Paths to Literacy

for students who are blind or visually impaired

Google Drive Guides for JAWS and VoiceOver

Google Drive logo

I have created these Google Drive Guides for JAWS and VoiceOver for students (and adults) who are screenreader users and/or teachers. They are step-by-step guides and are designed to be as easy as possible to follow. Since so many students are now using Google Drive in their classes, we hope that this information will be timely and helpful!

Google Drive with JAWS

This step-by-step guide offers an introduction to the key components of Google Drive for JAWS users, including:
  • Getting Started
  • Navigation Panel
  • File List
  • Actions Menu
  • Adding a star
  • Moving a file to a new folder
  • Searching for a file or folder
  • Sorting files and folders
  • Sharing a file or folder
  • Uploading a new file
  • Creating new folders
  • Deleting files and folders
  • Restoring files and folders
  • Advanced sharing

 

Google Drive with Voice Over

This step-by-step guide offers a basic introduction to some of the key components of Google Drive for VoiceOver users, including:
  • Getting Started
  • Navigation Panel
  • File List
  • Actions Menu
  • Adding a star
  • Moving a file to a new folder
  • Searching for a file or folder
  • Sorting files and folders
  • Sharing a file or folder
  • Uploading a new file
  • Creating new folders
  • Deleting files and folders
  • Restoring files and folders
  • Advanced sharing
Collage of Google Drive Guides
 
 

Comments

googleplus

Posted by lucy

Is there some instruction that would help a blind use navigate a google plus community site using jaws. Our TVI group here in Alaska use this site to communicate together but one of our teachers who is blind is having a hard time accessing it.

Google Plus

Posted by John Rose

Hi Lucy,
Thank you for bringing this need to our attention. I have not had any students who are using Google Plus, but I would be happy to take a look at the platform when I have a chance.
John

Voice Over to Read & Edit Google Doc

Posted by Elizabeth Doyle...

This is a great guide! Thank you. My student has a MacBookPro and we are just starting with Voice Over. The district is moving towards Google Classroom and therefore I have decided to teach him how to use Google Drive (Docs etc.) to complete his work. He is in 4th grade. We ran into a problem yesterday trying to read a Google Doc using VO+ All, paragraph sentences etc. The VO commands were not working within Google Docs. Is there some trick I am missing? Thanks! Elizabeth

Thank you!

Posted by Elizabeth Doyle...

Thank you John! I am going to try this out today! I appreciate all of the resources and direction. Elizabeth

Chrome Busy

Posted by Elizabeth Doyle...

Hi John,

So enabling the screen reader support worked but when I used the VO+A command to read all, it told me "Chrome Busy"...I'm going to see if I can find more info on this in your resources but thought I'd ask in case you have a quick answer! Looking forward to your new resources!

Elizabeth

Google Classroom and Jaws

Posted by Emily Carter

Hello!
Our school district is moving to using Chromebooks for students to access and complete assignments in Google classroom. My TVI is suggesting using my students laptop that has JAWS on it to access these assignments rather that introducing another piece of technology. The issue we are having is not matter what I do I am not able to get Jaws and anything in Google to play nice. I have done so much research trying to figure it out that I have made myself overwhelmed! What am I missing? Is it how the teachers are uploading their assignments? Is there a list of commands that I haven't found to help navigate? Any help you could provide would be well appreciated!
Thanks in advance...

 She uses JAWS 13.0

Posted by Emily Carter

 She uses JAWS 13.0
  • We are having challenges with anything google! The only thing I can sort of get Jaws to do is open a new doc and speak as she types but then to get it to read it back to her later it won't?
  • Her teacher said she is uploading docs, PDF and forms mostly. 
 
Few more questions that have come up as I continue to research this..
  • What is the best editing program to use with PDF (Kami, Docs Hub, etc.)?
  • Is it better to use Firefox or Explorer with JAWS and Google? I have read articles that support use of each option as best?
  • I found an article saying that an issue with google and JAWS could be because of AT Compatability.  What is that and could it be my issue?
 
