Use a Braille display with Docs editors

You can use a Braille display to read and edit documents, spreadsheets, presentations, and drawings.

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. Braille support in Sheets for Windows might cause 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 buttons on your Braille display to move the cursor. (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 whitespace.
  • While you type, your screen reader uses its settings for character echo and word echo instead of always echoing characters.

Known issues

  • If you’re using Braille support in Google Sheets with JAWS or NVDA, make sure to use the latest version (JAWS 2018, NVDA 2018.1, or newer). You can use Braille support in Docs, Slides or Drawings with an older version of JAWS or NVDA. However, you might 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.
  • Sometimes, special announcements (such as styles, comments, footnotes, and equations) are off 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.

 

Andrew is a Docs and Sheets expert and author of this help page. Leave him feedback below about the page.

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