation" or "Private conversation", then press the Right or Left arrow key until you hear the conversation you want to switch to. Press Enter. The focus moves to the Type a message here text input field.

Find messages in a conversation

You can quickly search for a message within the current conversation.

  1. In the chat, press Ctrl+F to open the search text input field. In NVDA, you hear: "Find messages in current conversation."

  2. Type your search words and press Enter. NVDA reads the number of search results. The search results are ordered from newest to oldest.

  3. Press the Tab key repeatedly until you hear the message containing the search result.

  4. To move to another search result, press Shift+Tab repeatedly until you hear "Previous result" or "Next result," then press Enter. Press the Tab key repeatedly until you hear the message containing the search result.

React to a message

  1. In the chat, press the Tab key repeatedly until you hear the last message in the conversation.

  2. Press the Up or Down arrow key until you hear the message you want to react to, and press Enter.

    Note: You can only react to messages that other people have sent to you.

  3. Press the Tab key until you hear "React to this message," and press Enter.

  4. Press the Tab key until you hear the reaction you want, and press Enter.

Delete a conversation

When you delete a chat, all the messages in the conversation are deleted, and the chat no longer shows in your recent chats.

Note: The chat is deleted from the specific device only. It is still available on other devices unless you delete it from there too.

  1. In the Skype window, press Alt+1 to move to the Chats tab.

  2. Use the Up and Down arrow keys to move to the conversation you want to delete.

  3. Press Shift+F10 to open the context menu, then press the Down arrow key four times. In NVDA, you hear: "Delete conversation." Press Enter.

    If you have both a Skype conversation and a private conversation with the same person, press the Tab key to select whether you want to delete the Skype conversation, private conversation, or both, and then press Enter.

  4. To confirm deleting the conversation, press the Down arrow key until you hear "Delete," and then press Enter.

Add files to a conversation

You can add files to your chat as messages. The files are stored in the conversation gallery, and you can access them in the message list or in the conversation gallery.

  1. In the chat, press the Tab key until you hear: "Add files." Press Enter. The Open file dialog opens.

  2. Locate and select the file you want. Move in the dialog by using the Tab key and Up and Down arrow keys, and select the folders or files by pressing Enter.

    The selected file is added to the conversation.

You can also add the file in the Gallery. To open the file dialog from the Gallery, press the Tab key until you hear "Gallery," press Enter, press the Tab key until you hear: "Drop here to share," and then press Enter.

See also

Use a screen reader to add chat expressions in Skype (version 8)

Use a screen reader to view and navigate a profile in Skype (version 8)

What are hotkeys and how do I use them in Skype?

Basic tasks using a screen reader with Skype (version 8)

Use Skype with VoiceOver, the built-in Mac OS screen reader, to chat with other Skype users via instant message (IM).

Notes: 

In this topic

Create a chat conversation

  1. In the Skype main window, press Command+N.

  2. Press the Tab key until you hear "Search people and bots," and press Return.

  3. Type the person's name, address, or phone number. The search is performed while you type.

  4. To move to the list of results, press the Tab key repeatedly until you hear the first result. If there are more results, browse the list using the Down and Up arrow keys. The screen reader announces the contacts as you move. To select a person, press Return.

  5. To move the focus to the message compose box, press the Tab key until you hear: "Type a message here."

  6. Type your message. To send the message, press Return.

Create a group chat

You can have a conversation with two or more people at once.

  1. In the Skype main window, press Command+G.

  2. Press the Tab key until you hear: "Group name."

  3. Type a name for the group, then press Return.

  4. Press the Tab key until you hear "Next button," and then press Return to open the Add to Group dialog.

  5. Press the Tab key until you hear "Search people and bots," and press Return.

  6. Type a name. The search is performed while you type.

    To move to the list of results, press the Tab key repeatedly until you hear the first result. If there are more results, browse the list using the Down and Up arrow keys. The screen reader announces the contacts as you move. To select a person, press Return.

    To add more people to the group, return to the Search text input field. Press Shift+Tab until you hear "Close Search," and then press Shift+Tab.

  7. When you have added everyone you want, press Shift+Tab until you hear: "Done," and then press Return.

    The group chat is created, and the focus moves to the Type a message here message compose box.

Create a private conversation

You can invite another person to a private conversation with you. Messages, media files, and calls in a private conversation are encrypted.

Notes: 

  • Private conversations can only be accessed on one device at a time.

