NOTE: For those of you participating in the live Webinar, the following link will open the documentation in a new browser window Opens a new window.
Before beginning our exploration of Google Docs, we must take a look at Google Drive. Google Drive is commonly used as the central storage location for your Google Docs files. Through Google Drive, you will be able to access your Google Docs files online. Composition and editing of your documents takes place online and you are able to collaborate and share your documents with others anywhere in the world, working together in realtime in collaborative projects.
Google Drive is a free file storage service made available to those who have a Google account (Gmail account). Files are stored both on the web and on your hard drive. Google Drive provides free storage of up to 15 GB of files and subscription plans are available for purchase which include greater storage capacity. Google Drive allows sharing of all files between all pc, iOS and Android devices which are synced to the same Google account. During Google Drive's installation process, you will be asked to sign into your Google Account. You will be given the opportunity to create a google account if you don't already have one. Google Drive Permits organization of files into folders and permits the sharing of files with others.
Google recommends using Mozilla Firefox when accessing Google Drive, Google Docs and google Sheets. During this Webinar, we will be using Mozilla Firefox, as recommended, for the best experience with Google Drive and Google Docs. During the download and setup process for Google Drive, you will need to login using your Google account information. This is your Gmail address and password. If you do not yet have a Google account, it is recommended that you create one before performing the steps discussed in this lesson. Because setting up a Google email account and password is beyond the scope of this lesson, this lesson only presents directions for setting up Google drive after you have already set up your Gmail account. The screens you must navigate during the download and setup process for Google Drive will be different than those you will encounter if you do not begin the process with a Google account already established.
To download and install Google Drive:
A Google Drive folder will be created on your hard drive. When the installer closes, focus will be in the files list of this folder. You can press ALT+F4 to close this folder.
The Google Drive installer has placed a shortcut to Google Docs, Google sheets and Google Slides on your computer's desktop.
There is online accessibility help available for Google Drive on the "Get Started In Google Drive With A Screen Reader" page
Google Drive can be accessed online at: Drive.Google.com or from your computer's desktop by activating the Google Drive shortcut.
When the Google Drive page opens, focus should be placed automatically on the Files list. Use the ARROW keys to move through the list.
The Google Drive interface consists of several major sections:
You can press TAB and SHIFT+TAB to "step" from area to area, or use shortcut keys to move directly to an area.
Google Drive provides shortcut keys which make navigation within the Drive interface quicker and more convenient. These commands will only work if the virtual pc cursor is turned off. The shortcut keys (Go To keys) are composed of two-key sequences beginning with G followed by a second letter. A few other shortcut commands use only one letter to navigate to a specific menu item within the Google Toolbar or the Drive Toolbar.
|Go To Navigation Pane||GN or GF|
|Go To Items View (Files list)||GL|
|Change File List area between grid view and list view||V|
|Go To Details/Activity Pane||GD|
|Go To Upload Status||GU|
|Go To Download Status||GA|
|Go To Top Of Page||GT|
|Go to Toolbar||GR|
|Move Between Items In The Toolbar||TAB and SHIFT+TAB|
|Go Up One Folder In The Path||GP|
|Go to Settings Menu in the Toolbar||T|
|Go to the New menu in the Toolbar||C|
|Go to Search area||/|
|Go To Action menu||A|
The name of an area will not be announced after a "Go To" command if focus is already in that area.
The Files area contains the list of folders and files stored in your Google Drive. Folders and files can be displayed in grid or list format. You can move through the list of files using the Arrow keys. If this area is set to grid view, you may need to use all four Arrow keys to locate every item within the grid. It is simpler to set the area to list view by pressing V and using only the UP ARROW and DOWN ARROW keys to move through the vertical list of files.
Press either O or ENTER to open a selected file. Opening a Google Docs file causes a new tab to open. This new tab contains the document in the Google Docs environment.
