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Comment and collaborate with a screen reader

Note: Before following the steps below, make sure you've turned on Docs screen reader support.

Work with comments

You can comment in documents, spreadsheets, presentations, and drawings. Commenting isn't available for forms.

Add a comment

You can use comments to ask questions, make notes, or highlight changes. 

  1. Move your focus to the part of the file where you'd like to add the comment.
  2. Press Ctrl + Alt + m (Windows, Chrome OS) or ⌘ + Option + m (Mac).
  3. A comment field opens, with the focus in the text area. Type your comment.
  4. To save your comment, tab to the "Comment" button, then press Enter. To cancel your comment, navigate to the "Cancel" button and press Enter.

Look for the next comment

  1. Press Ctrl + Alt + n then c (Windows, Chrome OS) or ⌘ + Ctrl + n then c (Mac). 
  2. To enter the comment, press Ctrl + Alt + e then c (Windows, Chrome OS) or ⌘ + Ctrl + e then c (Mac).

Read all comments

  1. To open the comment discussion, press Ctrl + Alt + Shift + a (Windows, Chrome OS) or ⌘ + Option + Shift + a (Mac).
  2. Press j to move to the next comment, and press k to move to the previous comment. 
  3. To return to the main editing area, press Escape.

Reply to a comment

  1. To enter the comment, press Ctrl + Alt + e then c (Windows, Chrome OS) or ⌘ + Ctrl + e then c (Mac) .
  2. Press Tab to move to the text area, then type your reply.
  3. Press Tab to move to the "Reply" button and press Enter.
  4. Press Escape to return to the main editing area.

Edit or delete a comment that you created

  1. To enter the comment, press Ctrl + Alt + e then c (Windows, Chrome OS) or ⌘ + Ctrl + e then c (Mac).
  2. Navigate to the pop-up menu in the comment dialog, then select either Edit or Delete.
  3. Edit or delete the comment.
    • If you select Edit, the focus is in the comment text field. Edit your comment, then move to the "Save" button and press Enter. Press Escape to return to the main editing area.
    • If you select Delete, you’ll be asked if you want to delete the comment. Press Enter to delete the comment and return to the main editing area. To cancel, move to the "Cancel" button and press Enter. Press Escape to return to the main editing area.

Share files and collaborate in real time

Share a file

  1. Open the File menu using the shortcut key for your browser:
    • Windows, using Chrome: Alt + f
    • Windows, using other browsers: Alt + Shift + f 
    • Chrome OS: Alt + f
    • Mac: First press the pass-through keys Ctrl + Option + Tab, then Ctrl + Option + f 
  2. Select Share, then add people using the sharing dialog.

Learn more about sharing files.

Work with other people in real time

If you're editing a shared file, your screen reader announces when other people enter or exit the file.
Note: Real-time collaboration is available for documents, spreadsheets, presentations, and drawings, but not for forms.
To find out who's currently working in the file:
  1. Move to the menu bar using the shortcut key for your browser:
    • Windows, using Chrome: Alt + f
    • Windows, using other browsers: Alt + Shift + f 
    • Chrome OS: Alt + f
    • Mac: First press the pass-through keys Ctrl + Option + Tab, then Ctrl + Option + f 
  2. Press Shift + Tab until you reach "Collaborators."
  3. To jump to a person's location in the file, press Enter on that person's name in the list.
To open a chat window where you can chat with other people, press Shift + Escape.
In documents, presentations, and drawings, you'll hear a notification if you're near text or an image that another collaborator is currently editing.

Turn off collaborator announcements

In documents, spreadsheets, and presentations, you can turn off the screen reader announcements about other people entering, editing, or leaving the file.

Documents or presentations

  1. Open the Accessibility menu using the shortcut key for your browser:
    • Windows, using Chrome: Alt + a
    • Windows, using other browsers: Alt + Shift + a
    • Chrome OS: Alt + a
    • Mac: First press the pass-through keys Ctrl + Option + Tab, then Ctrl + Option + a
  2. Open the Settings submenu (access key e).
  3. Select Turn off collaborator announcements (access key c).

Spreadsheets

  1. Open the Accessibility menu using the shortcut key for your browser:
    • Windows, using Chrome: Alt + a
    • Windows, using other browsers: Alt + Shift + a
    • Chrome OS: Alt + a
    • Mac: First press the pass-through keys Ctrl + Option + Tab, then Ctrl + Option + a.
  2. Select Turn off collaborator announcements (access key c).

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

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