Microsoft’s Built-In Accessibility Tools & How to Use Them

McGill uses Microsoft products in the majority of its workplaces, namely Windows 10 and Office 365. This article highlights the built-in accessibility features of these products, along with links to follow so you can try them yourself. While many of these features were introduced to address barriers that people with disabilities experience when using technology, customizing your settings to your needs can help you regardless of whether or not you have a disability.


Windows 10


Microsoft Office 365

Learning Tools are is available in select Microsoft products such as OneNote, Word, the Edge browser and Outlook (web). You are encouraged to use the links included to discover these tools for yourself and find the settings that work best for you. Highlighted below are a few of the features available


Immersive Reader

By selecting the Immersive Reader feature you can adjust different settings to meet your reading preferences. The settings that you can adjust vary by the product you’re using (e.g. Word vs. OneNote), nevertheless we have listed a few here so you can search for them:

  • Column width: changes the spacing between columns of text
  • Page colour: changes the colour of the page for the reader only. Acts as a digital colour overlay that can help some with the readability of the text
  • Text spacing: adds more spacing between each letter
  • Syllables: adds spacing between syllables
  • Read aloud: a text-to-speech feature that can be customized for reading speed and voice
  • Colour coding parts of speech: highlights words in different colours based on category (e.g. noun, adjective)
  • Line focus: only a limited number of lines of text are viewed at a time
  • Picture dictionary: reads the word aloud and includes a graphic
  • Translate: click on a word and have it translated into another language


Other Learning Tools

Dictate: a speech-to-text feature that uses voice recognition software instead of typing on the keyboard in order to produce text

Focus: this view hides toolbars and reduces visual clutter to help you focus on what you’re doing



McGill University is on land which has long served as a site of meeting and exchange amongst Indigenous peoples, including the Haudenosaunee and Anishinabeg nations. We acknowledge and thank the diverse Indigenous peoples whose presence marks this territory on which peoples of the world now gather.

For more information about traditional territory and tips on how to make a land acknowledgement, visit our Land Acknowledgement webpage.

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