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Basic tasks using a screen reader with Microsoft Teams

Basic tasks using a screen reader with Microsoft Teams

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 Microsoft Teams with your keyboard and a screen reader to work seamlessly with your team. We have tested it with JAWS and NVDA, but it might work with other screen readers as long as they follow common accessibility standards and techniques. You'll learn how to install and open the desktop app, join a team, find, read and post messages in a channel, and sign out.

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.

  • You can easily access the keyboard shortcuts list from within Microsoft Teams. Press Ctrl+E to go to the Search field, type /keys, and then press Enter.

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

  • Recent versions of JAWS no longer have the virtual PC cursor mode set as default for Microsoft Teams. For instructions on how to switch the virtual PC cursor mode on, go to Enable the JAWS virtual cursor.

In this topic

Install Microsoft Teams desktop app

  1. Open a browser on your computer and browse to https://teams.microsoft.com/downloads. In the Desktop Apps section on the page, navigate to the download button that's applicable to your version of Windows, and press Enter.

  2. Press Alt+N to jump to the download notification, and press Enter to select Run. The Microsoft Teams app starts installing. When done, the Microsoft Teams login window opens and you can enter your credentials to sign in.

Open Microsoft Teams desktop app

  1. On your computer, press the Windows logo key, and type Microsoft Teams.

  2. You hear: "Microsoft Teams, Desktop app." To open the app, press Enter.

  3. When you hear the login window, type your email, phone, or Skype name.

  4. Press the Tab key to move to the Next button and press Enter to select.

  5. You're prompted to select the sign-in account and method you want to use. Press the Tab key until you hear the option you want, and then press Enter.

  6. Depending on the sign-in method, follow and act on the prompts as the screen reader announces them. For example, type your password or select your smart card certificate and type the PIN code, and then press Enter. If needed, press the Tab key to move to the Sign in button, and then press Enter.

Join an existing public team

  1. In Microsoft Teams, press Ctrl+3 to access the Teams view.

  2. Press the Tab key to move to Join or create a team, and press Enter. The focus changes to the Create a team tile in the Join or create a team view, if the team creation functionality is open to you, or to the Join a team with a code tile if it is not. If necessary, move focus out of the Enter code text field by pressing the Esc key.

  3. To search for a team to join, press Shift+Tab until you hear: "Search for public teams."

  4. Type the name of the team you'd like to join, and then press Enter to submit your search.

    Tip: To quickly find and join a team, press Ctrl+E to move to the Search field. Type / join, press Enter, and type the team name. Press the Down arrow key and then press Enter or Shift+Enter.

  5. Press the Tab key until you hear the first result.

  6. Use the Right or Left arrow key to cycle through the search results.

  7. When on the team you want, press Enter to join.

  8. You are added to the team and you can find the team in your list of teams on the Teams view.

Change your status

  1. Press Ctrl+E to move to the Search field, and then press the Tab key. You hear: "Profile, app settings, and more."

  2. Press Enter. You hear your current status.

  3. Press Enter to open the status options menu. Use the Up and Down arrow keys to select a status option, and press Enter to confirm your selection.

Find and read new messages in a channel

  1. To access the Teams view, press Ctrl+3.

  2. Press the Tab key until you hear the newest message in the current channel.

  3. Move up and down in the message list by pressing the Up and Down arrow keys.

Navigate and read threaded conversations

  1. If the conversation you're in is a threaded conversation, the screen reader announces it. To open the threaded conversation, press Enter. You hear the first message in the thread.

  2. To move between messages in a threaded conversation, press the Up or Down arrow key. Your screen reader reads the messages as you move through them.

  3. To open a message for further actions, press Enter. To move the focus back to the threaded conversation, press Esc.

Note: In NVDA this is called the browse mode. In JAWS it is called the virtual cursor mode.

