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Accessibility in Visual Studio Tools for Office

Microsoft Visual Studio and Microsoft Office include many accessibility features that enable you to build custom solutions that meet standard accessibility requirements. Microsoft publishes guidelines for accessibility on the Web. For details, see the Accessibility Web site.

In most cases, Visual Studio Tools for Office meets accessibility standards or exposes properties that you can set to make your solutions accessible. However, there are some features that have limited accessibility.

Using Shortcut Keys in Document-Level Projects

When a Microsoft Office Word document or a Microsoft Office Excel workbook is open in Visual Studio, only one application at a time receives the shortcut key commands. By default, Visual Studio receives all shortcut key commands, but you can make Word or Excel receive them when the document has focus by selecting Dynamic keyboard scheme on the Keyboard Settings page of the Options dialog box. For more information, see Microsoft Office Word Keyboard, Microsoft Office Keyboard Settings, Options Dialog Box and Microsoft Office Excel Keyboard, Microsoft Office Keyboard Settings, Options Dialog Box.

Displaying Shortcut Keys for the Ribbon in Document-Level Projects

When a Word 2007 document or an Excel 2007 workbook is open in Visual Studio, you cannot press the Alt key to view shortcut keys for the tabs and controls on the Ribbon. To view the shortcut keys while the document or workbook is open in the designer, perform the following steps.

To view shortcut keys for Ribbon tabs and controls in the designer

  1. In Visual Studio, on the Tools menu, click Options.

  2. Expand the Office Tools node, and select Microsoft Office Excel Keyboard or Microsoft Office Word Keyboard, as appropriate.

  3. Select Dynamic keyboard scheme.

    A message appears that states that you must restart Visual Studio for the change to take effect.

  4. Click OK.

  5. Restart Visual Studio, and reopen your project.

  6. Open the document or workbook designer for your project.

  7. Press F6 to display the shortcut keys for the Ribbon.

Using Menus and Toolbars in Document-Level Projects

When a Word 2003 document or an Excel 2003 workbook is open in Visual Studio, the menus that belong to Word or Excel merge with the Visual Studio menus when the document has focus. These menus are accessible from the Visual Studio menu bar. For more information, see Office Menus in the Visual Studio Environment.

However, the toolbars that belong to Word 2003 and Excel 2003 are not merged with Visual Studio toolbars. Word and Excel toolbars cannot be accessed by using the shortcut keys associated with them. The shortcut keys are instead mapped to the Visual Studio toolbars.

Windows Forms Controls on Office Documents

Windows Forms controls expose accessibility properties to provide information about the control to accessibility aids, such as screen readers. You can take advantage of these accessibility properties when the controls are on an Office document in a document-level customization. For more information, see Providing Accessibility Information for Controls on a Windows Form.

However, there are some accessibility limitations at run time when Windows Forms controls are hosted on an Excel workbook or Word document:

  • You cannot tab from one control to another.

  • Controls on a document are disabled when you change the zoom setting of the document to anything other than 100%.

For information about limitations of Windows Forms controls on documents, see Limitations of Windows Forms Controls on Office Documents.

Actions Panes and Custom Task Panes

When an actions pane or custom task pane has focus, you access controls the same way you would access controls on a Windows Forms application. To move your cursor between the actions pane and the document, you can press F6.

For more information about actions panes and custom task panes, see Actions Pane Overview and Custom Task Panes Overview.

Display Modes

Visual Studio Tools for Office has the following limitations related to display modes:

  • Controls on a document are disabled when you change the zoom setting of the document to anything other than 100%.

  • The New Project dialog box does not display controls correctly if a user changes the computer's accessibility options to Use High Contrast.

You can use Magnifier to overcome these limitations. Magnifier is a display utility in Windows that creates a separate window that displays a magnified portion of the screen.

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