Get started in Google Slides with a screen reader

What is Google Slides?

Google Slides is an online, collaborative presentations application that lets you create, edit, and deliver presentations and collaborate with other people in real time. Learn more about Google Slides features.

Set up your screen reader for Google Slides

ChromeVox

If you're using ChromeVox on Chrome OS, no setup is required to use Google Slides.

VoiceOver

If you're using Apple's VoiceOver, we recommend using Google Chrome as your browser. For the best experience, VoiceOver's Quick Nav feature should be turned off. To turn Quick Nav on or off, press the left and right arrows at the same time.

To adjust your VoiceOver settings for Google Slides, follow these steps:

  1. Open a presentation in Google Slides.
  2. Listen for these words: "Screen reader support enabled." If you don't hear this feedback, press Command + Option + Z to enable screen reader support. You should hear "Screen reader support enabled." Google Slides will remember this setting the next time you sign in.
  3. If you've enabled "Automatically speak the webpage" in VoiceOver, VoiceOver begins reading the page. Press Escape to return the screen reader's focus to the presentation's editable area.
  4. Press VoiceOver + Shift + Down arrow to interact with the editable text.
    • Note: If the screen reader’s focus ever shifts away from the editable presentation text (if, for example, a dialog window appears), you can use this key combination to resume your interaction with the text. First, return your focus to the editable area (usually by pressing Escape), then press VoiceOver + Shift + Down arrow to interact with the presentation text.

Notes about keyboard shortcuts with VoiceOver:

  • VoiceOver shortcuts conflict with Google Slides application menu shortcuts, such as the File menu. To navigate to the application menus, first use the pass-through key combination Control + Option + Tab, then type the menu shortcut, e.g. Control + Option + F for the File menu. You can also quickly search the menus with the Option + / shortcut.
  • If VoiceOver doesn't automatically focus on the correct part of the page, try moving the focus around and pressing Escape to return focus to the text. Then press VoiceOver + Shift + Down arrow to interact with the text.

NVDA

If you're using NVDA, we recommend using Mozilla Firefox as your browser.

Get started with Google Slides (16:00)

In this video, you’ll learn how to get started with Google Slides, using NVDA with Firefox.

To adjust your NVDA settings for Google Slides, follow these steps:

  1. Open a presentation in Google Slides.
  2. Listen for these words: "Screen reader support enabled." If you don't hear this feedback, press Control + Alt + Z to enable screen reader support. You should hear "Screen reader support enabled." Google Slides will remember this setting the next time you sign in.
  3. Press NVDA + Control + K to open the keyboard settings, then disable "Speak typed characters" and "Speak typed words."
  4. Consider changing or removing your NVDA startup keyboard shortcut so that it doesn't conflict with Google Slides. The default NVDA keyboard shortcut, Control + Alt + N, is commonly used in Google Slides; for example, Control + Alt + N then G navigates to the next image in a presentation. To change your NVDA keyboard shortcut, open Properties from the NVDA shortcut, select the Shortcut tab, then update the Shortcut key field with a shortcut that doesn't conflict with Google Slides, such as Control + Alt + \.

JAWS

For Windows users, NVDA is the recommended screen reader for using Google Slides. However, if you're using JAWS, we recommend Mozilla Firefox as your browser with the latest version of JAWS.

If you're using Firefox, follow these steps to adjust your JAWS settings for Google Slides:

  1. Open a presentation in Google Slides.
  2. Listen for these words: "Screen reader support enabled." If you don't hear this feedback, press Control + Alt + Z to enable screen reader support. You should hear "Screen reader support enabled." Google Slides will remember this setting the next time you sign in.
  3. Set key echoing to no echoing: Press JAWS + 2 until you hear "None."
  4. Turn off the virtual cursor: Press JAWS + Z until you hear "Use virtual PC cursor off." Then press JAWS + Z + Z until you hear "The virtual cursor will be turned off for all applications."
  5. Disable both "Auto forms mode" and "Forms mode off when new page loads": Ensure that the screen reader's focus is on the top toolbar, and then press JAWS + V. In the settings window, search for "Forms options" and uncheck both "Auto forms mode" and "Forms mode off when new page loads." Then press OK.
  6. Tab from the address bar through the Google Slides toolbar controls until you hear application mode announced. At that point, press Escape to return to the content of your presentation.

