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Accessibility in Docs editors for Android

The Android mobile apps for Docs, Sheets, and Slides are compatible with Android accessibility features, including the TalkBack screen reader.

If you're not already using TalkBack on your Android device, visit Settings > Accessibility to turn on TalkBack. To find detailed instructions for your device, visit the TalkBack setup help. You can then use standard TalkBack navigation gestures and touch exploration to create, edit, and share documents, spreadsheets, and presentations.

If you use an attached keyboard with your device, you can also use keyboard shortcuts. For complete lists, please refer to Docs shortcuts, Sheets shortcuts, and Slides shortcuts.

Docs app

To read or edit a document in the Docs app:

  • Swipe right or down to move through the buttons and menus (such as Undo, Redo, and Share). When you reach the document text, you'll hear "edit box."
  • When the focus is on the document text, double-tap to enter editing mode.
  • When the focus is on the document text, swipe up then right to open the local context menu and adjust the granularity or control the cursor.
  • The Selection control menu lets you select and take action on the contents of a document. Options include Select, Select all, Copy, Cut, Paste, Comment, and Speak selection formatting. To use the Selection control menu, select the "More options" button, then choose Selection control.

Sheets app

To read or edit a spreadsheet in the Sheets app:

  • If you want to move quickly to a specific cell, navigate to the More options menu, then select Jump to cell. Enter the cell, such as C3, or a range separated by a colon, such as R4:R10. Select OK to close this menu and go to the selected cell or range.
  • The Accessibility settings in the Sheets app let you choose what information is announced in your spreadsheet. To adjust your accessibility settings, navigate to the More options menu, then select Accessibility settings. When you turn on the Read formatting properties option, you can then enable or disable verbalization of text formatting, cell formatting, number formatting, and font properties.
  • You can change the formatting for an entire cell or for specific parts of a cell. To change the formatting for an entire cell, first move focus to the cell, then explore by touch to use the formatting buttons in the top toolbar. To change a specific part (for example, to make a single word bold), double-tap the cell to enter edit mode, then use the local context menu to select the part that you'd like to format. Formatting options are available in the "More partial text formatting options" menu.

Slides app

To read or edit a presentation in the Slides app:

  • Focus: To move focus forward, swipe one finger right or down. To move focus backward, swipe one finger left or up. You can also move one finger slowly over the screen to explore by touch. When focus reaches a shape's handles or rotation handle, you'll hear the handle's location, e.g. "lower left handle" or "rotation handle." To clear focus from all shapes, swipe until the focus reaches the canvas, or touch the canvas.
  • Selection: To select the shape or group that currently has focus, double-tap anywhere. Once a shape is selected, double-tap again to start text editing within the shape. To deselect all shapes, first move focus to the canvas, then double-tap.
  • Multi-select mode: Multi-select mode enables you to select multiple shapes at once. With a shape selected, double-tap and hold until you hear "entered multi-select mode." Then, to add or remove a shape from the selection, first move the focus to the shape, then double-tap. To exit multi-select mode, navigate to the "exit multi-select mode" button and double-tap, or focus on the canvas and double-tap.
  • Move shapes: To drag a shape, first select the shape, then double-tap and hold anywhere until you hear "drag to move shapes." Then drag your finger in the direction you want to move the shape.
  • Rotate shapes: To rotate a shape, first select the shape, then swipe to move focus to the "rotation handle" for the shape. Double-tap and hold until you hear "drag to rotate shapes." Then drag your finger to rotate the shape.
  • Grouped shapes: Grouped shapes are only focusable when the group itself is selected. Once the group is selected, you can focus a shape within the group either by touching the shape or swiping left and right to move through the shapes in sequence.
  • Navigate in presentation: To move to the next or previous slide, two-finger swipe left or right. To zoom in or out, use a two-finger pinch. To pan the canvas, drag two fingers across the screen.
Quick reference for Slides gestures

When focus is anywhere

Move focus forward Swipe right or down
Move focus backward Swipe left or up
Focus shape Touch shape, or explore by touch until you reach the shape
Focus handle and verbalize the direction of the handle (e.g. lower left handle or rotation handle) Touch handle, or explore by touch until you reach the handle
Clear focus from all shapes Touch canvas
Pan canvas Drag two fingers
Zoom canvas Pinch two fingers
Move to next or previous slide Swipe two fingers left or right

When focus is on an ungrouped shape

Select focused shape Double-tap
Start text editing Once shape is selected, double-tap to start text editing

When focus is on a group

Select group Double-tap
Move focus to shape within selected group Once group is selected, explore by touch or swipe right or left
Select focused shape within selected group Once shape has focus, double-tap to select
Start text editing in selected shape Once shape is selected, double-tap to start text editing

When focus is on any shape (grouped or ungrouped)

Drag selected shape Double-tap and hold until you hear the cue to drag to move shapes
Enter multi-select mode Double-tap and hold until you hear that you've entered multi-select mode
Add or remove shape from selection Move focus to the shape, then double-tap to add or remove

When focus is on the canvas

Clear selection Double-tap

When focus is on a shape's handle

Rotate or resize shape Double-tap and hold until you hear the cue to drag to rotate or resize shapes

Braille support

In the Docs and Slides apps, you can use a Braille display to read and enter text. Learn about Braille support.

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

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