LionMail @ Columbia

Also known as Gmail.

LionMail is Columbia's state-of-the-art email, contacts and calendaring system, powered by Google. It provides a secure and convenient way to send and receive mail from any location using just a web browser such as Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer or Safari. The supported browsers are the current and the previous release of your preferred browser.

All Columbia University Morningside students, faculty and staff have LionMail. CUMC students, faculty and staff use the CUMC email system. CUMC affiliates do not use LionMail.

If you want to use LionMail with a mobile device or an email client such as Outlook or Apple Mail, be sure to read the instructions for configuring the device or software with a special device password.

LionMail Features

  • LionMail Drive
  • Unlimited mail and Drive storage
  • Log in with your UNI and password
  • Email address is UNI@columbia.edu
  • Use the modern LionMail web client, or, with extra configuration, use your mobile device or desktop mail client
  • Access to the Columbia directory from within LionMail
  • Tag messages with multiple labels and choose from multiple importance markers
  • Fast searching, including on the full message text

Please remember that the Gmail web interface is CUIT's only fully supported method for reading LionMail.

This information applies to students, faculty, and staff on the LionMail system.

Log out of other Google accounts

Although it is possible to be logged in to a personal Google account and LionMail at the same time, you should log out of all personal Google accounts the first time you log in to LionMail.

  1. Go to google.com
  2. To end you Google session, click your account photo or email address in the upper right corner and select Sign out
Log in to LionMail
  1. Go to lionmail.columbia.edu
  2. Enter your UNI in the UNI field
  3. Enter your UNI password in the password field
  4. First Time Log In Only: You will be presented with the screen below. To use LionMail, you must choose I Accept. Continue to my account. 

Find out more about the standard Google terms of service.

Do not enter your device password in the password field. Your device password is used to access LionMail only from a mobile device or desktop mail client (i.e. when you are not using a web browser).

Standard Google terms of service
Standard Google terms of service

If you have access to multiple @columbia.edu email addresses, you can easily switch from your primary address to another without having to log out.

First, you will need to add and verify the alternate email address:
  1. Sign in to your LionMail.
  2. Click on the gear icon in the upper-right hand corner of the screen, and select Settings.
  3. Click on the Accounts tab.
  4. Under Send mail as, click Add another email address.
  5. In the pop-up window, enter the name (usually your own, but can also be the name of a department or club) and alternate email address.
  6. Click Next Step >> and then click Send Verification. LionMail will send a verification message to your other email address to confirm your ownership.
  7. Locate the message in your alternate email account and open it. Either click the confirmation link contained in the message, or enter the confirmation code in the Accounts section of your Google Apps and email settings.

If you don't receive the confirmation email, submit a ticket to the CUIT Service Desk for assistance.

Messages that you send will appear to be from the send-as address. The return-path of the message will indicate your primary mail addresses, but only recipients who examine the original message header will notice.

To edit the name, configuration, reply-to address or to delete an existing email address, return to Settings > Accounts, and click edit or delete next to the email address that you would like to alter.

Sending mail from your alternate email address:
  1. Click Compose in LionMail to open a new message.
  2. Click on your email address in the From field to display all addresses you can send as, and click the one you would like to send from. You can also do this if you are replying to or forwarding a message.
Introduction to LionMail Drive

When you create new documents using LionMail Drive, you typically create online Google Docs, Spreadsheets and Slides. These programs are collaborative tools that allow users to share files and documents with multiple users.

There are also web-based editors to create drawings, forms and fusion tables. These online documents are tightly integrated with other Google Apps and provide very powerful real-time collaboration features.

LionMail Drive Accessibility

Columbia University is committed to ensuring equal access to information, programs and activities through its technologies, web pages, services and resources for all its constituencies, including people with disabilities.

Attention Faculty: At no time can LionMail Drive be made a course requirement.

Please follow these general guidelines for making your Google Documents accessible to people with disabilities. The Google Administrator Guide to Accessibility provides further information on accessibility and Google Apps, including Google Drive.

If you encounter any difficulties or have questions about using assistive technologies or creating accessible documents with Google Drive, please contact CUIT by calling 212-854-1919 or sending an email to askcuit@columbia.edu.

Required Sharing Settings
  • Share your Google document as a private document using the setting: “Private – Only the people listed below can access.”
  • To add users, do the following:
    • LionMail users – type name, UNI or email address and choose from the list provided
    • Non-LionMail users –  type email address
Not Allowed
  • Do not share your document with the setting, “People at LionMail with the Link” –  this level of sharing can easily be shared beyond your intended recipients.
  • Do not share documents with the setting, “LionMail.” This level of sharing will share your document with any LionMail user – including students, faculty, staff and some alumni.
  • Do not share documents as “Public on the Web” or “Anyone with the Link.”*
image of Drive circled on Google application panel

LionMail Drive can be used to store various file types, including documents, presentations, music, photos and videos in the Cloud. You can open many file types right in your browser, including PDFs, high-definition videos and many image file types, even if you don't have the corresponding program installed on your computer. Your docs, sheets and files are only available if you are connected to the Internet.

LionMail Drive includes powerful search options – even the ability to search for text in pictures – to help you quickly find what you are looking for.

My Drive vs. Shared with Me
  • The “My Drive” folder is your default folder, anything you create is placed in this folder by default.   
  • The “Shared with me” folder is a category of documents and folders that have been created by other users and shared with you.    
Folders
  • Folders are signified by the folder icon to the left. Folders that contain other folders will also have a drop-down arrow next to the folder icon in the left side navigator. Clicking this arrow will either show or hide the contents of the folder.
  • Folders with the small white person icon on the folder are shared folders.
  • Files will be displayed with an icon corresponding to the file type to the left of the file.
  • Files may be dragged and dropped into folders, and folders may be dragged and dropped onto files.  
    • One file or multiple files can be selected at any time by clicking on one of the filenames and dragging. The files can then be moved over a folder icon or title and dropped into the folder. If this method is used, files will be moved, not copied, into the folder.
    • A folder or folders can be dragged and dropped onto a filename. If this is done, the file does not move out of the folder in which it currently resides, it just adds the folder as a “label” on the file. One file can have multiple folder labels, unlike most file systems.
Folder Properties
  • Folder properties may be accessed by clicking on the down arrow to the right of the folder.
  • The sharing permissions for the folder are accessible through the Share option.
  • The Organize option allows you to move a folder into other folders.
  • Folders may also be starred, downloaded, removed and marked as unread or unviewed. The color of the folder icon can also be changed in this screen.
Folder Sharing

Once in the sharing settings for a folder, you may add users individually, or you can change the general sharing listed at the top of the “Who has access” pane by clicking on “Change."

Use Lionmail Instead of Consumer Google Apps

LionMail Drive allows online, cloud-based storage, organization, sharing, and collaboration for files, including documents, presentations, and spreadsheets. The creator of a file in Drive may wish to use it for online backup so they can access it from anywhere, or they could choose to share the document with others on LionMail; either granting view-only access, or editing access for collaborative work.

As a service managed by Columbia, LionMail is subject to the same security policies and oversight as other University IT services. Columbia's contract with Google provides protections that improve upon those contained in the consumer Google Apps license. Therefore, we urge you to cease any use of consumer-based Google Drive for University matters, and recommend you use LionMail Drive instead. For more information about LionMail and security, visit our FAQ.

Protecting Data when Collaborating in Lionmail
  • While LionMail Drive will be available for classroom use, because of the lack of access for certain types of disabilities, the University prohibits faculty from requiring it for any academic interaction. Requiring its use might exclude some students from full class participation and access to the full academic environment.
  • To protect those using LionMail, sharing documents on LionMail Drive is limited to the setting “Private: Only people granted permission can access. Sign-in required.”
  • All information should be protected from unauthorized access or unauthorized modification. Sensitive information should not be transmitted or stored unencrypted on LionMail Drive. Examples of sensitive information include the information a doctor might have about a patient, Social Security Numbers (SSNs) or Driver's License numbers, banking information and credit card numbers (CCNs).  For details please refer to CU Data Classification Policy http://policylibrary.columbia.edu/data-classification-policy.
  • An automated filtering system for employees, including student employees, will monitor LionMail documents for sensitive information such as Social Security Numbers, credit card numbers, and incorrectly shared documents. Documents containing unencrypted SSNs and CCNs will have sharing removed and instructions will be sent to the owner as to how to remove/encrypt the document from LionMail. Under no circumstances should anyone ever store, email or share unencrypted Personally Identifiable Information (PII) or Personal Health Information (PHI) as defined in the Data Classification Policy.

To guide you through using LionMail Drive in accordance with University policies, see the policy and procedure document that outlines more detailed information, available in the PDF LionMail Drive Requirements. This information is also on the Provost's website.

LionMail Drive, which includes Google Documents, provides a web-interface with customized keyboard commands for composing and editing documents in a collaborative fashion. Because of the collaborative nature of the application, it is especially important that your shared files are as accessible as possible so that all users who need to access your documents can comprehend the content. This page contains some general guidelines for making your Google Docs accessible.

We would like to thank our colleagues at Stanford University and Penn State for allowing us to quote some of their documentation.

It is the responsibility of the author to create accessible documents. It is strongly recommended that you create accessible documents as you develop content, and that you make your documents accessible before completion.

For blind or visually-impaired individuals using a screen-reader application, Google recommends the Chrome browser with the ChromeVox screen-reader extension to best utilize the Google Drive web interface. The combination of JAWS for Windows and Firefox web browser may be used but may not provide full support within the Google Drive interface.

Because Google Documents is missing some key accessibility functions, its use is not recommended for sharing documents with images and/or tables.

  1. For long documents, use the Heading styles (Heading 1 through Heading 6) to break passages of text into multiple sections.
  2. All images, except those used for purely decorative purposes, should be accompanied by a caption or be described in the main text.
  3. Use one of the list tools to create lists, instead of inserting list items manually.
  4. Make sure that any hyperlink text clearly describes its target page.
  5. Sans-serif fonts are preferable to serif fonts with regard to on-screen legibility. If any text is given a colored "highlight," ensure that there is sufficient contrast between the highlight color and the text itself.
  6. A table of contents can help users navigate your document quickly, in addition to providing a preview of its content, both of which enhance its general usability.
Headings

Headings provide context for your document, and allow screen reader users to quickly recognize its major sections. A screen reader will not recognize bold text or a large font size as indicating a heading.

Specifying heading styles such as Heading 1, Heading 2 or Heading 3 will allow a screen reader user to easily navigate your page. The document title should be in Heading 1, major subsections in Heading 2, further subsections in Heading 3 and so forth.

Designate headings in Google Documents by using the drop-down Styles menu.

Images

Although Google Documents does not currently have the capability to add alt text to an image, it is still possible to provide supplemental information for visually impaired users. All images, charts and tables should be either preceded by a brief description of the content or followed by a caption. This provision will allow screen reader users some understanding of the content.

NOTE: Uploading an image already equipped with alt text (e.g. by pasting a URL in the Insert Image menu) will not preserve the alt text in the Google Doc.

Lists

Use one of the list tools to create either bulleted or numbered lists, instead of manually inserting bullets, numbers, asterisks or other symbols. As with headers, this tool enables screen readers to process list items more efficiently.

Numbered lists with multiple levels should use a different numbering scheme on each level. For instance, if the topmost level uses "1, 2, 3," the next level should use "a, b, c."

Create a list in Google Docs by using one of the Insert List icons in the formatting toolbar.

Hyperlinks

Screen reader users often scan a document for hyperlinks, so it is important to make sure your links make sense without their surrounding content. For example, a link should say "Readings for the week of February 14" rather than "Readings for the week of February 14. Click here."

Click the Insert Hyperlink icon to create a hyperlink in Google Docs.

Ensuring Legibility

Sans-serif fonts are generally more legible than serif fonts, particularly on a monitor.

Color schemes (text color vs. background color) should have enough contrast between light and dark. If too little contrast is provided, colorblind or low vision users may have difficulty reading the content. Certain color combinations (often those with bright colors) can even cause headaches for some users.

Creating a Table of Contents

Adding a table of contents can help screen reader users navigate your document quickly and easily, in addition to making the file more generally usable by providing a preview of upcoming content.

You must designate headings to generate a table of contents, as these are what is used to specify the sections of the document.

Select Table of Contents from the drop-down Insert menu to create a table of contents in Google Docs.

Before you can use a screen reader with Google Docs, you’ll first need to configure your screen reader. Here’s how to do that for the four screen readers that Google Docs supports — JAWS, NVDA, ChromeVox and VoiceOver.

JAWS

Before using JAWS with Google Docs, you will need to change a few of its settings. To do that, you need to interact with JAWS via keyboard commands, most of which involve pressing the “JAWS” key and then some other combination of keys. By default, the JAWS key is your keyboard’s “Insert” key. When performing the following configuration steps, make sure you can hear audio from your computer.

  1. Set key echoing to no echoing — press JAWS + 2 until you hear “None.”
  2. Set the Virtual Cursor to off — press JAWS + Z until you hear “Use virtual PC cursor off.” Then press JAWS + Z + Z until you hear “the virtual cursor will be turned off for all applications.”
  3. Disable both "Auto Forms Mode" and "Forms Mode Off when New Page Loads" — Ensure that the screen reader’s focus is on the top toolbar, and then press JAWS + V. In the settings window that opens, search for “Forms Options” and uncheck both “Auto Forms Mode” and “Forms Mode Off when New Page Loads.” Then press OK. If you’re using Firefox, you will need to tab through from the address bar through the Docs toolbar controls until you hear application mode announced. At that point, you can hit “Escape” to return to the content of your Google document and activate screen reader support.
  4. Once you're finished and the screen reader’s focus has returned to the document, press Ctrl + Alt + Z on a PC to enable screen reader support. You should now hear the document being spoken to you.

Because Google Docs isn’t a typical website, some JAWS navigation shortcuts will not work. Use Docs-specific shortcuts instead when editing the contents of a document.

NVDA

Before using NVDA with Google Docs, you will need to change a few of its settings. To do that, you need to interact with NVDA via keyboard commands, most of which involve pressing the “NVDA” key and then some other combination of keys. By default, NVDA will allow you to use the “Caps Lock” or “Insert” key as the NVDA key.

  1. Press NVDA + Ctrl + K to bring up the Keyboard Settings window, then disable “Speak typed characters” and “Speak typed words.”
  2. Open a document.
  3. Enable screen reader support by pressing Ctrl + Alt + Z on a PC. You should hear “Screen reader support enabled.”

Because Google Docs isn’t a typical website, some NVDA navigation shortcuts will not work. Use Docs-specific shortcuts instead when editing the contents of a document.

ChromeVox

Before using ChromeVox with Google Docs, you won’t need to change any of its settings, but it might be a good idea to check out the ChromeVox user guide so that you understand the basics.

As with other screen readers, you interact with ChromeVox via keyboard commands, including a special “ChromeVox key:”

  • On Windows, the ChromeVox key is Control + Alt.
  • On a Mac, the ChromeVox key is  + Ctrl.
  • On Chrome OS, the ChromeVox key is Search + Shift.

You may also want to check out ChromeVox’s full list of shortcuts.

Because Google Docs isn’t a typical website, some ChromeVox navigation shortcuts will not work. Use Docs-specific shortcuts instead when editing the contents of a document.

VoiceOver with Chrome

If you’d like to use Apple’s VoiceOver screen reader with Google Docs, use Google Chrome as your browser. Chrome performs better with VoiceOver than Safari and Firefox do.

To configure VoiceOver, follow these steps:

  1. Open a document.
  2. Once you’ve enabled "Automatically speak the webpage" in VoiceOver, VoiceOver will begin reading the page. Hit Escape to return the screen reader’s focus to the document’s editable area.
  3. Hit Ctrl + Option + Shift + Down Arrow to interact with the editable text. If the screen reader’s focus ever shifts away from the editable document text (if, for example, a dialog window appears), redo this step to return the focus to the document text.
  4. Enable screen reader support by using the  + Option + Z shortcut. You should then hear “Screen reader support enabled.”

Because Google Docs isn’t a typical website, some VoiceOver navigation shortcuts will not work. Use Docs-specific shortcuts instead when editing the contents of a document.

Keyboard shortcut help overlay

If you ever forget a key combination, simply press Ctrl + / to bring up the keyboard shortcut help overlay. The screen reader will read the shortcuts to you. If you’re using ChromeVox you can move between shortcut headings by pressing Ctrl + Alt + N + H to move to the next heading or Ctrl + Alt + P + H to move to the previous heading. To explore the specific shortcuts in a section, press Ctrl + Alt + Up arrow and Ctrl + Alt + Down arrow. Pressing Escape will dismiss the help overlay.

These instructions are written with keyboard instructions for PC users. If you're working on a Mac, use the Command (Apple) key wherever the Control key is listed.

You can also visit the full list of documents keyboard shortcuts.

Navigate the menus

Application menus

The application menus offer the greatest variety of commands and is worth exploring carefully.

To activate the application menu, press Alt + Shift + F. This will specifically activate the File menu at the top of the application. Use the right arrow key to navigate to other top-level application menus, including Edit, View, Insert, Format, Tools, Table and Help.

Once you locate the application menu you want to explore, use the up and down arrow keys to read the menu items. If you’re over a menu item with a sub-menu, you can enter the sub-menu with the right arrow key. Press Enter to select a menu item and execute a command.

Pressing the Escape key when a menu is expanded will close the menu bar. PressingEscape again will get your focus out of the menu bar and into the top-level bar that allows you to navigate to different Google applications and your Google Docs “Options” menu. Pressing Escape from this location will take you back to the main document area.

You’ll hear spoken feedback for any action you take to help you figure out which menu or menu item you’ve selected.

Context menu

To activate the context menu in a document, you can use the context menu key on your keyboard if you have one or press Ctrl + Shift + \. Once the context menu is active, you’ll hear the menu items spoken to you as you move up and down the menu using the arrow keys. The items available on the context menu differ depending on what you’ve selected. To select a menu item and execute a command, press Enter.

Edit text in a document

Text editing

When you type a selection into your document, you’ll hear spoken feedback for the characters as you type them. For example, if you press the “A” key, you’ll hear “A.”

When you delete characters, you’ll hear spoken feedback about the character you’ve deleted. For example, if you delete the letter “A” from a word, you’ll hear “A.” If you delete a selection, you’ll hear “section deleted.”

To select text, hold the Shift key and use the right and left arrow keys. You can pressShift + Ctrl + Left arrow to select to the beginning of the line.

When you select text, you’ll hear the text of the selection, followed by “selection.” For example, when you select the sentence, “The brown spotted dog ran across the yard,” you’ll hear “The brown spotted dog ran across the yard. Selected.”

Copy and paste

You can use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl + C to copy a selection and Ctrl + X to cut a selection. When you locate where you’d like to paste your selection, use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl + V to paste the selection. You won't hear any voice feedback for these actions.

Spell check

You can use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl + ; to navigate to the next misspelling in the document. You’ll hear the misspelled word when you trigger this shortcut. To correct the misspelling, open the context menu by pressing Ctrl +Shift+ \. From the context menu, select the correctly spelled suggestion, and press Enter.

Format text in a document

Applying headings and paragraph styles

Enter the application menu by pressing Alt + Shift + F and locate the “Format” menu with the right arrow key. Select “Paragraph Styles” from the menu, and navigate to the style you want to apply to your text with the arrow keys. When you have a style selected, you’ll hear the style name followed by “checked" or "unchecked" to indicate when you've changed a style setting. Press Enter to apply that style. You’ll hear the style name.

Applying text styles
  • Fonts

Enter the application menu by pressing Alt + Shift + F and tab to the toolbar. Use the left and right arrow keys to move to different tools in the toolbar. When you reach the fonts menu, press the down arrow key to open the drop-down menu. Press Enter to apply the font to selected text, or to start typing with that font. You’ll hear “font” followed by the name of that font.

  • Font size

Enter the application menu by pressing Alt + Shift + F and tab to the toolbar. Use the left and right arrow keys to move to different tools in the toolbar. When you reach the font size menu, press the down arrow key to open the drop-down menu. Press Enterto apply the font size to selected text, or to start typing with that font size. You’ll hear the font size followed by “points.”

  • Bold

Press Ctrl +B to apply bold formatting. You’ll hear “bold” in combination with “unchecked” or ”checked.”

  • Italic

Use Ctrl + I to apply italic formatting. You’ll hear “italic” in combination with “unchecked” or ”checked.”

  • Underline

Use Ctrl + U to apply underline formatting. You’ll hear “underline” in combination with “unchecked” or ”checked.”

Insert tables, lists, images, and drawings into your document

Insert, edit and delete a table

To insert a table into your document, enter the application menu by pressing Alt + Shift + F and press the right arrow until you get to the Table menu. Press the down arrow until you reach the “Insert table” menu item, and press the right arrow key to open the sub-menu. Press the arrow keys to find the dimensions of the table you want to insert. You’ll hear “number of rows x number of columns.” If you press Enter, you’ll hear “number of rows by number of columns” followed by “table inserted.”

To insert a column or row into a table, use the same keyboard shortcuts to navigate to the Table menu. Then, select from the following options:

  • Insert row above
  • Insert row below
  • Insert column left
  • Insert column right

When you press Enter to select an option, you’ll hear “column inserted” or “row inserted.” To delete a column or row, follow the same instructions. Menu options will read “delete” instead of “insert.” When you select an option from the Table menu, you’ll hear “column deleted” or “row deleted.”

To delete a table, locate a cell in the table. Then, press Ctrl + Shift + \ to activate the context menu, and select “Delete table” from the menu. Alternatively, you can select “Delete table” from the Table application menu. You’ll hear “table deleted” when you complete this action.

Insert numbered and bulleted lists

Using the keyboard shortcut Ctrl + Shift+7 will create a new numbered list, and Ctrl +Shift + 8 will create a new bulleted list. When you create a list or insert a list item, you’ll hear the glyph type and number that you just inserted. When you delete a list item, you’ll hear “bullet removed.” When you delete a full list, you’ll hear “section deleted with X items.”

Insert images or drawings

At this time, it’s not possible to insert images or drawings into a document using a screen reader.

Page setup, paragraph formatting, and headers and footers

Set page orientation, paper size, and margins

Press Alt + Shift + F to activate the File menu, and press the down arrow key until you reach the “Page setup” option. Press Enter, then navigate through the different options for a form element with the Tab key. When you’re finished adjusting your page settings, locate the “OK” button and press Enter.

Set text alignment

The following keyboard shortcuts will help you set text alignment in your document:

  • Ctrl +Shift + L to set left alignment. You’ll hear “left aligned.”
  • Ctrl + Shift + E to set center alignment. You’ll hear “center aligned.”
  • Ctrl + Shift + R to set right alignment. You’ll hear “right aligned.”
  • Ctrl + Shift + J to justify alignment. You’ll hear “justified.”
Paragraph spacing and indents

When you’re editing the text in the document, you can use the Tab key to indent text. To reverse an indent, press Shift + Tab. Here’s what you’ll hear when you indent a paragraph, list or list item:

  • For a paragraph indent, you’ll hear “paragraph indented” or “paragraph unindented.”
  • For a first line indent, you’ll hear “first line indented” or “first line unindented.”
  • For a single list item indent, you’ll hear “list item indented to level X.”
  • When multiple list items are indented, you’ll hear “List items indented” or “List items unindented.”
  • When a full list is indented, you’ll hear “list indented” or “list unindented.”
Insert and edit headers and footers

Use the following keyboard shortcuts to work with headers and footers:

  • Press Alt + Ctrl + O + H to open the header section. You’ll hear “header” followed by the header’s contents. Pressing Esc will take you back to the main document, and you’ll hear “entering document.”
  • Press Alt + Ctrl + O + F to open the footer section. You’ll hear “footer” followed by the footer’s contents. Pressing Esc will take you back to the main document, and you’ll hear “entering document.”
Insert and edit a footnote

Place your cursor where you’d like to insert a footnote in your document. Activate the application menu with the keyboard shortcut Alt + Shift + F. Use your right arrow key to navigate to the Insert menu, then use the down arrow key to locate the “Footnote” menu item. Press Enter to insert a footnote where your cursor is placed in the document. You’ll hear “footnote inserted” and your cursor will be placed in the footnote area. Press Escfrom the footnote editing area will take you back to the main document area, and you’ll hear “entering document.”

To navigate into the footnote area to edit a footnote, first locate the footnote in your document. When your cursor is next to the footnote, press Alt+ Ctrl + E + F to enter the footnote editing area. You’ll hear “footnote” followed by the footnote number and its contents. Press Esc to go back to the main document area. You’ll hear “entering document.”

Share a document with someone

To share a document, activate the application menu with the keyboard shortcut Alt + Shift + F. Select the "Share" menu item, and press Enter. You'll be placed in the sharing dialog, where you can tab through the elements to see who the collaborators are, change their permissions, and add more collaborators. When you're finished, press the "Share & save" button.

Chat with collaborators in real-time

If you're working with collaborators in your document, you can press Shift + Esc to enter the chat pane to chat with them in real time.

Get started using a screen reader in Google Sheets

When you open a Google spreadsheet, your screen reader will read the name of the spreadsheet and some information about the page as it’s loading. When loading completes, you’ll be viewing your spreadsheet with the top-left cell, A1, selected.

  • If you’re using a screen reader other than ChromeVox (e.g. JAWS), you can enable support for the screen reader extension by pressing Alt + Shift + ~.
  • If you’re using ChromeVox you don’t need to explicitly enable screen reader support.
Keyboard shortcut help overlay

If you ever forget a key combination, just press Ctrl + / to bring up the keyboard shortcut help overlay. The screen reader will read the shortcuts to you. You can also visit the full list of spreadsheets keyboard shortcuts in a new window.

ChromeVox users

You can move between shortcut headings by pressing Ctrl + Alt + N + H to move to the next heading or Ctrl + Alt + P + H to move to the previous heading. To explore the specific shortcuts in a section, press Ctrl + Alt + Up arrow and Ctrl + Alt + Down arrow. Pressing Escape will dismiss the help overlay.

Navigate your spreadsheet

Move your cursor around the spreadsheet

To move your cursor around the spreadsheet, use the up, down, right and left arrows. Each time you move to a new cell, you’ll hear the cell’s address followed by the contents of the cell, if any. For example, if cell C4 contains the words “New York City,” your screen reader will read “C4 New York City.”

If the cell contains any comments or errors, they’ll also be read to you. If you use ChromeVox, you'll hear a special sound when you navigate to a cell that has comments or errors. And if a cell contains a formula you’ll hear the value of the formula. To read the formula itself you can edit the cell or you can make formulas visible by selecting "Formula Bar" in the View menu.

Sometimes it’s helpful to jump around the grid quickly. For example, quickly moving to the next data region in a row or column can help you figure out if there’s any more content above or below the current cell in a particular column, or to the left or right of the cell in a particular row. To move to the next data region, hold down the Ctrl key (Cmd on a Mac) while using the up, down, right and left arrows:

  • If your cursor starts in a cell that has data you’ll jump to the next empty cell in the specified direction.
  • If your cursor starts in an empty cell, you’ll move you to the next cell with contents. If all cells in that direction are empty, you’ll move to the end of the row or column in that direction.
Navigate to different sheet tabs

To move from one sheet tab to another, press Alt + Shift + Page up or Alt + Shift + Page down. When a new sheet is activated you’ll hear the name of the sheet. For example, if you move to Sheet5, you’ll hear “Sheet5 activated.”

Find cell contents

Activate the quick-find feature using Ctrl + F (Cmd + F on a Mac) to search the current sheet for keywords. Or, use Ctrl + H (Cmd + Shift + H on a Mac) to activate a our full Find and Replace dialog.

Edit contents of a cell

To edit the contents of a cell, press Enter to activate the cell’s input box. Type some text, and press Enter again to save the cell contents. If you’d like to ignore your changes, press Escape.

Select and work within a range of cells

To select a range of cells, hold down the Shift key while moving the active cell with the arrow keys. As you move the cell you’ll hear the selected range, for example “A2:F7 selected.” You can also use the keyboard shortcut Shift + Space to select an entire row or Ctrl + Space (Cmd + Space on a Mac) to select an entire column.

Once a range is selected you can restrict your cursor movement to be within that range by using an alternative to the arrow keys:

  • Shift + Enter to move up
  • Enter to move down
  • Shift + Tab to move left
  • Tab to move right

These keys won’t move your cursor outside of the selected range, which is useful if you want to restrict your movement to a specified range and explore that range without worrying you’ve moved too far in any particular direction.

You can also edit a cell without deselecting your range by pressing F2.

Navigate the menus

Now that you’re comfortable moving around the spreadsheet grid, you’ll want to start learning about the application menus. There are three areas where you might activate a menu: the context menu for the current cell, the sheet menu for the current sheet, or a top-level application menu like “File” or “Data.”

Application menu

The application menus offer the greatest variety of commands.

To activate the application menu, press Alt + Shift + F. This will specifically activate the File menu at the top of the application. Use the right arrow key to navigate to other top-level application menus, including Edit, View, Insert, Format, Data, Tools, and Help.

Once you locate the application menu you want to explore, use the up and down arrow keys to read the menu items. If you’re over a menu item with a sub-menu, you can enter the sub-menu with the right arrow key. Press Enter to select a menu item and execute a command.

Pressing the Escape key when a menu is expanded will close the menu bar. PressingEscape again take you back to the main spreadsheet area.

Context menu

To activate the context menu for a particular cell you can use the context menu key on your keyboard if you have one or press Ctrl + Shift + \. Once the context menu is active, you’ll hear the menu items spoken to you as you move up and down the menu using the arrow keys. You can explore submenus by using the right and left arrow keys. To select a menu item and execute a command, press Enter.

The items available on the context menu differ depending on what you’ve selected. For example, if an entire row is selected the context menu will include the option to “Insert 1 above” and “Insert 1 below” for adding additional rows.

Sheet menu

To activate the sheet menu press Alt + Shift + S. The sheet menu includes operations on the active sheet, including options to rename, delete, copy, hide, and duplicate the sheet.

To explore the names of the other sheets without switching to them, press Alt + Shift + K. That command activates the sheet list menu, which is a list of all sheets, including hidden sheets. When moving up and down the sheet list menu you’ll hear the name of the sheet. Pressing Enter will activate the sheet you’ve selected in the menu.

Share a document with someone

To share a document, activate the application menu with the keyboard shortcut Alt + Shift + F. Select the "Share" menu item, and press Enter. You'll be placed in the sharing dialog, where you can tab through the elements to see who the collaborators are, change their permissions, and add more collaborators. When you're finished, press the "Share & save" button.

Helpful tips and additional information

For the best experience, we recommend that you use Chrome with the ChromeVox screen reader. If you prefer to use another screen reader, you might find that certain features are not as well supported. If you’re using a screen reader other than ChromeVox, remember that you must enable support for the screen reader extension by pressing Alt + Shift + ~ once the spreadsheet loads.

Google Sheets is designed to be used in application mode with a screen reader. Enabling “document mode” in your screen reader won't give you the best experience. Use the Google Sheets commands to move around the grid and edit cells rather than the “document mode” screen reader commands.

No. The migration process is determined by CUIT and the deans of individual schools.

LionMail provides advantages over ordinary Google accounts including improved security and support from CUIT. Furthermore, LionMail has many small conveniences, such as not showing ads and using the Columbia Directory to quickly suggest contacts. It's also a great way to share calendars within the Columbia community.

No, you will not be able to use your Columbia address as the alternate email address for your personal Gmail account. However, you will still be able to use your Columbia address as your password recovery email address.

Yes. The limit is 10 simultaneous connections. This limit comes into play if you use more than one device (computers, smartphones, other mobile devices) to connect to LionMail at the same time.

You will use your UNI and password to log in to the web interface to access mail and calendar. If you use a mobile device or an email client such as Outlook, Thunderbird or Apple Mail, you will use a different device password.

Labs are experimental features that Google has not yet incorporated into the basic applications. There are labs for both mail and calendar, and you can turn individual labs on to try them out. Google says that because they are experimental, they can change, break, or disappear at any time.

You can enable individual labs in LionMail and Calendar by going to Settings and selecting Labs.

While there are many labs out there, here are a few that are highly recommended:

  • Auto-advance (by Bruce D)
    Automatically shows the next conversation instead of your inbox after you delete, archive, or mute a conversation. You can select whether to advance to the next or previous conversation in the "General" Settings page.

  • Canned Responses (by Chad P)
    Email for the truly lazy. Save and then send your common messages using a button next to the compose form. Also automatically send emails using filters.

  • Custom keyboard shortcuts (by Alan S)
    Lets you customize keyboard shortcut mappings. Adds a new Settings tab from which you can remap keys to various actions.

  • Google Calendar gadget (by Ben K and Garry B)
    Adds a box in the left column which shows your Google Calendar. See upcoming events, locations, and details.

  • Mark as Read Button (by Mark K)
    Tired of spending all that effort to click on the more actions menu every time you want to mark messages as read without reading them? Now just enable this lab and that is just a button click away!

  • Multiple Inboxes (by Vivi)
    Add extra lists of emails in your inbox to see even more important email at once. The new lists of threads can be labels, your starred messages, drafts or any search you want, configurable under Settings.

  • Preview Pane (by Peter B & Michael K)
    Provides a preview pane to read mail right next to your list of conversations, making mail reading faster and adding more context.

  • Unread message icon (by Manu C)
    See how many unread messages are in your inbox with a quick glance at the tab's icon. This lab only works with Chrome (version 6 and above), Firefox (version 2 and above), and Opera.

It's a personal Gmail account that was created and associated with an @columbia.edu email address. 

When you log in to LionMail, you can click on the “Get started” link to go through the process of resolving your conflicting account. Your data from this account will be preserved in a new account that you will be able to set up outside of your new LionMail account. If you do not want to resolve your Conflicting Account at this time click on  “Do this later” to access your account.

If you're ready to resolve your conflicting account, you can migrate all of your data to either a new Gmail account or an existing non-Gmail account. Either way, you must begin by logging in to your conflicting account:

  1. Log out of any current Google sessions and log in using the following email (user name) and password:

Email: uni%columbia.edu@gtempaccount.com

For example if you previously logged in to the old account with uni@columbia.edu, you will now use uni%columbia.edu@gtempaccount.com.

Password: use your old Google password, not your UNI password. If you don’t remember your password, you can retrieve it by going to https://www.google.com/accounts/recovery

Now you can select to move your data to either:

  • A) An account with Gmail and a new gmail.com address
  • B) An account with a non-Google email address that you already own. You cannot choose an existing Google account during this process.

Click Continue once you have made your selection.


Option A: Associating your account with a new Gmail address

         A. Fill in the First name and Last name fields. In Desired Login Name, choose a unique email address for your new Gmail account.

         B. Click on check availability to make sure the login name you selected is available.

         C. In the Current Password field, enter the password you used to log in to the Conflicting Account.

         D. Choose a question from the Security question menu and write the answer in the answer field.

         E. In the Recovery email field, enter an email address that will be used to regain access if you forget the password to your Google account.

         F. Click Continue.

     2. Verify your account with a text message or phone call by providing the country you're currently located in, your phone type and your phone number and clicking Send verification code.

     3. Enter your verification number and click Verify to complete the sign-up process.


Option B: Associating your account with an existing non-Google address

         A. In the New email address field, enter a non-Google email account that you own.

         B. In the Current password field, enter the password you are using to log in to your conflicting (original) Gmail account.

         C. Click Save email address to continue.

     2. Verify your new email address by providing an email address that you can access to send a verification email to. Google will send you an email and you will need to click on or copy the link they send you.

     3. Your email address is now confirmed, you should see a message similar to the below.

Your address is now: [Your Non-Google Address]
Your address is now: [Your Non-Google Address]

No. Your LionMail account will be completely separate from any personal Gmail account you may have.

Mailbox sizes are unlimited, however single messages are limited to 25MB.

LionMail includes a powerful set of sorting rules. Using filters, you can automatically label, archive, delete, star, or forward your mail, even keep it out of Spam.

To create a filter
  1. Click the down arrow in your search box. A window that allows you to specify your search criteria will appear.
  2. Enter your search criteria. If you want to check that your search worked correctly, click the search button.
  3. Click Create filter with this search at the bottom of the search window. If you need to verify the search results, you can click the x to collapse the filter options. Clicking the down arrow again will bring the window back with the same search criteria you entered.
  4. Choose the action(s) you want the filter to take. To keep organized, many people like to have incoming messages automatically labeled and removed from their inbox until they can look at them later at a more convenient time. If you want to do this, make sure to select Skip the Inbox (Archive it) and Apply the label: when you create your filter.
  5. Click the Create filter button.

Please note: When you create a filter to forward messages, only new messages will be affected. Any existing messages that the filter applies to will not be forwarded.

To use a particular message to create a filter

  1. Select the message in your message list.
  2. Click the More button, then Filter messages like these.
  3. Enter your filter criteria in the appropriate field(s).

To edit or delete existing filters

  1. Click the gear icon in the upper right corner of LionMail and select Settings.
  2. Click the Filters tab.
  3. Find the filter you'd like to change and click edit or delete to remove the filter.
  4. If you're editing the filter, enter the updated criteria for the filter in the appropriate fields, and click Edit filter actions.
  5. Update any actions and click the Update filter button.

You can create an unlimited number of filters, but only 20 filters can forward to other addresses.

A signature is a bit of personalized text (such as your contact information or a favorite quote) that is inserted automatically at the bottom of every message you send. 

To create a signature

  1. Click the gear icon in the upper right corner of LionMail, then select Settings.
  2. Enter your new signature text in the box at the bottom of the page next to the Signature option.
  3. Click Save Changes.

Signatures are separated from the rest of your message by two dashes. To see a signature in LionMail, click the Show trimmed content button [...] at the bottom of the message.

Please note:

  • If you notice extra characters (such as * or >) being added to your signature after you send mail, it's because some versions of LionMail don't support rich text and we've converted some of your formatting. For example, when you send from LionMail using Safari on iPhone, any text you bolded in your signature will be marked with asterisks (i.e., example will show as *example*).
  • For rich text signatures, the maximum amount of characters you can use is 10,000 (including HTML markup).
  • If you send mail "from" multiple addresses in LionMail, you can set a different signature for each address in the General tab of your settings. Choose the second radio button in the "Signature:" section, use the drop-down menu to choose the appropriate address and set the signature you want.
  • If you're editing your signature and only have an option to create a plain text signature, this is due to your current compose message settings. Click Compose to create a new message, then click the Rich formatting option in the message. Once this change is made, you'll be able to create a rich text signature.

CUIT's email gateway filters block most identifiable spam. When spam gets past the gateway, in most instances, the message is caught by Google's filter and delivered to your Spam folder in LionMail. With both those filters in effect, you normally see very little spam in your inbox. When a message is in the grey area of "possibly spam", it is allowed through the gateway so that you can find it in your Spam folder and judge for yourself.

If you think you should have received a message and do not see it, first check the Spam folder. If you find it there, click on Not Spam to help teach LionMail what is not Spam. If the message is not in the Inbox or Spam folder, please send a request to the CUIT Service Desk with the sender's address and the date and time that the message was sent, and CUIT staff will check logs to determine what may have occurred.

If you receive spam in your Inbox, you can click on the "Report Spam" button to help teach LionMail that the message is spam. You can also report it to CUIT by forwarding the message to spam@columbia.edu.

Labels are used to categorize your messages. Labels are like folders, but with a twist: You can apply multiple labels to a message, so you can "store" a single copy of a message in multiple labels. You can also:

  • Open a label on the left side of your Mail window to see all messages with that label.
  • Search for all messages with a label.
  • See labels on messages in your Inbox, to quickly identify different types of messages.

You can make your labels easy to identify by applying different colors to them. Here's how labels look in your inbox:

Label emails by color in LionMail
Label emails by color in LionMail
To create a label
  1. Select or open any of your email messages to display the Labels icon in the toolbar.
  2. Click the Labels icon and then click Manage labels:
Mange labels
Mange labels

     3. Under Labels, in the Create a new label field, type the name of your new label, and then click Create

Tip: Select the Nest label under option if you want to add a sub-label to an existing label. For example, you might add a sub-label for each day of the week under a parent label called “To Do.”

To apply a label to messages and keep them in the inbox
  1. Select the check box next to the messages you want to label, then click the Labels icon.
  2. Select the label name from the Labels drop-down menu and click Apply. You can select more than one label.

Tip: You can create a new label or search your label list by typing a label name in the search box at the top.

To apply a label to messages and move them out of the inbox

If you want to move messages out of your Inbox at the same time that you apply one new label to them, use the Move to menu instead of the Labels menu.

