Make your document, presentation, and sheets more accessible

When you create a document or presentation, follow the tips below to make it more readable by everyone, including people with disabilities.

Include alt text

Alternative text for images, drawings, and other graphics provides screen reader users with an audio description of what’s on screen. Otherwise, a user only hears the word "image" and could miss any relevant visual details.

Always provide alt text for any visual data if there are no other text annotations. Some images automatically include alt text. It's a good idea to verify that the automatic alt text is correct.

Add or edit alt text

  1. Select an image, drawing, or graphic.
  2. Use one of the following options:
    • For Docs: Click Image options and then Alt text.
      • For Mac: Press + Option + y.
      • For all other platforms: Press Ctrl + Alt + y.
    • For Slides: Click Format options and then Alt text.
      • For Mac: Press + Option + y.
      • For all other platforms: Press Ctrl + Alt + y.
    • For Sheets: At the top right corner, once you insert an image in a Sheet, click More More and then Alt text.
  3. Enter a description.
  4. To add a title, select Advanced options.

Use tables for data

Use tables to present data, not to change the visual layout of the page. In the table, include a heading row rather than start with data in the first row.

Use comments and suggestions

Use the commenting and suggesting features instead of writing notes within the text of your document or presentation. Screen reader users can jump to comments using keyboard shortcuts rather than hunting through your file. The file owner can also receive email notifications or review comment threads.

Check for high color contrast

High color contrast makes text and images easier to read and comprehend. Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 recommend a minimum ratio of 4.5:1 for large text and 7:1 for other text and images. For example, avoid light gray text on a white background.

To check contrast, use one of these tools:

Use informative link text

Screen readers can scan for links, so informative link text is helpful. It's best to use the title of the page as the linked text. For example, if you link to your profile page, the linked text should say "my profile," not "click here."

Check text size and alignment

To make your document or presentation easy to read, use large, left-aligned text when possible. Justified text is more difficult to read because of extra space between the words. To change the alignment, press Ctrl + Shift + L (Windows or Chrome OS) or ⌘ + Shift + L (Mac).

Use text to support formatting

It's best not to rely on visual formatting alone to communicate meaning. Screen readers might not announce formatting changes, such as boldface or highlighting.

For example, to mark an important section of text, add the word "Important."

Use numbered and bulleted lists

Google Docs and Google Slides automatically detect and format some lists for accessibility. For example, if you start a new line in your document by typing the number 1 followed by a period, the new line automatically becomes the first item in a numbered list. Learn how to format bulleted and numbered lists.

Use headings to organize your document

Headings divide your document into sections, making it easier for people to jump to a section (especially if they’re using keyboard shortcuts). You can use the default heading styles or create your own. Learn how to add and customize headings.

Include navigation landmarks in your document

Landmarks like headers, footers, page numbers, and page counts help your readers find where they are in your document. To maximize accessibility, especially in long documents, include one or more of these landmarks (available in the Insert menu).

Present slides with captions

When you present with Google Slides, you can turn on automatic captions to display the speaker's words in real time at the bottom of the screen. Learn how to present slides with captions.

Share a link to the HTML view of your presentation

The Google Slides HTML view displays your entire presentation in a single, scrollable HTML page, instead of one slide at a time. For some screen reader users, HTML pages can be easier to navigate.

To share a link to the HTML view of your presentation:

  1. Use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl + Alt + Shift + p (Windows or Chrome OS) or ⌘ + Option + Shift + p (Mac).
  2. Copy and paste the URL from your browser.

Publish to the web

When a document, spreadsheet, or presentation is published to the web, the published content is viewable as a single, scrollable HTML page. Screen reader users often find the HTML version easier to read.

Based on your account’s settings, when you publish a file, you can make it visible to:

  • Everyone on the web
  • Everyone in your organization
  • A group of people in your organization

Learn how to publish to the web.

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