Accessibility Options in Google

There are many different accessibility tools you can use with your favorite Google tools. From screen readers to voice comments, this list will highlight the different tools you and your students can use to facilitate access and use of Google services.

Join the Google+ Community Virtual Photo Walks and visit the foundation @

Hand Challenge Link: 
The Prosthetic Kids project began when Carson, Corbyn, and McKenzie got fired up about the chance to really impact another child's life. You can read more about their story on We were so fortunate to win the Belk Service Learning challenge, and remain grateful for the support and love we received from Belk and Discovery Education. The Hand Challenge was born of a desire to help anyone with access to a 3D Printer be able to be a part of work that can change the life of a child.

Google Services Google Hangouts

A free video conferencing tool that lets up to 50 (work)/10 (personal) people connect, chat, share their desktops, and more.

Google + Chrome Extensions and Chrome Apps

-Docs plus any screen reader will allow users to hear the written text.
-Type with voice
-capture items on the screen and add them to docs or slides

Docs - Type with your voice You can use your voice to set up a doc, customize it, write, bold, etc.
Type with your voice commands Example Using Google products: How to use accessibility features

Chrome Extensions


This extension reads out loud every website you visit. For example, if you're too tired but still need to study one more Wikipedia entry, Announcify can help your tired eyes relax.
Link to Install:

Bubble Cursor

With the bubble cursor you can click on links and type inside text fields just by having your cursor near them. Since you don't have to be as accurate, your browsing can become faster and more efficient.

Link to Install:

Speak it

SpeakIt converts text into speech so it can be read to you. It can read text in more than 50 languages.

Link to Install:
Voice Instead
Tired of reading long text? Why not convert text to speech so that you can hear the text on websites? This extension helps you select and speak text in your browser. Hint: Right Click to activate the tool.

Link to Install:

Chrome Speak Text to speech reader that works offline! Select text and select "Read the selected text" from context menu. It works on long texts and it is offline, so it can be faster. Translated into almost all Languages.

Link to Install:


Screen dimmer and reading aid, may help with fluency, eye-strain, concentration and comprehension whilst reading. As well as being a great general purpose screen dimmer, Visor's overlays and point of focus feature may be assistive to users with visual perceptual difficulties such as Dyslexia, Scotopic Sensitivity Syndrome and Visual Stress.

Link to Install:

Read and Write for Google

Make files and the web accessible for those with learning disabilities such as dyslexia, struggling readers & writers, and ESL/ELL. Read&Write for Google™ works on PCs, Macs, and Chromebooks to add many powerful support features to the web and common file types in Google Drive, including:
- Google Docs
- ePub

Link to Install:
Example: Doc
Resource: Read & Write Features with PDFs (by Melissa Roth)
Read&Write Blog, Read&Write YouTube Playlist
Register for your free account


ChromeVox is a screen reader for Chrome which brings the speed, versatility, and security of Chrome to visually impaired users. ChromeVox is available as an extension for Google Chrome on Windows and Mac OS and comes built into Chrome OS to provide out of box accessibility. 


Link to Install:
Resource: Release Notes

Web Clipper by Evernote

Use this to clear the clutter from an article or save webpages.

Link to Install:

Example: Doc


Open-Dyslexic is an open sourced font created to increase readability for readers with dyslexia. This extension overrides all fonts on web pages with the OpenDyslexic font, and formats pages to be more easily readable.

Link to Install: Site:

Click-free Browsing

Adds navigation icons to a webpage that can be activated by simply hovering over them, rather than needing to click. Commands include scrolling, backward and forward in page history, opening a link, and more.

Link to Install:

CrxMouse Chrome Gestures

Use mouse gestures to navigate including forward, backward, scrolling, refreshing, switching tabs, and more. The user can even program their own custom mouse gestures to open programs and perform other tasks.

Link to Install:

Google Dictionary (by Google)

With this extension installed, students can double click on a word and the definition will pop up for that word. A speaker button is displayed for most words, so students can hear the word spoken in a human voice. Immediate feedback is given on unknown words. Works on most websites.

Link to Install:

Stay Focusd

Stay Focusd is a Chrome extension designed to help you stop wasting time on sites like Facebook, Twitter, etc and get your work done instead. With Stay Focusd installed you can set a time limit for yourself for how much cumulative time in a day that you spend on various sites Once you've used up your self-allotted time on those sites you won't be able to revisit them in that browser for 24 hours. Link to Install:

Explain and Send Screenshots

Capture a webpage or image and annotate directly on it. Save to Google Drive using the extension Checker Plus. Link to Install:

Examples: Docs, Slides 

This extension allows the user's text to be displayed on screen on top of a web page in large type

**Only works on top of web pages, so first load a webpage like then click the CT in the extensions bar**
Link to Install:

Streamline Video Creation and Sharing

Screencastify is a simple video screen capture software (aka. screencast recorder) for Chrome. It is able to record all screen activity inside a tab, including audio. 

