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Use a Braille display to read and enter text

You can use a Braille display to read and enter text in Docs, Sheets, Slides, and Drawings.

Turn on Braille support

  1. Open a Docs file on your computer: 
    • Docs, Slides, or Drawings: Open the file in Google Chrome, Firefox, Safari, or Internet Explorer.
    • Sheets: Braille support in Sheets is available on Chrome OS with the ChromeVox screen reader. Please make sure that you have the latest versions of Chrome OS and ChromeVox. We’re working to add support for other platforms and screen readers.
  2. If you haven't already turned on screen reader support for the Docs editors, press Ctrl + Alt + z (Windows) or ⌘ + Option + z (Mac).
  3. In the Accessibility menu, select Settings.
  4. Select Enable Braille support.

If you turn Braille support on in Docs, Sheets, Slides, or Drawings, the setting applies whenever you sign in to any of these editors.

Move the cursor

You can use the cursor routing button on your Braille display to move the cursor in text or between spreadsheet cells. This feature is available with the following browsers and screen readers:

  • Windows: NVDA or JAWS, with Chrome, Firefox, or Internet Explorer
  • Chrome OS: ChromeVox with Chrome

Turn off Braille support

  1. Open a document, spreadsheet, presentation, or drawing.
  2. In the Accessibility menu, select Settings.
  3. Deselect Enable Braille support.

Improvements and known issues

After you turn on Braille support in Docs, you'll notice the following improvements:

  • Use many of your usual screen reader shortcuts, in addition to Google Docs keyboard shortcuts.
  • Faster screen reader typing echo.
  • Faster screen reader navigation handling when you navigate by character.
  • Better screen reader announcements of punctuation and white space.
  • Docs, Sheets, Slides, and Drawings now follow your screen reader's settings for character echo and word echo while typing. (Previously, characters were always echoed, and screen reader typing echo had to be turned off for some screen readers.)

Known issues

  • It isn't yet possible to enter special characters from the keyboard. To enter special characters, open the the Insert menu and select Special characters.
  • In some cases, special announcements (e.g. styles, comments, footnotes, and equations) are shifted by a character. This issue applies only to screen readers that announce the character after the cursor, rather than the character just passed over by the cursor, when the cursor moves. Affected screen readers include ChromeVox, NVDA, and JAWS, depending on your settings.
  • Verbalization of comments or styles can interfere with the screen reader’s announcements of the text when navigating through content.
  • If you use NVDA, we recommend using the latest version for the best experience. Please be aware that Braille feedback for typing isn't yet fully supported, and link text isn't verbalized.
  • If you use a Mac, Braille support in the Docs editors is recommended for use with Mac OS X Yosemite.

 

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

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