Accessibility in Power BI Desktop reports

Power BI has features that enable people with disabilities to more easily consume and interact with Power BI 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

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 Shift + ? to show a window that describes the accessibility keyboard shortcuts available in Power BI Desktop.

Press Shift + ? in Power BI Desktop to show accessibility keyboard shortcuts

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

Note

When viewing a report, generally you should have scan mode off.

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 screen reader reads out the title of the report page, and whether it's currently selected. To load the report page currently under focus, use the Enter key or spacebar.
  • 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 the object's title (if it has one). The screen reader also reads a description of that object if it's provided by the report author.

As you navigate between visuals, you can press Alt + Shift + F10 to move focus to the visual header. The visual header contains various options including sorting, exporting the data behind the chart, and Focus mode.

Press Alt + Shift + F10 in Power BI Desktop to move focus to the visual header

You can press Alt + Shift + F11 to present an accessible version of the Show data window. This window lets you explore the data used in the visual in an HTML table, using the same keyboard shortcuts you normally use with your screen reader.

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

Note

The Show data feature is only accessible to a screen reader through this keyboard shortcut. If you open Show data through the option in the visual header, it won't be accessible to a screen reader. When using Show data, turn on scan mode to take advantage of all the hot keys your screen reader provides.

Beginning with the July 2018 release of Power BI Desktop, slicers also have accessibility functionality built in. When you select a slicer, to adjust the value of a slicer use Ctrl + Right arrow (Control key plus the Right arrow key) to move through the various controls within the slicer. For example, when you initially press Ctrl + Right arrow, the focus is on the eraser. Then, pressing the spacebar is equivalent to clicking the eraser button, which erases all values on the slicer.

You can move through the controls in a slicer by pressing the Tab key. Pressing the Tab key when on the eraser moves to the drop-down button. Another Tab then moves to the first slicer value (if there are multiple values for the slicer, such as a range).

Press Ctrl + Right arrow key in Power BI Desktop to adjust element or values in a slicer, press the spacebar to select the element and adjust its value

These accessibility additions let users fully consume Power BI 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.

General tips for accessible reports

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

    • To turn the Show markers toggle on, select the Format section in the Visualizations pane and expand the Shapes section. Scroll down to find the Show markers toggle and turn it to On.

    • To customize individual lines, find the Customize series 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. When using shapes on line and scatter charts, don't rely on conditional formatting to provide insights in tables and matrices.

  • Pick an intentional sort order for each visual on your report. When screen reader users navigate the data behind the chart, it picks up the same sort order as the visual.

  • Select a theme that is high contrast and color-blind friendly from the theme gallery. Import it using the Theming preview feature.

  • For every object on a report, provide alt text. Doing so ensures that your report consumers understand what you are trying to communicate with a visual. It even helps if they can't 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. Then, 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

    Alt text can also be changed dynamically with an expression, for example reflecting filters that applied to a visual. You set an expression the same as you would for a visual's title. Conditional formatting for visual titles

  • Make sure your reports have sufficient contrast between text and any background colors. There are several tools such as Color Contrast Analyser you can use to check your report 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.

  • Use meaningful titles for all report pages.

  • Avoid decorative shapes and images in your report if possible, as they're included in the tab order of the report. If you need to include decorative objects in your report, update the object's alt text to let screen reader users know that it is for decoration.

Arranging items in Field buckets

Beginning with the October 2018 release of Power BI Desktop, you can navigate the Fields well with a keyboard and it interacts with screen readers.

To improve the process of creating reports with screen readers, a context menu is available. The menu allows moving fields in the well up or down in the Fields list. The menu also allows moving the field to other wells, such as Legend or Value or others.

Context menu in the Fields well lets you move fields up, down, or to another area

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 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

The Power BI service also attempts to detect the high contrast settings selected for Windows. The effectiveness and accuracy of that detection depends on the browser showing 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

Considerations and limitations

There are a few known issues and limitations with the accessibility features. Descriptions of those issues and limitations are in the following list:

  • When using screen readers with Power BI Desktop, you'll have the best experience if you open your screen reader before opening any files in Power BI Desktop.
  • If you're using Narrator, there are some limitations around navigating Show data as an HTML table.

Keyboard shortcuts

Keyboard shortcuts are helpful for moving around in Power BI reports using a keyboard. The following tables describe the shortcuts available in a Power BI report. In addition to using these keyboard shortcuts in Power BI Desktop, these shortcuts work in the following experiences as well:

  • Q&A Explorer dialog
  • Getting Started dialog
  • File menu and About dialog
  • Warning bar
  • File Restore dialog
  • Frowns dialog

In our continued effort to improve accessibility, the previous list of experiences also support screen readers and high contrast settings.

Frequently used shortcuts

To do this action Press
Move focus between sections Ctrl + F6
Move focus forward in section Tab
Move focus backward in section Shift + Tab
Select or clear selection of an object Enter or spacebar
Multi-select objects Ctrl + spacebar

On visual

To do this action Press
Move focus to visual menu Alt + Shift + F10
Show data Alt + Shift + F11
Enter a visual Ctrl + Right arrow
Enter a layer Enter
Exit a layer or visual Esc
Select or clear selection of a data point Enter or spacebar
Multi-select Ctrl + Enter or Ctrl + spacebar
Right-click
  • Windows keyboard: Windows context key + F10. The Windows context key is between the Left Alt key and the Left Arrow Key
  • Other keyboard: Shift + F10
Clear selection Ctrl + Shift + C

Table & matrix navigation

To do this action Press
Move focus up / down one cell (across all cells in all areas) Up arrow key / Down arrow key
Move focus left / right one cell (across all cells in all areas) Left arrow key / Right arrow key

Pane navigation

To do this action Press
Multi-select Ctrl + spacebar
Collapse a single table Left arrow key
Expand a single table Right arrow key
Collapse all tables Alt + Shift + 1
Expand all tables Alt + Shift + 9
Open a context menu
  • Windows keyboard: Windows context key + F10. The Windows context key is between the Left Alt key and the Left Arrow Key
  • Other keyboard: Shift + F10

Slicer

To do this action Press
Interact with a slicer Ctrl + Right arrow key

Selection pane

To do this action Press
Activate selection pane F6
Move an object up in the layering Ctrl + Shift + F
Move an object down in the layering Ctrl + Shift + B
Hide / show (toggle) an object Ctrl + Shift + S

DAX editor

To do this action Press
Move line up / down Alt + Up arrow key / Down arrow key
Copy line up / down Shift + Alt + Up arrow key / Down arrow key
Insert line below Ctrl + Enter
Insert line above Ctrl + Shift + Enter
Jump to matching bracket Ctrl + Shift + \
Indent line / Extend line into the margin Ctrl + ] / [
Insert cursor Alt + Click
Select current line Ctrl + I
Select all occurrences of current selection Ctrl + Shift + L
Select all occurrences of current word Ctrl + F2

Enter data

To do this action Press
Exit editable grid Ctrl + Tab

Next steps