Use a Braille display to read and enter text

You can use a Braille display to read and enter text and to move your cursor in Docs, Sheets, Slides, and Drawings. Braille support in Sheets for Windows is coming soon.

Screen readers & browsers you can use

Chrome OS

On Chrome OS, you can use ChromeVox with Chrome.

Note: Make sure to use latest versions of Chrome OS and ChromeVox.

Windows

On Windows, you can use NVDA or JAWS with Chrome, Firefox, or Internet Explorer. 
 
Important: Make sure to use the latest version of JAWS or NVDA (JAWS 2018 or NVDA 2018.1). Braille support in Sheets for Windows causes issues on older versions of JAWS and NVDA. See "Known issues" below for details.

Mac

On Mac, you can use VoiceOver with Safari or Chrome, on Mac OS X Yosemite.

Turn on Braille support for Docs editors

  1. On your computer, open a document, spreadsheet, presentation, or drawing.
  2. If you haven't already turned on Docs screen reader support, press Ctrl + Alt + z (Windows) or ⌘ + Option + z (Mac).
  3. In the Accessibility menu, select Settings.
  4. Select Enable Braille support.

After you turn on Braille support, the setting applies whenever you go to Docs, Sheets, Slides, or Drawings.

Use Docs editors with Braille support

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

  • You can use the cursor routing button on your Braille display to move the cursor in text or between spreadsheet cells. (Not supported on Mac.)
  • You can use many of your usual screen reader shortcuts, in addition to 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.
  • While you type, the Docs editors follow your screen reader settings for character echo and word echo. (Previously, Docs always echoed characters, and screen reader typing echo had to be turned off for some screen readers.)

Known issues

  • If you’re using Braille support in Google Sheets with JAWS or NVDA, make sure to use the latest version (JAWS 2018 or NVDA 2018.1). You can use Braille support in Docs, Slides or Drawings with an older version of JAWS or NVDA. However, you'll need to turn off Braille support when you use Sheets.
  • 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.

Turn off Braille support for Docs editors

  1. On your computer, open a document, spreadsheet, presentation, or drawing.
  2. In the Accessibility menu, select Settings.
  3. Deselect Enable 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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