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Guide to Using JAWS for Windows


Starting JAWS on the IU Bloomington Campus Computers

Log in with your IU username and password, and JAWS should start automatically. If it does not, press Insert + Alt + j to start it. A JAWS icon is also located on the desktop. To select the JAWS icon on the desktop, press Windows Logo Key + m, then the letter j, followed by the Enter key.

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Getting Help from JAWS

  • To activate Screen Sensitive Help, press Insert + F1 (Desktop) and Alt + Right Bracket (Laptop). This function identifies the active window in addition to providing keyboard commands specific to the currently opened program.
  • To activate the key describer function, press Insert + 1. The key describer identifies the key or key combinations that you press. Press Insert + 1 again to turn off the key describer.
  • To activate Hot Key help, press Insert + H. This function describes JAWS keystrokes specific to the active application.
  • Press Insert + W to hear a list of Windows keystrokes.
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Keyboard Orientation for JAWS

On desktop computers, JAWS uses the Numeric Keypad to perform mouse simulations. The numeric keypad is located on the right hand side of your keyboard. To write numbers with the Numeric pad, you will need to turn Num Loc on; the Num Lock key is located on the upper left-hand corner of the numeric keypad.

Most JAWS keyboard commands use the Insert key plus a letter or function key. The insert key is located on the upper left row of the six-pack of keys between the normal keyboard and the numeric pad on desktop computers. On the laptop computers that are loaned out to students, usually Dell, the Insert key is the third key from the right on the top row of keys.

On desktop and laptop computers, functions keys F1 through F12 are located on the top row of your normal keyboard. From left to right, the keys are: Escape, F1, F2, F3, F4, F5, F6, F7, F8, F9, F10, F11, and F12. The function keys are used quite frequently; for example, pressing F1 will open the Help file for the currently-open application.

When you press the Windows Logo key, JAWS will say, "start menu" and, depending on which programs you have installed on your computer, might say, "programs, submenu." The Windows Logo keys are located on the bottom row of the keyboard, second of three keys, left and right from the spacebar, which is the long key.

The six-pack of keys, located above your arrow keys between the numeric keypad and the normal keyboard, is very useful for navigating. And is also where the Insert key is located. Starting at the top left, the keys are Insert, Home and Page Up. On the bottom left is Delete, End, and Page Down.

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Cursor in JAWS

There are four cursors in JAWS: PC cursor, virtual PC cursor, Braille cursor and JAWS cursor. To activate the PC cursor, which is the primary cursor in JAWS used for menu navigation, dialog box navigation and text editing in a word processor or spreadsheet, press the Num Pad Plus key (Desktop) or Alt + Semicolon (Laptop). Activating the PC cursor is the same as turning off Forms Mode in an internet browser. Please see the paragraph about the virtual PC cursor below. It is not necessary to activate the PC cursor unless you have activated the JAWS cursor or the Virtual PC cursor.

To activate the JAWS cursor, press the Num Pad Minus key (Desktop) or Alt + P (Laptop). The Num Pad Minus key is located on the upper right corner of the numeric keypad. By default, JAWS uses a different speaking voice to announce that the JAWS cursor has been activated, and when you use the up- or down-arrow keys to navigate with the JAWS cursor, everything will be read with the JAWS cursor voice until you activate the PC cursor. The JAWS cursor is used for mouse simulations.

The Virtual PC cursor is only visible when using the internet. The Virtual PC cursor is activated when you press Enter to fill out a form on a website or search for something on Google, for example. To activate Forms Mode, press Enter when you hear JAWS say "edit." JAWS will say "forms mode on" when you can type the text you want to put in the edit field.

The Braille cursor is the blinking cursor that appears if 8 dot Braille is activated on a refreshable Braille display. You can control the movement of the Braille cursor with your Braille display.