Link to Install:
Example: My Super Hero 

Chrome Extensions by Google
This is a full listing of accessibility extensions you can add to Chrome (all made by Google). 
-High Contrast
-Image Alt Text Viewer
-Long Descriptions in Context Menu
-Caret Browsing 
Link to List:

Turn Off the Lights

Use this feature to dim the lights around your video. Custom options available.

Chrome Apps
Locate your Chrome apps @ chrome://apps/

Voice Recognition

Voice recognition app allows the user to dictate the text of a document and then save the text to Google Drive or send as an email.

Note: It will type commas, periods and question marks, but a little tricky. But I think with practice, you will be able to streamline this process Link to Install: Site:

Sketch brings a fun drawing and photo editing experience to everyone who wants to be creative, regardless of skill level. If you need inspiration, the Sketch community is an endless source of art for you to explore and enjoy. When you are ready, you can inspire others by sharing your own art and be a part of the community. 
Chrome Play Store for Android and Chromebooks (with app capability)

SpeechPad - New Voice Notebook

Voice recognition app that allows the user to dictate the text of a document, then copy and paste the text to another application as needed.

Can also convert audio files to the text. Provides: entering punctuation and editing text by voice, using voice commands, converting audio files and youtube video and many others features.


Video Tutorial SpeechPad Blog Also check out Pronunciation Checker (app) and the SpeechPad extension.

VoiceNote II - Speech to text

Typing with your voice and speech recognition. Simple and functional notepad. Runs offline and in different languages.

Link to Install:

Read&Write for Google

Read & Write is a free Google Chrome Web App that increases the accessibility of the text of documents in your Google Drive account. After installing the app you will see a Read & Write tab appear at the top of your browser window whenever you have a document open in Google Drive. Clicking that Read & Write tab will open a menu of accessibility options. Link to Install:

Educator Resources from Texthelp Read&Write Blog, Read&Write YouTube Playlist

Register for your free account

Fluency Tutor™ for Google (Teacher App)

Fluency Tutor™ for Google is an easy-to-use reading and assessment tool that helps teachers support struggling readers. It’s also great for reluctant students, early readers and individuals learning English as a second language.  Teachers can pick reading passages based on content, lexile level or reading age and share with individual students or groups via Google Drive.Students practice and record their assigned passages in a relaxed environment, at school or at home. Extra help is provided by a dictionary, picture dictionary and translate tools.

Smart analytics (premium version only) saves precious time for educators, automatically creating a detailed running record that gives students – and parents – a clear picture of reading progress. Fluency Tutor™ for Google works on PC’s, Mac’s and Chromebook’s with a Chrome browser.

Link to Install: Video - About Fluency Tutor

Fluency Tutor™ for Google (Student App)

This web-based program allows students to open Fluency Tutor™ for Google reading passages in Google Drive. Must be used with reading passages assigned through the Fluency Tutor™ for Google App (available separately in the Chrome Web Store).
- Allows students to open reading passages via Google Drive
- Provides support tools to assist students when listening to and practicing reading passages
- Allows students to record passages and listen to themselves reading aloud Link to Install:


Newsela publishes daily news articles at 5 reading levels from grades 3–12 to drive gains in literacy. Site:

Books That Grow

Books That Grow is a leveled reading application with eBooks that adapt to each user’s reading ability. It's a great tool for teachers to assign reading to their classroom, and be able to monitor student reading progress. Teachers can also set students to a suitable reading level. Books That Grow also allows the budding reader to signup on their own to read diverse content at their level of comfort.
Read over 150 titles across biographies, classic fiction, science, social studies and more.

Tips & Tricks:

1-Chrome Zoom Features
Use the zoom options to make everything on a webpage larger or smaller.

> On your computer, open Chrome.
> At the top right, click More (three little dots)
> Next to "Zoom," choose the zoom options you want:
        > Make everything larger: Click Zoom in
        > Make everything smaller: Click Zoom out

Use full-screen mode: Click Full screen
Chrome OS: At the top of your keyboard, press the full screen key. 

You can also use the keyboard shortcuts to zoom in or out. 

Make everything larger:
Windows and Linux: Press Ctrl and +
Mac: Press ⌘ and +
Chrome OS: Press Ctrl and +

Make everything smaller:
Windows and Linux: Press Ctrl and -
Mac: Press ⌘ and -
Chrome OS: Press Ctrl and -

Zoom into a specific area on the screen

Depends on your device, but the option that needs to be enabled is located in the:
Chromebook:  Settings > Advanced > Accessibility (once enabled hold Ctrl+Alt and zoom in and out with 2 fingers)
MAC: System Preferences > Accessibility > Zoom (once enabled hold Ctrl and zoom in and out with 2 fingers)

2-YouTube Video Features

Add Caption Tracks to Your Video Files
Make your video content accessible to a broader audience with captions. Captions help people with deaf and hard of hearing viewers or for speakers of different languages. Also, the text in the captions is searchable in your Docs List, making it easy to find your uploaded videos. 

Activate Subtitles on YouTube Videos
To find where to turn subtitles on/off: Click on the gear just below your video > Subtitles > Select Language or Off (if already on)

Check out YouTube's Transcript Option
Go to > Select your video > More >Transcript

3-JAWS or NVDA: Blind and visually impaired users can use Google Drive on the web with JAWS and NVDA on the Windows platform. Here are some of the ways that you can use Google Drive with your screen reader:
  • Navigate Google Drive
  • Download a doc, file, or folder
  • Upload a doc, file, or folder
  • Share a doc, file, or folder
  • Organize files into folders

4-Accessibility on Mobile Devices

Drive iOS App and Accessibility
Google Drive works with the VoiceOver accessibility feature on iPhone and iPad so that the blind and those with low vision can use the mobile app, eyes-free. 
Here’s how to activate VoiceOver on your device:
  1. Go to Settings
  2. Select General
  3. Tap Accessibility
  4. Press VoiceOver and change its status to "On"
Drive Android App and Accessibility
Google Drive works with Android’s accessibility features so that the blind and those with low vision can use the mobile app, eyes-free. 
To use accessibility features with the Drive app, you’ll need to enable the accessibility settings on your device. Android devices running version 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) have more accessibility features than older versions like 3.0 (Honeycomb). 
heck your version here

5-Google Search App

Say "OK Google" on Google's search pages to speak your question, which Google will then search and answer aloud. Distance between Omaha and Grand Island, images of a goldenrod, and you can also set a reminder "Algebra test tomorrow afternoon."



Google Play

Turn Google Search into a dictionary. Students say the word and immediately Google will display the written word.

6-Google Search on Computer

This extension allows you to say ‘Ok Google’ and start speaking your questions while using Chrome. Hands-free. No typing. Simply say “Ok Google” and then ask your question.

To enable this feature on the Chrome Browser: From the Google Chrome Menu (3 hotdogs)

> Settings

>Under Search

> Click the box ‘Ok Google’

7-Set page or font size for all webpages You can change the size of everything on the webpages you visit, including text, images, and videos, or you can change only the size of the font. Note: Some websites don't let browsers change only the text size. For those sites, Chrome won’t be able to adjust the font size. On your computer, open Chrome > At the top right, click More More and then Settings > At the bottom, click Show advanced settings Under "Web Content," make the changes you want: > Change everything: Next to "Page zoom," click the Down arrow Down Arrow. Then select the zoom option you want. > Change font size: Next to "Font size," click the Down arrow Down Arrow. Then select the font size you want. You can also change more font options by clicking Customize fonts. Rule: Sans Serif
The goal is to use easily recognizable characters such as Arial, Verdana, Tahoma and Sans Serif versions of any typeface are often more legible, since the letters are simple. Source: American Foundation for the Blind

Google Chromebook Accessibility Features

> Show large mouse cursos
> Use high contract mode
> Enable screen magnifier
> Highlight mouse cursor when it's moving
> Play the same audio through all speakers (mono audio)

Google Resources for Accessibility Tools:
-The Administrator Guide to Accessibility explains best practices for deploying Google Apps to support users’ accessibility needs. 
-For more information on these specific accessibility improvements, using Google products with screen readers, how to submit feedback and how to track our progress, please visit
-Chrome AT Community - Google+ Community focused on sharing useful Google web apps, extensions, and other resources for assistive technology -Chrome Toolbox AT site - Website with Chrome web apps and extensions broken down by specific special needs

Monica Isabel Martinez,
Feb 4, 2017, 6:35 PM