  1. To access the Teams view, press Ctrl+3.

  2. Press the Tab key until you hear the newest message in the current channel.

  3. Messages are marked as headings. Move between them by pressing H (forward) or Shift+H (backward). The message list contains the following heading levels:

    • Heading 2: Title of the main content area

    • Heading 3: Date separators in the conversation.

    • Heading 4: Individual messages under a date.

    • Heading 5: Replies to messages.

    Tip: By default, Microsoft Teams loads the 20 newest messages. To display older messages, you must navigate backwards in the message list.

Navigate and read threaded conversations

  1. If the conversation you're in is a threaded conversation, the screen reader announces it. To navigate threaded conversations with JAWS, make sure the virtual cursor mode is off. To switch off, press Insert+Z. To open the threaded conversation, press Enter. You hear the first message in the thread.

  2. To move between messages in a threaded conversation, press the Up or Down arrow key. Your screen reader reads the messages as you move through them.

  3. To open a message for further actions, press Enter. To move the focus back to the threaded conversation, press Esc.

Tip: You can quickly go to your unread messages using the Search field. To move to the Search field, press Ctrl+E. Type /unread and then press Enter.

Post messages to channels

  1. Tip: With JAWS, make sure the virtual cursor mode is off. To switch off, press Insert+Z.

    On the Conversations tab, press C to move the focus to the message compose box. With NVDA, press the Tab key until you hear "Start a new conversation."

    Tip: To expand the compose box to access more editing options, press Ctrl+Shift+X. To collapse the box, press Ctrl+Shift+X again.

  2. Type your message. You can also add attachments or even emoji, stickers, or memes.

  3. To send the message, press Ctrl+Enter.

    Tip: When the compose box is not expanded, you can send the message by just pressing Enter.

For more information on how to write group and private messages and attach files, images, emoticons, stickers, and memes, refer to Use a screen reader to chat in Microsoft Teams.

Reply to a message

  1. On the Conversations tab, navigate to the message you wish to respond to with the arrow keys.

  2. Press the Down arrow key until you reach the reply field, and press Enter.

  3. Type the reply and press Enter to send the reply to the channel.

Note: In NVDA this is called the browse mode. In JAWS it is called the virtual cursor mode.

  1. On the Conversations tab, navigate to the message you wish to respond to by pressing H (forward) or Shift+H (backward).

  2. Press the Down arrow key until you reach the reply field, and press Enter.

  3. Type the reply and press Enter to send the reply to the channel.

Use the Search field commands

In Microsoft Teams you can use the Search field to quickly do things by entering commands.

  1. To go to the Search field, press Ctrl+E.

  2. Do one of the following:

    • Type / to open the list of available commands. Navigate the list using the Up and Down arrow keys until you hear the command you want and press Enter to select it.

    • If you know the command you wish to use, type the command in the Search field, and press Enter.

Check if you're a team owner or member

Team owners have additional privileges, such as editing the team settings.

  1. To access the Teams view, press Ctrl+3.

  2. Use the Up and Down arrow keys to navigate to the team you want to check.

  3. Press Shift+F10 to open the More Options menu.

  4. Press the Down arrow key until you hear: “Manage team.”

  5. Press Enter. You hear: “Members.”

  6. To search for yourself in the members list, press the Tab key to move to the search box and type your name.

  7. Press the Tab key until you hear “Name,” and then press the Down arrow key. The screen reader reads your name, title, location, and role.

Sign out of Microsoft Teams

  1. Press Ctrl+E to move to the Search field.

  2. Press the Tab key until you hear "Profile, app settings and more," and press Enter.

  3. Press the Down arrow key until you hear the sign-out option and then press Enter.

See also

Use a screen reader to create and modify teams in Microsoft Teams

Use a screen reader to search for a conversation, person, or file in Microsoft Teams

Keyboard shortcuts for Microsoft Teams

Set up your device to work with accessibility in Office 365

Use a screen reader to explore and navigate Microsoft Teams

Video: What is Microsoft Teams?

