How Grackle Docs Works

Document Accessibility Made Easy

Grackle Docs is an add-on that runs in Google Docs. You can install Grackle Docs here.

When opened, it scans the current document for accessibility issues. It runs automatically when that document is opened in the future. This auto-run option can be turned off.

When the scan finishes, Grackle Docs arranges the document’s elements and structures into 5 categories.

  • Images
  • Headings
  • Tables
  • Landmarks
  • Content

These categories can be seen in the user interface on the right side of the screen. Clicking a category opens its sub-categories, which are made of up a list of elements.

Elements in each subcategory are marked as either accessible or inaccessible. Changes are made by selecting and editing these elements in these sub-categories. For example, a table does not have the header row specified with a tag. When an element is changed with Grackle Docs, it edits the tags for that element in the document. This edit is immediate and no saving is required.

Click a category below to learn more about the sub-categories in Grackle Docs.


Grackle checks for compliance against several accessibility requirements.

  • Images have alt-text (or are marked as artifacts)
  • Drawings have alt-text
  • Equations have alt-text

Grackle Docs also flags images that appear to be using their filename as an alt-tag, rather than robust descriptions.

Below (and on the right) is the Images heading seen in the Grackle Docs remediation interface.
Screen shot of how to Screen shot of how to

Above is Grackle Docs with the Images sub-heading opened. Both the “Here” or “+Tag” areas can be clicked to zoom to the image (so that the user can see the image they need to describe with the alt tag ) or open up the editing box

Grackle checks against two accessibility requirements related to headings.

  • Headings are present in the document
  • Headings are nested correctly

Grackle counts both the highest heading value reached and the number of paragraphs with heading styles.

Pro-tip: Headings should follow a logical order. An H2 heading should follow H1, and should be followed by H3.

Screen shot of how to
Tables are common in corporate and academic documents and are commonly inaccessible.

Grackle visualizes the fields in each table to help the user tag headers and columns.
Grackle's Table Accessibility Interface

Grackle checks for three features that help accessibility users recognize and transit the document.

  • Lists are used where appropriate
  • Footnotes have IDs and Alts.
  • Headers and Footers are present and descriptive
Grackle scans against and helps resolve five (5) content-related accessibility issues.

  • Colors should be high contrast
  • Fine print should be avoided
  • Text should aligned horizontally
  • Lengthy paragraphs should be avoided
  • Links should be informative

Grackle Docs Walkthrough Video

This 9 minute video walks you through the basics of using Grackle Docs to make a Google Doc accessible and finish by creating an accessible PDF