Accessibility in Power BI Desktop reports

Power BI Desktop has features that enable people with disabilities to more easily consume and interact with Power BI Desktop reports. These features include the ability to consume a report using the keyboard or a screen reader, tabbing to focus on various objects on a page, and thoughtful use of markers in visualizations.

Use different markers for line and area charts to improve accessibility


These accessibility features are available with the June 2017 Power BI Desktop and later releases. Additional accessibility functionality is planned for future releases as well.

Consuming a Power BI Desktop report with a keyboard or screen reader

Beginning with the September 2017 release of Power BI Desktop, you can press the ? key to show a window that describes the accessibility keyboard shortcuts available in Power BI Desktop.

Press ? key in Power BI Desktop to show accessibility keyboard shortcuts

With the accessibility enhancements, you can consume a Power BI Desktop report with a keyboard or a screen reader with the following techniques:

You can switch focus between the report page tabs, or objects on a given report page, using Ctrl+F6.

  • When focus is on report page tabs, use the Tab or Arrow keys to move focus from one report page to the next. The title of the report page, and whether it is currently selected, is read out by the screen reader. To load the report page currently under focus, use the Enter or Space key.
  • When focus is on a loaded report page, use the Tab key to shift focus to each object on the page, which includes all textboxes, images, shapes, and charts. The screen reader reads the type of object, and a description of that object that's provided by its author.

You can press Alt+Shift+F10 to move focus to a visual menu.

You can press Alt+Shift+F11 to present an accessible version of the See data window.

Press Alt+Shift+F11 in Power BI Desktop to display an accessible See Data window for a visual

These accessibility additions were created to let users fully consume Power BI Desktop reports using a screen reader and keyboard navigation.

Tips for creating accessible reports

The following tips can help you create Power BI Desktop reports that are more accessible.

  • For Line, Area, and Combo visuals, as well as for Scatter and Bubble visuals, turn markers on, and use a different Marker shape for each line.

    • To turn Markers on, select the Format section in the Visualizations pane, expand the Shapes section, then scroll down to find the Markers toggle and turn it to On.
    • Then, select the name of each line (or area, if using an Area chart) from the drop-down box in that Shapes section. Below the drop-down, you can then adjust many aspects of the marker used for the selected line, including its shape, color, and size.

    Use different markers for line and area charts to improve accessibility

    • Using a different Marker shape for each line makes it easier for report consumers to differentiate lines (or areas) from each other.
  • As a follow on to the previous bullet, don't rely on color to convey information. Using shapes on lines (markers, as described in the previous bullets) is helpful.
  • Select a theme that is high contrast and color blind friendly from the theme gallery, and import it using the Theming preview feature.
  • For every object on a report, provide Alt Text. Doing so ensures that consumers of your report understand what you are trying to communicate with a visual, even if they cannot see the visual, image, shape, or textbox. You can provide Alt Text for any object on a Power BI Desktop report by selecting the object (such as a visual, shape, and so on) and in the Visualizations pane, select the Format section, expand General, scroll to the bottom, and fill in the Alt Text textbox.

    Alt text for any object in a report can be added in Visualizations > Format > General > Alt Text box

  • Make sure your reports have sufficient contrast between text and any background colors.
  • Use text sizes and fonts that are easily readable. Small text size, or fonts that might be difficult to read, are unhelpful for accessibility.
  • Include a title, axis labels, and data labels in all visuals.

High contrast support for reports

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 windows settings

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

High contrast windows settings

The Power BI service also attempts to detect the high contrast settings selected for Windows, but how effective and accurate that detection is depends on the browser being used for the Power BI service. If you want to set the theme manually in the Power BI service, you can select View > High contrast colors and then select the theme you would like to apply to the report.

Setting high contrast in the Power BI service

When in Power BI Desktop, notice that some areas such as the Visualizations and Fields fields do not reflect the selection of high contrast Windows color schemes.

Considerations and limitations

There are a few known issues and limitations with the accessibility features, described in the following list:

  • JAWS is supported in reports that are viewed in the Power BI service, including any embedded reports. JAWS is also supported in Power BI Desktop, however, you must open the screen reader before opening any Power BI Desktop files, in order for screen reading to work properly.

Next steps