Use Microsoft Teams for Android with TalkBack, the built-in Android screen reader, to work seamlessly with your team. Learn how to install and open the app, sign in and out. Find, read, and post new messages in a channel.

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

Install and open Microsoft Teams for the first time

  1. If not already installed on your phone, download and install the Microsoft Teams app from Play Store.

  2. On your phone, navigate to the home screen where the app is, swipe right until TalkBack announces the app, and double-tap the screen to open.

  3. The sign-in screen opens. Double-tap the screen. Use the on-screen keyboard to type the email address of the account you want to sign in with. When done, swipe right to move to the Sign in button, and double-tap the screen.

  4. Your organization’s sign-in page opens. Swipe right until you hear "Edit box," and double-tap the screen. Use the on-screen keyboard to type your password. When done, swipe right until you hear “Sign in, button,” and double-tap the screen.

  5. The Welcome to Microsoft Teams page opens. To hear the page contents, swipe right. To move to the next page, swipe left with two fingers. When you reach the last page, swipe right until you hear “Got it, button,” and double-tap the screen.

    Microsoft Teams opens on the Activity view.

Sign in to Microsoft Teams

  1. Open the Microsoft Teams app on your phone. If you've signed in previously on the same device, that sign-in account is already filled in and TalkBack announces it.

  2. Do one of the following:

    • To accept the suggested account, swipe right to the Sign in button, and double-tap the screen.

    • To change the account, double-tap the screen to open the on-screen keyboard. Use the on-screen keyboard to delete the suggested account, and type the one you want to sign in with. When done, swipe right to the Sign in button, and double-tap the screen.

  3. If you have more than one account associated with your email, you may need to choose the account to use. Swipe right until you hear the account you want to use, and double-tap the screen.

  4. Your organization’s sign-in page opens. Swipe right until you hear "Password, edit box," and double-tap the screen. Use the on-screen keyboard to type your password. When done, close the keyboard, swipe right until you hear “Sign in, button,” and double-tap the screen.

    Microsoft Teams opens on the Activity view.

Find and read new messages in a channel

  1. In Microsoft Teams, swipe right or left until you hear "Activity tab," and double-tap the screen. The Activity view opens.

  2. To browse to the latest activity feed, swipe left. TalkBack announces the latest activity as you move. New messages are announced, for example: "Unread, <team member>, <activity> in <channel name>, <timestamp>."

  3. To open a conversation, when on the message you want, double-tap the screen. You hear: "Conversation." To read the new message, swipe right until TalkBack reads the message to you.

  4. To close the Conversation, swipe left until you hear "Back button," and double-tap the screen.

Navigate and read threaded conversations

  1. In Microsoft Teams, to go to a channel, swipe right or left until you hear: "Teams tab." Double-tap the screen to select. The Teams view opens. To browse the channels, swipe right. As you move, TalkBack announces the channel names.

  2. When on the channel you want, double-tap the screen. The channel opens.

  3. To go to the latest threaded conversation, swipe left until you hear a message. To browse to older conversations, swipe left. TalkBack announces the conversations as you move.

  4. To open the conversation, when on a message in the conversation, double-tap the screen. The Conversation opens.

  5. To reply to a conversation, swipe right until you hear "Reply," and double-tap the screen. Use the on-screen keyboard to type your message. To send the message, swipe right or left until you hear "Send message button," and double-tap the screen.

  6. To close the Conversation, swipe left until you hear "Back button," and double-tap the screen.

Post messages to channels

  1. In the channel where you want to compose your message, swipe right until you hear: "New chat button." Double-tap the screen.

  2. Double-tap the screen to open the on-screen keyboard and type the message.

  3. When done, swipe right until you hear "Send message button," and double-tap the screen.

For more information on how to write group and private messages and attach files, images, emoticons, stickers and memes, refer to Use a screen reader to chat in Microsoft Teams.

