Accessibility features in SharePoint products

SharePoint products and technologies include features that make the software easier for more people to use, including people who have low vision, limited dexterity, or other disabilities. For example, SharePoint has keyboard shortcuts and access keys that let you do many things without a mouse. And, for people who use assistive technologies such as screen readers, SharePoint offers More Accessible Mode, a special feature that can create a different version of software elements, such as customized forms, if a screen reader can’t handle the original element.

In addition to the accessibility features described in this article, all the products that interact with SharePoint also offer accessibility features and utilities. These products include Internet Explorer, Office Online, Microsoft Windows, Microsoft Office, and Lync. To find out more, visit Accessibility in Microsoft Products. If you use SharePoint in a browser other than Internet Explorer, check the product documentation of that browser for additional information.

 Note   The information in this topic applies only to users who license Microsoft products in the United States. If you obtained this product outside the United States, your package contains a subsidiary information card listing Microsoft support services telephone numbers and addresses. Contact your subsidiary to find out whether the type of products and services described here are available in your area.

In this article


Keyboard shortcuts

Many features and commands are available directly by using the keyboard. You can press the TAB key and SHIFT+TAB to move back and forth between elements on any page. SharePoint has keyboard shortcuts for many commands. For detailed descriptions of all available shortcuts, see Keyboard shortcuts.

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More Accessible Mode

To make SharePoint work better with accessibility tools such as screen readers, SharePoint has an option called More Accessible Mode. This can be helpful when the screen reader finds an element on the screen, such a special form, that it can’t understand.

From the start, the SharePoint team designed most user interface (UI) elements, such as forms, links, and buttons, to work well with accessibility tools. However, sometimes people customize a SharePoint site, and add a control or other element that doesn’t work well with accessibility tools. More Accessible Mode can help with this situation, and display the custom feature as an equivalent one in standard HTML that the tool can use. This option can’t create a different version for every possible custom element, but it can help in many situations.

Turn on More Accessible Mode

To turn on More Accessible Mode, press the TAB key immediately after you put focus on the page in a browser. Press the TAB key until you reach the Turn on more accessible mode link, and then press ENTER. Sometimes you have to press the TAB key more than once, if active focus is not on the beginning of the page.

Turn off More Accessible Mode

To turn off More Accessible Mode, press the TAB key immediately after you put focus on the page in the browser. Press the TAB key until you reach the Turn on more accessible mode link, and then press the TAB key several more times until you reach the Turn off more accessible mode link.

About More Accessible Mode

More Accessible Mode changes the way that the page displays for you, not for other users of the site. Because More Accessible Mode applies only to the local computer, not to any other computer, no one other than you knows that you enabled this option. More Accessible Mode remains on until you turn it off, or until you close the browser. More Accessible Mode is especially helpful with the following items:

  • Menus    Instead of displaying a drop-down menu of options, a new browser window opens that contains all of the menu items as hyperlinks. For example, the first menu that the TAB key reaches on a SharePoint site is the Site Actions menu. If you turned on More Accessible Mode, a new window appears that shows the list of options in the Site Actions menu that you have permissions to use. Each option appears as a link, which is easier for assistive technologies to interpret.
  • Optimized fields    Some fields are difficult for assistive technologies to interpret. When More Accessible Mode is enabled, these fields are replaced with fields that are optimized for assistive technologies. For example, some lists support enhanced text fields that enable users to add formatted text, images, tables, and hyperlinks. However, some assistive technologies can’t read enhanced text fields because of the way these fields display in a browser. When you turn on More Accessible Mode, SharePoint replaces these fields with standard plain text that assistive technologies can read.

In addition to enhanced text fields, several other types of fields are replaced with alternate fields in More Accessible Mode.

ShowList of fields and alternate fields in More Accessible Mode

Field in standard moe Alternate field in More Accessible Mode
Enhanced text field Multiple line text field
Graphical summary charts (for surveys) Table with table headers
Gantt chart (in a project list)

Table with table headers

A table with table headers also appears below a Gantt chart in standard mode.

Contact selector Text field

 Note   More Accessible Mode does not limit functionality, but instead enables alternate rendering methods for page elements so that they are compatible with assistive technologies.

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SharePoint Help in Office.com

To make Help pages on Office.com easier to navigate by keyboard, access keys have been created that let you put the focus on specific parts of a page. After pressing the access key, you press ENTER to select the desired element. For example, from anywhere on the Office.com site, you can press ALT+1 and then ENTER to go to the Office.com home page.

