This page will provide information about known accessibility barriers and work-arounds, and will be updated regularly. If you have any questions, please contact the ITS Service Center at 4HELP@umich.edu or 764-4357.
This site was put together with extensive input from Scott Williams, Donna Goodin, John Cady, and Rita Girardi; thanks, all.
- General Notes
- Google Mail and Calendar
- Google+ Hangouts
- Google Sites
- Other Apps (including Google Docs/Drive)
- Keyboard Shortcuts
- Accessibility Benefits
- Your Input
Google provides a variety of resources about the accessibility of their products, including the Use Google Products page.
Google has created a Google Apps for Blind and Low Vision Users page with many links covering topics relevant to Google Drive, Docs, Sheets, Slides, Mail, Calendar, and Sites.
Google also has an Administrator Guide to Accessibility and a feedback form for reporting problems or suggestions.
The accessible@googlegroups listserv is a public forum for posting questions about accessibility. To join, go to the firstname.lastname@example.org page and activate the "Join group to post" button.
In 2012, North Carolina State University published information about accessibility and implementation of Google Apps on their campus.
We have found that many cases, third-party Windows assistive technology such as screen readers and Dragon NaturallySpeaking have tended to work much better with Google Apps in Firefox than in Internet Explorer. In all cases, we recommend that you upgrade your assistive technology to the latest version if possible.
- Low-Vision Support in Chrome
- Download ChromeVis
- ChromeVis Documentation
- Screen Reader Support in Chrome (covers JAWS, NVDA, and VoiceOver)
- Download ChromeVox
- ChromeVox Installation Instructions
- ChromeVox Documentation and Tutorial
- ChromeVox Release Notes
- Overview of Keyboard Access in Chrome
ChromeVis and ChromeVox will only work within Chrome.
- Instructions for using Google Apps Sync for Microsoft Outlook
- Instructions for connecting Google Mail to Apple Mail (Note: If you are using Apple Mail to access Calendar, we highly recommend that you upgrade to at least OS X 10.9.4 (Mavericks).
In November 2013, Google released an update to its Mavericks OS. This update fixes the issues experienced when connecting to a Google mail account. Be sure to run a software update prior to connecting Apple's Mail App to your M+Google account.
You can also access Google Mail via your mobile device.
- Hangout Captions allows real-time captioning to be typed in by anyone who's part of the chat. It does not provide speech-to-text transcription or, in many cases, significant advantages over simply using the Chat function.
- Clicking on the Sign Language Interpreter app automatically installs an app that allows a chat participant to be identified as an interpreter. For the sign user, this adds a small window that shows the interpreter for the duration of the Hangout.
Information about using Google Sites to create accessible web pages is now available.
Google has recently updated its information about screen reader accessibility for several of its apps:
- Docs and screen readers
- Sheets and screen readers
- Slides and screen readers
- Forms and screen readers
- Drive and screen readers
- Issues and Work-Arounds for Dragon NaturallySpeaking (Updated 7/18/14) Note: We have not tested Google Apps with the Macintosh product Dragon Dictate.
- Issues and Work-Arounds for Read and Write Gold (Updated 8/21/14)
- Issues and Work-Arounds for MAGic (Updated 7/18/14)
- Issues and Work-Arounds for Keyboard Only Access (Added 8/14/14)
Ctrl-V or ⌘-V to paste text, etc.) will work fine in Google Apps. These are usually not listed here, but are worth trying. Here are external links to lists of keyboard shortcuts in Windows 7 and keyboard shortcuts in Mac OS X Mavericks (10.9). For other operating systems, try doing a Google search for "keyboard shortcuts" plus the name of the operating system.
If you find a shortcut that works with one Google App (e.g., Ctrl+Alt+Shift+G to bring up the revision history panel), it's also worth trying it in other apps, since Google may not always document every option.
- Blogger - Windows
- Blogger - Mac
- Calendar - Windows
- Calendar - Mac
- Chrome - Windows
- Chrome - Mac
- Contacts - Windows
- Documents - Windows, Mac, and Chrome (external site)
- Drawings - Windows
- Drawings - Mac
- Drive - Windows and Mac
- Earth - Windows
- Groups - Windows and Mac
- Hangouts - Windows
- Hangouts - Mac
- Mail - Windows (See note about Google Mail shortcuts above)
- Mail - Mac (See note about Google Mail shortcuts above)
- Maps - Windows and Mac
- Picasa - Windows and Mac (external site)
- Play - Windows and Mac
- Plus - Windows and Mac
- Slides - Windows, Mac, and Chrome (external site)
- Sites - Windows
- Sites - Mac
- Spreadsheets - Windows, Mac, and Chrome (external site)
- Talk - Windows
- Voice - Windows (not currently supported by U-M)
- YouTube - Windows
For some people, there are features in the browser-based version of Google Apps that may improve accessibility. These are detailed below:
- Google Mail and Google Calendar both have a Labs feature that can be used to activated a variety of free add-ons. These labs include several options which may enhance accessibility or usability for some people with physical or cognitive disabilities.
- Google Mail has two features that can make it easier to handle and organize your messages: Labels and Filters.
- Rather than using folders like most email programs, Labels lets you assign as many labels as you like to a piece of email. Then when you do a search on any of the assigned labels, the email you want will show up in the list.
- Filters lets you specify how messages from certain senders or with certain subject lines are automatically handled.
Please use the form below to ask questions about topics that are not covered here, or to send new or corrected information.
Please note that your inquiry will be sent to the University of Michigan, not to Google.