Hello. This is Gerry Chevalier from the GTT Edmonton Chapter. This weekly blog provides tips that I find useful as a keyboard user of Windows. The information is for Windows10 and Office 365, although many tips still apply to older versions. The tips do not require a screen reader unless specifically noted. Thus, the tips apply whether you are a keyboard user or low vision mouse user. Here is this week’s tip.
Web Navigation – Using the Keyboard with JAWS
This blog series is about Windows shortcut keys not specific to screen readers. However, I thought it important to devote this one tip to screen reader navigation on web sites because modern screen readers like JAWS, NVDA, and now Windows Narrator provide so much value added navigation that it is critical that you are aware how you can enhance your web browsing experience if you use a screen reader. the following examples refer to JAWS, but some of the shortcuts will work in NVDA and Windows Narrator screen readers as well.
• While on a web page, regardless of which browser you are using, press the letter H to jump forward from heading to heading at any heading level or Shift+H to jump backwards to the previous heading.
• Press 1 on the number row to jump to a level 1 heading. Press 2 on the number row to jump to a level 2 heading and so on. Many well-organized web pages will use a level 1 heading to begin the main content of the web page. Thus, when the page opens, you can jump directly to the main content simply by pressing 1 on the number row.
• Hold down the JAWS key and press F6 to bring up a list of headings on the web page. Arrow up and down the list of headings or press the first letter of the desired heading. When you find it in the list, just press Enter to position at that heading in the web page.
• Similarly, press the JAWS key + F7 to bring up a list of links on the web page. Arrow up and down the list of links or press the first letter of the desired link. When you find it in the list, just press Enter to activate the link. Note, if you press TAB within the list of links, you will find a “Move to Link” button which will position you on the web page where that link is located rather than activating the link.
• Press Insert+F5 to bring up a list of form fields on a web page. You may then arrow through the fields and press Enter on any field to position to that field on the page. This is a useful way to review all the fields on a form before you fill it out.
• Press B or Shift+B to jump to the next or previous button on the web page.
• Press C or Shift+C to jump to the next or previous combo box drop down on the web page.
• Press E or Shift+E to jump to the next or previous edit box. For example, most web pages have a search edit box to allow you to search the web site and you can reach this edit field by simply pressing the letter e.
• Press L or Shift+L to jump to the next or previous list on the web page.
• Press T or Shift+T to jump forward or backward between tables on the page. Within a table, you may hold down the Control and Alt keys while pressing up, down, left, and right arrows to move among the cells of the table.
• At the top of the table just above the first row, JAWS will announce the number of rows and columns. At this point, you may press F8 to select the entire table and then Control+C to copy the table to the clipboard. You could then paste that table into a Word or Excel document.
Press X or Shift+X to jump to the next or previous check box on the web page.
You may prefix the above shortcuts (B, C, E, L, T, X) with Control+Insert keys to bring up a list of that control. For example, Control+Insert+B will bring up a list of buttons on the page.
• Press Control+F to do a JAWS search but note that this will only search the current page not the entire web site. It is a useful way to position yourself to a location on the page where you know certain text exists.
• Press P or Shift+P to jump to the next or previous paragraph and speak it. P is often more efficient than pressing down arrow to read lines on the page because P will read multiple lines at a time that comprise a paragraph. The equivalent Windows shortcut is Control+Down Arrow.
There are many more JAWS web browsing techniques. Freedom Scientific, the creator of the JAWS screen reader, offers a free self-paced online tutorial called, Surfs Up, to help you effectively surf the web using only the keyboard.
That’s it for this tip. Until next Wednesday, happy computing.