  • To keep the information you share private, private conversation content is hidden in the chat list notifications.

  1. In the Skype main window, press the Tab key until you hear: "Use dialpad."

  2. Press the Tab key once. The focus moves to the row of tabs.

  3. Press the Left or Right arrow key until you hear "Chats," followed by the number of unread notifications. Press Return.

  4. Press the Tab key until you hear "New chat," and press Return.

  5. A context menu opens. Press the Down arrow key until you hear "New private conversation," and then press Return.

  6. The New Private Conversation dialog opens. Press the Tab key until you hear "Search people," and then press Return.

  7. Type the name of the person you want to invite to a private conversation. The search is performed while you type.

  8. To move to the list of the search results, press the Tab key until you hear the first result. If there are more results, browse the list using the Down and Up arrow keys. The screen reader announces the contacts as you move.

  9. To select a person, press Return. An invitation to join the private conversation is sent to them. They must accept the invitation before you can send them private conversation messages.

Note: To switch between your Skype and private conversations with the same person, in the chat, press the Tab key until you hear "Skype conversation" or "Private conversation", then press the Right or Left arrow key until you hear the conversation you want to switch to. Press Return. The focus moves to the Type a message here text input field.

Find messages in a conversation

You can quickly search for a message within the current conversation.

  1. In the chat, press Command+F to open the search text input field. You hear: "Find messages in current conversation."

  2. Type your search words and press Enter. VoiceOver reads the number of search results. The search results are ordered from newest to oldest.

  3. Press the Tab key repeatedly until you hear the message containing the search result.

  4. To move to another search result, press Shift+Tab repeatedly until you hear "Previous result" or "Next result," then press Return. Press the Tab key repeatedly until you hear the message containing the search result.

React to a message

  1. In the chat, press Control+Option+Left arrow key until you hear the last message in the conversation.

  2. Press the Up or Down arrow key until you hear the message you want to react to.

    Note: You can only react to messages that other people have sent to you.

  3. Press the Tab key until you hear "React to this message," and press Return.

  4. Press the Tab key until you hear the reaction you want, and press Return.

Delete a conversation

When you delete a chat, all the messages in the conversation are deleted, and the chat no longer shows in your recent chats.

Note: The chat is deleted from the current device only. It is still available on other devices unless you delete it from there, too.

  1. In the Skype window, press Command+Shift+C, press the Left arrow key until you hear "Chats," and then press Return.

  2. Press the Tab key until you hear the name and time of the most recent chat, and then use the Up and Down arrow keys to move to the conversation you want to delete.

  3. Press Control+Option+Shift+M to open the context menu, press the Down arrow key until you hear "Delete conversation," and press Return.

    If you have both a Skype conversation and a private conversation with the same person, press the Tab key to select whether you want to delete the Skype conversation, private conversation, or both, and then press Return.

  4. To confirm deleting the conversation, press the Tab key until you hear "Delete," and then press Return.

Add files to a conversation

You can add files to your chat as messages. The files are stored in the conversation gallery, and you can access them in the message list or in the conversation gallery.

  1. In the chat, press the Tab key until you hear: "Add files." Press Return. The Open file dialog opens.

  2. Locate and select the file you want. Move in the dialog by using the Tab key and Up and Down arrow keys, and select the folders or files by pressing Return.

    The selected file is added to the conversation.

Tip: You can also add the file in the Gallery. To open the file dialog from the Gallery, press the Tab key until you hear "Gallery," and press Return. Press the Tab key until you hear "Drop here to share," and then press Return.

See also

Use a screen reader to add chat expressions in Skype (version 8)

Use a screen reader to view and navigate a profile in Skype (version 8)

What are hotkeys and how do I use them in Skype?

Basic tasks using a screen reader with Skype (version 8)

Use Skype with VoiceOver, the built-in iOS screen reader, to chat with other Skype users via instant message (IM).

Notes: 

  • New Office 365 features are released gradually to Office 365 subscribers, so your app might not have these features yet. To learn how you can get new features faster, join the Office Insider program.

  • This topic assumes that you are using the built-in 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

Create a chat conversation

  1. In the Chats tab, swipe right or left until you hear "New conversation," and then double-tap the screen.

  2. Swipe right. You hear: "Search Skype." Double-tap the screen. Enter the person's name, address, or phone number. As you type, the screen reader announces the number of results found.

  3. To access the result list, swipe up with two fingers, and then swipe right until you hear the first search result. To browse in the list, swipe left or right. The screen reader announces the contacts as you move.

