Accessibility in SharePoint Online

There are no limits to what people can achieve when technology reflects the diversity of everyone who uses it. We believe in what people make possible – at Microsoft, our mission is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more.

Across SharePoint and OneDrive our most important work is making our technology accessible to people of all abilities. Over the past several months we’ve been working towards this vision with improvements across how and where people collaborate ensuring our experiences both create and support opportunities for everyone.

Site Improvements

  • Navigate through the major portions of the page using reserved tab stops.
  • Take advantage of the new accessible SharePoint Online page authoring experience for edit and view your home page.
  • Proper field types and labels that provide details to screen reader users on what each field is and how to use it.

List and Library Improvements

  • Keyboard shortcuts for all major list functions, including a shortcut (SHIFT+F10) for the details menu. Press the question mark “?” to browse the full list of shortcuts.
  • Up and Down Arrow keys navigate between list items. Left and Right Arrow keys navigate between columns.
  • Action confirmations when you updated list item fields.
  • Focus returns to where you were when you finish working in the list and exit, so you never have to start from the top of the page.

Page Authoring Improvements

  • Landmarks and headings for easy navigation across major areas of the page.
  • Web part focus zones to make it easy to setup and edit a web part. In edit mode, just press Enter to navigate into the web part, then use the Tab and Arrow keys to navigate within the web part.
  • Keyboard shortcuts in the rich text editor allow you to jump to the command bar and execute common text commands such as bold, italics, underline, and so on.
  • Focus automatically goes to the caption field when you add images or video web parts, to encourage you to add alternative text descriptions of the images.
  • Page authoring automatically confirms actions that you take when you update web part properties, use the rich text editor commands, and so on. You never have to question an action again.

To learn more about these and more accessibility features in SharePoint Online refer to the links below:

Accessibility features in SharePoint Online
Accessibility support for SharePoint Online

Microsoft has been very public about our product support for accessibility standards for some time. We broadly publish conformance reports for our products for key accessibility standards such as Section 508, WCAG 2.0 and EN 301 549. In the next few months, we will begin publishing conformance statements with the updated Section 508 regulations recently published by the US Access Board.

In addition to the resources above, hear and see the most recent developments in accessibility from Microsoft Ignite.

Learn how to make SharePoint accessible and inclusive
Did you know that the NEW SharePoint experiences are accessible and inclusive? Come see why you should care about the accessibility best practices we followed while building these experiences on Microsoft SharePoint Online (specific focus on: creating communication sites and modern page authoring) and how your organizations can take advantage of these. Our modern experiences help ensure equal access to information and opportunities for people with disabilities. They address the requirements of Section 508 Standards, WCAG 2.0, Level AA Success …

Ensure productivity for your employees and customers with disabilities with Office 365 accessibility
Discover how you can empower people with a range of vision, mobility, hearing, and cognitive abilities to communicate, consume and create content in their preferred ways and empower everyone to collaborate inclusively using Office 365. Experiences that are accessible by design can boost productivity for people of all abilities – including people with temporary conditions such as hand or eye strains and people with situational requirements such as working without a mouse or monitor on the go. If you are looking to attract and retain talent in yo…

Discover easy ways to make your official communications and content more accessible
With over 1 billion people with disabilities on the planet, it is important to check that your organization’s official content poses no barriers for those who use assistive technologies. Your organization might be required to do this if laws and standards such as EN 301 549, WCAG 2.0 AA and US Section 508 apply to you. Office 365 offers built-in capabilities such as Accessibility Checkers that make it easy to find accessibility issues, and intelligent controls such as Automatic Alt Text that make it efficient to fix accessibility issues. Get in…

Learn strategies to make your IT applications more accessible and usable by people of all abilities
Do you want to ensure all your IT applications are empowering for people with disabilities and compliant with global accessibility standards? Learn how the Office engineering team approached making all Office 365 applications accessible by design in a scalable and sustainable manner – ensuring all engineers create experiences that go beyond minimal compliance to be truly usable by people of all abilities. Inclusive design training, usability studies, documentation, and support methodologies are shared. Also, an overview is given of how a system…

Ignite 2017 Pre-Day Training – SharePoint and Office 365 Hybrid Scenarios

Join myself, Neil Hodgkinson, Spence Harbar, Bob Fox, and other industry experts for a Microsoft Ignite pre-day training on implementing hybrid scenarios with SharePoint and Office 365.

