Use a screen reader to explore and navigate OneNote

Use a screen reader to explore and navigate OneNote

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 OneNote with your keyboard and a screen reader to explore and navigate the different views and move between them. We have tested it with Narrator, but it might work with other screen readers as long as they follow common accessibility standards and techniques.

Notes: 

In this topic

Navigate the main view

Press F6 (forward) or Shift+F6 (backward) to cycle through the main view elements in the following order:

  • The main content area, which shows the contents of the current page.

  • The full page view button. For more information, refer to Full page view.

  • The row of ribbon tabs, which contains tabs such as File, Home, Insert, Draw, History, Review, and View, as well as the feedback button. The ribbon containing the options specific to the currently selected tab is located immediately below the row of ribbon tabs.

  • The section tab collection, which contains all the sections in the current notebook, as well as the button for switching to other notebooks.

  • The page tab collection, which contains all the pages in the current section.

  • The search box, which you can use with the following scope options:

    • Current page

    • Current section

    • Current section group

    • Current notebook

    • All notebooks

To navigate to the ribbon tabs, press Alt. You hear “Ribbon tabs,” followed by the name of the currently selected tab. To move between the ribbon tabs, use the Left or Right arrow key.

To navigate from the ribbon tabs to the ribbon, press Enter. You hear the name of the first option on the ribbon. To navigate between options on the ribbon, press the Tab key (forward) or Shift+Tab (backward) until you hear the option you want, and press Enter to select it.

You can also use keyboard shortcuts to select options directly.

Navigate between views

In addition to the main view, OneNote has the following commonly used views.

File menu

In the File menu, you can access commands such as New, Open, Share, Export, and Send, or access your Office account information.

  1. Press Alt+F to open the File menu.

  2. To move between the menu tabs, press the Up or Down arrow key until you hear the one you want and then press the Tab key to select it. Use the Tab key and arrow keys to navigate the tab, and press Enter to make a selection.

  3. To close the File menu and return to the main view, press Esc.

Options window

In the OneNote options window, you can access settings such as personalization, proofreading settings, and language preferences.

  1. Press Alt+F, T to open the Options window.

  2. To move between the option categories, press the Up or Down arrow key until you hear the one you want and then press the Tab key to select it. Press the Tab key (forward) or Shift+Tab (backward) to move between the different options in a category and press Spacebar to toggle the currently highlighted option.

  3. To close the Options window and return to the main view, press Enter.

Full page view

When you use the full page view, all main view elements except the main content area and the button for switching views are hidden. This makes it easier for you and your screen reader to navigate through a page.

To switch to full page view, press F6 until you hear "Navigation controls, full page view," and press Enter. To return to normal view, press F6 until you hear "Navigation controls, normal view," and press Enter.

Explore a notebook

Each OneNote notebook is divided into sections, which are further divided into pages. Each page contains one or more note containers as well as the title and date of the page. Screen readers refer to note containers as “content blocks.”

To move within the main content area, use the arrow keys.

To move to another page in the current section, press F6 until you hear "Page tab collection," press the Up and Down arrow keys to find the page you want, and press Spacebar. The selected page opens in the main content area and the focus moves there.

To move to another section in the current notebook, press F6 until you hear "Section tab collection," press the Left and Right arrow keys to find the section you want, and press Spacebar. The selected section opens in the main content area showing the last page you visited and the focus moves there.

To switch to another notebook, press F6 until you hear "Section tab collection," press the Left arrow key until you hear "Click to view other notebooks," followed by the name of the current notebook, and press Spacebar to open the menu. Then press the Up and Down arrow keys to find the notebook you want, and press Spacebar. The selected notebook opens in the main content area showing the last page you visited and the focus moves there.

See also

Use a screen reader to share and collaborate on notebooks in OneNote

Use a screen reader to insert content to notebooks in OneNote

Keyboard shortcuts in OneNote for Windows

Basic tasks using a screen reader with OneNote

Set up your device to work with accessibility in Office 365

Make your OneNote notebooks accessible to people with disabilities

Use OneNote for Mac with your keyboard and VoiceOver, the built-in macOS screen reader, to explore and navigate the different views and move between them.

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 macOS screen reader, VoiceOver. To learn more about using VoiceOver, go to VoiceOver Getting Started Guide.

In this topic

Navigate the main view

Press F6 (forward) or Shift+F6 (backward) to cycle through the main view elements in the following order:

  • The main content area or canvas, which shows the contents of the current page.

  • Quick access toolbar, which contains buttons such as Undo, Redo, Notification Center, and Help Improve Office.

  • The row of ribbon tabs, which contains tabs such as Home, Insert, Draw, and View, as well as the Share and Toggle Full Canvas Mode buttons. The ribbon containing the options specific to the currently selected tab is located immediately below the row of ribbon tabs.

  • List of sections, which contains all the sections in the current notebook.

To navigate the ribbon tabs, press F6 until you hear the name of the currently selected tab. To move between the ribbon tabs, press the Tab key (forward) or Shift+Tab (backward).

To navigate from the ribbon tabs to the ribbon, press Control+Option+Spacebar, and press the Tab key until you hear the first option on the ribbon (it comes after you hear: "Toggle Full Canvas Mode"). To navigate between options on the ribbon, press the Tab key (forward) or Shift+Tab (backward) until you hear the option you want, and press Control+Option+Spacebar to select it. If the option opens a new menu, use the Tab key and arrow keys to navigate it and press Return to make a selection.

You can also use keyboard shortcuts to select options directly.

Navigate between views

In addition to the main view, OneNote for Mac has the following commonly used views.

File menu

In the File menu, you can access commands such as New, Open, Sync, Share, and Print.

  1. Press Fn+Control+F2, F, and press Control+Option+Spacebar to open the File menu.

  2. To move between the menu tabs, press the Up or Down arrow key until you hear the one you want, and then press the Tab key to select it. Use the Tab key and arrow keys to navigate the tab, and press Return to make a selection.

  3. To close the File menu and return to the main view, press Esc.

Preferences dialog

In the OneNotePreferences dialog, you can access settings such as spelling, navigation, and privacy preferences.

  1. Press Command+the comma sign (,) to open the Preferences dialog.

  2. To move between the option categories, press the Tab key (forward) or Shift+Tab (backward) until you hear the one you want, and then press Control+Option+Spacebar to select it. Press the Tab key (forward) or Shift+Tab (backward) to move between the different options in a category, and press Control+Option+Spacebar to toggle the currently highlighted option.

  3. To close the Preferences dialog and return to the main view, press Esc.

Full canvas mode

When you use the full canvas mode, most main view elements are hidden. This makes it easier for you and your screen reader to navigate through a page.

  1. Press F6 until you hear the name of the currently selected tab, press the Tab key until you hear "Toggle full canvas mode, button," and press Control+Option+Spacebar.

    You're now using the full canvas mode.

  2. To exit the full canvas mode, repeat step 1.

Explore a notebook

Each OneNote notebook is divided into sections, which are further divided into pages. Each page contains one or more note containers as well as the title and date of the page. Screen readers refer to note containers as “content blocks.”

To move within the main content area, use the arrow keys.

To move to another page in the current section, press Command+Control+G, and press the Up and Down arrow keys to find the page you want. The selected page opens in the main content area.

To move to another section in the current notebook, press F6 until you hear "List of sections," and press the Up and Down arrow keys to find the section you want. The selected section opens in the main content area showing the last page you visited.

To switch to another notebook, press F6 until you hear "List of sections," press the Tab key until you hear "Show account and notebooks, button," and press Control+Option+Spacebar to open the list of notebooks. Press Control+Option+Shift+Down arrow key to move into the list, and press the Up and Down arrow keys to find the notebook you want. The selected notebook opens in the main content area showing the last page you visited.

Tip: To search notebooks, press Command+F, type your search text and press Return.

See also

Use a screen reader to share and collaborate on notebooks in OneNote

Use a screen reader to insert content to notebooks in OneNote

Keyboard shortcuts in OneNote for Mac

Basic tasks using a screen reader with OneNote

Set up your device to work with accessibility in Office 365

Make your OneNote notebooks accessible to people with disabilities

Use OneNote for iOS with VoiceOver, the built-in iOS screen reader, to explore and navigate the different views and move between them.

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.

In this topic

Navigate the main view

The main view in the OneNote for iOS app contains the following elements:

  • The User account button, which opens the Settings menu where you can manage your Microsoft account, as well as other settings such as Edit and view, Sync, and Notifications

  • The Notifications button

  • The Edit button, which lets you organize the list of your notebooks, sections, or pages

  • The New notebook button

  • List of your notebooks, starting with a link to your Recent Pages

  • Navigation bar with buttons for opening the Notebooks tab, Search tab, and Sticky Notes tab

To navigate the main view, swipe right or left to move between the elements. Double-tap the screen to make a selection.

Note: If you have used OneNote for iOS before, it opens in the view you last used.

Navigate between views

To move between the Notebooks tab, Search tab, and Sticky Notes tab, drag your finger around the bottom edge of the screen until you hear the name of one of the tabs in the navigation bar. Swipe right or left to find the tab you want to open, and double-tap the screen to make a selection.

The Notebooks tab shows either the OneNote for iOS main view or the currently selected notebook.

The Search tab has a search box, which you can use to search your notebooks and Sticky Notes.

The Sticky Notes tab lets you access and add Microsoft Sticky Notes from the OneNote for iOS app.

Explore a notebook

Each OneNote notebook is divided into sections, which are further divided into pages.

  1. To open a notebook from the main view, swipe right or left until you find the notebook you want, and double-tap the screen. The Sections view opens.

  2. Swipe right or left until you find the section you want, and double-tap the screen. The Pages list opens.

  3. Swipe right or left until you find the page you want, and double-tap the screen. A canvas opens. Usually the canvas contains a page title, a date, and one or more content blocks.

  4. To navigate around the canvas, swipe right or left with one finger.

To go back to the previous view, swipe left until you hear "Back button," and double-tap the screen.

See also

Use a screen reader to share and collaborate on notebooks in OneNote

Use a screen reader to insert content to notebooks in OneNote

Basic tasks using a screen reader with OneNote

Set up your device to work with accessibility in Office 365

Make your OneNote notebooks accessible to people with disabilities

Use OneNote for Android with TalkBack, the built-in Android screen reader, to explore and navigate the different views and move between them.

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.

  • Make sure you turn on TalkBack before launching OneNote for Android.

In this topic

Navigate the main view

The main view in the OneNote for Android app is also called the Notebooks tab. It contains the following elements:

  • User account button, which opens the Account menu where you can manage your Microsoft account as well as work or school accounts

  • New notebook button

  • More options button, which opens a menu with the Sync all, Start badge, Settings, and Send feedback options

  • List of your notebooks, starting with a link to your Recent Pages

  • Navigation bar with buttons for opening the Notebooks tab (which is this view), Search tab, and Sticky Notes tab

To navigate the main view, swipe right or left to move between the elements. Double-tap the screen to make a selection.

Note: If you have used OneNote for Android before, it opens in the view you last used.

Navigate between views

To move between the Notebooks tab, Search tab, and Sticky Notes tab, drag your finger around the bottom edge of the screen until you hear the name of one of the tabs in the navigation bar. Swipe right or left to find the tab you want to open, and double-tap the screen to make a selection.

The Search tab has a search box, which you can use to search your notebooks and Sticky Notes.

The Sticky Notes tab lets you access and add Microsoft Sticky Notes from the OneNote for Android app.

To go back from any view, swipe down-then-left. This is the same as pressing the Back button.

Explore a notebook

Each OneNote notebook is divided into sections, which are further divided into pages.

  1. To open a notebook from the main view, swipe right or left until you find the notebook you want, and double-tap the screen. The Sections view opens.

  2. Swipe right or left until you find the section you want, and double-tap the screen. The Pages list opens.

  3. Swipe right or left until you find the page you want, and double-tap the screen. A canvas opens. Usually the canvas contains a page title, a date, and one or more content blocks.

  4. To navigate around the canvas, swipe right or left with one finger.

To go back from any view, swipe down-then-left. This is the same as pressing the Back button.

See also

Use a screen reader to organize notebooks, sections, and pages in OneNote

Use a screen reader to insert content to notebooks in OneNote

Basic tasks using a screen reader with OneNote

Set up your device to work with accessibility in Office 365

Make your OneNote notebooks accessible to people with disabilities

Use OneNote for Windows 10 with your keyboard and a screen reader to explore and navigate the different views and move between them. We have tested it with Narrator, but it might work with other screen readers as long as they follow common accessibility standards and techniques.

