This document is an English translation of the “freee Accessibility Guidelines.” The normative version of this document is in Japanese, and the English version is informational. The English translation is incomplete, and any links with their link texts left in Japanese are untranslated. Please be aware that there may be inaccuracies in the translation or parts that are outdated.

Should the hr Element Be Read Aloud by Screen Readers, And How Should It Be Read?

Last Updated: April 12, 2024

Tags: Markup , Screen Reader

Question / Problem

I am unsure whether screen readers should read aloud the hr element. Additionally, if it is set to be read aloud, the way it is read feels unnatural.

Answer / Conclusion

  • The hr element is generally used to indicate a separation in information, so it should be also read aloud by screen readers.

  • The way the hr element is read aloud varies depending on the screen reader, and content authors cannot control it.


Generally, the hr element is used to indicate a separation in information. If it is not being used meaninglessly, it is essential that the same information be conveyed to screen reader users as well.

If you believe that not communicating the presence of the hr element to screen reader users would better aid in understanding the information, it might be worthwhile to reconsider whether the hr element is visually necessary at all. If you still decide it’s better not to have it read by screen readers, you might make screen readers ignore it by applying methods such as specifying role="presentation".

How screen readers announce the hr element varies between different readers. For example, NVDA reads it as “separator” and macOS VoiceOver announces it as “horizontal splitter.” Since users of various screen readers recognize the presence of the hr element through these announcements, content creators, even if they feel these readings are odd, should not change these announcements nor can they generally make such changes.

Furthermore, some screen readers offer features to jump to previous or next hr elements, which can make the presence of these elements conducive to efficient information retrieval.