    To select a person, double-tap the screen. The focus moves to the Type a message text input field.

Create a group chat

You can have a conversation with two or more people at once.

  1. In the Chats tab, swipe right or left until you hear "New conversation," and then double-tap the screen.

  2. Swipe right until you hear "New Group Chat," and then double-tap the screen.

  3. Swipe right until you hear "Group name," and then double-tap the screen. Enter a name for the group.

  4. Swipe right until you hear "Next," then double-tap the screen.

  5. Swipe right until you hear "Search people and bots," then double-tap the screen to open the Search text input field.

  6. To add a person to the group:

    1. Enter the person's name. As you type, the screen reader announces the number of results found.

    2. To access the result list, swipe up with two fingers, and then swipe right until you hear the first search result. To browse in the list, swipe left or right. The screen reader announces the contacts as you move.

      To select a person, double-tap the screen.

    To add more people to the group, swipe left until you return to the Search text input field.

  7. When you have added everyone you want, swipe left until you hear "Done," and then double-tap the screen.

    The group chat is created, and the focus moves to the Type a message text input field.

Create a private conversation

You can invite another person to a private conversation with you. Messages, media files, and calls in a private conversation are encrypted.

Notes: 

  • Private conversations can only be accessed on one device at a time.

  • To keep the information you share private, private conversation content is hidden in the chat list notifications.

  1. In the Chats tab, swipe right or left until you hear "New conversation," and then double-tap the screen.

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

  3. Swipe right. You hear: "Search people." Double-tap the screen to open the Search text input field.

  4. Type the name of the person you want to invite to a private conversation. As you type, the screen reader announces the number of results found.

  5. To access the result list, swipe up with two fingers, and then swipe right until you hear the first search result. To browse in the list, swipe left or right. The screen reader announces the contacts as you move.

    To select a person, double-tap the screen. An invitation to join the private conversation is sent to them. They must accept the invitation before you can send them private conversation messages.

To switch between your Skype and private conversations with the same person, in the chat, swipe up with two fingers, and then swipe right until you hear "Switch to Skype conversation" or "Switch to private conversation", then double-tap the screen. The focus moves to the Type a message here text input field.

React to a message

  1. In the chat, swipe left or right until you hear the message you want to react to.

    Note: You can only react to messages that other people have sent to you.

  2. Swipe up or down until you hear "React," then double-tap the screen.

  3. To browse the available reactions, swipe left or right. When you hear the reaction you want, double-tap the screen.

Delete a conversation

When you delete a chat, all the messages in the conversation are deleted, and the chat no longer shows in your recent chats.

Note: The chat is deleted from the specific device only. It is still available on other devices unless you delete it from there too.

  1. In the Chats tab, swipe left or right to move to the conversation you want to delete.

  2. Swipe up or down until you hear "Delete conversation," then double-tap the screen.

    If you have both a Skype chat and a private conversation with the same person, swipe right to select whether you want to delete the Skype chat, private conversation, or both, and then double-tap the screen.

  3. To confirm deleting the conversation, swipe right until you hear "Delete," and then double-tap the screen.

Add photos and videos to a conversation

You can add photos and videos to your chat as messages. The files are stored in the chat gallery, and you can access them in the message list or in the chat gallery.

  1. In the chat, swipe left or right until you hear "Content and tools," and then double-tap the screen. Swipe left or right until you hear: "Add files." Press Enter. The Open file dialog opens.

  2. Swipe right. You hear: "Media." Double-tap the screen. The media gallery opens.

  3. Locate and select the file you want. Move in the gallery by swiping left or right. To select a file, double-tap the screen. You can select multiple files.

  4. When you have selected the file or files you want, swipe up with two fingers, and then swipe right. You hear: "Send."

    If you selected multiple files, they are added to the conversation.

    If you selected a single photo or video, confirm sending the file. Swipe right until you hear "send to" and the name of the person you are sending it to, and then double-tap the screen. The file is added to the conversation.

See also

Use a screen reader to add chat expressions in Skype (version 8)

Use a screen reader to view and navigate a profile in Skype (version 8)

Basic tasks using a screen reader with Skype (version 8)

Use Skype with TalkBack, the built-in Android screen reader, to chat with other Skype users via instant message (IM).

Notes: 

  • New Office 365 features are released gradually to Office 365 subscribers, so your app might not have these features yet. To learn how you can get new features faster, join the Office Insider program.