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Making Speech Adjustments

Adjust the Voice Rate Procedure

  1. Press Insert + j to open the JAWS Window, or press Alt + Tab until you hear JAWS say, "JAWS." Then release the Alt and Tab keys.
  2. Press the Alt key. You will hear JAWS say, "Menu. Options, Utilities, Language, Help."
  3. Press the Down-arrow key. You will hear JAWS say, "Options menu. Basics, dot, dot, dot." Continue pressing the down-arrow key until you hear JAWS say "Voices dot, dot, dot" and then press Enter.
  4. There are two options in this menu: Global Adjustment and Individual Voices Adjustment. If you press Enter on the Global Voices Submenu your voice rate for JAWS and all supported applications will change. If you choose the Individual Voice Adjustment option, you can change the pitch of the voice you are currently using to read this document. Press Enter on the Global Voice Settings option.
  5. Press the Tab key one time until you hear JAWS say "voice Rate, x%" (where x represents the current percentile of the current rate of speech).
  6. Use your Up- or Down-arrow keys to increase or decrease the rate of speech.
  7. Press Enter to save your changes and exit, or Escape to cancel the changes.
Note: JAWS says "dot, dot, dot" instead of ellipses.

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Adjust Voice Uppercase Pitch Procedure

  1. Press Insert + j to open the JAWS Window, or press Alt + Tab to cycle through your currently opened applications until you find the JAWS window.
  2. Choose the Individual Voice Adjustment option from the Voices menu.
  3. Tab to the pitch scroll bar, where you will hear JAWS announce "pitch," followed by a number.
  4. Use the up- or down-arrow keys to change the pitch.
  5. Press Enter to save your settings or Escape to cancel.
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Using Voice Aliases

In the JAWS Configuration Manager, the Voice Aliases option allows you to choose different voices for certain instances of text, such as bold or quoted text; you can also use the "Web Rentacrowd" option, and JAWS will use different voices to denote links.
To choose one of these aliases:

  1. Open the JAWS window by pressing Alt + j or press Alt + Tab to cycle to the JAWS window.
  2. Press Alt and the right-arrow until you hear JAWS say "Utilities".
  3. Press down-arrow twice or the letter c. JAWS will then open the Configuration Manager.
  4. Press the Alt key again and right-arrow to Set Options.
  5. Press Enter and then the letter e. You will hear JAWS say "voice aliases." Press Enter.
  6. Browse through the twenty different options and listen carefully to the descriptions. You may hear something like, "All caps voice: current pitch plus 34 percent."
  7. When you hear the voice alias you'd like to use, tab to the OK button and press Enter.
  8. Press Enter again to save your new voice alias settings and close the dialog box, or press Escape to cancel.
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Adjusting Verbosity Settings

  1. Press Insert + j to open the JAWS Window, or press Alt + Tab to cycle through the open windows until you find the JAWS window.
  2. Press Insert + v. JAWS opens the verbosity menu.
  3. Use your down-arrow key to navigate through the list of settings you can alter.
  4. Press Spacebar to toggle between the choices. For example, you can adjust the amount of punctuation you want spoken by scrolling down to punctuation and pressing spacebar. Each time you press the spacebar, you will hear JAWS say, "all, most, some, or one." If you only want some punctuation spoken, press spacebar until you hear JAWS say "some."
  5. Press Enter to save your settings or Escape to cancel.
Here is a list of all the verbosity settings, along with brief descriptions:

User Verbosity: This setting has three levels: beginner, intermediate and advanced. The beginner level provides the most amount of spoken, detailed information, while intermediate and advanced provides less detail.

Spell Text: There are two levels of verbosity for this setting. If you choose Alphabetically, JAWS will spell text alphabetically; if you choose Phonetically, JAWS will say "alpha, bravo, etc."

Progress Bar Announcement: You can choose whether to have the progress bar announcement on or off. This setting is useful to have on when surfing the web, because it tells you how much of a web page is loaded.

Typing Echo: There are four levels of verbosity for this setting. If you choose the Both Characters and Words setting, JAWS will speak everything typed, including when you press the spacebar. If you choose the Words setting, JAWS won't speak until after you have typed a word and then pressed spacebar; JAWS will then recite the word. If you choose the setting for no typing echo, JAWS won't begin to speak until you use the arrow keys to read the line of text where your cursor is located.

Screen Echo: There are three levels of verbosity for this option: None, Highlighted, and All. If you choose All, when text on your computer screen changes, JAWS will announce that change. If you choose Highlighted, only highlighted text changes on your computer screen will be spoken. If you choose not to have any screen echo, JAWS will not speak any text changes on your screen that might occur.

Graphics Verbosity: There are three levels of verbosity for this option: All, Labeled and None. If you choose Labeled Graphics, JAWS will announce graphics that have been labeled with the graphics labeler. If you choose All Graphics, JAWS will announce labeled graphics if they have been labeled with the graphics labeler; if not, JAWS will assign a unique number to the graphics.

