Use a screen reader with Hangouts Chat

Hangouts Chat is designed for navigation with a screen reader.

Screen readers that work best with Hangouts Chat

See the publishers’ documentation for the most up-to-date details and instructions, including shortcuts, for the various recommended screen readers:


  • Windows: JAWS or NVDA in Firefox
  • Mac: VoiceOver in Chrome
  • Chromebook: ChromeVox in Chrome


  • Android: TalkBack
  • iPhone® or iPad®: VoiceOver

Pick a supported screen reader for your browser and computer from the preceding list. Use the applicable keyboard commands to navigate the webpage:

  • Windows: Use the JAWS commands or the NVDA commands in Firefox.
  • Mac: Use the VoiceOver commands in a Chrome browser.
  • Chromebook: Use the ChromeVox commands in a Chrome browser.

Using VoiceOver on a Mac

Use the following settings so that Tab key navigation reaches all messages in Hangouts:

  1. Open System Preferences.
  2. Click Keyboard.
  3. Open the Shortcuts tab.
  4. At the bottom, under Full Keyboard Access, select All controls.
  5. Open your browser.
    • Chrome:
      1. Click More More.
      2. Click Settings.
      3. Under the Appearance section, turn on Pressing Tab on a webpage highlights links, as well as form fields.
    • Safari:
      1. Select Safari and then Preferences 
      2. Select the Advanced tab.
      3. Next to  Accessibility, check the box to Press Tab to highlight each item on a webpage.

Screen reader shortcuts

ChromeVox screen reader shortcuts (Chrome OS) 
Use these shortcuts with the ChromeVox screen reader for the Chrome OS.
Description Shortcut
Start ChromeVox Ctrl+Alt+Z
Navigate between controls (buttons, links, and so on) Tab or Shift+Tab
Navigate between each and every element  Shift+Search+Arrow keys


NVDA screen reader shortcuts (Windows)
Use these shortcuts with the NonVisual Desktop Access (NVDA) screen reader for Microsoft Windows.
Description Shortcut
Start NVDA Ctrl+Alt+N

Caps Lock+Q 
(if Caps Lock is set as the NVDA Modifier key)

Pause speech Shift
Stop speech Control
Next link K
Next heading H
Next table T
Next list L
Previous link Shift+K
Previous heading Shift + H
Previous table Shift + T
Previous list Shift + L
Resume video from start point J
Play or pause the video  K
Next graphic/image G
Previous graphic/image Shift+G
Next Frame M
Previous Frame Shift + M
Next column in table Ctrl+Alt+Right arrow
Previous column in table Ctrl+Alt+Left arrow
Next row in table Ctrl+Alt+Down arrow
Previous row in table Ctrl+Alt+Up arrow
Say all NVDA+Down arrow
NVDA modifier key

Caps Lock

(you must set Caps Lock as NVDA modifier key)

Change mode of NVDA Caps Lock


JAWS screen reader shortcuts (Windows)
Use these shortcuts with the Job Access With Speech (JAWS) screen reader for Windows.
Description Shortcut
Navigate between controls (buttons, links, etc.) Tab/Shift+Tab
Anchor A
Button B
Combo Box C
Different Type Element D
Edit Box E
Form Control F
Graphic G
Heading H
Item in a List I
Jump to Line J
Return to Previous Line Shift+J
Jump to Cell (Within Table) Ctrl+Windows Key+J
Return to Previous Table Cell Ctrl+Shift+Windows Key+J
Place Marker K
Temporary Place marker Ctrl+K
List L
Frame M
Non Link Text N
Object Tag O
Paragraph P
Block Quote Q
Radio Button R
Same Type Element S
Table T
Unvisited Link U
Visited Link V
Check Box X
Division Z
Heading at Level 1-6
Step Past Element Shift+Period
Step Before Element Shift+Comma


VoiceOver screen reader shortcuts (macOS)
Use these shortcuts with the  VoiceOver screen reader for the macOS.
Description Shortcut
VoiceOver key Ctrl+Alt
Read all (published site) VO+A
Start or stop the VoiceOver Command+F5
Item chooser Ctrl+Alt+L
Next image link 
(published site)
Previous image link 
(published site)
Previous link 
(published site)
Next link Ctrl+Option+Command+L
Start interacting with items or sections VO+Shift+Down arrow
Stop interacting with items or sections VO+Shift+Up arrow
Navigate between options in a section VO+Shift+Right or Left arrow


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