Sign out of Microsoft Teams

  1. In Microsoft Teams, swipe right or left until you hear “Open hamburger menu,” and double-tap the screen.

  2. Swipe right until you hear “Open Settings,” and double-tap the screen.

  3. Swipe right until you hear “Sign Out, button,” and double-tap the screen.

  4. A Sign Out confirmation dialog opens. Swipe right until you hear “OK, button,” and double-tap the screen to finish signing out.

See also

Use a screen reader to search for a conversation, person, or file in Microsoft Teams

Use a screen reader to like and save messages in Microsoft Teams

Set up your device to work with accessibility in Office 365

Use a screen reader to explore and navigate Microsoft Teams

Video: What is Microsoft Teams?

Use Microsoft Teams on the web with your keyboard and a screen reader to work seamlessly with your team. We have tested it with Narrator, JAWS and NVDA, but it might work with other screen readers as long as they follow common accessibility standards and techniques. You'll learn how to open the app, sign in and out, join teams, find, read, and post messages in a channel.

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.

  • You can easily access the keyboard shortcuts list from within Microsoft Teams on the web. Press Ctrl+E to go to the Search field, type /keys, and then press Enter.

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

  • Recent versions of JAWS no longer have the virtual PC cursor mode set as default for Microsoft Teams. For instructions on how to switch the virtual PC cursor mode on, go to Enable the JAWS virtual cursor.

  • When you use Microsoft Teams on the web, we recommend that you use Microsoft Edge as your web browser and Narrator as your screen reader. Because Microsoft Teams on 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 Microsoft Teams on the web.

    If you use Chrome or Firefox as your web browser, we recommend that you use JAWS or NVDA as your screen reader.

In this topic

Open Microsoft Teams and sign in

  1. On your computer, open Edge, and browse to https://teams.microsoft.com.

  2. A sign-in page opens. If there are several accounts to choose from, press the Tab key to browse the options. To select, press Enter.

  3. Your organization's sign-in page opens. To move between the options, press the Tab key. To select, press Enter.

  4. To navigate to the password field, press Shift+Tab until you hear "Password," and type your password. When done, press Enter.

    Microsoft Teams opens on the Conversations tab.

Join an existing public team

  1. On opening the app, press Ctrl+Shift+3 to access the Teams view.

  2. Press the Tab key until you hear "Join or create a team," and press Enter.

  3. First check if the team you want to join is one of the suggested teams.

    • Press the Tab key until you hear: "Create a team."

    • Use the Right and Left arrow keys to cycle through the suggested teams.

    • If you find a team you'd like to join, press Enter.

      You are added to the team and it is added to your list of teams on the Teams view.

  4. If you need to search for a team to join, press Shift+Tab until you hear: "Search."

    Tip: You can quickly find and join a team using the Search field. To quickly find a team, press Ctrl+E to move to the Search field. Type / join, press Enter, and type the team name. Press the Down arrow key and then press Enter or Shift+Enter.

  5. Type the name of the team you'd like to join, and press Enter.

  6. Press the Tab key until you hear: "Create a team." Then press the Right or Left arrow key to cycle through the search results. When you hear the team you want to join, press Enter.

    You're added to the team and you can find the team on the Teams view.

Change your status

  1. Press Ctrl+E to move to the Search field, and then press the Tab key. You hear: "Profile, app settings, and more."

  2. Press Enter. You hear: "Change your status."

  3. Press Enter to open the status options menu. Use the Up and Down arrow keys to select a status option, and press Enter to confirm your selection.

Find and read new messages in a channel

When a new message arrives, your screen reader reads the text and message details. You can also browse for messages on a channel's Conversations tab.

  1. In a channel, press the Tab key or Alt+Left or Right arrow key until you hear: "Conversations." Microsoft Teams on the web selects the latest message by default.

  2. Move up and down in the message list by pressing the Up and Down arrow keys.

    Tip: By default, Microsoft Teams loads the 20 newest messages. To display older messages, you must navigate backwards in the message list.

