Navigating the Ribbon in Microsoft Word with JAWS or NVDA

Image of Mircosoft Word ribbon.

Written By Cody Laplante

Cody M. Laplante is a certified Teacher of Students with Visual Impairments located in the capital region of the United States. With a Master’s Degree and Graduate Certificate in Assistive Technology, Cody founded eye.t to provide live and asynchronous training options to children, adults, professionals and parents to ensure that all people with visual impairments can have access to a computer.

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Published on

December 4, 2022

The dreaded Ribbon in MS Word. When teaching your learner to use the ribbon it may seem intimidating at first, but it is really much simpler than you might think.

The main thing that you need to know about the ribbon is that it is split up into multiple tabs. Each tab contains a group of functions that are related. For example, in the insert tab there are options for inserting a table, inserting a picture, inserting a drawing etc. If you understand that concept, then navigating the ribbon is fairly simple.

Step 1: Jump to the ribbon tab that contains the function that you need. You can either do this with “Alt” and moving right and left through the tabs with right and left arrow keys or by pressing Alt and the associated letter as a shortcut. Those Shortcuts are listed below.

File Menu – Alt+F
Home tab – Alt+H
Insert tab – Alt+N
Design tab – Alt+G
Layout tab – Alt+P
References tab – Alt+S
Mailings tab – Alt+M
Review tab – Alt+R

Step 2: Navigate through the functions within a tab with the “Tab” key. And of course, to move backwards, use Shift + Tab.

Oh, and one last thing, to exit the ribbon without performing any function, you can press “Alt” or “escape”.

And that’s it! That’s all there is to know about using the ribbon. Remember, if you’d like to see a video of this skill, check out this week’s Tech Tip Tuesday video using the link below.

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