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 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

OneNote for Mac on Office 365 offers accessibility features that enhance the extensive features that are built in to the macOS. This topic gives an overview of those features, including tips on navigation by using just the keyboard.

To find out more about how to use the built-in accessibility features, see Set up your device to work with accessibility in Office 365. To learn how to use OneNote, see Basic tasks using a screen reader with OneNote.

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 Keyboard shortcuts in OneNote for Mac.

  • This topic assumes that you are using the built-in Mac OS screen reader, VoiceOver. To learn more about using VoiceOver, go to VoiceOver Getting Started Guide.

  • This topic assumes that you have turned on full-screen keyboard access and that you have VoiceOver turned on and are familiar with the VO command (press Control+Option).

In this topic

Get to know the OneNote layout

When you open OneNote for Mac, the OneNote menu appears at the top of the screen, with its menu items added after the Apple menu. The name of your document appears centered below this menu. By default, the Quick Access Toolbar resides to the left of the screen. This toolbar contains commonly used commands, such as Undo, and Redo. The notifications and the sharing options icon are on the same line and on the right side of the screen. Below them is the Help Improve Office menu.

Under this line, you find a set of ribbon tabs, such as Insert and View. The ribbon sits below this row of tabs. When you select a tab, a tab-specific ribbon appears. Each ribbon includes commands organized in groups. For example, the Insert tab switches to a ribbon that lets you pick different items, such as tables or pictures, to insert into your document.

Navigate in OneNote by using the keyboard

  • To go to the location where you can open other notebooks or create a new one, press Command+O.

  • For a list of the open notebooks, press Control+G.

  • To search notebooks, press VO+F.

Navigate in a OneNote notebook

  • To switch between sections in a notebook, press Command + Shift + { or }

  • To switch between pages in a section, do the following:

    1. To move the focus on list of page, press Command + Control + G.

    2. To select the previous or next page in your section, press the Up arrow key or Down arrow key or Command + PageUp or PageDown key.

    3. To go to the first page of the list, Option + Home. To go to the last page of the list, Option + End.

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

OneNote for iOS makes use of the built-in iOS accessibility features to help people with disabilities use the app. For example, you can use the built-in iOS screen reader, VoiceOver, or the Dictate tool to enter text.

For more information about accessibility settings and features that work in your device, refer to Set up your device to work with accessibility in Office 365. To learn how to use OneNote, see Basic tasks using a screen reader with OneNote.

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

Get to know the OneNote for iOS layout

The OneNote for iOS app contains the following views: Main view, Sections list, Pages list, and the canvas.

The main view in the OneNote for iOS app contains a list of the OneNote notebooks that you have. You can also create new notebooks in this view. At the very top of the main view there is the settings button in the top left corner, a search field next to it in the middle, and a notifications button in the top right corner. Below the top row there is a link to Recent Notes, followed by the list of notebooks. At the bottom of the screen there is a button for adding a new notebook.

To go to a notebook page, you first navigate to a notebook in the main view, then to a notebook section in the Sections list, and then to a notebook page in the Pages list. When you open a notebook page in the Pages list, a canvas opens. Usually, the canvas contains a page title, a date, and one or more content blocks.

When you open the app for the first time, it opens in the main view. Next time, it opens in the view where you left it.

Navigate using touch

Here are some useful gestures for navigating the OneNote for iOS app using touch:

  • To navigate between the items on the screen, swipe right to go forward on the screen, or left to go back on the screen.

  • To select an item or an action, double-tap the screen.

  • To explore what's on the screen, place your finger on the screen and slowly drag it around. VoiceOver announces the items as you reach them. When you hear the name of the item you want to select, lift your finger and double-tap.

  • To edit, move, or delete a notebook, a section, or a page, first place focus on the item and then swipe up or down with one finger to go through the available actions.

  • To navigate around the canvas, swipe right or left with one finger. When you're editing a canvas item, double-tap the screen with two fingers to bring up the context menu.

  • To exit the search pane and dismiss the search mode, swipe a letter "z" with two fingers.

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

OneNote for Windows 10 includes accessibility features that make it easier for people with disabilities like limited dexterity or low vision to work with notebooks, sections, and pages.

Many accessibility features are built-in to your computer or device, such as the Narrator screen reader, Magnifier, and settings for high contrast colors. To learn how to use OneNote, see Basic tasks using a screen reader with OneNote.

Notes: 

In this topic

Get to know the OneNote for Windows 10 app layout

When you open the OneNote app, you'll hear the title of the last notebook you had open.

Press F6 to go to the top bar. You hear: "Home tab". The top bar contains the Navigation pane button and ribbon tabs (Home, Insert, Draw, and View). You'll also find other options, described in the next section.

Navigate OneNote for Windows 10 by using a keyboard

The primary navigation keys are F6 and the Tab key.

  • When using a keyboard to move between navigation panes, menus, and the editing area, press F6 until you hear the one you want.

  • To move between buttons and menu items, press the Tab key until you hear the one you want, and to activate them, press Enter.

    Note: In the main content pane of OneNote, don't use the Tab key to navigate. In that pane, pressing the Tab key makes the content indent.

When you press F6, it cycles through these points:

  • The ribbon tabs: Home, Insert, Draw, and View. When you go to the ribbon by pressing F6, you hear the name of the currently selected tab.

    Each tab opens a ribbon of commands, such as page editing options. Note that Zoom commands are on the View tab.

  • The Notebook navigation pane. You may hear "Recent Notes, button" or the name of one of your notebooks.

    The navigation pane contains a list of notebooks, and offers you the ability to open or create more notebooks. You'll also find app settings and user account info.

  • The Search button. You may hear: "Search, button".

    Type the text that you want to search for an press Enter.

  • The Section navigation pane. You may hear the name of one of your sections.

    This shows a list of sections and contains the New Section button.

  • The Page navigation pane. You may hear the name of one of the pages in a section.

    You'll find a list of pages and New Page button here.

  • The Page Canvas. You may hear: "OneNote current page, content block." This is where you can edit the page content.

Navigate by using keyboard shortcuts

For the full list of OneNote for Windows 10 keyboard shortcuts, refer to Keyboard shortcuts in OneNote for Windows 10.

Some useful keyboard shortcuts are listed in the table below:

To do this

Press

Open the notebook navigation pane

Ctrl+G

Put focus on the current section in the list

Ctrl+Shift+G

Put focus on the current page in the list

Ctrl+Alt+G

Create a new section

Ctrl+T

Create a new page

Ctrl+N

Hide navigation pane

You can simplify your OneNote for Windows 10 view, and hide the navigation pane.

  1. Navigate to the Full Screen Modes button as instructed in Use full screen mode and press Enter.

  2. On the Full Screen Modes submenu, press the Down arrow key until you hear: "Off, Hide navigation button." Then press Enter.

  3. To display the navigation pane again, move to the Full Screen Modes submenu and press the Down arrow key until you hear: "On, Hide navigation button." Then press Enter.

Use full screen mode

You can use OneNote for Windows 10 full screen mode to make the page view simpler. This makes it easier for you and your screen reader to navigate through a page.

  1. To move to the main tab menu bar, on a OneNote for Windows 10 page, press Alt. You hear the currently selected tab.

  2. On the main tab menu bar, press the Tab key until you hear "Full screen modes, button collapsed," and then press Enter to open the submenu. You hear: "Full screen drawing button."Press Enter to select it.

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

  3. To exit the full screen mode, press Alt. You hear the first item on the tool bar. Then press the Tab key until you hear: "Exit full screen drawing button." Then press Enter.

Change text size

You can change the size of text in title bars, menus, message boxes, palette titles, icons, and tool tips without adjusting your screen’s resolution. 

  1. In any view, press the Windows logo key. You hear: “Start window, Search box, editing.”

  2. In the search box, type "Make text larger." You hear: "Make text and other items larger or smaller." Then press Enter. You hear: "Settings windows, Display one, custom."

  3. In the Settings window, press the Tab key until you hear: "Advanced display settings hyperlink." Then press Enter. You hear: "Advanced display settings window."

  4. Press the Tab key until you hear: "Advanced sizing or text and other items hyperlink." Then press Enter. You hear: "Display windows, Control panel home link."

  5. Press the Tab key until you hear: "Desktop element, title bars, editable combo box, collapsed." To expand the combo box list, press Alt+Down arrow key. Press the Down and Up arrow keys to move on the list. When you hear an option you want to modify, press Enter.

  6. Press the Tab key until you hear: "Font size," followed by the current font size. To expand the combo box list, press Alt+Down arrow key. Press the Down and Up arrow keys to move on the list. When you hear an option you want to modify, press Enter.

  7. Press the Tab key until you hear: "Unchecked bold checkbox." If you want the text bolded, press Spacebar. You hear: "Checked."

  8. Press the Tab key until you hear: "Apply button." Then press Enter.

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 Online 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 Online, we recommend that you use Microsoft Edge as your web browser. Because OneNote Online runs in your web browser, the keyboard shortcuts are different from those in the desktop program. For example, you’ll use Ctrl+F6 instead of F6 for jumping in and out of the commands. Also, common shortcuts like F1 (Help) and Ctrl+O (Open) apply to the web browser – not OneNote Online.

In this topic

Navigate the main view

The main view of OneNote Online 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 Online 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 Online

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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