If you're using Internet Explorer, follow these steps to adjust your JAWS settings for Google Slides:

  1. Open a presentation in Google Slides.
  2. Listen for these words: "Screen reader support enabled." If you don't hear this feedback, press Control + Alt + Z to enable screen reader support. You should hear "Screen reader support enabled." Google Slides will remember this setting the next time you sign in.
  3. Make sure that "Forms mode" is set to "Manual." This setting ensures that your focus stays in the expected location within your presentation.

Tips for using Google Slides

Search the menus

Many tasks in Google Slides can start with a menu search. There are two ways to start a menu search:

  • Option 1: Press Alt + / (Windows, Chrome OS) or Option + / (Mac).
  • Option 2: Open the Help menu by pressing Alt + H (Chrome on Windows, Chrome OS), Alt + Shift + H (Windows), or Control + Option + H (Mac). Press the down arrow to enter the search box.

Once your focus is in the search box, you can type a command, such as "Rename," "Share," or "Insert." Press the down arrow to hear search results for the action that you searched. For example, searching for "Insert" provides options to insert an image, a comment, and other choices. Press Enter to apply the desired action.

Accessibility menu

Once you've enabled screen reader support by pressing Control + Alt + Z (Windows, Chrome OS) or Command + Option + Z (Mac), an Accessibility menu is available to help you navigate and read your presentation. To use the Accessibility menu, follow these steps:

  1. Open the Accessibility menu in the main application menu bar. First open the Help menu by pressing Alt + H (Chrome on Windows, Chrome OS), Alt + Shift + H (Windows), or Control + Option + H (Mac).
  2. Press the right arrow once to move to the Accessibility menu.
  3. Press the down arrow to hear sub-menus, such as Speak, Comments, Formatting, and more. Press the right arrow to open a sub-menu, and press Enter to select an option.

Braille support

If you use a Braille display, you can enable Braille support in Google Slides to read and enter text. This option is available for Google Chrome, Firefox, and Internet Explorer. Learn how to enable Braille support.

Keyboard shortcuts

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

If you ever forget a key combination, you can open a list of keyboard shortcuts within Google Slides by pressing Control + / (Windows, Chrome OS) or Command + / (Mac). Along with a list of shortcuts, the dialog contains a link to view all Google Slides shortcuts in the Help Center. To close the dialog, press Escape.

Find help documentation

As you use Google Slides, you can find help documentation at any time. Press Alt + / (Windows, Chrome OS) or Option + / (Mac) to search the menus. Type a search term, such as "Accessibility," then press Enter. The help documentation opens in a dialog where you can read or navigate to other topics. To dismiss the dialog and return to the presentation, press Escape.

Related articles

  • Manage presentations: This article covers the main ways to manage presentations, such as opening and reading a presentation, creating a presentation, and organizing presentations in folders.
  • Navigate: Here you'll learn how to present your slides in front of a group, move your focus within the presentation, how to navigate between the different editing and viewing tools, and how to use the menus.
  • Edit a presentation: Basic editing topics include entering text, copy and paste, and adding images, links, or other types of content to your presentation.
  • Format a presentation: Learn how to adjust the formatting of paragraphs or text in your presentation, and how to determine the current formatting.
  • Collaborate on a presentation: Find out how to share your presentation, interact with collaborators, and work with comments in your presentation.
  • Keyboard shortcuts: This page lists all of the available keyboard shortcuts that you can use in Google Slides.
  • Google Drive accessibility: Visit the screen reader help pages for Google Drive.