Are you having trouble using Google Docs and Sheets when using JAWS, NVDA or a screen reader? Normally, when you open Google Drive, Docs or Sheets, the virtual cursor is automatically turned off. These programs are applications running inside the website. You do not want JAWS to use the navigational shortcut commands; therefore, you want to turn off the virtual PC cursor so that you can interact with the application (Google Docs) and not the website itself. For example, if you are in Google Docs and you press the letter "h", you expect the letter "h" to be inserted into the document. If you hear JAWS move to a heading on the page and read that heading, you know that the virtual cursor is still active. Use Insert + Z to toggle the virtual cursor on and off.
The key to using Google Docs (and other Google applications) is to turn off the virtual PC cursor when interacting with the document.
Freedom Scientific has free webinars and printed resources covering a variety of topics, including for using Google Drive, Docs and Sheets with JAWS and Magic.
Google Drive: Lesson 1 (beginner)
- What is Google Drive
- The relationship between Google Drive and Google Docs
- The Installation of Google Drive
- Google Drive's basic layout
- "Go to" keys and other useful Google Drive commands
- How to create and open a file in Google Drive
- The meaning of "working in the cloud"
- Screen support in Google Docs
- How to configure JAWS and Google Docs screen reader support to achieve the best user experience
- The layout of the Google Docs web interface
- Basic document and menu navigation
Google Drive Webinar: Lesson 2 (beginner)
- How to select text by word and character
- How to apply the Bold, Italic and Underline attributes
- How to apply Heading styles to text
- How to left, center and right justify text
- How to download a Google Docs document to your hard drive in another format
- How to immediately view your Google Docs document in Microsoft Word
- How to add a comment to a document and read the comments of others
- Collaboration with others
- How to rename or remove a file in Google Drive
- How to view files shared with you and add those files to your Google Drive
- How to share a document from Google Drive or from within the document itself
- Braille displays and Google Docs
The Google Docs and Sheets with JAWS and Magic Webinar
- Using Google Drive to create and open documents and sheets
- Opening existing documents and sheets
- Sharing documents and sheets
- Working in collaboration on documents and sheets
- Applying different styles and fonts in documents
- and more
Teacher Hints: JAWS 18 is said to have added better functionality with Google.
In the recent AFB/Google Train the Trainer Conference (Dec. 2016),Google trainers recommended using NVDA and the Firefox browser. The materials from this training are also available on-line.
AFB/Google Train the Trainer Resources
- Screen Reader support for Docs editors
- Edit documents with a screen reader
- Get Started in Docs Editors with a screen reader
- Use a Braille Display to read and enter text
- Keyboard shortcuts for Google Docs
- Accessibility in Google Docs editors for Android
- Accessibility in Google Docs editors for iPhone and iPad
- Video: Get started with Google Docs using a screen reader (see below)
- Curriculum (10 exercises)