Cloud computing has become a popular way to reduce capital and operational expenditures, renew IT innovation, and gain the advantage of more rapid software delivery to meet the needs of business. However, compliance, data sovereignty, sensitivity concerns, or a significant investment in customization may limit your organization’s ability to take advantage of this. Today you can maximize your on-premises investment by upgrading to SharePoint Server 2016 and using hybrid scenarios in Office 365 to seamlessly leverage the cloud. This pre-day workshop is designed to give you the deep technical knowledge to deploy SharePoint Server 2016 as well as design and implement the latest hybrid scenarios including search, auditing, taxonomy and more.

Attendees will receive instructor led training on best practices for implementing a variety of hybrid scenarios and workloads, training materials, to include documentation and presentations and a each, a dedicated lab environment including a SharePoint Server 2016 farm and an Office 365 Tenant that can be used to complete hands on labs during and after the event.

Space is limited, register today

Device-based Conditional Access Policies Rolling out to First Release for SharePoint and OneDrive

The collaboration landscape has changed, people expect to work across both boundaries and devices, to bring content with them versus bringing themselves to content.  Location, location, location is the best choice when buying or selling a home, but introduces new challenges when it comes to securing that content.  Ubiquitous connectivity and the proliferation of devices means responding to new security challenges.  SharePoint Online and OneDrive for Business are uniquely positioned to help you address these challenges…

Over the past several weeks we’ve introduced a variety of policies, to include location-based policies, that provide contextual controls at the user, location, device, and app levels and we’re excited to share you can now explore new device-based policies in First Release.

Conditional access provides the control and protection you need to keep your corporate data secure, while giving your people an experience that allows them to do their best work from any device.

Device-based policies allow you to allow or block access or challenge users with Multi-Factor Authentication, device enrollment, or password change.

Device-based policies for SharePoint Online and OneDrive for Business in First Release help administrators ensure data on corporate resources is not leaked onto unmanaged devices such as non-domain joined or non-compliant devices by limiting access to content to the browser, preventing files from being taken offline or synchronized with OneDrive for Business on unmanaged devices.

With conditional access you get the control you need to ensure your corporate data is secure, while your people roam freely between apps and devices, accessing your data in the cloud and on-premises.

Configured Device-based Policies in First Release Tenants

To being using device-based policies you must have your Office 365 Tenant set up for First Release.  

1.       In the SharePoint admin center, click device access.  

2.       Under Control access from devices that aren’t compliant or joined to a domain, decide whether you want to limit web access or block all access, and then click the link to configure the policy in the Microsoft Azure portal.  

For detailed information on configuring these policies see also


Q:  Are there any license requirements to use these new policies?

A:  Yes.  An active Azure Active Directory Premium (P1) license in addition to Intune licenses are required.

Q:  Does the policy apply to existing sessions?

A:  No, policy applies to new sessions only.

Q:  Are there special considerations for files that do not support online viewing?

A:  Yes, by default files that can’t be viewed online (such as zip files) can be downloaded.  If you want to prevent download of these files onto unmanaged devices you can opt-in to block download of files that can’t be viewed on the web.  This will result in a read-only experience for the end users and customizations maybe affected.  

Q:  How do I protect content from being synchronized with OneDrive for Business or opened with the Office client or mobile apps.

A:  To prevent content from being synchronized with OneDrive for Business or opened with the Office client or mobile apps we recommend you re-use AAD CA policies to allow access only from managed devices.  For additional information refer to  For additional security on HBI data you should also consider using Azure RMS.

Hybrid Scenarios with SharePoint and Office 365 Updates and Recap + Hybrid Taxonomy GA

Cross-posted from my post on the Microsoft Technical Community at

Ubiquitous connectivity, the proliferation of devices – the rise of the cloud.

The cloud has become mainstream and services such as Office 365 are an attractive alternative to on-premises business solutions with SharePoint.  However, for a variety of reasons, you might want to or need to deploy specific solutions in the cloud while still maintaining your on-premises investments.  For some organizations, you may wish to gradually move to cloud using a staged, workload-driven approach.  Hybrid scenarios with Office 365 and SharePoint on-premises allow you to bring the cloud to your business while bringing the business to the cloud.  From on-premises to the cloud and back—your information is where and when you want, at your pace, using the investments you already have. Your existing solutions coexist with the cloud—without the full cost of migration. You can even use Delve and Power BI with on-premises data.

The cloud is no longer a luxury—it’s central to a mobile, modern workplace—and Office 365 brings the cloud to you, on your terms and across SharePoint and OneDrive we’re constantly working to help you take advantage of the power of Office 365.

In November we announced preview availability of two new hybrid scenarios coinciding with Feature Pack 2 for SharePoint Server 2016 – hybrid auditing and hybrid taxonomy..

Hybrid Taxonomy (Generally Available)
Today we’re pleased to announce hybrid taxonomy is generally available.

Taxonomy is key to promoting discoverability and access to the right information at the right time. Hybrid taxonomy in SharePoint Server 2013 and SharePoint Server 2016 allows customers to bring their taxonomy store to Office 365 enabling a single-source for creating and managing Terms, Term Sets and Groups through a single Managed Metadata Service.

Hybrid Auditing (Preview)
Hybrid auditing is a new feature that aims at helping administrators manage their SharePoint infrastructure by giving them access to various reports and dashboards in Office 365. The reports are generated from SharePoint Server 2016 on-premises diagnostic and usage logs.

If you opt in for this service, audit logs get collected and uploaded to Office 365 regularly. From the Office 365 dashboard, you can view auditing and activity reports that show usage and reliability patterns in your SharePoint Server 2016 farm alongside data from your SharePoint Online tenant.

Hybrid auditing will become generally available later this calendar year.

Learn more about hybrid scenarios with Office 365 and SharePoint on-premises at

Download the hybrid scenarios pocket guide with SharePoint and Office 365 at

Get more information on implementing hybrid scenarios with SharePoint and Office 365 at

The SharePoint Journey

Microsoft Ignite will open the window to our vision, strategy, and future for SharePoint and provide a first look at most recent developments with SharePoint Server 2016.  From the business value for organizations looking to modernize their workplace and infrastructure to the technical value it will deliver to IT Professionals and Developers as well as new hybrid investments for those customers looking to enrich their existing investments with cloud innovation.

With Microsoft Ignite just around the corner, it’s time to look back and provide a little historical SharePoint information.

There have been 5SharePoint releases.


“Exchange and SharePoint become best friends”

Exchange Server works on a new information store (Web Store) to support document, web content, and e-mail management.

Codename Tahoe (the genesis of SharePoint Products and Technologies) advances Platinum introducing document management capabilities through WebDAV – Document Authoring and Versioning in addition to an improved search and indexing engine.

Platinum and Tahoe would represent a new, next generation messaging, collaboration, and document management platform.

Learn more about the evolution of SharePoint’s storage architecture at


“A gem is found in nuggets”

Microsoft makes available a free download called Digital Dashboard Starter Kit introducing our first portal framework.   Solutions based on the starter kit enabled a user interface that could reside within Outlook through visual aids called “nuggets” that displayed information from a variety of content sources – “nuggets” would later take on the name Web Parts.


“A rolling milestone gathers no moss”

Tahoe reaches its beta 1 milestone in early 2000 and the Digital Dashboard Starter Kit is renamed the Digital Dashboard Resource Kit.  In mid-2000 Tahoe reaches another important milestone (Beta 2) with important changes to include a new user interface based on the Digital Dashboard Resource Kit creating a “true” portal user experience and subsequently retiring its codename in favor of SharePoint Portal Server 2001.


