Use the built-in screen reader

Chromebooks have a built-in screen reader called ChromeVox, which enables people with visual impairments to use the Chrome operating system.

Turn screen reader on or off

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

On tablets: Press and hold the Volume down + Volume up buttons for 5 seconds. While holding the buttons, you’ll hear a sound to indicate that it’s working. Keep holding the buttons, then ChromeVox will start speaking.

Read a page

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

Choose text with your cursor

You can have ChromeVox read the text under your cursor.
  1. To open your ChromeVox options, press Search + o, then o
  2. Turn on Speak text under the mouse.
  3. Move your cursor around the screen and hear text spoken aloud. 

Move to different tabs and windows

Open a new window Ctrl + n
Open a new window in Incognito mode Shift + Ctrl + n
Open a new tab Ctrl + t
Open a file in the browser Ctrl + o
Close the current tab Ctrl + w
Close the current window  Shift + Ctrl + w
Reopen the last tab or window that you closed Shift + Ctrl + t
Go to tabs 1–8 in the window Ctrl + 1 to Ctrl + 8
Go to the last tab in the window Ctrl + 9
Go to the next tab in the window Ctrl + Tab
Go to the previous tab in the window Shift + Ctrl + Tab
Switch quickly between windows Press & hold Alt, tap Tab until you get to the window that you want to open, then release.
Open the window least used recently Press & hold Shift + Alt, tap Tab until you get to the window that you want to open, then release. 
Go to previous page in your browsing history Alt + Left arrow 
Go to next page in your browsing history  Alt + Right arrow 
Open the web page in a new tab Type a web address (URL) in the address bar, then press Alt + Enter
Dock a window on the left Alt + [ (left square bracket)
Dock a window on the right Alt + ] (right square bracket)
Maximise window Alt + =
Minimise window Alt + - (minus)
Switch windows between screens (when your Chromebook is connected to a monitor) Search  + Alt + m
Open tabs menu Press and hold Ctrl, tap Forward  or Back  until a tab is selected. Then press Search  + Shift + Volume up .

Move through a page with keyboard shortcuts

Next button Search + b
Previous button Search + Shift + b
Next character Search + Shift + Right arrow
Previous character Search + Shift + Left arrow
Next tick box Search + x
Previous tick box Search + Shift + x
Next combo box Search + c
Previous combo box Search + Shift + c
Next editable text area Search + e
Previous editable text area Search + Shift + e
Next focusable item Tab
Previous focusable item Shift + Tab
Next form field Search + f
Previous form field Search + Shift + f
Next graphic Search + g
Previous graphic Search + Shift + g
Next group Search + Ctrl + Down arrow
Previous group Search + Ctrl + Up arrow
Next heading Search + h
Previous heading Search + Shift + h
Next Level 1 Heading Search + 1
Previous Level 1 Heading Search + Shift + 1
Next Level 2 Heading Search + 2
Previous Level 2 Heading Search + Shift + 2
Next Level 3 Heading Search + 3
Previous Level 3 Heading Search + Shift + 3
Next Level 4 Heading Search + 4
Previous Level 4 Heading Search + Shift + 4
Next Level 5 Heading Search + 5
Previous Level 5 Heading Search + Shift + 5
Next Level 6 Heading Search + 6
Previous Level 6 Heading Search + Shift + 6
Next landmark Search + ; (semicolon)
Previous landmark Search + Shift + ; (semicolon)
Next line Search + Down arrow
Previous line Search + Up arrow
Next link Search + L
Previous link Search + Shift + L
Next object Search + Right arrow
Previous object Search + Left arrow
Next table Search + t
Previous table Search + Shift + t
Next visited link Search + v
Previous visited link Search + Shift + v
Next word Search + Ctrl + Shift + Right arrow
Previous word Search + Ctrl + Shift + Left arrow
Go to top of page  Search + Ctrl + Left arrow
Go to bottom of page Search + Ctrl + Right arrow
Start reading from current location Search + r
Jump to details Search + a + j

Move through a page with your touchscreen

Next word Two-finger swipe right
Previous word Two-finger swipe left
Go to top of page Two-finger swipe up
Start reading from current location Two-finger swipe down
Click focused item Tap twice
Stop speech Two-finger tap
Next line Swipe down
Previous line Swipe up
Next character Swipe right
Previous character Swipe left
Next word Two-finger swipe right
Previous word Two-finger swipe left
Open most recently visited menu Four-finger tap
Next menu item Swipe down within menus
Previous menu item Swipe up within menus
Next menu heading Swipe right within menus

Move to different cells in a table

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

To move your cursor from its current location in a table, press Search + Ctrl + Alt 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
Last cell in the table Search + Alt + Shift + Right arrow
First cell in current row Search + Alt + Shift + Ctrl + Left arrow
Last cell in current row Search + Alt + Shift + Ctrl + Right arrow
First cell in current column Search + Alt + Shift + Ctrl + Up arrow
Last cell in current column Search + Alt + Shift + Ctrl + Down arrow
Select and click
Move through selectable items, like links and tabs Tab
Move backward through selectable items Shift + 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 or your Chromebook
Hear title of current page Search + a, then w
Hear URL of current page Search + a, then u
Hear current date & time Search + a, then d
Hear how much battery your Chromebook has left Search + o + b

Change the voice or language

When you first turn on ChromeVox, it automatically chooses a voice, based on the language that you’ve chosen for your Chromebook. Learn how to change your language and voice settings

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 that you’ve selected.
  4. When you’re finished, press Ctrl + w.
Slow down, speed up or stop spoken feedback
Slow down Search + Shift + [ (left square bracket)
Speed it up Search + [ (left square bracket)
Stop speaking Ctrl
Change pitch of the ChromeVox voice
Higher frequency Search + ] (right square bracket)
Lower frequency Search + Shift + ] (right square bracket)

Use ChromeVox keyboard shortcuts

Type shortcuts faster

To turn on sticky mode and avoid pressing Search for each shortcut, quickly press Search twice. You'll know that it's on when you hear 'sticky mode enabled'. It will stay on until you press it twice again.

To stop holding down Search, press Search again twice. ChromeVox will say 'sticky mode disabled'.

Use the ChromeVox menu

To open the ChromeVox menu, press Search + . (full stop). If you are on a touchscreen, you can tap the screen with 4 fingers.
You can press the left or right arrow to switch between menus. If you are on a touchscreen, you swipe left or right.
To open a specific item from a list, press the up or down arrow and then press Enter.
  • Jump: List of all the ChromeVox shortcuts.
  • Speech: List of speech shortcuts that includes how to increase or decrease the speech rate and pitch. 
  • Tabs: List of all your open tabs. 
  • ChromeVox: List of several ChromeVox shortcuts that includes the ChromeVox Tutorial and Learn Mode. 
  • Actions: List of touch-specific options

You can use the ChromeVox menu lists to navigate a web page.

  • Heading: List of headings on the web page. 
  • Landmark: List of landmarks on the web page.
  • Link: List of links on the web page.
  • Form: List of buttons or forms on a web page. 
  • Table: List of tables on a web page. 

Navigate the ChromeVox menu

Turn Braille captions on/off Search + a, then b
Hide the ChromeVox menus Esc
Show Heading list Search + Ctrl + h
Show Landmark list Search + Ctrl + ; (semicolon)
Show Links list Search + Ctrl L
Show Form list Search Ctrl + f
Show Table list Search + Ctrl + t

Change spoken feedback settings

Open Search options Search o, then o
Find in page Search + / (forward slash)
Start reading from current location Search + r
Turn earcons on or off Search a, then e
Hear punctuation marks as you type them Search + a, then p
Hear letters as you type them Search a, then t
Ignore the next key press Search Shift + Esc

Learn more about ChromeVox

Open the ChromeVox context menu Search m
Open Search tutorial Search + o, then t
Turn on Learn Mode (Hear the names of the keys on your keyboard)

Search + o, then k. Your keyboard will say the name of any key or key combination that you press, and explain what the keyboard shortcut does.

Note: You can also use this with connected braille displays and touch gestures on a touchscreen to hear the names of the functions.

Turn off Learn Mode Ctrl + w
Open update notes Search + o, then n

Send feedback or get help using ChromeVox

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

Get more help

Using ChromeVox on your Chromebook: Fundamentals

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