Creating reports in Power BI using accessibility tools

For report creators who use accessibility tools to create reports, Power BI has many built-in capabilities that can help in the process.

Press the Alt key to see KeyTips

This article describes the many types of accessibility tools available for report creators in Power BI Desktop.

App-level navigation

When navigating in Power BI Desktop, you can move focus to the main areas of the app by pressing Ctrl + F6. Shifting focus in the main area of Power BI Desktop progresses in the following order:

  1. Objects on canvas
  2. Page tabs
  3. Panes (each one separately, left to right for whatever ones are open)
  4. View navigator
  5. Footer
  6. Sign in
  7. Yellow warning / error / updates bar

In most cases, using Enter to select, or enter an area, and then using Esc to exit are common procedures in Power BI.

Ribbon navigation

Press Alt to see the little boxes called KeyTips over each command available in the current view of the ribbon. Then you can press the letter shown in the KeyTip that hovers over the command you want to use.

For example, in the following image the Alt key has been pressed to display KeyTips, which contain the letters for available accessible commands. Then pressing M would open the Modeling tab on the ribbon.

Press the Alt key to see KeyTips

Depending on which letter you press, you might see additional KeyTips. For example, if the Home tab is active and you press W, the View tab is displayed along with the KeyTips for the groups in that View ribbon tab. You can continue pressing letters displayed in KeyTips until you press the letter of the specific command you want to use. To move to the previous set of KeyTips, press Esc. To cancel the action you’re taking and hide the KeyTips, press the Alt key.

Visual pane navigation

To navigate the Visualizations pane, you first must make sure your focus is on the pane, by pressing Ctrl + F6 until you reach that pane. When a user navigates through the visualizations pane, the focus first lands on the header. Starting from the top, the tab order is the following, and is shown in the following image:

  1. The header title
  2. The expand / collapse carat
  3. The first visual icon

Tab order for panes

When you get to the visuals, you can use arrow keys to navigate to a particular visual, and press Enter to select it. If you’re using a screen reader, it calls out if you’ve created a new chart and tell you what type it is, or it tells you that you’ve changed a chart of a particular type to another type of chart.

After the visuals section of the pane, the focus order then shifts to the pane pivots, as shown in the following image.

Pane pivots

When focus is on the pane pivots, tabbing lands only on the icon for the pane that is selected. To switch to other panes, use arrow keys.

Field well

When focus is on the pane pivots, as described in the previous section, pressing tab again advances focus to the Field Well.

In the Field well, focus order moves to:

  • each well's title (first)
  • followed by a given field in each well (next)
  • the dropdown button to open the field menu (after that)
  • then the removal button (last)

The following image shows this focus progression ordering.

Field well focus progression

A screen reader will read out the well’s name and its tooltip. For each field in a well, a screen reader reads the field name and its tooltip. If a well is empty, the focus should move to the entire empty well. The screen reader should read the well name, tooltip, and that it is empty.

When the field menu is open, you can move through it by using Tab or Shift + Tab or Up / Down arrow keys. A screen reader will call out the option names.

If you’d like to move a field from one bucket in the field well to another bucket, you can use your keyboard, and use the Move to option in the field well menu, as shown in the following image.

Move a field using the menu

Formatting pane

The focus order for the Formatting pane moves from the top, then down, in card order. The focus goes around the card name, followed by its On / Off toggle button, if it exists. When the focus is on the card name, a screen reader reads out the name of the card, and whether the card is expanded or collapsed. You can press Enter to expand or collapse the card. The Enter key also works to switch On or Off the toggle button.

Focus progression on the Formatting pane

If a card is open, Tab moves through the controls in the card before going on to the next card. For the controls in a card, a screen reader calls out the title, the current value, and the control type.

Focus progression for an open card

Fields list navigation

You can press Tab to navigate around the Fields list. Similar to the formatting pane, if tables are collapsed the focus order cycles through in the following order:

  1. The Fields list header
  2. The search bar
  3. Each table name

Focus progression for Fields list

To expand all the tables in the Fields well, press Alt + Shift + 9. To collapse all the tables press Alt + Shift + 1. To expand a single table, press the Right arrow key. To collapse a single table, press the Left arrow key. Similar to the formatting pane, if a table is expanded, then tabbing and navigating through the fields list includes the fields that are being shown. A screen reader calls out whether you have expanded or collapsed a table.

Focus progression for Fields list with expanded tables

You can checkmark a field by navigating to the desired field and pressing Enter. A screen reader calls out the field the focus is on, and whether the field is checked or unchecked.

Mouse users typically drag-and-drop fields to the canvas, or to the relevant filter buckets they desire. If you’d like to use your keyboard, you can add a field to a filter bucket by entering a field’s context menu by pressing Shift + F10, using arrow keys to navigate to Add to filters, and then pressing Enter on the type of filter to which you’d like to add the field.

Add a field to a filter bucket

Selection pane navigation

The Selection pane has the following focus order progression:

  1. Header title
  2. Exit button
  3. Layer / tab order switcher
  4. Move up in layer button
  5. Move down in layer button
  6. Show button
  7. Hide button
  8. Objects

Selection pane focus progression

You can tab through the focus order and press Enter to select the element you're interested in.

When you get to the layer / tab order switcher, use the left and right arrow keys to switch between the layer order and tab order.

When you get to the objects in the Selection pane, press F6 to activate the Selection pane. After activating the Selection pane, you can use the up / down arrow keys to navigate to the different objects in the Selection pane. Once you’ve navigated to an object of interest, there are a few different actions you can take:

  • Press Ctrl + Shift + S to hide / show an object
  • Press Ctrl + Shift + F to move an object up in the layer order
  • Press Ctrl + Shift + B to move an object down in the layer order
  • Press Ctrl + Space to multi-select objects

Power BI Desktop dialogs

All dialogs in Power BI Desktop are accessible through keyboard navigation and work with screen readers.

Dialogs in Power BI Desktop include the following:

  • Quick Measures dialog
  • Conditional Formatting & data bars dialog
  • Q&A Explorer dialog
  • Getting Started dialog
  • File menu and About dialog
  • Warning bar
  • File Restore dialog
  • Frowns dialog

High contrast support

When you use high contrast modes in Windows, those settings and the palette you select are also applied to reports in Power BI Desktop.

High contrast settings in Windows

Power BI Desktop automatically detects which high contrast theme Windows is using and applies those settings to your reports. Those high contrast colors follow the report when published to the Power BI service, or elsewhere.

High contrast windows settings

Next steps

The collection of articles for Power BI accessibility are the following: