enabling live captions on chrome: image of a woman with light skin and brown hair and eyes pointing to a computer screen and looking back with a faint smile

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This is a resource post on Google Chrome live captions, what the chrome live captions are, what they look like, and how to enable them.

I was stunned to discover that Google has just stepped up the accessibility game by introducing an awesome new feature in Chrome – Live Captions!

This is pretty amazing, you guys.

These are literally floating captions within Chrome that will automatically generate real-time captions for audio or video content from websites, apps or ANYTHING. That means videos, seminars, Zoom – you name it, it’s going to be captioned in that floating Chrome box if you have the caption setting enabled.

It’s that easy. And it’s completely free.

I’m STILL in some shock over how good this is, but it does mean that I’ve had to switch my main browser to Chrome so that it’s always enabled. I’m getting ahead of myself though, so let me walk you through the step-by-step instructions on how to enable it in Chrome, and slide you my tips for effective use!

Step-by-Step Instructions on How to Enable Live Captions in Google Chrome

Enabling live captions in Chrome is easy and straightforward.

Here are the steps you need to take:

1. Launch your Chrome browser (google) and open the options menu (three vertical dots).

2. Select “Settings” from the list and expand the “Advanced” section by clicking on it.

3. Locate “Accessibility” and activate “Live Caption” by clicking on its toggle switch (it should turn blue).

enabling google chrome live captions, the visual of the buttons to toggle and select

Features of Live Caption

Once you have enabled live captioning, you will be able to customize its settings according to your needs, including:

  • Font size
  • Color contrast
  • Text shadowing
  • Background opacity

There are also voice commands available that allow you to quickly access specific pages or settings within your browser.

toggling and where to find voice commands for google chrome

Screencast Tutorial for Enabling Chrome Live Captions

Here’s a quick screen cast of how to enable them (because sometimes it’s easier just to see something…)

Tips for Effective Use of Live Caption

Here are some tips that will help you get the most out of live captioning:

  • Turn on volume before entering a new page. The captions are based on sound, so it won’t caption if the sound is off.

Tips For Using Access Features in Chrome

If you speak, the speech recognition in Chrome and the voice command features are handy. Here are a couple of tips to help get the most out of them:

  • Paraphrase or play around with the speech recognition – sometimes the results are wonky.
  • Familiarize yourself with voice commands. They can help speed up accessing specific pages or settings.

Live Captions Benefit Everyone

Live captioning makes web content more accessible.

It helps us who are deaf or hard of hearing understand what’s being said in videos and audio content. Too often, captions are an afterthought – if that at all – and we are stuck trying to figure out what was said.

Captioning helps people by connecting the audio content with the written. It also helps people consume media with the sound off.

With its customizable font size, color contrast, text shadowing, background opacity settings and easy accessibility via voice commands, Google Chrome’s version is one of the best solutions currently available when it comes to live captioning technology.

It feels like a miracle to be able to see captions for absolutely any video content.

I don’t say this often, but it really is a true game changer.


The presence of these captions DOES NOT mean that content should not be captioned by the creators. Far from it: these are still imperfect and wonky. Those of us who rely on them usually have to mental gymnastics to make everything make sense. DON’T RELY ON THESE if you are a content creator! CAPTION YOUR WORK PROPERLY.


A reader just wrote to me and told me that they use Chrome captions, and they work on the phone too! So, if you use Google Voice, be sure to check that out (- and now, I will go forth and get Google Voice too! Because captioned phone calls!)

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