  • This topic assumes that you are using the built-in 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

Create a chat conversation

  1. In the Chats tab, swipe right or left until you hear "New conversation," and then double-tap the screen.

  2. Swipe right until you hear: "Search Skype." Double-tap the screen. Enter the person's name, address, or phone number. As you type, the screen reader announces the number of results found.

  3. To access the result list, swipe right until you hear the first search result. To browse in the list, swipe left or right. The screen reader announces the contacts as you move.

    To select a person, double-tap the screen. The focus moves to the Type a message text input field.

Create a group chat

You can have a conversation with two or more people at once.

  1. In the Chats tab, swipe right or left until you hear "New conversation," and then double-tap the screen.

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

  3. Swipe right until you hear "Group name," and then double-tap the screen. Enter a name for the group.

  4. Swipe right until you hear "Next," then double-tap the screen.

  5. Swipe right until you hear "Search people and bots," then double-tap the screen to open the Search text input field.

  6. To add a person to the group:

    1. Enter the person's name. As you type, the screen reader announces the number of results found.

    2. To access the result list, swipe right until you hear the first search result. To browse in the list, swipe left or right. The screen reader announces the contacts as you move.

      To select a person, double-tap the screen.

    To add more people to the group, swipe left until you return to the Search text input field.

  7. When you have added everyone you want, swipe left until you hear "Done," and then double-tap the screen.

    The group chat is created, and the focus moves to the Type a message text input field.

Create a private conversation

You can invite another person to a private conversation with you. Messages, media files, and calls in a private conversation are encrypted.

Notes: 

  • Private conversations can only be accessed on one device at a time.

  • To keep the information you share private, private conversation content is hidden in the chat list notifications.

  1. In the Chats tab, swipe right or left until you hear "New conversation," and then double-tap the screen.

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

  3. Swipe right. You hear: "Search people." Double-tap the screen to open the Search text input field.

  4. Type the name of the person you want to invite to a private conversation. As you type, the screen reader announces the number of results found.

  5. To access the result list swipe right until you hear the first search result. To browse in the list, swipe left or right. The screen reader announces the contacts as you move.

    To select a person, double-tap the screen. An invitation to join the private conversation is sent to them. They must accept the invitation before you can send them private conversation messages.

To switch between your Skype and private conversations with the same person, in the chat, swipe right until you hear "Switch to Skype conversation" or "Switch to private conversation", then double-tap the screen. The focus moves to the Type a message here text input field.

React to a message

  1. In the chat, swipe left or right until you hear the message you want to react to.

    Note: You can only react to messages that other people have sent to you.

  2. Double-tap and hold to access the context menu. Swipe right until you hear "React," then double-tap the screen.

  3. To browse the available reactions, swipe left or right. When you hear the reaction you want, double-tap the screen.

Delete a conversation

When you delete a chat, all the messages in the conversation are deleted, and the chat no longer shows in your recent chats.

Note: The chat is deleted from the specific device only. It is still available on other devices unless you delete it from there too.

  1. In the Chats tab, swipe left or right to move to the conversation you want to delete.

  2. Double-tap and hold to access the context menu. Swipe right until you hear "Delete conversation," then double-tap the screen.

    If you have both a Skype chat and a private conversation with the same person, swipe right to select whether you want to delete the Skype chat, private conversation, or both, and then double-tap the screen.

  3. To confirm deleting the conversation, swipe right until you hear "Delete," and then double-tap the screen.

Add photos and videos to a conversation

You can add photos and videos to your chat as messages. The files are stored in the chat gallery, and you can access them in the message list or in the chat gallery.

  1. In the chat, swipe left or right until you hear "Content and tools," and then double-tap the screen. press the Tab key until you hear: "Add files." Press Enter. The Open file dialog opens.

  2. Swipe right. You hear: "Media." Double-tap the screen. The media gallery opens.

  3. Locate and select the file you want. Move in the gallery by swiping left or right. To select a file, double-tap the screen. You can select multiple files.

  4. When you have selected the file or files you want, swipe left until you hear: "Next."

    If you selected multiple files, they are added to the conversation.

    If you selected a single photo or video, confirm sending the file. Swipe right until you hear "send to" and the name of the person you are sending it to, and then double-tap the screen. The file is added to the conversation.

See also

Use a screen reader to add chat expressions in Skype (version 8)

Use a screen reader to view and navigate a profile in Skype (version 8)

Basic tasks using a screen reader with Skype (version 8)

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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