Google Drive and JAWS: Uploading and Downloading Files

My high school student has an objective on her IEP to use a screen reader to upload files to Google Drive to share with her teachers, as well as download assignments. The student has previous experience using JAWS with Google Drive and Gmail, but has not practiced these skills in almost a year. 

When using JAWS 2019, I’d recommend using Chrome or Mozilla Firefox internet browsers. I'd also strongly recommend adjusting JAWS setting for compatibility with Google Drive and Docs. For example, make sure the JAWS typing echo is off for both characters and words and the virtual PC cursor setting is turned off. 

During the first lesson, I reviewed the spatial layout and regions of Google Drive with the student. To use Google key commands with JAWS, the student had to make sure the JAWS virtual PC cursor was off using the command Caps Lock +Z or Insert +Z depending the keyboard layout. This command is used to toggle the JAWS virtual PC cursor on and off.  JAWS will announce “virtual PC cursor “on” or “off.”  

Below is a list of Google keyboard commands the student used during the lesson to move the focus of the cursor. 

  • Go to Navigation Panel (left side of the screen) – Press g, then press n 
  • Go to Main Region – (list of files and folders) Press g, then press l
  • Toggle between File list and grid view – v
  • Go to Search - /
  • Go to New or Create menu - c

The student explored the Navigation Panel and Main Region using the up and down arrow keys. In the Navigation Panel, you can select one of the following: My Drive, Shared with Me, Recent, Starred, or Trash. The student identified that she would mostly be selecting My Drive to access folders and files or Shared With Me to access files recently shared with her by teachers, especially if the teacher did not directly share it in the shared class folder. 

When the cursor focus was in the Main Region that included a list of files and folders, the student practiced switching between the list and grid views by pressing v. It was easier to navigate between files and folders when using the list view. 

To activate a selection, the student pressed Enter. The student practiced locating specific files by navigating directly to a specific folder, as well as by pressing / to go to the Search edit box and typing in the title of the document. After typing in the title or search terms, she pressed Enter so a list of files or folders that match her search appeared. The up and down arrow keys were used to navigate the list to locate her specific file. 

Once a document was open, the student was taught how to navigate to the top menu. When you use the command Alt+Shift+F it takes you the File menu. JAWS will announce the name of the menu “File” and that it is one of eight menus. The right and left arrow keys were used to navigate between the menus: File, Edit, View, Insert, Format, Tools, Add-ons, Help.  Up and down arrow keys were used to navigate between options in each menu. For example, the student had to navigate to the File Menu by pressing Alt+Shift+F and then used the down arrow key to select Download as. The right arrow key was used to open the submenu of file format options. The student selected Microsoft Word to download a .docx version of the file onto her laptop. By default, the file automatically downloaded to the download folder of her laptop. 

The second and third lesson focused on uploading files to specific folders in the student’s Google Drive. The main point of the lessons was having the student learn that she needed to open the specific folder she wanted to upload the file into. 

[Photo: Picture of a Windows computer screen with Google Drive open. The cursor focus is on file upload, located under the create menu. The folder titled iPad Bootcamp is open showing a list of 11 files.]

Photo of Windows computer screen with Google Drive open > Create menu > File upload and iPad Bootcamp folder is open.

Below is a list of steps the students used to upload a file to a folder in Google Drive. 

  • Navigate to Google Chrome web browser on your the desktop using initial letter navigation. 
  • Go to the address bar – Alt+D
  • Type www.drive.google.com and then press Enter
  • Turn JAWS virtual PC cursor off – Caps Lock + Z

Since the student was automatically signed into her account, she could go to the Main Region. 

  • Go to Main Region to navigate a list of files and folders – Press g, then press l
  • Use the down arrow key to navigate to the specific folder and press Enter. Now the folder is open. 
  • Go to New aka the Create menu – c
  • Use the down arrow key to navigate to File upload and press Enter. 
  • Navigate to the location where your file is stored. Example – Desktop or Document folder under This PC. When the file is selected, press Enter.
  • Search for the file you are downloaded by pressing / and typing in the name of your file or checking the folder you uploaded it to. 

Here is a list of some of the Google keyboard commands I provide my student in a cheat sheet. 

Google Keyboard Commands

  • Go to Navigation Panel – Press g, then n 
  • Go to Main Region – Press g, then l
  • Toggle between File list and grid view – v
  • Go to Search - /
  • Go to New menu – c
  • Open Actions menu - a 
  • File menu - Alt+Shift+ F
  • Insert menu - Alt+Shift+ I 
  • Format menu - Alt +Shift+ O
  • Edit menu - Alt+ Shift+E
  • View menu - Alt+Shift+V
  • Help menu - Alt+Shift+ H
  • Create a New Folder - Shift+F