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Accessibility in Docs editors for iPhone and iPad

The mobile apps for Docs, Sheets, and Slides are compatible with the VoiceOver screen reader on iPhone and iPad. You can use VoiceOver to create, edit, and share documents, spreadsheets, and presentations.

If you're not already using VoiceOver, visit the Apple support site for instructions.

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.

Navigation and editing

Once VoiceOver is enabled, use the following gestures to navigate in Docs, Sheets, and Slides:

  • One-finger left and right swipes typically enable you to "tab" through the controls. Double-tap anywhere on the screen to activate the selected item.
  • To move quickly to the top of the screen, use a two-finger upward swipe. You can then use one-finger left and right swipes to "tab" through each control in the toolbar. This is also how you read an entire portion of text from the point of selection.
  • For most applications, you can close a pop-up window with a one-finger circular motion followed by a double-tap.

Docs app

To read or edit a document in the Docs app:

  • Use the rotor to adjust how you navigate within or make edits to a document, as in most other text editing apps on iOS. Rotate two fingers to hear and select options for navigating and editing, then swipe up and down or double-tap depending on the current selected option.
  • 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:

  • To select a row or column, explore by touch until you hear the row or column number, then double-tap to select the focused row or column.
  • The Accessibility settings menu in Sheets lets you choose what information is announced in your spreadsheet, such as text formatting, cell formatting, number formatting, and font properties. To adjust your accessibility settings, navigate to the toolbar, then select Accessibility settings. When you turn on the Read formatting properties option, you can then enable or disable verbalization of each type of information.

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. 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. To select a focused shape within a selected group, triple-tap anywhere. Once a shape is selected, start text editing in the shape by double-tapping again (for ungrouped shapes) or triple-tapping (for grouped shapes). 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.
  • 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 or resize shapes: To rotate or resize a shape, first select the shape, then swipe to move focus to one of the handles. Double-tap and hold until you hear the cue to drag to rotate or resize shapes. Then drag your finger to rotate or resize the shape. You can also scroll four fingers over the handle.
  • 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 between slides: To move to the next or previous slide, three-finger swipe left or right.
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
Focus handle and verbalize the direction of the handle (e.g. lower left handle or rotation handle) Touch handle of selected shape
Clear focus from all shapes Touch canvas
Move to next or previous slide Swipe three 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, triple-tap to select
Start text editing in selected shape Once shape is selected, triple-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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