Note: In NVDA this is called the browse mode, in JAWS it is called the virtual cursor mode, and in Narrator it is called the scan mode.

  1. In a channel, press the Tab key or Alt+Left or Right arrow key until you hear: "Conversations." Microsoft Teams on the web selects the latest message by default.

  2. Messages are marked as headings. Move between them by pressing H (forward) or Shift+H (backward). The message list contains the following heading levels:

    • Heading 2: Title of the main content area

    • Heading 3: Date separators in the conversation.

    • Heading 4: Individual messages under a date.

    • Heading 5: Replies to messages.

    Tip: By default, Microsoft Teams loads the 20 newest messages. To display older messages, you must navigate backwards in the message list.

Tip: You can quickly go to your unread messages using the Search field. To move to the Search field, press Ctrl+E. Type /unread and then press Enter.

Navigate and read threaded conversations

  1. If the conversation you're in is a threaded conversation, you hear: "Threaded conversation." To open the threaded conversation, press Enter. You hear the first message in the thread.

  2. To move between the messages in a threaded conversation, press the Up or Down arrow key. Your screen reader reads the messages as you move through them.

  3. To open a message for further actions, press Enter. To move the focus back to the threaded conversation, press Esc.

Post messages to channels

  1. On the Conversations tab, press C. The focus moves to the message compose box.

    Tip: To expand the compose box to access more editing options, press Ctrl+Shift+X. To collapse the box, press Ctrl+Shift+X again.

  2. Type your message. You can also add attachments or even emoji, stickers, or memes.

  3. To send the message, press Ctrl+Enter.

For more information on how to write group and private messages and attach files, images, emoticons, stickers, and memes, refer to Use a screen reader to chat in Microsoft Teams.

Reply to a message

  1. On the Conversations tab, navigate to the message you wish to respond to with the Up and Down arrow keys.

  2. Press the Down arrow key until you hear "Reply," and press Enter.

  3. Type the reply and press Enter to send.

Note: In NVDA this is called the browse mode, in JAWS it is called the virtual cursor mode, and in Narrator it is called the scan mode.

  1. On the Conversations tab, navigate to the message you wish to respond to by pressing H (forward) or Shift+H (backward).

  2. With Narrator, press the R key to move the focus to the reply field. Otherwise, press the H key until you hear "Reply," and press Enter.

  3. Type the reply and press Enter to send.

Use the Search field commands

In Microsoft Teams, you can use Search field commands to quickly do things.

  1. To go to the Search field, press Ctrl+E.

  2. Do one of the following:

    • Type / to open the list of available commands. To navigate the list, press Ctrl+Up or Down arrow key until you hear the command you want, and press Enter to select it.

    • If you know the command you wish to use, type the command in the Search field, and press Enter.

Check if you're a team owner or member

Team owners have additional privileges, such as editing the team settings.

  1. To access the Teams view, press Ctrl+Shift+3.

  2. Use the Up and Down arrow keys to navigate to the team you want to check.

  3. Press Shift+F10 to open the More Options menu.

  4. Press the Down arrow key until you hear: “Manage team.”

  5. Press Enter. You hear: “Members.”

  6. To search for yourself in the members list, press the Tab key to move to the search box and type your name.

  7. Press the Tab key until you hear “Name,” and then press the Down arrow key. The screen reader reads your name, title, location, and role.

Sign out of Microsoft Teams

  1. In Microsoft Teams, press the Tab key or Shift+Tab until you hear "Profile, app settings and more," and press Enter.

  2. Press the Down arrow key repeatedly until you hear the sign out option, and press Enter.

See also

Use a screen reader to create and modify teams in Microsoft Teams

Use a screen reader to search for a conversation, person, or file in Microsoft Teams

Use a screen reader to explore and navigate Microsoft Teams

Video: What is Microsoft Teams?

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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