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Edit drawings with a screen reader

Once you've turned on screen reader support for Google Docs editors on the web, you can start editing drawings.

Search the menus

To do things quickly in Drawings, you can search the menus. Press Alt + / (Windows, Chrome OS) or Option + / (Mac) to start a menu search.

Once your focus is in the search box, type a command, such as "Rename" or "Insert." Press the down arrow to hear search results. For example, if you type "Insert," the options include inserting an image, a comment, and other choices. Press Enter to apply an action.

Keyboard shortcuts

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

If you ever forget a shortcut, you can open a list of shortcuts within Drawings by pressing Ctrl + / (Windows, Chrome OS) or ⌘ + / (Mac). Along with a list of shortcuts, the dialog has a link to view all shortcuts in the Help Center. To close the dialog, press Escape.

Application menus, top-level buttons, and toolbar

To browse the application menus, start with the File menu. Press Alt + f (Chrome on Windows, Chrome OS), Alt + Shift + f (Windows), or Ctrl + Option + f (Mac). Press the right arrow to navigate to other application menus, including Edit, View, Insert, Format, Arrange, Tools, Table, and Help.

If you're using VoiceOver on Mac: To go to to the application menus, first use the pass-through key combination Ctrl + Option + Tab, then type the menu shortcut, such as Ctrl + Option + f for the File menu.

From the application menus, you can navigate to two other sets of controls:

  • Press Shift + Tab to go to the top-level buttons. These buttons are for drawing-level actions, such as renaming, starring, sharing, or moving the drawing to a different folder.
  • Press Tab to go to the toolbar. The toolbar has editing and formatting tools, such as lists and indentation.

Note: In compact mode, the top-level buttons and application menus are hidden. To turn compact mode on or off, press Ctrl + Shift + f (Windows, Chrome OS, or Mac).

Accessibility menu

If you've turned on screen reader support for the Docs editors, the application menu bar includes an Accessibility menu with shortcuts for navigating and reading your drawing.

To open the Accessibility menu, press Alt + a (Chrome on Windows, Chrome OS), Alt + Shift + a (Windows), or Ctrl + Option + a (Mac). Press the down arrow to hear options, such as Speak, Comments, Formatting, and more. Press the right arrow to open a sub-menu, and press Enter to select an option.

Help documentation

To find help documentation, open the Help menu in the application menu bar and select Get help with.... Press Tab to reach the search box, then type a search term, such as "Images," and press Enter. The help opens in a dialog where you can read or navigate to other topics. To dismiss the dialog and return to the drawing, press Escape.

You can also open the Docs editors Help Center in a new tab or window and search or browse for more information.

Editing and formatting basics

To insert something on a drawing, such as a text box or image, press Alt + / (Windows, Chrome OS) or Option + / (Mac) to search the menus, then type "insert" to get a list of options to insert. Use the arrow keys to explore the list, and press Enter to make your selection.

To explore the formatting styles that you can apply within your drawing, open the Format menu in the application menu bar. You can also use Drawings shortcuts to change styles.

Learn more about how to create, edit, and format drawings.

Add alternative text

To add or edit alternative text (alt text) for an image or shape, follow these steps:

  1. Select the object in your drawing.
  2. Open the Format menu in the application menu bar.
  3. Select Alt text.
  4. In the Alt text dialog, enter a description for the image or drawing, then select Enter.

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

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