Language Detection: You can either turn this setting on or off. If it is on, whenever JAWS encounters words in Spanish, French, British English, Italian, German or Portuguese, JAWS will use that language voice to read that text.

Say All By: This setting has four verbosity levels and is used when pressing Insert + Down-Arrow, which is the JAWS Say All command. If you choose By Lines with Pauses, JAWS will pause for a moment at the end of the line of text it has just finished reading before moving to the next line. You can also choose By Line without Pauses, and JAWS will read smoothly. If you choose By Paragraph, JAWS will pause momentarily at the end of the paragraph that has just been read before proceeding to the next paragraph. If you choose By Sentence, JAWS will pause for a moment at the end of each sentence after it has been read.

Announce Caps During Say All: You can turn this setting on or off. When you press Insert + Down Arrow, JAWS will indicate single capitalized letters with the word "caps," and if there is a group of capitalized letters, JAWS will say "all caps."

Caps Indicated: There are four levels of verbosity for this setting, which is used to tell JAWS when you want to know about capitalized letters in the text you are reading. You can choose when reading by word, line, by character, or never.

Punctuation: this setting has four levels of verbosity-most, some, all, or none. If you choose most, the majority of punctuation marks will be announced by JAWS. If you choose None, JAWS won't announce any punctuation, but the voice inflection will indicate when a sentence starts, ends, when there is a question mark or an exclamation point.

Indentation Indication: This setting, which you can turn on or off, will announce indentation according to the rules you set in the Speech and Sounds Manager.

Synthesizer: When this setting is turned on, JAWS will use the speech synthesizer; if you have a Braille display, you can follow along as the text is being read aloud. If you have this setting turned off, you will not hear any speech; JAWS will be functioning, but you will need to use your Braille display instead of listening.

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Graphics Labeler

When you are using applications such as Windows Media Player or an internet browser, you may notice that JAWS will say "graphic" followed by a random number. You can use the graphics labeler to label these graphics so they make sense. You can either label a graphic manually or use the auto-labeler. You might need sighted assistance to determine how to label graphics properly.

To label a graphic manually, make sure you have All Graphics turned on in the JAWS verbosity settings. Then, you will want to practice labeling a graphic. To go to HJ-Pad to practice labeling a graphic:

  1. Open the Start menu by pressing the Windows Logo key.
  2. Press the letter p until you hear JAWS say "programs" and then press Enter.
  3. Press the letter j until you hear JAWS say "JAWS 7.0 submenu" and press Enter.
  4. Press the letter r. Press Enter when you hear JAWS say "Run HJ-Pad."

Once you feel comfortable labeling graphics, you can find a graphic to label by first activating the JAWS cursor and then going to the toolbar in HJ-Pad, where there are quite a few unlabeled graphics. To do this, press Page-Up to move to the top of the window, and then the Home key to move to the top-left portion of the toolbar. When you use your arrow keys, you will hear JAWS say "graphic," followed by a number.

To manually label the graphic:

  1. Find the graphic you want to label.
  2. Press Insert + g to open the graphics labeler. You will then be able to type the label of your graphic in the edit field.
  3. Tab to the next edit field to enter the graphic label you'd like to view on your Braille display.
  4. When you press the Tab key again, you will see three radio buttons that indicate where you want to save your newly-labeled graphic. Choose where you want to save it, and then press Enter to activate your label.

For information on the Speech and Sounds Manager, please see the link on the FAQ for JAWS Version 7.

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Text Navigation Commands

  • Say Character: Num Pad 5 (Desktop); Insert + Comma (laptop)
  • Say Next Character: Right Arrow
  • Say Prior Character: Left Arrow
  • Say Word: Insert + Num Pad 5 (desktop); Caps Lock + k (laptop)
  • Spell Word: Insert + Num Pad 5 press twice quickly (desktop); Caps Lock + k pressed twice quickly (laptop)
  • Say Next Word: Insert + Right Arrow
  • Say Prior Word: Insert + Left Arrow
  • Say Line: Insert + Up Arrow
  • Say Next Line: Down Arrow
  • Say Prior Line: Up Arrow
  • Say All: Insert + Down Arrow
  • Interrupt Speech: Control
  • PC Cursor: Num Pad Plus (desktop); Caps Lock + Semicolon (laptop)
  • JAWS Cursor: Num Pad Minus (desktop); Caps Lock + p (laptop)
  • Route PC Cursor to JAWS Cursor: Insert + Num Pad Plus (desktop); Caps Lock + Apostrophe (laptop)
  • Route JAWS Cursor to PC Cursor: Insert + Num Pad Minus (desktop); Caps Lock + Left Bracket (laptop)
  • Say Window Title: Insert + t
  • Say Top Line of Window: Insert + End
  • Say Bottom Line of Window: Insert + Page Down
  • Say to Cursor: Insert + Home
  • Say from Cursor: Insert + Page Up
  • Say Taskbar: Insert + F11
  • Say System Tray: Insert + F12
  • Report Battery Level for Laptop: Caps Lock + Shift + b
  • Screen Sensitive Help: Insert + F1
  • Keyboard Help: Insert + 1
  • JAWS help for Applications: Insert + F1 pressed twice quickly
  • Hot Key Help: Insert + h
  • Windows Keys Help: Insert + w
  • Select Next Word: Insert + Shift + Right Arrow
  • Select Prior Word: Insert + Shift + Left Arrow
  • Say Help Window: Control + Insert + Down Arrow
  • Say Selected Text: Insert + Shift + Down Arrow
  • JAWS window: Insert + j
  • Shut Down JAWS: Insert + F4
  • Say Default Button of Dialog Box: Insert + e
  • Read Word in Context: Insert + c
  • JAWS Find: Control + f
  • JAWS Find Next: Alt + f when already in JAWS Find
  • Left Mouse Button: Num Pad Slash (desktop); Caps Lock + 8 (laptop)
  • Left Mouse Button Lock: Insert + Num Pad Slash (desktop); Ctrl + 8
  • Right Mouse Button: Num Pad star (desktop); Caps Lock + 9 (laptop)
  • Adjust JAWS Verbosity: Insert + v
  • Pass Key Through: Insert + 3
  • Graphics Labeler: Insert + g
  • Say Color: Insert + 5
  • Say Font: Insert + f
  • Run JAWS Manager: Insert + F2
  • Say Active Cursor and Coordinates: Alt + Delete
  • Minimize All Apps: Insert + F6
  • Say Application Version Control + Insert + v
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Windows Shortcut Key Commands

  • Open the Start Menu: Control + Escape or Windows Logo Key
  • Shut Down Windows: Control + Escape, u, Enter, or Windows Logo Key, u, Enter
  • Switch Between Applications: Alt + Tab
  • Quit the Active Application: Alt + F4
  • Open a System Menu: Alt + Space
  • Open the Properties Dialog: Alt + Enter
  • Move to the Menu Bar: Alt or F10
  • Cancel or Close menu: Escape
  • Close a Child Window: Control + F4
  • Open the Shortcut Menu: Shift + F10
  • Move Through Dialog Options: Tab
  • Move to First Item: Home
  • Move to the Last Item: End
  • Scroll Up or Down One Screen: Page Up or Page Down
  • Move One Character: Left Arrow or Right Arrow
  • Move One Word: Control + Left Arrow or Right Arrow
  • Move One Paragraph: Control + Up Arrow or Down Arrow
  • Move to Beginning of Document: Control + Home
  • Move to End of Document: Control + End
  • Select or Cancel an Item Spacebar
  • Select or Clear a check Box: Spacebar
  • Copy: Control + C
  • Cut: Control + X
  • Paste: Control + V
  • Undo: Control + Z
  • Delete Current Character: Delete
  • Delete Prior Character: Backspace
  • Select One Character: Shift + Right or Left Arrow
  • Select One Word: Shift + Control + Right Arrow or Left Arrow
  • Select One Line Up: Shift + Up Arrow
  • Select One Line Down: Shift + Down Arrow
  • Select to the Beginning of Line: Shift + Home
  • Select to the Ending of Line: Shift + End
  • Select One Screen: Shift + Page Up or Page Down
  • Select to Beginning of Document: Control + Shift + Home
  • Select to End of Document: Control + Shift + End
  • Delete Files: Delete
  • Delete and Bypass the Recycle Bin: Shift + Delete
  • Rename a file or folder: F2
  • Find a File or Folder from the Desktop: F3
  • Refresh a Window in Internet Explorer or Firefox: F5
  • Windows Explorer: Windows Logo Key + e
  • Run Dialog: Windows Key + r
  • Minimize all Windows: Windows Key + m

For additional help, try the JAWS Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

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