  1. Select (or open) your email message (or messages) that you want to move.
  2. Click the Move to icon and select a label.

Alternatively, you can just drag the message to the label.

  1. Click and hold near the box to the left of the message...
  2. …and then drag the message to a label’s name.
To move messages out of your inbox without applying a new label
  1. Select one or more messages in your Inbox.
  2. Click the Archive icon in the toolbar.

To view a labeled message that you’ve archived, just click the Archive label in the left pane. (If you have a lot of labels, you might need to click More or scroll down to see your label.)

To change the color of a label
  1. In your Labels list (to the left of your list of emails), hover over the label and then click the down arrow that appears.
  2. Select a color from the palette that appears. The change is instantly applied to all messages with that label.

Tip: Not enough colors? Click Add custom color for more options.

You can create a filter that applies a label while also selecting the option Skip the Inbox (Archive it). 

Yes, but you will need to follow special instructions to set up your device.

Yes. Enter your UNI@columbia.edu in the username field and leave the password blank. Click the Sign in button and you will be redirected to the LionMail Sign in Page. Then, enter your UNI and password to log in to your LionMail account.

You can see your deleted messages by selecting the label/folder named Trash. (You may need to click All at the bottom of your label list in order to see the Trash label.) Open the message you want to recover, and click the small “x” next to the Trash label. (If you hover over the “x,” you will see “Remove label Trash from this conversation.”) Messages will remain in the Trash for 30 days and then will be expunged automatically. Once a message is expunged, it cannot be recovered.

You can create a filter that will allow you to see such messages in your inbox. First, conduct a search using the following format:

from:uni@columbia.edu AND (to:uni@columbia.edu OR cc:uni@columbia.edu OR bcc:uni@columbia.edu)

Replace uni@columbia.edu with your email address and conduct the search. Click on the down arrow next to the search box and at the bottom of the menu select Create a filter with this search. From the next menu, click on the checkbox next to Never send it to Spam. Click Create filter to finish the process.

If you forward an email from another email system to LionMail, the time and date stamp of the moment you forwarded the message to LionMail will appear. If the email message was moved by CUIT to LionMail on a scheduled migration date, the original time and date should appear in the email headers. You can also click and drag an email from another email system to LionMail using an imap client such as Thunderbird. If you are an Outlook user, you can add a sent date column to sort emails by their sent dates: right-click on one of the columns and select View Settings. Click on Columns. On the window that pops up, select Sent under Available columns then click Add. Click OK.

In the LionMail web interface the chat area is located in the lower left hand corner of the screen. Click on an existing contact or enter a contact's UNI in the chat search box to send them a chat request. After they accept, you can start your conversation. It’s that easy!

You may be clicking on the Archive button on the lower left side of the compose box. To disable that button, click on the gear the upper right corner of your LionMail screen and choose Settings. In the General tab, select the button for Hide "Send & Archive" button in reply. Scroll down and click Save Changes.

Yes. Please follow these steps:

In CourseWorks:
  1. Click Calendar under My Workspace on the left.
  2. At the top click Subscribe (User defined feed).
  3. On the next screen, enter a name for your calendar and make sure Enable Subscription? is checked.
  4. Click Save. Copy the Subscription URL that appears. (To copy, right-click in Windows or select and cloverleaf-c in MacOS. 
In LionMail Calendar:
  1. Click the down-arrow next to Other Calendars on the left and click Add by URL.
  2. Paste the copied URL into the URL: box and click the Add Calendar button. You’ll see your New Courseworks schedule listed under Other Calendars. The name by default will start with “https://newcourseworks...” 

Naming your new CourseWorks Calendar in LionMail Calendar:

  1. Click the down arrow to the right of the calendar name and select Calendar settings.
  2. Enter a new name (for example, "Classes" or "My Class Schedule") for the calendar and click the Save button.
  3. Go back to the main Calendar screen and you’ll see your calendar listed with its new name.

Anytime you create an all-day event, such as a vacation day, in your calendar, you must modify the "show me as" option (near the bottom of the event) to "busy" rather than "available" which enables anyone who shares your calendar to see it as blocked.

Yes, there are two ways:

Merge your contacts manually

To merge two or more contacts manually:

  1. Select the contacts you'd like to merge from your Contacts List.
  2. Click the More drop-down menu and select Merge contacts.
  3. Make any edits if there are any changes you’d like to make.
  4. Click Save at the top of the page.
Automatically find and merge your contacts

The system can find and merge your contacts automatically, as well as duplicate data within contacts. To find and fix all of your duplicate contacts at once:

  1. Open Contacts.
  2. Click the More drop-down menu and select Find and merge duplicates.
  3. The names of all contacts with duplicate data will be displayed. If an entry has only one contact, then the contact itself has duplicate data (e.g., repeated phone numbers, emails, etc.). If an entry has two or more contacts, be sure to check whether these are duplicate contacts and not different contacts with similar names. To expand each contact, click on the details next to each one and uncheck any contacts that you don't want to fix.
  4. When you're ready, click Merge at the top of the list.

 If you would like to undo any of the changes you've made, click the More drop-down menu and select Restore contacts.

The contract between Columbia and Google ensures the security of data. Columbia, not Google, owns all of the data that passes through LionMail accounts.

Columbia maintains the standards and policies that it always has regarding non-disclosure restrictions.

Unlike with personal Gmail accounts, Google can use your personal data only to make your experience better (e.g., to suggest related recipients when you send an email). Google has an official statement about Google Apps for Education customers,

All LionMail data will be stored on servers in the United States.

The core LionMail services (Mail, Calendar and Contacts) are all covered by the contract between Columbia and Google. The additional terms of service will affect services that may be available for your LionMail account at a later date. These services would be available while logged in to your LionMail account but would be governed by the normal consumer terms of service.

The infrastructures behind LionMail and LionMail Calendar are fully compatible with client software such as Outlook, Thunderbird and Apple Mail; these clients can in turn be used with common screen-reader software.

Guides are available to facilitate accessibility: