Google Drive and JAWS

Google Drive can be used as a web-based application by navigating to You can also download Google Drive as a desktop application for windows. You can find the download link at There are differences between the web-based application and the desktop app, so using both is typically the best approach.

Google Drive for Windows

After you download and install the Google Drive for Windows app, you will find Google Drive in File Explorer. It will appear in the tree view of File Explorer. This means you can simply use File Explorer to manage you cloud-based files. However, there are some limitations. For starters, if you’re using the free version of Google Drive, you will not be able to use File Explorer to access shared documents from other users. If you are a G-Suite user, shared files will show up in File Explorer. Further, providing permissions and sharing links to files will all need to be done via the web-based Google Drive.

Google Drive on the Web

Below we’re going to focus on some basics for Google Drive to start with. If you’re looking for a complete list of commands for Google Drive, you can find one at

To begin with Google Drive, we’ll focus on two areas: the navigation pane and the items view. If we think of Google Drive in-terms of File Explorer, the navigation pane would be similar to the tree view and the items view is similar to the items list.

Go to navigation panel | g then f

Go to items view | g then l

Switch between grid and list in items view | v

Note that as JAWS users, you’ll want to keep the view on list view. This will put all your files in a list that is easy to up and down arrow through. With the grid view, you would have to navigate with up, down, left, and right.

You can navigate the items view and the navigational panel with the up and down arrows. To open a file or a folder, simply press enter.

Finding Shared Google Documents

  1. Navigate to and sign-in to the account that the document was shared with.
  2. Use g then f to switch to the navigation panel. Then use down arrow to navigate to Shared with Me. Press enter.
  3. Your focus will move to the list view. Your shared documents are in the order they were received, with the newest documents at the top of the file. When you find your document, press enter.
  4. Your document will open in Google Documents. Use Alt + F to open the file menu.
  5. Use the down arrow to navigate the file menu until you find download. Another file menu will open with different file types. Choose the file type you want (ex. Word doc, PDF, etc.) and press enter.
  6. The file will now show up in your Downloads folder in File Explorer.

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