The Windows Narrator

All of the later computers with Windows on them have a speech program called " Windows Narrator." This is a very, very simple screen reading program that can be used in emergencies when your regular speech program is not working or unavailable. It will absolutely not take the place of a much more sophisticated screen reading program such as JAWS or WindowEyes, nevertheless, it can be useful in some very limited situations. Here are the basic keyboard controls to navigate the Windows Narrator Program.

Windows Narrator Hot Keys

Opening and Closing Narrator
  • To open Narrator from the Start Menu, click Start, point to All Programs, point to Accessories, point to Accessibility, and then click Narrator.
  • To open Narrator using the keyboard, press the Windows Key or CTRL+ESC, press R, type narrator, and then press ENTER.
  • To exit Narrator, go to the Narrator menu, arrow down to exit and press the space bar; it will ask you if you want to exit out of Narrator, yes or no, press enter on yes, and it shuts off.
Reading Options
  • To read an entire window, insure the window has focus, click the window with a mouse if you have some sight and then press CTRL+SHIFT+SPACEBAR.
  • To get information about the current item, press CTRL+SHIFT+ENTER.
  • To get a more detailed description of an item, press CTRL+SHIFT+INSERT.
  • To read the title bar of a window, press ALT+HOME.
  • To read the status bar of a window, press ALT+END.
  • To read the contents of an edit field, press CTRL+SHIFT+ENTER, or use the arrow keys.
  • To silence the speech, press CTRL.
Keyboard options
  • To switch to another program, press ALT+TAB.
  • To go to the next button or tool, press TAB.
  • To go back, press SHIFT+TAB.
  • To select an item from a drop-down list, use the arrow keys.
  • To select a check box or option button, press SPACEBAR.
  • To open Utility Manager, press Windows logo key+U.


Joanna said…
A couple things that weren't mentioned:

To open Narrator at the Windows logon page )(in Windos XP), press the Windows key plus U, which will also open Utility Manager. This comes in very handy if there is a problem with your main screen reader. Also, if you press the Windows key plus U while in Windows and Narrator isn't already open, it will open Narrator and Utility Manager at the same time.

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