These access keys are designed to work with Microsoft Internet Explorer (versions 5.x, 6.x, 7.x, 8.x and 9). Access keys may not function if you are using other Web browsers or earlier versions of Internet Explorer.

Using access keys

This list tells you how to use common access keys.

  • To move the focus to the Accessibility link in the page footer, press ALT+0 (zero). Then press ENTER to open the link.
  • To move the focus to the Home tab on the Ribbon, press ALT+1.
  • From the Home tab, press the TAB key to move the focus to the other tabs on the Ribbon.
  • To move the focus to the Search box, press ALT+3. Type your search term, and then press ENTER.
  • To move the focus through a page of results (for example, search results), press ALT+/ (forward slash).
  • On a page with a Previous arrow (to move to the previous page), move the focus to the arrow by pressing ALT+, (comma).
  • On a page with a Next arrow (to move to the next page), move the focus to the arrow by pressing ALT+. (period).

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Tab order and navigation

The tab order is the order in which you move the focus from one UI element to another by pressing the TAB key. Page and navigation elements on a site, such as the ribbon, follow a logical tab order.

The first three options in tab order are the following links:

  • Turn on more accessible mode – Enables More Accessible Mode in SharePoint
  • Skip Ribbon Commands – Skips active focus past the ribbon commands, and moves the focus directly to the navigation links
  • Skip to main content – Skips both the ribbon commands and the navigation links, and moves the focus directly to the main content area of the page.

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Header tags for outlines

To make sites easier to use, SharePoint sites use header tags on the page. Header tags can help you discover how a page is organized. The tags (H1, H2, H3, and H4) build an outline of the content on a page. If you use an accessibility tool such as a screen reader, you can configure it to read just the heading tags on a page. The outline helps you understand the layout of the page and skip to the heading that they want.

For example, the home page for a site contains these tags:

  • One H1 tag that contains the site title
  • One H2 tag that contains the page title
  • One H3 tag around the View All Site Content link and another H3 tag around the title of each Web Part.

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Windows Speech Recognition in Windows Vista and Windows 7

Windows Speech Recognition is a speech-based accessibility tool that is available in Windows Vista and in Windows 7. Windows Speech Recognition enables users to perform actions by speaking instead of using a keyboard or mouse.

There are known issues related to Windows Speech Recognition with some menus on a page. These issues include the menus for New, Upload, Welcome User and the drop-down menu of options that are available for files in a document library.

To access these menus by using Windows Speech Recognition, start More Accessible Mode by doing the following:

  1. Open the site home page in a browser, and then say, "Press TAB" until the Turn on more accessible mode link appears.
  2. Say, "Press ENTER."
  3. To use a split button menu such as the New or Upload button on a list toolbar, or to use the menu of options for a document in a document library, bring the active focus to the element first by saying, "Press TAB," and then say, "Press ALT DOWN ARROW."

A new browser window that contains links from the menu will open.

 Note   For menus that have more than one command, say, "Press ALT DOWN ARROW."

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Getting more accessibility information

The Microsoft Accessibility website at Microsoft Accessibility provides information about assistive technology for improving the lives of people with disabilities. The information on this site benefits people with disabilities and their friends and family members, people in outreach organizations, educators, and advocates.

A free monthly electronic newsletter is available to help you stay current with accessibility topics about Microsoft products. To subscribe, visit Free Subscription to the Accessibility Update Newsletter.

To learn about how to make web pages more accessible, refer to Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0.

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Tell us what you think

We are interested in improving the accessibility of SharePoint products and technologies. Please tell us know how we’re doing and how we can improve by giving us your comments.

To provide feedback on accessibility features, click Contact Us at the bottom of any Microsoft Office.com page.

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Applies to:
SharePoint admin center, SharePoint Foundation 2013, SharePoint Online Enterprise (E1), SharePoint Online Enterprise (E3 & E4), SharePoint Online Midsized Business, SharePoint Online operated by 21Vianet - Enterprise (E1 & E2), SharePoint Online operated by 21Vianet - Enterprise (E3 & E4), SharePoint Online operated by 21Vianet - Midsized Business, SharePoint Online operated by 21Vianet - Small Business, SharePoint Online operated by 21Vianet - Website, SharePoint Online Small Business, SharePoint Online Website, SharePoint operated by 21Vianet - admin center, SharePoint Server 2013 Enterprise, SharePoint Server 2013 Standard