Google - Accessibility of Google Docs

Last Updated: 01/25/2017

Accessibility Considerations

Google Docs is an online word processor that lets you create and format text documents and collaborate with other people in real time. General information about using Google Docs with screen readers can be found on Google’s Get started in Google Docs with a screen reader page.

While screen readers assist with the usability of Google Docs, some issues may still occur. Users should consider the following when using their screen readers, in order to have the best experience:

  • Apple VoiceOver: Chrome is the recommended browser for using VoiceOver. For the best experience, turn off VoiceOver’s Quick Nav feature by pressing the left and right arrows at the same time.
  • NVDA: If using NVDA, Firefox will provide the best functionality.
  • JAWS: NVDA is recommended for Windows users; however, if you are using JAWS, Firefox is the recommended browser.

If you use a Braille display, you can enable Braille support in Google Docs to read and enter text. This option is currently available for Google Chrome and Internet Explorer. Find instructions for using a Braille display on Google’s Use a Braille display page.

Accessibility features and options for Google Docs

  • Screen reader support for editing, navigating, reading, and collaborating.
  • Navigation and editing are keyboard accessible.
  • Supports refreshable Braille displays.
  • Supports alt text on images.
  • Notifications and collaborator information are spoken when using a screen reader.
  • Supports keyboard shortcuts. Open a list of shortcuts any time by pressing Ctrl + / (Windows, Chrome OS) or Command + / (Mac).

Alternatives and/or Workarounds

In order to make a doc accessible for most users, it is best to convert a Google Doc to a Microsoft Word document. To export the Google Doc as a Word file, use the following shortcuts:

  • Mac: Control + Option + F, then D, then Enter.
  • Windows using Chrome:  Alt + F, then D, then Enter.
  • Windows using other browsers:  Alt + Shift + F, then D, then Enter.

Information for Content Creators

Information for Content Consumers

How to get Help

OIT has partnered with Disability Services to provide assistance for accessibility issues related to OIT supported services. If you need assistance, please contact the IT Service Center at help@colorado.edu or at 303-735-4357 (5-HELP from an on-campus phone).

Provide Feedback

We want to hear from you about this service. If you’re having problems using this service or you have more information about the accessibility of this service that we should share with others on this webpage, please let us know by contacting the IT Service Center at help@colorado.edu or at 303-735-4357 (5-HELP from an on-campus phone).

You can also give Google feedback regarding accessibility of their applications and services using Google's accessibility feedback form.