GWKB2063 : Get Started in Google Docs with Window-Eyes

Product: Window-Eyes
Author: Marc Solomon
Date Added: 02/25/2015
Last Modified: 02/25/2015

What is Google Docs?

Google Docs is an online word processor that lets you create and format text documents and collaborate with other people in real time. A Google Account is needed to access Google Docs. You can sign in to Google Docs or create a Google Account using the following link: Google Docs.

Set Up Window-Eyes for Google Docs

It is recommended that you use Mozilla Firefox as your web browser with Window-Eyes 9.0 or higher. This combination of technology should provide you with the best possible experience when working in Google Docs. Please note that Google Docs is not supported in earlier versions of Window-Eyes.

Follow the instructions below to optimize your Window-Eyes and Google Docs settings:

  1. Open a document or create a new document in Google Docs
  2. You should hear Window-Eyes announce: "Screen reader support enabled." If you don't hear this information spoken, press Control-Alt-Z to enable screen reader support. Google Docs will remember this setting the next time you login.
  3. By default, you may hear a stutter when you are typing in Google Docs. To fix this, set the keyboard echo to none. Press Insert-2 (the 2 on the number row) until you hear: "Keyboard voice off."
  4. When using your cursor keys to navigate by word or when backspacing over text, you may hear a system beep that is normally associated with issuing an unrecognized command. This issue can be addressed by turning off the Window-Eyes cursor keys. Open the Window-Eyes control panel by pressing Control-Backslash. Make sure that Show Advanced Options is checked in the Help menu. Tab to the Settings tree view and open the General node with Right Arrow. Down Arrow to select Core Functions. Tab twice to the Cursor Keys radio button group. Press Right Arrow to check the No radio button.

Accessibility Menu

Once screen reader support is enabled in Google Docs, an Accessibility menu is added to the menu bar. This menu contains numerous functions that can help you navigate and read your document. The keyboard shortcut to open the Accessibility menu is Alt-Shift-A. After opening the menu, use the Up and Down Arrow keys to explore all of the available sub-menus including: Speak, Comments, Footnote, Headings, Graphics, List, Link, Table, Misspelling, Formatting and Settings. Press Right Arrow to open any of the sub menus and then you can use Up and Down Arrow to navigate through the options. Press Enter to select an option.

Keyboard Shortcuts

Google Docs is a dynamic web application. Therefore, the way you interact with Google Docs is different compared to a typical website with mostly static content. Specifically, Google Docs is designed to be used with Browse Mode turned off. Although you can't use any of the Window-Eyes Browse Mode features in Google Docs when Browse Mode is turned off, you will still have complete access to Google Docs functionality through its menus and comprehensive set of built in keyboard shortcuts.

There are a few different ways to discover the keyboard shortcuts available for use in Google Docs. When navigating in the Google Docs menu bar and sub menus, you will hear the selected menu option's keyboard shortcut announced after its name. You can also press Control-Slash to open a modal dialog containing a list of popular keyboard shortcuts. You can find a complete list of keyboard shortcuts for Google Docs here: Google Docs Keyboard Shortcuts.

Braille Support

If you use a Braille display, you can enable Braille support in Google Docs. To enable Braille support, press Alt-Shift-A to open the Accessibility menu. Next, press Up Arrow to jump to the bottom of the Accessibility menu and the Settings sub menu will be selected. Press Right Arrow to open the Settings sub menu. Down Arrow to Enable Braille support and press Enter.

It is recommended that you disable the Window-Eyes Quick Message Mode Braille option for the best possible Braille experience. To do this, open the Window-Eyes control panel by pressing Control-Backslash. Make sure that Show Advanced Options is checked in the Help menu. Tab to the Settings tree view and select the Braille node using first letter navigation or the Up or Down Arrow keys. Open the Braille node with Right Arrow and then Down Arrow until Options is selected. Next, Tab to the Quick Message Mode combo box and select the Disabled option using the Up or Down Arrow keys.