Microsoft Word With Voiceover

macOS & Mac Apps

Hello everyone. As we all know Microsoft Office for Mac even the 2016 version isn't fully accessible. However I spoke to an Apple Advisor about this and what I really want to use is Microsoft Word. The Advisor says that there are 2 options in this situation. I could use Apple's Pages app which contains an option for creating Word Documents. The second option is that I could get the original Microsoft Word app from the App Store. Has anyone used the Pages app which I have read is a beautiful Word Processor. How accessible is it with Voiceover? For those who have used the Microsoft Word Application from the App Store, how accessible is it with Voiceover? Please note that in this post when I talk about accessibility of an app I'm wondering if its fully accessible including all of the Advance Features.



Submitted by Tyler on Monday, June 19, 2017

As a student, I use Pages to create documents, and am able to adjust the font, spacing, paragraph style, text alinement, and bookmarks. These are the features I use. I know there are others, but I can't say if they are or aren't accessible with Voiceover. I've tried Word, and while it appears to be usable for basic tasks, it seems less intuitive and consistent from an accessibility perspective.


Submitted by david s on Monday, June 19, 2017


I have iwork and so far it’s been accessable for the basic things I needed to do.

Anyway, here is the purpose of my post. If you want the latest version of pages, numbers and keynote cheaply and legally, here is how you can do it.

Purchase iwork 09 on a DVD. Install from the DVD then update to the latest update for iWork 9. Then when you restart your Mac, and check for updates from the app store, it will update to the latest version of numbers, pages and keynote. Be sure to keep the DVD in a safe place as this is your proof of purchase/license of the iwork software. BTW, I am in the US but I am not sure if this is the same outside of the US.

HTH and good lluck.

Submitted by Afrim on Monday, June 19, 2017

As far as I've used Pages on iOS, it is fully accessible and it has most of the features Microsoft Word has. I'm not sure whether it has more or less features than Microsoft Word, but it does have all the features that one needs in daily basis. I was able to write a short document with the Braille keyboard and I could apply formatting, font, (size and type like Times new Roman), bold, underline, italics, alignment, indentation, and so on. One thing I could not easily do though; adding headings as I usually do on Microsoft Word on Windows.
However, I can say that Pages is a really nice word processor and I'm now more confident to switch to MAC whenever I have the money to buy one.

Submitted by Dawn on Monday, June 19, 2017

Hi. I use Microsof Word, and I've found it very accessible. I however, do not have Office 365, if that's what you're asking about for advanced features. So, I cannot speak for Office 365 accessibility. I love Word and have used it for creating lists a few times, crating other documents, and storing documents. I used Word on a computer before when I was in school, and it was a little... for lack of a better phraise culture shock because I was used to the way it worked on a computer somewhat. But I honestly think you should go with Word because it's very accessible. That, and it's free. I'll also make another suggestion. How I meised around and played with it to figured out how to use it, was I created a folder called test docs )you don't have to call it that obviously, you can call it whatever you want), and just created a document or 2, so I could be free to figure it out, without screwing up anything important! Good luck and hope this helps!

Submitted by Owais Patel on Monday, June 19, 2017

In reply to by Dawn

Thanks to all the people who replied above. What I mean by advanced features is all the features of that specific Word Processor.

Submitted by SSWFTW on Sunday, July 16, 2017

So I'm still finding Word is not reading all the formatting that I want it to. And to use all the features like syncing all formats of documents You do need to purchase an office 365 subscription. But pages just doesn't seem to be doing it either, not as many sinking options. I need to have some form of continuity between my iPad and my windows computer.

Submitted by Edd_p on Saturday, September 30, 2017

Guys, who is the best person to find out about MS office accessibility? there seems to be some wildly conflicting reports about it. some people say they've used MS Excel, some say it's accessible. Others say Word is, others say it's not. I think the problem is not enough blind people use Office to really know about it but surely someone, somewhere must know? surely someone has to use it on a daily basis?

Submitted by Natalia Voegele on Sunday, September 16, 2018

In reply to by Owais Patel

I use Word 365 with VoiceOver on my Mac all the time. It's very accessible. I find it much easier to create and maintain Word documents, since I must use Word, for work. I find it a pain to have to convert Pages documents to Word ones. I use headings, trademark symbols, bullets, spell check, and inserting hyperlinks, most frequently. You cannot download Office 365 from the app store. It must be downloaded from a Microsoft site.
I hope this helps,

Submitted by peter on Wednesday, September 25, 2019

From the posts above it seems like Word can be used successfully with VoiceOver on a Mac.

I find lots of trouble using Word in iOS with VoiceOver in either iOS 12 or 13. Specifically:

- When hitting Shift+Option+Right/LeftArrow VoiceOver does not speak the selected words as they are selected like in other apps and edit field.
- If I close a document and open another blank template, I can't find any editable field using VoicedOver.

So, I'm wondering if anyone else has had any success using Word with VoiceOver on iOS and if so, what do you do to get it to work?



Submitted by mority on Tuesday, October 22, 2019


As Windows users of ofice will know you have hotkeys for certain things, for example setting up headings.

Do these hotkeys also exist for the iOS and mac versions or do you have to scrape around menus to set up headings or edit headers or footers?

Greetings Moritz.

Submitted by Oliver Kennett on Tuesday, October 22, 2019

So, just to add to this conversation... I have to use word to submit work. My process is this, use byword, a markdown editor, and then export to a .Doc file. The problem is, if you open a .doc file in pages it changes the formatting.

I'm using Mac OS here, I've not tried the IOS version as it's not really a versatile editor in terms of spell check and so on.

I do believe that there are hot keys, re the previous poster, but getting in and out of the editable area is a real pain.

So, I'd say, I grudgingly use it and that is on a 360 subscription.

Submitted by Quinton Williams on Monday, February 17, 2020

I have noticed some very strange accessibility issues with the microsoft office 2016. For whatever reason, the application used to put me where the text should go and work pretty much perfectly. However, the scroll area the text was in is apparently empty and I cannot interact with it at all. In addition, I can no-longer tell what is happening with the text. I don't know how it happened, but out of nowhere, voiceover no-longer reads the text status. If I type, nothing is said. If I move the cursor or select text, again nothing happens. I would use pages any day over this, but I am in classes in which formatting is essential. If anyone has seen this or knows of any fixes, that would be appreciated.

Hello. I am a new MicroSoft Word user for Mac, but I do notice the same issues described above. I have done exti?ive searching through the VoiceOver utility on my computer, including making sure that my verbosity settings are set correctly, which they are. The bug in Office 365 of characters not being spoken, and the scroll area being blank appears to be a problem within Word. However, many students and professionals are required to use word, as the DOCX file is what is required for submission. There are still ways to create a file, with the end result of a DOCX file, which is really the bottom line.

One option is to use Pages. With the Pages document, you can either export it into a Word document, or copy and paste it into a Word document. With this approach, there is minimal interaction with the Word program; you need to open a blank document, but once open, you do not need to interact with the scroll area. From the Pages document, you can press command and a to select all, then command c to copy. Then, launch Word, open a blank document, and press command v to paste. This should preserve the formatting, but there is a possibility that the formatting will change. A better way of ensuring that the formatting is not lost is to actually do all of your word processing in Google Docs, which has many accessibility features. To do this, you do need a gmail account, and to have an understanding of Google Drive. On the computer, Google Docs is a web page, so the interface will not look quite as simple as it does in the Word app, but if you use the computer's built-in web navigation short cuts, it is definitely usable. There is also an app for iOs, that is usable, but it is slightly more difficult to do some of the more advanced features, because there are fewer short cut keys in iOs. These Google Docs files can then be saved as DOCX files using the share option in your file menu in the browser, or the more actions menu for iOs.

There are other third party word processors for Mac, as well as Windows and Linux. I can't speak for the accessibility of most of them, as I am still figuring all of this out myself. I may just end up doing my word processing in Linux in the Lebra Office Suite, as well as on my BrailleNote Touch, which creates DOCX files. I hope maybe this is somewhat helpful.

I was having that problem. Nothing short of nuking my drive and reinstalling Catalina on a fresh partition fixed it for me. Word has been working fine ever since then.

I mean, maybe something less drastic will fix it but I was under time pressure when I did that, and I didn't have all that much data to back up. All I know is that resetting Voiceover settings and deleting everything with "microsoft" in its file name didn't fix it.