Google Apps Accessibility

The Google Application Suite offers a lot of potential to our users because of its ability to facilitate collaboration. However, Google has not built in the necessary accessibility features to allow all users, especially people with certain functional impairments, to easily collaborate in this environment. While we are excited about, and want to promote the collaborative nature of the Google Application Suite on campus, caution must be used in planning how to use it. These guidelines delineate the ways in which NC State's Google Apps may be used accessibly.

These issues must be kept in mind when reading these guidelines.

  • These guidelines refer to the appropriateness of using NC State’s Google Apps strictly from an accessibility perspective. Other issues may need to be considered such as security and privacy, which are beyond the scope of these guidelines.
  • These guidelines do not cover the use of any of the non-NC State Google Apps, such as any consumer version of the apps accessed outside of Google Apps @ NC State.
  • These guidelines assume the resources in question are either a “Widely Distributed ICT Resource” or are being shared with someone with a known functional limitation that is directly impacted by the use of these resources. (Read the ICT Accessibility Regulation for further information.)
  • Google constantly updates their application suite with improvements and new features. The information in this site is kept as up-to-date as possible. If you believe some of the information needs to be updated please contact

Personal Use of Google Apps @ NC State

There is no limitation on using any Google Apps @ NC State product for your own personal use, from taking notes to preparing course materials. The limitations begin when the content in Google Apps is shared with others or when requiring others to participate in an activity within Google Apps.

General Rules About Sharing Content With Others

  • When appropriate, converting content to a Microsoft Office document format and using it offline usually creates the most accessible version of the content, although the author may need to take extra steps to add in the necessary accessibility information.
  • Publishing directly to a static HTML format from within a Google App does not necessarily create a more accessible version of your content.
  • PDF files created directly from within Google Docs will have significant accessibility problems.

Usage Guidelines

Assistive Technology Users

If you use an assistive technology, here are recommendations for how to interact with your Google Apps @ NC State Gmail and Calendar. Additionally, if you open a Google Doc and would like to download it to a more accessible Microsoft Office format, you can use our Download Google Doc to Microsoft Office Bookmarklet.

Additional Resources

For more information on the accessibility of Google Apps, please refer to the following information: