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Use the built-in screen reader

Chromebooks have a built-in screen reader called ChromeVox, which allows visually impaired people to use the Chrome operating system.

This page explains how to use the newest version of ChromeVox, which is available on all Chromebooks using Chrome OS version 56 and up. Learn how to update your Chromebook software.

To use an older version of ChromeVox, follow the steps at chromevox.com.

Turn screen reader on or off

You can turn ChromeVox on or off from any page by pressing Ctrl + Alt + z.

When ChromeVox is turned on, you can hear spoken feedback and use the keyboard shortcuts listed below.

Read a page

Tip: To hear a description of your cursor’s current position on a page, press Search + k.

Read a page
Next button Search + b
Next character Search + Shift + right arrow
Next checkbox Search + x
Next combo box Search + c
Next editable text area Search + e
Next item Tab
Next form field Search + f
Next graphic Search + g
Next group Search + Ctrl + down arrow
Next heading Search + h
Next Level 1 Heading Search + 1
Next Level 2 Heading Search + 2
Next Level 3 Heading Search + 3
Next Level 4 Heading Search + 4
Next Level 5 Heading Search + 5
Next Level 6 Heading Search + 6
Next landmark Search + ;
Next line Search + down arrow
Next link Search + L
Next object Search + right arrow
Next table Search + t
Next visited link Search + v
Next word Search + Ctrl + Shift + right arrow
Previous button Search + Shift + b
Previous character Search + Shift + left arrow
Previous checkbox Search + Shift + x
Previous combo box Search + Shift + c
Previous editable text area Search + Shift + e
Previous focusable item Shift + Tab
Previous form field Search + Shift + f
Previous graphic Search + Shift + g
Previous group Search + Ctrl + up arrow
Previous heading Search + Shift + h
Previous Level 1 Heading Search + Shift + 1
Previous Level 2 Heading Search + Shift + 2
Previous Level 3 Heading Search + Shift + 3
Previous Level 4 Heading Search + Shift + 4
Previous Level 5 Heading Search + Shift + 5
Previous Level 6 Heading Search + Shift + 6
Previous landmark Search + Shift + ;
Previous line Search + up arrow
Previous link Search + Shift + L
Previous object Search + left arrow
Previous table Search + Shift + t
Previous visited link Search + Shift + v
Previous word Search + Ctrl + Shift + left arrow
Increase the level of detail Search + plus sign
Go to bottom of page Search + Ctrl + right arrow
Go to top of page Search + Ctrl + left arrow
Select and click
  • Move through selectable items (like links and your tabs): Tab
  • Click: Enter, or press Search + Space
  • Select text: Search + s. At the end of your selection, press Search + s again
Get information about a page
  • Hear description of your cursor’s current position: Search + k
  • Hear title of current page: Search + a + w
  • Hear URL of current page: Search + a + u
  • Hear current date & time: Search + a + d

Move to different cells in a table

You can move around tables using keyboard shortcuts. To start, make sure your cursor is in the table.

To move your cursor from its current location in a table, press Search and the arrow keys to move one cell up, down, left, or right.

To go to different cells:

  • First cell in the table: Search + Alt + Shift + left arrow
  • First cell in current row: Search + Alt + Shift + Ctrl + left arrow
  • First cell in current column: Search + Alt + Shift + Ctrl + up arrow
  • Last cell in the table: Search + Alt + Shift + right arrow
  • Last cell in current row: Search + Alt + Shift + Ctrl + right arrow
  • Last cell in current column: Search + Alt + Shift + Ctrl + down arrow

Change the voice or language

When you first turn on ChromeVox, it automatically chooses a voice based on the language you’ve chosen for your Chromebook.

Change language
  1. Press and hold Search, then press the letter o twice.
  2. In the Voices section, select Chrome OS. Your default language shows on the button label.
  3. Choose another language from the list. You’ll hear the new language you’ve selected.
  4. When you’re done, press Ctrl + w.
Slow down, speed up, or pause spoken feedback
  • Slow down: Search + Shift + [
  • Speed it up: Search + [
  • Pause speaking: Ctrl
Change pitch of the ChromeVox voice
  • Higher frequency: Search + ]
  • Lower frequency: Search + Shift + ]

Change settings

Hold down the Search key

To start most shortcuts, you’ll press Search. To have Search held down for you automatically, quickly double-tap Search. ChromeVox will say "Sticky Mode enabled."

To stop holding down Search, double-tap Search again. ChromeVox will say "Sticky Mode disabled."

Change settings
Open ChromeVox options Search + o + o
Turn Braille captions on/off Search + a + b
Find in page Search + /
Start reading from current location Search + r
Turn earcons on or off Search + a + e
Hear punctuation marks as you type them Search + a + p
Hear letters as you type them Search + a + t
Ignore the next key press Search + Shift + Esc
Show all keyboard shortcuts
See all possible ChromeVox shortcuts Search + .
Hide shortcuts Esc
Show forms shortcuts Search + Ctrl + f
Show headings shortcuts Search + Ctrl + h
Show landmarks shortcuts Search + Ctrl + ;
Show links shortcuts Search + Ctrl + L
Show table shortcuts Search + Ctrl + t
Learn more about ChromeVox and your Chromebook
Open context menu Search + m
Open ChromeVox tutorial Search + o + t
Hear the names of the keys on your keyboard ("Learn Mode") Search + o + k. Your keyboard will say the name of any key you press, but won’t do anything else.
Turn off Learn Mode Ctrl + w
Open update notes Search + o + n

Send feedback or get help using ChromeVox

  • Chat with other people in the ChromeVox-Discuss group
  • Send us feedback about ChromeVox: Turn on ChromeVox, press and hold Search, then press a + i

Casey is a Chromebook expert and author of this help page. Help her improve this article by leaving feedback below.

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