8 Accessibility Tips for Using Microsoft Teams

Tips for Microsoft Teams, by adjusting settings and utilising shortcuts, users can enhance accessibility and promote inclusivity within their Teams environment.
May 20, 2024

Staying Connected

With so many people living and working so far away from each other, tools like MS Teams have become essential for staying connected.

And with over 1 billion people in the world suffering from a disability, connecting without barriers is more important than ever.

In this story, we’ll discuss tips for making your meetings and events with MS Teams more accessible to people with disability and language barriers.


Organising a Teams Event

When planning and organising Team meetings or live events, it’s important to remember to try to ensure an inclusive experience for all of your attendees.

As a meeting organiser, there are several things you may want to consider to help ensure everyone has an equal opportunity to access and enjoy the meeting or event. 

Let’s take a look at some of them.

Accessible Access

It’s always important to let your participants know how to access the meeting or event with alternative means, for example, keyboard shortcuts, voice assistance, or using a screen reader.

This will ensure no one is left out or spending valuable time attempting to gain access to the meeting.


Tips for more accessible access:

  • To ensure everyone can join your meeting without difficulty, it’s best to always try to provide a direct link to join for those who can join using their computer or smart device.
  • Select the easy access options to let people join a meeting in progress within a MS Teams meeting.

Note: remember that some individuals may not have easy access to the internet. Make sure the dial-in number is included in the invitation along with the link to your meeting.


Learn about adding a dial-in number.


Recording & Sharing

Recording a meeting and being able to share the recording is especially important so all participants are able to review what was being discussed and to go over specific segments that they might have missed the first time.

Make sure that any recordings of the meeting or event have accurate and time-synced closed captions.


Find your recordings:

Recordings are available in different places depending on the type of meeting.

  • The recording is processed and saves to SharePoint if it was a channel meeting OR OneDrive if it was any other type of meeting.
  • The meeting recording shows up in the meeting chat or channel conversation (if you’re meeting in a channel). The recording does not expire.

Note: for now, guests and external attendees can view the recording only if it’s explicitly shared with them.


Turn on Live Captions

MS Teams can detect what’s said in a meeting or live event and present real-time captions right from the meeting window.

For meetings where language barriers may be an issue, Teams will allow you to use captions for six additional languages to reach an even broader audience. Talk about breaking down the barriers!


Learn how to use live captions:

To use live captions in a meeting, go to your meeting controls and select:

More > Turn on live captions


To change the language of your captions, select:

Settings > Change spoken language


Select the language spoken during the meeting.(this is the language of your captions and meeting transcript) and then select Confirm.

Note: when you change the spoken language setting, the captions and transcript language will change for all meeting participants.


Participate Accessibly

When organising or joining a MS Teams meeting or live event with other participants or presenters who are deaf or hard of hearing, there are some simple tips to keep in mind to make the experience accessible, enjoyable, and productive for everyone.


Let’s take a look at some of them.


Participant Best Practices

  • Turn on video when speaking to allow deaf participants to read lips.
    • Tip: to toggle video on or off, press Ctrl+ Shift + O
  • Mute your audio when not speaking to avoid unnecessary background noise.
    • Tip: to toggle mute on or off, press Ctrl+ Shift + M
  • Avoid multiple people taking the floor at once and signal speaker changes clearly.
  • Identify yourself before commenting to make discussions easier to follow without sound cues.
  • Speak slowly and clearly.


Choose the Right Background

Whether you’re an organiser or participant, it’s important to keep your background as clear as possible to ensure any hand gestures are easy to see for people who may be reading sign language.

Also, try to avoid blurring the background, as this can make gestures blurred out as well, or obstruct body language that would help others to follow along with what’s being discussed.


Using a Screen Reader

People with disabilities can use MS Teams with their keyboard and a screen reader to explore and navigate the app’s main views and elements, and to move between functions.

MS has officially tested Teams with JAWS and NVDA, but it may work with other screen readers as long as they follow common accessibility standards and techniques.


Learn how to navigate Teams with a screen reader.


Immersive Reader

With Immersive Reader in MS Teams, people with disabilities can hear posts, chat messages, and assignments read aloud.

Depending on how you’d like to focus on the message, you can hear your document read aloud while simultaneously watching the highlighted text.

You can also change the appearance of your document with Text Options that help you focus on your content and remove visual distraction.


Disability Answer Desk

The Disability Answer Desk is a great resource where customers with disabilities can get support with MS Office, Windows, and Xbox Accessibility. This includes product issues, accessibility questions, and use of assistive technology.

Learn how to contact the Disability Answer Desk in your region.


Remember to be Inclusive

With so many people living and working with disabilities, it’s more important than ever to provide an inclusive experience for them to connect, communicate, work, and play.

The team at Merge and MS care about your concerns and we understand the role we play in providing an accessible experience for you and the people involved. Follow us on our socials or subscribe to our newsletter for more helpful tips like these updated regularly.


If you need further support or additional information, feel free to reach out to our friendly team any time.

Last updated: 24/04/2024

Grace Tran - Marketing & Communications Manager