Use a screen reader to read Visio diagrams

Use a screen reader to read Visio diagrams

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 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 Visio 2016 with your keyboard and a screen reader such as Narrator, the built-in Windows screen reader, to open and read diagrams created in Visio.


  • 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 for Visio.

  • 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 JAWS functionality as well. To learn more about JAWS for Windows, go to JAWS for Windows Quick Start Guide.

  • 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

Open a diagram in Visio 2016

  1. After opening Visio, the focus is in the template selection pane. Press the Tab key to move the focus to the list of recent files. You hear the name of the most recently used file, followed by its position in the list, for example, "1 of 2."

  2. If the first file is not the one you want to open, use the Down and Up arrow keys to move in the Recent list.

  3. Press Enter to open the currently selected file.

Tip: If the file you want is not in the list of recent files, press the Tab key. You hear: "Open other drawings." Press Enter to go to the Open menu, where you can browse your computer and any network locations, such as OneDrive.

Read a diagram in Visio 2016

  1. After opening a diagram, press the Tab key to move the focus to the first shape on the first page. Your screen reader announces its name.

  2. Press the Tab key again to move the focus to the next shape. In some diagrams such as flowcharts your screen reader announces the shapes in the order they were added to the diagram. You also hear the starting and ending points for connectors. Inside calendar shapes, Narrator moves in chronological order from one day to the next.

    The screen readers also announce formatting details such as size, position, and color of the Visio shapes.

  3. If the diagram contains several pages, press Shift+F4 to open the Page dialog. With Narrator, you hear: "Page window, page 1, selected." With JAWS, you hear: "Page dash 1." Use the Down and Up arrow keys to select a page from the list, and then press Enter to open it.

See also

Use a screen reader to create a Visio diagram

Keyboard shortcuts for Visio

Learn how to navigate Visio using accessible features

Set up your device to work with accessibility in Office 365

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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