Accessibility Tips and Tricks


This article applies to Visual Studio 2015. If you're looking for the latest Visual Studio documentation, see Visual Studio documentation. We recommend upgrading to the latest version of Visual Studio. Download it here

Visual Studio includes built-in accessibility features so you can easily work from the keyboard and use screen readers or other assistive technology devices. The topic includes some suggestions for optimizing Visual Studio for accessibility as well as some useful shortcut key combinations.


The dialog boxes and menu commands you see might differ from those described in Help depending on your active settings or edition. To change your settings, choose Import and Export Settings on the Tools menu. For more information, see Customizing Development Settings in Visual Studio.

Save Your IDE Settings

You can customize your IDE experience by saving your window layout, keyboard mapping scheme, and other preferences. For more information, see Customizing Development Settings in Visual Studio.

Common Windows Shortcut Key Combinations

You can use many of the standard Windows shortcut key combinations to perform tasks within Visual Studio. Some of these shortcut key combinations include:

Description Key Combination
Switch High Contrast on and off Left ALT + Left SHIFT + PRINT SCREEN
Select or clear the check box option in a dialog box SPACEBAR
Display the properties of the selected item. For example, puts focus in the Properties Window if a form is selected or Opens the Property Page dialog box if a project is selected. ALT+ENTER
Display the items in the active list, such as a drop-down list, in a dialog box ALT + DOWN ARROW
Display items in an active drop-down list in a grid SHIFT + ALT + DOWN ARROW

Hidden Visual Studio Shortcut Key Combinations

Some features have shortcut keys available that do not appear in the Options dialog box on the Environment\Keyboard pane. These shortcut key combinations include the following:

Feature Description Key Combination
Toolbox window Move among Toolbox tabs CTRL + UPARROW


Toolbox window Add a control from the Toolbox to a form or designer ENTER
Keyboard, Environment, Options dialog box Delete a key combination entered in the Press shortcut keys option BACKSPACE
All tool windows Select the first button on the toolbar of the window SHIFT + ALT
IDE toolbars Select the first button on the Standard toolbar ALT, CTRL + TAB Note: Press CTRL + TAB again to select the first button on the next IDE toolbar.

See Also

Accessibility Features of Visual Studio