Grackle Suite Training Guide

The Grackle Suite is a group of three Google Chrome add-ons which will check Google Drive documents against accessibility standards and provide step-by-steps instructions on how to remediate the errors. All Oakland University employees have a license for these products. Please install one or all of the add-ons and then login using an assigned NetID. Links to the add-ons, information on how to install them and instructions on how to use them, are all provided here. 

Installing Grackle

Grackle is a suite of browser add-ons for Google Chrome. To install them, you can do either one of the following:

  • From within Google Chrome, go to one of the links below and click the “Install” button. It may prompt you to log into your oakland.edu email address if you aren’t already logged in. If it asks you to give permission to Grackle to view and edit your Google Drive files, click on the “Allow” button.
  • The process is the same for Grackle Docs, Sheets and Slides. This example will cover “Docs,” but just replace “Docs” with “Sheets” or “Slides” to install the other add-ons. Open a Google Doc and then look in the top menu bar for the “Add-ons” button. From it’s dropdown menu, click “Get add-ons.” Find the search bar at the top of the window that popped open, and do a search for Grackle Docs. Click the Grackle Docs result. Click the “Install” button. If it prompts you to log into your Google account, then log in using your oakland.edu email address. If it asks you to give permission to Grackle to view and edit your Google Drive files, click on the “Allow” button.
Checking your Google document for accessibility errors
  • The process is the same whether it’s a Docs, Sheets or Slides file. 
  • With a Google document open, in the top menu bar, go to Add-ons>Grackle Docs>Launch
  • The accessibility report will automatically start running in the window that opens up as a right sidebar.
  • At the top of the Grackle column, you may see a large box that’s asking you to log into your Google account. If so, then log in using your oakland.edu email address and then agree to give Grackle permission to your Drive files by clicking the blue “Allow” button.
  • Right below the blue “Re-check” button, it will tell you how many accessibility items passed and failed. 
  • If you want to export the results, then you can click the arrow button right next to the line that tells you how many items passed. 
    • A window will pop open with the results which you can copy/paste into an email or other file.
How to use Grackle to help you remediate your document
  • All of the accessibility rules that Grackle checks will appear in the right column just below where it shows you the total number of “checks passed.”
  • You can click on each item in the list to see additional information about why it passed or failed.
  • A green checkmark next to the rule indicates it passed and there’s nothing else you need to do for it.
  • A green checkmark with a red exclamation point icon on top of it indicates a warning. 
    • While you don’t need to fix these items for your document to meet compliance standards, you should still consider fixing them. They’re often regarded as best practice because some individuals may still have trouble with them. It’s best to try to make it a habit of including them in your documents when you can. 
  • A red “X” indicates a failed rule. 
    • Click on the rule to see more information. 
    • The rule itself, as well as the additional information revealed when you click on it, will tell you why it failed or what you should do to fix it. 
    • If you have the error message expanded, you’ll see that Grackle also provides a red button labelled “Locate.” This button takes you to the location in your document and highlights the problem.
Updating your document’s properties (including document title)

It’s important to make sure your document properties are correct, especially if your Google file may potentially be exported as a PDF. Grackle provides a “Document Properties” section where you can update information about your file such as document title, subject, author, keywords, document language, and PDF options.

One of the accessibility rules that Grackle checks for is making sure you have a document title. Most of the time, whatever you used for the file name will be used as the official document title. If this rule does end up failing the accessibility check, or if you want to give your file a different official document title, then you have 2 ways to update this.

  • If your document title fails the accessibility check, then you can click on the error to expand it’s options. Here you can either:
    • Click the provided checkbox to “Use the Google Doc name” as the document title. 
    • Click the “Edit” button which will open up the “Document properties” dialogue box where you can fill in your own document title and other document settings, if needed. 
  • In the Grackle menu bar, to the right of the “Accessibility Check” and “Document Structure” buttons, you’ll see a menu button icon which looks like three stacked horizontal lines. This menu button opens up more “Options and commands,” one of which is “Document Properties.” Open up the “Document Properties” dialogue box to edit your document title or additional document details.
Exporting a PDF

You can export your Google file as a compliance PDF document by clicking the gray “Export to PDF” button next to the blue “Re-Check” button in the Grackle right column window. 

  • Note: If you want to make a PDF out of a Google file then you should use Grackle and not Google’s “download PDF document” option. This is because Grackle gives you the ability to export your file as a PDF/UA which is a tagged and more accessible version of a PDF. 
  • After you click the “Export to PDF” button in Grackle, a PDF dialog box will open. There are two primary settings you should double-check before you click “Start” to export your PDF. In the left column “Options” section, make sure the checkbox labeled “Mark as PDF/UA” is checked. In the right column “Folder” section, you’ll specify where you want your PDF saved. You can only export the PDF to your Drive account where you can then download it, if needed. By default the PDF will export to the same folder your Google file is in. If you’d like to change that location, then click the “Specify” button.
Grackle training videos

Grackle training videos are available on the GrackleDocs website.

Request additional help

If you have any additional questions about Grackle, please contact your account manager.