Use UI Automation custom properties to customize your assistive technologies to Office applications

Office Add-ins team

Announcing support for UI Automation custom properties in Excel and PowerPoint

Office applications on Windows have added support for UI Automation custom properties so that assistive technologies have access to application-specific information through UI Automation, and you can improve your users’ experience for those applications. For example, you can improve the usability and efficiency in the PowerPoint slide show and editing experiences by using the ViewType custom property on the Pane element, and customizing for each view.

Using the platform accessibility API

People with disabilities often rely on assistive technologies such as screen readers to access the digital world. Office works with assistive technologies using the platform accessibility API, which is UI Automation on Windows. The Office applications are UI Automation Providers and work well with assistive technologies that are UI Automation Clients.

Office in Application Guard availability

Office in Application Guard is now available to organizations who have Microsoft 365 E5 or Microsoft 365 E5 Mobility + Security licenses. In an isolated container such as Microsoft Defender Application Guard, assistive technologies are only able to interact with applications using UI Automation and not by calling the applications’ APIs. Custom properties enable assistive technologies to get the application-specific information they need without having to call the applications’ APIs. Currently, UI Automation custom properties are available only in Excel and PowerPoint on the desktop.

Diagram: Assistive Technology can't call the application in the isolated container. But Assistive Technology can get custom properties from UI Automation. Excel and PowerPoint provide custom properties in UI Automation.

Learn more about using UI Automation Custom Extensions in Office to customize your assistive technologies to Office applications and work well with Office in Application Guard.

Peter Wu

Peter is a Principal Software Engineer on the Office PowerPoint team.

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