Sorry I have so many questions. I have been left to figure this out and I am not as tech savvy as I wish I was.
 
Thanks,
Emily

google classroom

Posted by anthony rivera

hello there john, I am a student using jaws 17, and i am trying to access google classroom. For a while it worked, but now, i don't know if they did an update or something, but i don't know how to attach documents to assignments. Before there was a link or button i clicked on to attach or create a new document, with this update, or at least now that i go to my assignments, i don't see anything like a button to attach or create a document.

Previous comments for Google Drive Guides for JAWS and VoiceOver

johapatro commented on March 24, 2017

Hi Anthony,

Pardon the delayed reply. When you Open an assignment from your Google Classroom Stream, you go to a separate page with the details for that specific assignment. There should be a Dropdown Button labeled "Add." It allows you to attach a Google Drive document, a link, or a file. Let me know if you continue to have an issue with this. 

Best,

John

anthony rivera commented on November 18, 2016

hello there john, I am a student using jaws 17, and i am trying to access google classroom. For a while it worked, but now, i don't know if they did an update or something, but i don't know how to attach documents to assignments. Before there was a link or button i clicked on to attach or create a new document, with this update, or at least now that i go to my assignments, i don't see anything like a button to attach or create a document.

johapatro commented on August 22, 2016

Hi Emily,

The recommended editing programs for use with PDF are either Adobe Acrobat Pro or Microsoft Word. With Microsoft Word, you have to save the file to PDF and may need to make several edits before the formatting is correct.

Hope this helps!

John

johapatro commented on August 19, 2016

Hi Emily,

Google recommends using Mozilla Firefox for accessing Drive and Docs using JAWS. In addition, when working in Google Docs with JAWS, there are some more steps that you may need to take:

  • Listen for the words: “Screen reader support enabled.” If you do not hear this, press Control + Alt + Z to enable screen reader support. You should hear “Screen reader support enabled.” Google Docs will remember this setting the next time you sign in.

  • Set key echoing to no echoing. Press JAWS + 2 until you hear “None.”

  • Turn off the virtual cursor. Press JAWS + Z until you hear “Use virtual PC cursor off.” Then, press JAWS + Z + Z until you hear “The virtual cursor will be turned off for all applications.”

  • You may also need to disable “Forms Mode” in JAWS.

If these steps do not work, then there may be a compatability issue between JAWS 13 and Google's interface, which may be what the article was referencing when it mentioned Assistive Technology (AT) Compatability. I do not know the answer to the question regarding editing PDFs, but I hope to find out soon.

johapatro commented on August 19, 2016

Greetings!

Apologies to anyone who has had challenges with the links. They are now updated. Again, sorry for any inconvenience. Thank you, and please feel free to contact me with any questions or with your stories about using Google Drive with JAWS and/or VoiceOver.

Best,

John

Emily Carter commented on May 16, 2016
 She uses JAWS 13.0
  • We are having challenges with anything google! The only thing I can sort of get Jaws to do is open a new doc and speak as she types but then to get it to read it back to her later it won't?
  • Her teacher said she is uploading docs, PDF and forms mostly. 
 
Few more questions that have come up as I continue to research this..
  • What is the best editing program to use with PDF (Kami, Docs Hub, etc.)?
  • Is it better to use Firefox or Explorer with JAWS and Google? I have read articles that support use of each option as best?
  • I found an article saying that an issue with google and JAWS could be because of AT Compatability.  What is that and could it be my issue?
 
Sorry I have so many questions. I have been left to figure this out and I am not as tech savvy as I wish I was.
 
Thanks,
Emily
johapatro commented on May 16, 2016

Hi Emily,

I understand the feeling of being overwhelmed and agree that accessing Google platforms with JAWS is not an easy process. There are several questions that I have about your experience:

  • Which version of JAWS is your student working with?
  • Is it Google Classroom that your student is specifically having challenges with? 
  • What types of documents are teachers uploading to Google Classroom (e.g. Word documents, Google Docs, PDF)?

When I have been accessing Google Classroom, I have had pretty good success with using the Down Arrow to navigate the Classroom Stream and the "Enter" key to activate links. In addition, Insert + F7 (Links List), Insert + F6 (Headings List), and Insert + F5 (Form Fields List), can all be helpful. Let me know if it is another Google application that you are having challenges with. 

Best,

John

Emily Carter commented on May 16, 2016

Hello!
Our school district is moving to using Chromebooks for students to access and complete assignments in Google classroom. My TVI is suggesting using my students laptop that has JAWS on it to access these assignments rather that introducing another piece of technology. The issue we are having is not matter what I do I am not able to get Jaws and anything in Google to play nice. I have done so much research trying to figure it out that I have made myself overwhelmed! What am I missing? Is it how the teachers are uploading their assignments? Is there a list of commands that I haven't found to help navigate? Any help you could provide would be well appreciated!
Thanks in advance...

johapatro commented on April 27, 2016

Hi Elizabeth,

VoiceOver commands will not work the same way in the Google environment. I have not found a "read all" command for Google Docs, but there is a command to read from the cursor, which is Control + Command + R. 

Hope this helps,

John

Elizabeth Doyle... commented on April 13, 2016

Hi John,

So enabling the screen reader support worked but when I used the VO+A command to read all, it told me "Chrome Busy"...I'm going to see if I can find more info on this in your resources but thought I'd ask in case you have a quick answer! Looking forward to your new resources!

Elizabeth

Elizabeth Doyle... commented on April 13, 2016

Thank you John! I am going to try this out today! I appreciate all of the resources and direction. Elizabeth

johapatro commented on April 12, 2016
Hi Elizabeth,
Thank you very much! There is indeed a trick to using Google Docs, in fact there are several. I am working on guides for Docs that are similar to the Drive guides, but they are not nearly complete. 
 
Google has several resources available that are pretty good. The following is from "Screen reading support for Docs editors":
 
If you're using Apple's VoiceOver, Google Chrome is the recommended browser. For the best experience, VoiceOver's Quick Nav feature should be turned off. To turn Quick Nav on or off, press the left and right arrows at the same time.
 
You need to turn on screen reader support:
  • Go to Google Docs and open a document
  • Listen for these words: "Screen reader support enabled." If you don't hear this feedback, press Command + Option + z to enable screen reader support. You should hear "Screen reader support enabled."
  • If you've enabled "Automatically speak the webpage" in VoiceOver, VoiceOver begins reading the page. Press Escape to return your focus to the editing area.
  • Press VoiceOver + Shift + down arrow to interact with the editable text.

 

Keyboard shortcuts and VoiceOver

VoiceOver shortcuts conflict with Docs editors application menu shortcuts, such as the File menu. To navigate to the application menus, first use the pass-through key combination Control + Option + Tab, then type the menu shortcut, e.g. Control + Option + f for the File menu. You can also quickly search the menus with the Option + / shortcut. 
 
If VoiceOver doesn't automatically focus on the correct part of the page (for example, if a dialog window appears), first press Escape to return your focus to the editing area. Then press VoiceOver + Shift + down arrow to return to the editing area. 
 
 
The following guide may provide more details:
 
"Get started in Docs editors with a screen reader" https://support.google.com/docs/answer/6239410
 
Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions.
 
Best,
John
Elizabeth Doyle... commented on April 12, 2016

This is a great guide! Thank you. My student has a MacBookPro and we are just starting with Voice Over. The district is moving towards Google Classroom and therefore I have decided to teach him how to use Google Drive (Docs etc.) to complete his work. He is in 4th grade. We ran into a problem yesterday trying to read a Google Doc using VO+ All, paragraph sentences etc. The VO commands were not working within Google Docs. Is there some trick I am missing? Thanks! Elizabeth

johapatro commented on March 25, 2016

Also, please feel free to contact me with more details about accessibility issues.

John Rose commented on March 25, 2016

Hi Lucy,
Thank you for bringing this need to our attention. I have not had any students who are using Google Plus, but I would be happy to take a look at the platform when I have a chance.
John