“So it begins”

SharePoint Portal Server 2001 is released and creates a portal web site that allows users to share documents and search for information across the organization and enterprise, including SharePoint Team Services-based Web sites—all within one extensible portal interface. SharePoint Portal Server includes robust document management features that allow companies to incorporate business processes into their portal solution, but is limited by the Web Store and Digital Dashboard.

Web Store performance and scalability limited the expansion of SharePoint and Digital Dashboards were developed outside of the core development platform (Visual Studio) which limited the audience for extensibility.

In parallel the fledging portal market began to see unprecedented growth and overlap with the existing  Web Content Management (WCM) market which included CMS 2001.

As the growth and adoption of SharePoint Portal Server 2001 continued to rise in the then new portals market, SharePoint Team Services was released in conjunction with Office 2000 providing web-based team-centric collaboration capabilities.



“Raise the roof”

The Web Store, the storage foundation for SharePoint Portal Server 2001 is replaced with SQL Server as the storage backend – on the other side of the topology Digital Dashboards were phased out in favor of ASP.NET improving overall scalability and portal capabilities at the expense of some document management capabilities, notably document profiles and workflow that were to be removed from the upcoming SharePoint release.

This was also a tumultuous time for SharePoint Team Services – but in the end the teams responsible for SharePoint Portal Server and SharePoint Team Services were converged.  In parallel to the changes affecting the technologies that powered SharePoint, CMS evolved as well leveraging ASP.NET on the frontend and delivered as CMS 2002.

In 2002 SharePoint Team Services officially was renamed as Windows SharePoint Services (WSS) and packaged in Windows Server 2003 as a Feature of the server – like SharePoint Portal Server it also provided a collaboration store and Web Part user interface build on ASP.NET.

In this same period SharePoint Portal Server (v2 at the time) was officially branded Microsoft Office SharePoint Portal Server 2003 (no longer referred to as codename Matrix), built on top of Windows SharePoint Services, but delivered independent of Windows Server 2003.


This new release contained important scenarios such as search and indexing, but also ushered in personalization (people-centric collaboration), and enhanced taxonomy capabilities with improved overall manageability.


“Got SOX”?

SOX or Sarbanes-Oxley is introduced to the world and changes document and records management practices.  In response, the CMS and SharePoint Portal Server groups converge in 2004 and Web Parts built using ASP.NET were enabled for developers.  The extensibility era begins…

Near the end of 2005 ASP.NET v2 launches to include new native Web Parts and Windows Workflow Foundation becomes a native add-on to Windows Server that provides a new workflow service that other applications can build on.


“Time to Groove”

In 2005, Grove was acquired, a peer-to-peer (P2P) team-based collaboration product that also includes synchronization of SharePoint sites.


“Who puts MOSS on a server anyway”

Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 is born signifying a leap forward in experiences.

Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 was defined as a Microsoft server product that creates a portal website that allows users to share documents and search for information across the organization and enterprise within one extensible portal interface.


Windows SharePoint Services moves forward, but now as a standalone product versus Windows Server feature.

Groove Server 2007 is released with Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007, which provides the server software and tools that IT organizations can use to best deploy, manage, and integrate the Groove functionality that comes with the new Groove 2007.


SharePoint Server 2010 is released, the first in two successive releases to drop the Microsoft Office branding.


Groove is renamed SharePoint Workspace and released as Microsoft SharePoint Workspace 2010, the server management platform remains Groove Server and released as Groove Server 2010.


10/11/12 the world is introduced to the most recent generation of SharePoint Products and Technologies, SharePoint 2013.


Personal sites, a staple of SharePoint people-centric collaboration are rebranded and paired with a new sync client powered by Groove as SkyDrive Pro, over the course of the SharePoint Server 2013 release these capabilities will become OneDrive for Business.


The next generation of SharePoint is revealed as SharePoint Server 2016 – want to learn more…  Register now for Microsoft Ignite.