Using Microsoft Teams With a Screen Reader
Doug Lee
Last Revised April, 2020

This document is meant as an introduction and reference for using Microsoft Teams (Teams) with a screen reader. This document may more directly or frequently refer to JAWS but is not meant to exclude other screen readers in its coverage. For documentation and download of JAWS scripts for Teams, refer to Using the JAWS Scripts For Microsoft Teams.

This document was last revised against Teams version as tested on April 2, 2020. This Teams version is an Electron app. The active interface code comes directly from a Microsoft server and may change without notice and without changing the Teams version number just mentioned. As a result, user experience may vary.

Table of Contents

A Quick Simplification of Terminology

In this document:

Application Structure

Teams is based on the division of conversations into teams of people, and within a team, channels and possibly subchannels for topics or focus areas. A channel may contain conversations, which can be "threaded" so that the first message in each thread is immediately visible and replies may be accessed at the user's discretion. The Teams screen can be opened via the Ctrl+3 shortcut. Teams also supports

Finally, Teams includes a system for tracking your own activities or the activities of other users through "feeds." Ctrl+1 opens this screen.

Note that the specific effects of the keystrokes just mentioned may vary slightly among Teams installations, based on corporate policies.

General Tips

Quick Ways To Get Things Done

Review available Teams keystrokes by typing Ctrl+. and then using left and right arrows to read individual keystrokes and their descriptions. This list may contain some silent separators between sections.

Use Ctrl+, to open Settings.

To jump to a specific team, type Ctrl+G, type its name or type part of its name and select the full name via DownArrow, and press Enter.

To start a one-to-one chat, type Ctrl+N, type a partial name, use DownArrow to select a person, and press Enter.

In a chat screen, use c to jump to the message composition box. When sitting on a thread, use r to add a reply to it.

Use the command edit box to accomplish many tasks very quickly. Type Ctrl+/ before each of the actions below, and make sure virtual navigation is turned off. In JAWS, use Ins+Z to do this if necessary.

There are more commands available than are listed here. For a better description of this feature and a list of the available commands provided by Microsoft, visit the "Use commands in Teams" page.

Available Microsoft Resources and Internal Application Help

Microsoft provides several useful resources for Teams users in general and screen reader users in particular: