Screen readers in ONLYOFFICE: an essential guide

19 October 2023By Sergey

Version 7.5 of ONLYOFFICE Docs comes with a lot of useful improvements, and one of them is compatibility with screen readers in beta mode, special programs for people with visual impairments. Read this post to find out how this feature works and makes ONLYOFFICE more accessible.

Screen readers in ONLYOFFICE: an essential guide

What are screen readers?

In general terms, a screen reader is an assistive technology (AT), mainly used by people who are blind or visually impaired. It converts various screen elements, like text and images, into speech, making it possible to interact with digital content in a non-visual way.

Screen readers are becoming more and more popular because they are very useful to visually impaired and illiterate people as well as those who have a learning disability. Due to this technology, such people can use their desktop and mobile devices to interact with websites and software applications.

Screen readers in ONLYOFFICE

Starting from version 7.5, the ONLYOFFICE online and desktop editors provide the ability to use screen readers in beta mode to convey information when working on text documents, spreadsheets and presentations.

Let’s take a quick look at what the screen readers can do in each ONLYOFFICE editor.

Text editor

When working on text documents, the activated speech reader notifies you in the following cases:

  • You select some text or cancel your selection;
  • You change the selected text by adding or removing something;
  • You move the mouse cursor with the left/right arrow keys or move to the right/left by pressing the Ctrl key;
  • You move the mouse cursor with the up/down arrow keys;
  • You navigate to the beginning or the end of your document.

Spreadsheet editor

When it comes to spreadsheets, you will hear voice notifications when:

  • You move the mouse cursor and change your selection within a cell;
  • You move from one cell to another and change your selection with the keyboard or the mouse;
  • You switch between the sheets of your spreadsheet.

Presentations editor

You will be notified by the activated screen reader when you perform the following operations in your presentation:

  • You add, select or deselect one or several objects on a slide;
  • You edit and navigate through text within a text box or a shape;
  • You edit and navigate through text in notes;
  • You add a new slide;
  • You move from one slide to another;
  • You select or deselect several slides.

How to get started

If you want to use the screen readers in ONLYOFFICE, you need to install some additional software components depending on your operating system:

Windows: JAWS; NVDA

macOS: Voice Over*

Linux: Orca

After installing one of the screen readers above, you can activate it in the ONLYOFFICE editors by pressing the CTRL/CMD + ALT + Z combination on the keyboard.

*It will appear in future releases

Known issues

Although it’s a beta version, the screen reading feature works well in the online editors. The desktop editors work with this feature on Windows but Linux users can face some difficulties. On Linux, you can’t edit files when the screen reader is on. On macOS, the screen reader doesn’t work as expected.

Also, when you activate the key combination, you can launch the GeForce Experience menu if you use this program.

Share your feedback with us

Our team is working on fixing the existing bugs, and the screen reading feature will become better and better with new releases. However, we invite you to test it yourself and share your feedback with us. Start right now in the cloud with a free ONLYOFFICE DocSpace account:


If you find any issues when using the screen readers in ONLYOFFICE, please let us know by starting a topic on our forum.