Notes: 

In this topic

Navigate the main view

Press F6 (forward) or Shift+F6 (backward) to cycle through the main view elements in the following order:

  • The main content area, which shows the contents of the current page.

  • The row of ribbon tabs, which contains tabs such as Home, Insert, Draw, View, and Picture, as well as the Tell Me, Notifications, Share, Enter Full Screen Mode, and More buttons. The ribbon containing the options specific to the currently selected tab is located immediately below the row of ribbon tabs.

  • The sidebar, which enables you to show or hide the navigation pane, search your notes, and show a list of recent notes.

  • The navigation pane, from which you can access your notebooks and lists of the sections and pages within them.

To navigate to the ribbon tabs, press Alt until you hear “Ribbon,” followed by the name of the currently selected tab. To move between the ribbon tabs, use the Left or Right arrow key.

To navigate from the ribbon tabs to the ribbon, press the Down arrow key. You hear the name of the first option on the ribbon. To navigate between options on the ribbon, use the Left or Right arrow key until you hear the option you want, and press Enter to select it. If the option opens a new menu, use the arrow keys to navigate it and press Enter to make a selection.

To use the navigation pane, press F6 until you hear: "Notebook picker." Press Enter to open the list of notebooks. Use the Up or Down arrow key to move to the notebook you want, and press Enter to select. The focus moves to the list of sections in the notebook. Use the Up or Down arrow key and Enter to select a section, and then select a page in the same way.

Note: While cycling through the main view elements, if you do not hear "Notebook picker," press F6 until you hear "Navigation," and then press Enter.

You can also use keyboard shortcuts to select options directly.

Navigate between views

In addition to the main view, OneNote for Windows 10 has the following commonly used views.

Settings menu

In the Settings menu of OneNote, you can access settings such as syncing and proofreading settings.

  1. Press Alt until you hear "Ribbon," and then press the Tab key until you hear "More." Press Enter, then press the Down arrow key until you hear "Settings," and press Enter.

  2. To move between the settings categories, press the Up or Down arrow key until you hear the one you want, and press Enter to select it. Press the Tab key (forward) or Shift+Tab (backward) to move between the different options in a category and press Spacebar to toggle the currently highlighted option.

  3. To return to the Settings menu from a category, press Esc. To close the Settings menu, press Esc.

Full screen mode

When you use the full screen mode, all main view elements except the main content area and one tool bar are hidden. This makes it easier for you and your screen reader to navigate through a page.

  1. Press Alt until you hear "Ribbon," and then press the Tab key until you hear "Enter full screen mode." Press Enter to select.

    You're now using the full screen mode. The focus is on the main content area.

  2. To exit the full screen mode, press F6. You hear the first item on the tool bar. Press Shift+Tab. You hear: "Exit full screen drawing." Then press Enter.

Explore a notebook

Each OneNote notebook is divided into sections, which are further divided into pages. Each page contains one or more note containers as well as the title and date of the page. Screen readers refer to note containers as “content blocks.”

To move within the main content area, use the arrow keys.

To move to another page in the current section, press Ctrl+Alt+G, and then use the Up and Down arrow keys to find the page you want. Press Enter to select it. The selected page opens in the main content area and the focus moves there.

Note: To quickly move between pages in the current section, press Ctrl+Page Up to go to the previous page in the section, and press Ctrl+Page Down to go to the next page in the section.

To move to another section in the current notebook, press Ctrl+Shift+G, and then use the Up and Down arrow keys to find the section you want. Press Enter to open the section. Then use the Up and Down arrow keys and Enter to select the page you want to work with.

To switch to another notebook, press Ctrl+G, and then use the Up and Down arrow keys to find the notebook you want. Press Enter to open the notebook. Then use the Up and Down arrow keys and Enter to select the section and the page you want to work with.

Use Tell Me

To find a command quickly, use Tell Me. To learn more about the Tell Me feature, watch this video: Using Tell Me to get things done quickly with a screen reader and keyboard.

To use Tell Me to find a command, follow these steps:

  1. Select the cell or range of cells where you want to perform an action.

  2. Jump to the Tell Me edit field by pressing Alt+Q.

  3. Type the command that you want. For example, type "bullets".

  4. Use the Down Arrow key to browse through the results, press Enter to select one.

See also

Use a screen reader to share and collaborate on notebooks in OneNote

Use a screen reader to insert content to notebooks in OneNote

Keyboard shortcuts in OneNote for Windows 10

Basic tasks using a screen reader with OneNote

Make your OneNote notebooks accessible to people with disabilities

Use OneNote for the web with your keyboard and a screen reader to explore and navigate the different views and move between them. We have tested it with Narrator, but it might work with other screen readers as long as they follow common accessibility standards and techniques.

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.

  • When you use OneNote for the web, we recommend that you use Microsoft Edge as your web browser. Because OneNote for 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 OneNote for the web.

In this topic

Navigate the main view

The main view of OneNote for the web contains the following elements:

  • Menu bar, which contains the Microsoft app launcher button, the Search box, and the Chat, Notifications, Settings, Help, and User account buttons.

  • New notebook button.

  • List of your notebooks, which is divided into five tabs:

    • Recent

    • Pinned

    • My notebooks

    • Shared with me

    • Discover

    To open a tab, press Enter when you hear its name. You hear the number of documents on the tab. The documents appear immediately after the tab row itself. If a tab has no content, your screen reader announces it, for example, "No shared Office documents."

Press the Tab key (forward) or Shift+Tab (backward) to move between elements in the main view. When you hear the name of the notebook you want to open, press Enter. This opens a new tab in your browser.

Note: Pressing Ctrl+F6 to navigate between landmarks only works in the notebook view, not in the main view.

Navigate the notebook view

The notebook view of OneNote for the web contains the following landmarks:

  • Microsoft app launcher button, which is located in the menu bar that also contains the Notifications and Share buttons.

  • The row of ribbon tabs, which contains tabs such as File, Home, Insert, Draw, History, and View, as well as the Print, Open in OneNote and Give Feedback to Microsoft buttons and the Tell Me box.

  • Navigation pane containing the Notebook list, Section list, and Page list.

  • Search button.

  • Main content area.

Press Ctrl+F6 to move between the landmarks.

Ribbon tabs

To navigate the ribbon tabs, press Ctrl+F6 until you hear the name of the currently selected tab, for example, "Home tab item." To move between the ribbon tabs, press the Tab key (forward) or Shift+Tab (backward).

To navigate from the ribbon tabs to the ribbon, press Enter. You hear the name of the first option on the ribbon. To navigate between options on the ribbon, press the Tab key (forward) or Shift+Tab (backward) until you hear the option you want, and press Enter to select it. You can also use keyboard shortcuts to select options directly.

Notebooks

Each OneNote notebook is divided into sections, which are further divided into pages. The main content area shows the currently selected page, containing one or more note containers as well as the title and date of the page.

To browse the sections and pages in the notebook, press Ctrl+F6 until you hear: "Use this panel to select notebooks, sections, and pages," and do one of the following:

  • To move to another section, press the Tab key until you hear "Section list," followed by the name of a section. Press the Up and Down arrow keys until you find the section you want, and press Enter to open its most recent page in the main content area. The focus moves to the main content area.

  • To move to another page, press the Tab key until you hear "Page list," followed by the name of a page. Press the Up and Down arrow keys until you find the page you want, and press Enter to open it in the main content area. The focus moves to the main content area.

To navigate inside the main content area, press the SR key+arrow keys.

Use Tell Me

To find a command quickly, use Tell Me. To learn more about the Tell Me feature, watch this video: Using Tell Me to get things done quickly with a screen reader and keyboard.

To use Tell Me to find a command, follow these steps:

  1. Select the cell or range of cells where you want to perform an action.

  2. Jump to the Tell Me edit field by pressing Alt+Q.

  3. Type the command that you want. For example, type "bullets".

  4. Use the Down Arrow key to browse through the results, press Enter to select one.

See also

Use a screen reader to share and collaborate on notebooks in OneNote

Use a screen reader to insert content to notebooks in OneNote

Keyboard shortcuts in OneNote for the web

Basic tasks using a screen reader with OneNote

Make your OneNote notebooks accessible to people with disabilities

Technical support for people 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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