GTT Vancouver Summary Notes, The JAWS Screen Reader, August 17, 2016

Summary Notes
GTT Vancouver

Date: August 17, 2016

Present: Seven members attended;

Screen Reading technology is a way of converting text on the screen into synthesized voices. Screen readers only read pure text. Images, or text embedded into a photo will not be read.

JAWS is one of the 3 competitive PC screen readers on the market. Window Eyes and NVDA are the other two. Window Eyes is now owned by the same company that owns JAWS, and NVDA is a free, open source screen reader.

JAWS has been around since the early 90’ and is currently developed by Freedom Scientific.

It was designed primarily for the work environment – Word, Excel, Outlook – the Microsoft Office Suite.
• JAWS comes in two versions – home and professional.
• It is the screen reader that is most recommended and where the most support is available

Firefox is better than Internet Explorer with JAWS, and possibly even in general.

Many of the keyboard commands you use with JAWS are not specific to JAWS, as they are native to the Windows Operating System:
• Not all keyboard commands use the JAWS/Insert key.
• Control alt page up or page down will temporarily speed or slow down speech in JAWS but not globally across the computer. When you exit the program it will reset to the original speed.
• Some keys do different things when you have Navigation Quick Keys turned on when browsing the internet.

Forms mode on the Internet:
• You have to hit enter or the Space Bar before you can start typing in the edit boxes. When you hit the Enter key after typing your search string it will activate the Search Button and conduct the search.
• The second type of edit field is a multi-line edit box. You can use the Enter key to add a new line. You have to tab to the Search/Next button to move things forward.

Quick Navigation keys – single letters that will move your cursor to different places on the screen. To turn Navigation Quick KEYS ON OR OFF HOLD DOWN THE JAWS KEY AND PRESS THE LETTER Z. :
• H is for all Headings, and the first 6 numbers on the number row will access Level 1 through 6 Headings.
• L is for list.
• I is for items within a list.
• U is for unvisited links.
• V is for visited links.
• T is for tables.
• F is for form fields, but for clarification a form field is a button, edit box, check box, radio button, etc. so it’s not as specific as the other keys listed.
• E is for edit boxes.
• B is for button.
• X is for checkbox – use space bar to select the item you want to check.
• C is for combo boxes.
• M is for frames – skips past ad frames.
• K is for markers, and Control shift K will set a marker in a specific spot. They may not remain when Web-sites are updated or changed.
• Control f – Jaws find – type a phrase you are looking for and it will bring you there

Also, three more useful keys:
• Jaws Key + f7 brings up a list of links.
• Jaws key + f5 brings up a list box of form controls.
• Jaws key + f6 brings up a list of headings

Other JAWS resources:
• FS Reader is a DAISY Player that installs when JAWS is installed on your computer, and that can be used to play the JAWS Tutorial/Help files.
• Had is a Text Editor that installs when JAWS is installed on your computer. It has a Spellchecker built-in, so if you don’t have MS Word this can be used to create documents, or to read RTF and TXT files.
• JAWS key plus F1 will show you things dependent on where you are. If you are on a Web page it will list all the quick Navigation keys. Escape key will get you out of this mode.
• JAWS Key plus Number Row 1 will turn on and off Keyboard Help, it is a toggle. You can then press any key or key combination to find out what the keys are and JAWS will explain their function.
• JAWS key plus the letter H will give you a list of keys you can use where you are – Type Escape to exit this window.

JAWS key plus the letter J will launch the Jaws Menu, Options, utilities, languages, about, and help:
• Press the Alt Key to open the Menu Bar, then down arrow through the Options Menu to Basics, there you will find the following adjustable items;
Tutor messages helps by telling you your jaws command options and how to activate them. You can turn this on or off.
Access keys – you can turn this off if you know all your commands and don’t need a reminder
• Tutorials are in the Jaws menu under help – You will find Training audio files that will play in FS Reader.
• The PC cursor is your regular cursor on the screen, or the curser that types letters in your documents, web pages etc.
• Jaws cursor doesn’t show up it’s just where you are on the screen, and is otherwise known as your Mouse Curser.
• JAWS Key plus Escape refreshes the screen visually to show them where you are.

Topic for next time – GPS Technology
September 21, 2016

Other ideas that were suggested:
• Overview of Safari on the IPhone.
• Cover the GTT Facebook Group.
• Backing Up along with storage options such as One Drive or Dropbox – Cloud storage

4 thoughts on “GTT Vancouver Summary Notes, The JAWS Screen Reader, August 17, 2016

  1. Re the item, partially quoted here: “Images, or text embedded into a photo will not be read”Images, or text embedded into a photo will not be read refers to trying to read text on a video image. I understand why this text cannot be read by a screen reader. However, I wonder if the ORCAM can be used to take a photo of the TV screen. If so, would the ORCAM identify the video text, and read it for you? By the way, Clinton Miller, a friend, has been working, for it seems decades, on developing a way to read “LED”, “LCD”, or other visual displays that do not have audible options. I intend to contact him to suggest that he try the above approach – using ORCAM. Re tomorrow’s conference call, another friend and I intend to listen in tomorrow night, and chime in with relevant topics for discussion on future GGT calls. Jim E-mail:


  2. Albert: Thank you for providing these notes regarding JAWS keystroke combinations. As you stated, the key combination of CTRL + ALT + PAGE UP/DOWN will increase/decrease the rate of speech within an application for as long as the user is within that application. Pressing the key combination of CTRL + WINDOWS key +ALT + PAGE UP/DOWN will permanently reset the speech rate within JAWS for all application, even after the computer is shut down. However, as is the case with all other settings, the speech rate can be changed at any time in the future using the same keystroke combination. This shortcut eliminates the arduous task of navigating the JAWS Options/Basic/Voices settings. R/


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