Google's applications, Google Docs, Google Sheets and Google Slides were not actually installed on your computer when you installed Google Drive. Instead, shortcuts to specific web pages were placed on your desktop. Activating one of these shortcuts will take you to the appropriate page, where you will work with your documents using the Docs, sheets or Slides interface, depending on which application you invoke from your desktop. In the case of Google Docs, pressing ENTER on the Google Docs shortcut takes you to the Google Docs web environment and also causes your list of Google Docs files to appear within the Google docs interface. You will compose, edit Save and perform other functions within this online environment. The actual documents you create are stored on your computer's hard drive, but unlike word processors and editors such as Microsoft Word or Notepad, no text editing application is launched, or run on your computer. Instead, all of your document editing and files manipulation is done "in the cloud" through the Google Docs web interface.
We will now begin to explore the Google Docs environment. You may find it to be markedly different from what you are used to experiencing as you compose and edit text. We will begin by creating a new Google Docs document from within the Google Drive interface. When the new document opens, we will be immediately placed in the Google Docs interface.
Due to the need to adjust accessibility settings in Google Docs, you will not be able to navigate and interact with the new document when it first opens. However, after making the needed changes, you will be able to compose and edit text easily. Also, once these settings changes are made, they will be retained by Google Docs and you will not have to set them again.
To create a new Google Docs document:
A new, untitled Google document will be created and opened. Remember, we will have to make some adjustments before we can easily navigate within this environment.
Google has provided additional screen reader support within Google Docs. If screen reader support is enabled, you will hear the announcement "Screen reader support enabled" when a Google Docs file opens. This setting will have to be enabled the very first time you ever open a Google Docs file.
To enable screen reader support, press CTRL+ALT+Z. You should hear the announcement "Screen reader support enabled." Google Docs will retain this setting so that screen reader support will be enabled every time you open a Google Docs file thereafter.
NOTE: The "Screen Reader Support Enabled" and "Screen Reader Support Disabled" announcements appear to be inconsistently spoken at the time this material was compiled.
Google recommends the use of Mozilla Firefox with Google Docs. From within an open Google Docs document make the following changes:
Until you enable braille support JAWS will not be able to interact properly with the document edit field; you will not be able to navigate around or read the text which you may have entered. This holds true even if you are not using a braille display with JAWS.
Because Google Docs is different from a typical website, some standard screen reader shortcuts don't apply. For the best experience, use Google Docs shortcuts while editing your document.
If you ever forget a key combination, you can open a list of keyboard shortcuts within Google Docs by pressing Control + /. Along with a list of shortcuts, the dialog contains a link to view all Google Docs shortcuts in the Help Center. To close the dialog, press Escape.
As you use Google Docs, you can find help documentation at any time. Press Alt + / to search the menus. Type a search term, such as "Accessibility," then press Enter. The help documentation opens in a dialog where you can read or navigate to other topics. To dismiss the dialog and return to the document, press Escape.
Let's take a moment to learn how to navigate within the web based environment of our Google Docs document.
You can read through the text in your document using standard JAWS reading commands.
As stated before, because you interact with Google Docs in the cloud, through a web based interface, you will need to use Google Doc's own shortcut keys and commands to compose and edit your documents. For example, in a text editor which is running on your local computer, such as Microsoft Word, you would press the ALT key, perhaps followed by one or more modifier keys to make changes or apply styles to your document. Since Google Docs is a web based application which you are accessing through Mozilla Firefox, you cannot use this method to compose or edit your document. Pressing the ALT key, along with other modifier keys would affect the standard Firefox menus. You would not gain access to Google Word's toolbars and menus through the use of the ALT and other modifier keys. Using Google Doc's set of shortcut keys, however, allows you to navigate to all of its toolbars and menus and to invoke its various editing functions.
You saw an example of these shortcut keys when we navigated to the Top toolbar and into the Accessibility menu while configuring JAWS and Google Docs accessibility.
The Google Docs web interface consists of several Areas.
The primary area is the Edit area. You can create, edit and read text in this area.
Other areas include:
Use shortcut keys to invoke different submenus within the Applications menu.
The group of shortcut keys available all include the ALT+SHIFT keys.
After pressing CTRL+SHIFT+F, use the LEFT ARROW and RIGHT ARROW keys to navigate the menu. Press the down arrow key to open a submenu item. Continue to press the DOWN ARROW key to navigate through the submenu just opened. Press ENTER to activate a submenu item. Press ESCAPE to return to the document.
To navigate to and interact with the Top toolbar:
To navigate to and interact with the Main toolbar: