This information applies to Windows Internet Explorer 7 and Windows Internet Explorer 8.

Internet Explorer offers many accessibility options to help increase readability and to work better with assistive technology. Here are answers to some common questions about accessibility options in Internet Explorer.

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Can I use the keyboard to surf the web?

Yes, you can use the keyboard to explore the web. Press TAB to move forward between screen elements and SHIFT+TAB to move backward. By pressing TAB or SHIFT+TAB, you can navigate through the following parts of the screen:

  • Links that are text or images

  • Hotspots on image maps

  • The Address bar

  • The tabs bar

  • HTML frames

In Internet Explorer 8, you can also press F7 to use Caret Browsing. Caret Browsing enables you to select text and move around within a webpage using the standard navigation keys on your keyboard—HOME, END, PAGE UP, PAGE DOWN, and the arrow keys. For more information on Caret Browsing, see How can I select text and move around a webpage with my keyboard?

For more information about keyboard access, see Internet Explorer 8 keyboard shortcuts or Internet Explorer 7 keyboard shortcuts.

Can I customize the font size, formatting, and screen colors?

You can specify the font type and size and the foreground and background colors that are used to display webpages. You can also specify the color used for links in webpages. These customizations are useful if you have low vision, need larger fonts, or need high-contrast colors. For more information, see Change the colors and fonts used for webpages. You can also zoom in on any webpage for better readability. For more information, see Zoom in on a webpage.

How can I improve the wayInternet Explorer works with my screen reader or voice recognition software?

Internet Explorer features, such as multimedia or page transitions, can cause screen readers to give confusing or incorrect information. Follow the steps below to turn off features that might interfere with screen readers.

To make Internet Explorer work better with screen readers

  1. Open Internet Explorer by clicking the Start button Picture of the Start button, and then clicking Internet Explorer.

  2. Click the Tools button, and then click Internet Options.

  3. Click the Advanced tab.

  4. Make one or more of the following changes:

    • Set the cursor to follow the screen focus

      If you want your screen reader or Magnifier to use the cursor (also referred to as the insertion point or system caret) to determine where to read or to magnify, do this:

      Under Accessibility, select the Move system caret with focus/selection changes check box.

    • Display text in place of pictures

      Under Accessibility, select the Always expand ALT text for images check box. Under Multimedia, clear the Show pictures check box.

    • Stop page transitions from causing erratic behavior in your screen reader or voice recognition

      Under Browsing, clear the Enable page transitions and Use smooth scrolling check boxes.

      Under Multimedia, clear the Show pictures and Play animations in webpages check boxes.

    • Help prevent webpage sounds from interfering with your screen reader.

      Under Multimedia, clear the Play sounds in webpages check box.

  5. Click OK.

How can I improve legibility when printing webpages?

To improve legibility when printing webpages, it might be helpful to stop printing background colors and images. That way, the text will stand out more clearly.

To stop printing background colors and images in Internet Explorer 8

  1. Open Internet Explorer by clicking the Start button Picture of the Start button, and then clicking Internet Explorer.

  2. Click the arrow next to the Print button Picture of the Print button, and then click Page Setup.
  3. In the Page Setup dialog box, clear the Print Background Colors and Images check box, and then click OK.

To stop printing background colors and images in Internet Explorer 7

  1. Open Internet Explorer by clicking the Start button Picture of the Start button, and then clicking Internet Explorer.

  2. Click the Tools button, and then click Internet Options.

  3. Click the Advanced tab.

  4. Under Printing, clear the Print background colors and images check box, and then click OK.