How to Use Accessibility Features in Google Chrome?

Technology may be an exciting experience but not always for some people, especially those with disabilities. Accessibility features such as keyboard access, magnification and screen readers are tools designed to help disabled people to use technology more easily. Google Chrome supports several accessibility features to accommodate users with limited abilities. Moreover, Chrome accessibility features help you to customize your browsing environment to your ideal preferences. This article will show you how you can use some of these features in your Chrome browser.

How to Use Accessibility Features in Google Chrome?

  1. Adjust zoom level
  2. Customize font settings
  3. Keyboard access features
  4. Using Chrome accessibility extensions
  5. Resetting to defaults
  6. Chrome with Windows accessibility
  7. Use Chrome with Mac
  8. Chrome on mobile devices

1. Page Zoom Adjustment

This feature helps to adjust the page zoom level of the current active page.

  • Open the Chrome browser and click the menu icon, (the three vertical dots) on the top-right corner of the browser window.
  • Under “Zoom” option, click the “+” sign to increase the zoom level, “–” to reduce the zoom level and the full-screen icon to display the page content in full screen mode.
Chrome Zoom Setting
Chrome Zoom Setting
  • If you browse without the mouse, you can use the keyboard shortcuts to make the changes:
    • Increase zoom level by pressing “Ctrl + +” keys.
    • Decrease zoom level by pressing “Ctrl + -” keys.
    • “Ctrl + 0” to restore the default zoom level.
    • “F11” function key for full screen display.

The above method works only on the currently opened webpage and you need to set the zoom level every time. Don’t worry, Chrome also allows you to setup the page zoom level permanently for all the pages.

  • Go to “chrome://settings” URL and navigate to “Appearance” section.
  • Click on the “Page zoom” dropdown and set the percentage of zoom for your convenience.
  • Now close all open windows and relaunch the browser.
  • You will see the zoom level is set as per your preference.
  • Remember, website content may look different at higher zoom level. For example, with horizontal scroll bar. You need to set the level for your eye convenience and for your monitor display.

2. Customizing Font Size and Face

Similar to page zoom level, you can setup the fonts for your reading.

  • Open Chrome and navigate to “Chrome Menu” and select “Settings” options at the bottom of the menu list.
  • On the “Settings” page, scroll down and check under “Appearance” section.
Chrome Appearance Settings
Chrome Appearance Settings
  • Select the “Font size” from the dropdown. Chrome recommends medium level, you can choose large or small as per your convenience.
  • Next click on “Customize fonts” option.
  • Modify the font face, size and width to your taste and exit the “Settings” page.
Customize Chrome Fonts
Customize Chrome Fonts

If you want to customize more, click on “Advanced font settings”. This will take you to the “Advanced Font Settings” extension page in Chrome Web Store. This extension will help you to customize fonts for individual language.

3. Keyboard Access Features

Google Chrome supports full-keyboard accessibility for users who are unable to use pointing devices such as mouse. Some of the navigation keyboard shortcuts:

  • Use “Shift + Alt + B” to focus the “Bookmarks” bar, then use the “Right or Left” arrow or “Tab” to move across the tool bar.
  • Press “Shift + Alt + T” to focus the “Main Toolbar”.
  • Press “F10 or Alt” key to focus on the chrome menu icon and hit “Enter” to expand the menu.
  • Other helpful navigation shortcuts include:
    • Shift from the current tab to the next by pressing “Ctrl + Tab” keys.
    • Close the current tab with “Ctrl + W” keys.
    • “Ctrl + 1-8” and “Ctrl + 9” to switch to the specified tab number and to the last tab respectively.
    • “Ctrl + N” to open a new browser window.
    • “Shift + F10” to right click context menu item.

Check out more Chrome shortcuts to get your work done quickly.

4. Using Chrome Accessibility Extensions

You can also download and install Chrome Accessibility features.

  • Type “chrome://settings/accessibility” in the browser address bar and hit enter.
  • Under “Accessibility” click on “Add accessibility features”.
Chrome Accessibility Settings
Chrome Accessibility Settings
  • This will open the “Chrome Web Store” in a new tab. Select the accessibility features you are interested by clicking the blue “Add to Chrome” button. Some of the common accessibility extensions include:
    • Long Description in Context Menu.
    • High Contrast.
    • Color Enhancer.
Chrome Accessibility Extensions
Chrome Accessibility Extensions
  • You may search for more extensions using the search box and install on your browser.
  • After installing necessary extensions, close the tab and continue browsing.

5. Resetting Google Chrome

When you play around with options on Chrome, it is easy to reset some of the options back to original settings. However, options like font customizations cannot be reverted to the original settings if you do not remember. Fortunately, Chrome allows resetting the browser to default settings.

  • Go to “chrome://settings”.
  • Scroll down and click on “Advanced” option.
  • Again, scroll down to end of the page.
  • Click on “Restore settings to their original defaults” under “Reset and clean up” section.
  • This will reset all your settings to default settings while keeping your bookmarks, passwords and history. However, it will delete all cookies and disable all extensions. You can enable the extensions after resetting the browser.

6. Using Chrome with Windows Accessibility Features

Besides the accessibility features available on Chrome, you can also use the accessibility features available on your computer to enhance the browsing experience. If you use Windows 10 PC, search “PC Settings” from the Windows search box and hit enter to open the Windows settings app. Then select the “Ease of Access” options.

  • On the left-side panel, select narrator. Toggle on the “Narrator” switch on the right-hand panel and then scroll down to modify other settings to your preference.
Turning On Narrator Options
Turning On Narrator Options
  • If you want to use the magnifier, click the “Magnifier” option on the left panel of the “Ease of Access” setting window and switch on “Magnifier”.
  • Click on “High Contrast” on the left panel and choose your preferred theme.
  • Customize the colors and click “Apply” to save the settings.
  • Once you have activated the Windows accessibility features, close the settings screen.
  • Open Google Chrome and starting browsing. The Windows accessibility features will now be active in Chrome.

You can also access “Ease of Access Center” from “Control Panel” and activate the necessary settings on your PC.

Windows 10 Easy of Access Center
Windows 10 Easy of Access Center

7. Using Mac Accessibility Features with Chrome

Similar to Windows 10, Apple’s Mac also offers many accessibility features part of macOS. You can access them under “Apple Menu > System Preferences… > Accessibility” section.

Mac Accessibility Settings
Mac Accessibility Settings

In addition you can also use other settings like dark mode and night shift to adjust the screen dark or dim compared to light grey. Also you can setup accent colors to easily view the dropdown and title bar.

8. On Mobile Phones

Chrome does not offer any accessibility features on iOS or Android mobile apps. However, you can use the accessibility feature settings available on your phone’s operating system. For example, iPhone with iOS allows you to setup zoom level, smart typing, invert colors, filter colors, etc. You can setup zoom window and see the typed letters in zoom mode using smart typing.

Wrap Up

There are various ways to use the accessibility features in Chrome to enhance usability for users with disabilities. These features can also be useful to customize your browsing experience even when you do not have any visual or hearing challenges. In addition, remember to try out the features on your computer or mobile device to have what you want.

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