For some assistive technology users, Google Docs still has significant hurdles that prevent them from fully using the product. Often the user just wants the document in a more accessible format, like a Microsoft Office document. Within Google Docs, you can download a Document to Microsoft Word, a Spreadsheet to Microsoft Excel, and a Presentation to Microsoft PowerPoint. It is even possible for some assistive technology users to do this themselves. If the user is able to access the File menu they can usually navigate to the “Download as” option. Once they download the file they can interact with it in a more accessible interface, like Microsoft Office.
Even though the user can sometimes do this themselves, it often requires numerous tabs and key presses, and sometimes a little hunting, to find this functionality. In order to make it simpler for assistive technology users to quickly download any Google Doc as a Microsoft Office document, we are releasing the Download Google Doc Tool.
To use it you open a Google Doc in your browser window, click on the bookmarklet in your browser and the document will be downloaded as the corresponding Microsoft Office document. That’s it.
It is important to note that this tool does not add any extra accessibility information into the document, like adding alternative text for images or inserting headings where none existed previously. It simply is a convenience tool for quickly converting a Google Doc into its corresponding Microsoft Office format. It is also important to note that any changes you make to the Microsoft Office document will not be passed back to the online Google Doc. This is a one-way information highway.
So Why Make This Tool At All?
It is becoming increasingly popular for groups to publish Google Docs online for others to read. Sometimes they are notes from meetings or information they want to share and easily update. If Google Documents is the chosen platform for publishing this content, in order to make it accessible to everyone, the content creator would need to also provide a link to the same file as a Microsoft Office document, and then share that link with everyone so that an assistive technology user will be able to access it. This raises lots of logistical issues like
- Where do you store the Office document?
- Where do you publish the link to it?
- Will you remember to update the Microsoft Office document each time you update the Google Doc?
By providing this tool, it allows the user to instantly convert a Google Document into a Microsoft Office document without having to have access to a link to an alternative format that the content creator maintains.
It also needs to be noted that this tool is not supported by Google and it comes as is without any guarantees. If later changes in Google Docs prevents this tool from working, efforts will be made to restore functionality if possible. For any questions about this tool please contact email@example.com.