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Edit presentations with a screen reader

You can edit presentations on your computer using a screen reader.

Note: Before following the steps below, make sure you've turned on Docs screen reader support.

Move around in your presentation

When you open a presentation in Google Slides, the first slide of your presentation is in focus.

Use keyboard shortcuts

Slides is different from a typical website, so some standard screen reader shortcuts don't apply. For the best experience, use Slides shortcuts while editing your presentation.

For example, use the shortcuts below to move within the presentation editor:

  • Slide canvas: To get to the slide canvas from any other area, press Ctrl + Alt + Shift + c (Windows, Chrome OS) or ⌘ + Option + Shift + c (Mac).
  • Film strip: The presentation editor contains a film strip listing all slides in the presentation. To move focus to the film strip, press Ctrl + Alt + Shift + f (Windows, Chrome OS) or ⌘ + Option + Shift + f (Mac). Once you're in the film strip, move between slides using the up and down arrows.
  • Animations pane: To add animations to a slide, open the animations pane by pressing Ctrl + Alt + Shift + b (Windows, Chrome OS) or ⌘ + Option + Shift + b (Mac). Your screen reader announces options to add animations to shapes and objects, or to add transitions to your slides.
  • Speaker notes: To move to the speaker notes, press Ctrl + Alt + Shift + s (Windows, Chrome OS) or Ctrl + ⌘ + Shift + s (Mac). As you type speaker notes, you'll hear screen reader feedback.

To open a list of shortcuts in your presentation, press Ctrl + / (Windows, Chrome OS) or ⌘ + / (Mac). You can search for actions such as insert or slide. To return to your presentation, press Escape.

Take quick actions by searching the menus

  1. Press Alt + / (Windows, Chrome OS) or Option + / (Mac).
  2. Type a command, such as Rename or Insert
  3. Press the down arrow to hear search results. For example, if you type Insert, the options include adding an image, a comment, and other choices. 
  4. To choose an action, press Enter.

Present your slides in front of a group

  1. Press the keyboard shortcut to present slides: 
    • Windows: Ctrl + F5 
    • Chrome OS: Ctrl + Search + 5 
    • Mac: ⌘ + Shift + Enter 
    • Go to the next slide by pressing the down or right arrow.
  2. To return to the previous slide, press the up arrow.
  3. To exit presentation mode, press Escape.
Tip: You can display your presentation as a single, scrollable page that you can navigate as you would a normal webpage. To switch to HTML view, press Ctrl + Alt + Shift + p (Windows or Chrome OS), or ⌘ + Option + Shift + p (Mac).

Use the menus, top-level buttons, and toolbar

Note: If there are no buttons and menus at the top, press Ctrl + Shift + f (Windows, Chrome OS, or Mac).

To browse the menus:

  1. Open the File menu using the shortcut key for your browser:
    • Windows with Chrome browser: Alt + f
    • Windows with other browsers: Alt + Shift + f
    • Chrome OS: Alt + f
    • Mac: First press the pass-through keys Ctrl + Option + Tab, then Ctrl + Option + f
  2. Press the right arrow to explore other menus, including Edit, View, Insert, Slide, Format, Arrange, Tools, Table, Help, and Accessibility.

Tip: To get help, open the Help menu and select Slides Help. Press Tab to reach the search box, then type your search, such as Images, and press Enter. The help opens in a box where you can read or navigate to other topics. To return to the presentation, press Escape.

From the menus, you can move to two other sets of controls:

  • Top-level buttons: These buttons are for presentation-level actions, such as renaming, starring, sharing, or moving the presentation to a different folder. From the menus, press Shift + Tab.
  • Toolbar: The toolbar has options for editing and formatting, such as colors and borders. From the menus, press Tab.

Use the Accessibility menu to read or move around your presentation

  1. Open the Accessibility menu using the shortcut key for your browser:
    • Windows with Chrome browser: Alt + a
    • Windows with other browsers: Alt + Shift + a
    • Chrome OS: Alt + a
    • Mac: First press the pass-through keys Ctrl + Option + Tab, then Ctrl + Option + a 
  2. Press the down arrow to hear options, such as Speak, Comments, and more.
  3. Press the right arrow to open a sub-menu, and press the down arrow to explore options in the sub-menu.
  4. Press Enter to select an option.

Editing and formatting basics

In your presentation, you can add or change content and formatting.

Add a text box, image, or table

  1. Go to the slide where you'd like to add a text box, image, or table.
  2. Press Alt + / (Windows, Chrome OS) or Option + / (Mac) to search the menus.
  3. Type insert to get a list of items you can add.
  4. Use the arrow keys to explore the list.
  5. Press Enter to make your selection.

Announce or change formatting

To announce the text or paragraph formatting at your cursor's current location, press Ctrl + Alt + a then f (Windows, Chrome OS) or Ctrl + ⌘ + a then f (Mac). 

To explore the formatting styles that you can apply, open the Format menu in the menu bar:

  1. Open the Format menu using the shortcut key for your browser:
    • Windows with Chrome browser: Alt + o
    • Windows with other browsers: Alt + Shift + o 
    • Chrome OS: Alt + o
    • Mac: First press the pass-through keys Ctrl + Option + Tab, then Ctrl + Option + o 
  2. Press the down arrow to hear options, then press Enter to select.

Learn more about how to create, edit, and customize slides.

Change the layout of a slide

Slide layouts are formats for individual slides in your presentation, such as "Title and body" or "Title and two columns." When you move through the film strip view, you'll hear layout information about each slide in the presentation. 

  1. In the film strip, select the slide where you want to change the layout.
  2. Open the Slide menu using the shortcut key for your browser:
    • Windows with Chrome browser: Alt + s
    • Windows with other browsers: Alt + Shift + s  
    • Chrome OS: Alt + s
    • Mac: First press the pass-through keys Ctrl + Option + Tab, then Ctrl + Option + s 
  3. Select Apply layout, then press the right arrow to hear the layout options. You'll hear "selected" for the current slide's layout, and you'll hear "not selected" for the other layout options.
  4. To select a different layout option for the current slide, press Enter.

Change the order of slides

  1. To go to the film strip, press Ctrl + Alt + Shift + f (Windows, Chrome OS) or ⌘ + Option + Shift + f (Mac).
  2. To find the slide that you want to move, press the up and down arrows. To select multiple slides to move, press Shift as you press the arrow keys.
  3. To move the selected slides up or down, hold Ctrl (Windows, Chrome OS) or (Mac) and press the up or down arrow.

Spell-check a presentation

Slides automatically finds misspellings in your presentation.

  1. To go to the next misspelling, press Ctrl + apostrophe (Windows, Chrome OS) or ⌘ + apostrophe (Mac).
  2. To go to the previous misspelling, press Ctrl + semicolon (Windows, Chrome OS) or ⌘ + semicolon (Mac).
  3. To correct a misspelling, open the context menu by pressing Ctrl + Shift + x (Windows, Chrome OS) or ⌘ + Shift + x (Mac). From the context menu, select the correctly spelled suggestion, and press Enter.

Learn more about spell-check and automatic corrections.

Add alt text for an image or drawing

  1. Select the image or drawing.
  2. Open the Format menu using the shortcut key for your browser:
    • Windows with Chrome browser: Alt + o
    • Windows with other browsers: Alt + Shift + o 
    • Chrome OS: Alt + o
    • Mac: First press the pass-through keys Ctrl + Option + Tab, then Ctrl + Option + o
  3. Select Alt text.
  4. In the Alt text dialog, enter a description for the image or drawing, then select Enter.

Find suggested content in your presentation

  1. Open the Explore region in your presentation, press Ctrl + Alt + Shift + i (Windows, Chrome OS) or ⌘ + Option + Shift + i (Mac).
  2. To find suggested layouts, use your screen reader keystrokes to navigate through the Explore region.
  3. To search your documents and the web, enter a search in the search bar and press Enter.

Mary is a Docs & Drive expert and author of this help page. Leave her feedback below about the page.

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