Use YouTube with a screen reader

Get the best YouTube experience with a computer screen reader using the tips on this page. Keyboard shortcuts are automatically turned on when you use YouTube.

Search YouTube and Search results

Search for YouTube videos

  1. Go to YouTube.
  2. Go to the Search box at the top of the page with the / keyboard key. 
  3. Enter a search term and press Enter.

Search results

The search results page has a "Did you mean" section that suggests proper words if you misspelled any. Each of the search results has the following information:

  • The title of the video  -- selecting it will play the video. 
  • The name of the channel that posted the video.
  • How long ago the video was uploaded and how many times it's been viewed.
  • A snippet from the description of the video.

The YouTube Player

When you click a video, you'll go to the YouTube video player. Here are the sections you'll use in the player:

Section headers

H1 for the title of a video

On the player

  • Seek slider: The seek slider is used to fast forward or rewind the video. To use the seek slider, first turn off Virtual cursor then tab to the slider. Use the left/right or up/down arrow keys to fast forward/rewind the video.
  • Play/pause: The button text changes based on the status of the video. To replay the video, select the Play or K button after the video stops playing.
  • Next: This button allows you to skip to the next video. If you don't have media buttons, you can also skip to the next video using Shift+N
  • Mute/unmute: This button changes depending on whether the video is muted or not muted.
  • Volume slider: Use the left/right or up/down arrow keys to increase/decrease volume.
  • Time elapsed/total duration: This section shows the total time elapsed over the total duration of the video. It shows you how much of the video has played already and how much there's still left to play. 
  • CC (Subtitles): If a video has subtitles, you can activate them through the C shortcut. The subtitles will be at the bottom of the video. To turn off subtitles, use the C shortcut again.


This Settings button opens up a menu that allows you to make the following changes:

  • Annotations: Turn annotations on or off.
  • Playback speed: Choose the speed of the video from normal, sped up, or slowed down.
  • Subtitles/CC: Turn subtitles on or off. You can also choose the language of the subtitles here, or choose auto-translation.
  • Quality: Choose the pixel quality of the video you're currently watching. The available resolutions depend on how the video was uploaded and your internet speed. We recommend leaving this option on Auto so that the video quality is chosen based on your internet speed.

Theater mode

Select Theater mode  to expand the player. To go back to the original player size, select it again.

Full screen

Selecting Full screen  maximizes the player to the size of your screen and removes everything outside the player. To exit full-screen mode, select Escape.

Full screen is also useful if you want to get rid of the extra elements in the HTML page around the player. It will leave just the player on its own.

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