DRAFT Quick Reference Guide and Tutorial for Screen Reading with Jaws,
prepared by Maeve May.

Follow the links for specific Topics using Jaws and Windows Shortcuts and Notes for Jaws users.

Home Page    |   Jaws Reading Shortcuts    |   Menus and Dialog Boxes Shortcuts and notes    |   Desktop Shortcut and Notes     |    Word Shortcuts and Notes   |   Internet Shortcuts & Notes    |   Outlook Shortcuts and Notes    |   Outlook Express Notes    |      File Management Shortcuts     |  Jaws special Features    |   Outlook Calendar shortcuts and notes   |   Excel for Jaws     |    Powerpoint for Jaws

Desktop Shortcuts and Notes using Jaws Screen Reader.

The first part of this webpage lists shortcuts for Jaws users in the desktop, some of which are exclusively Jaws shortcuts.  The second half of this webpage gives more details notes on using the desktop features for Jaws users .

Shortcuts - Click here to move to Notes

Ctrl Alt J (if activated).   Start Jaws Program.

Insert J.   Open Jaws window.

Insert Escape.    Refresh Screen (can also be used to unfreeze).

Insert F2.   Run Jaws Manager (configuration etc).

Insert F4.   Shut down Jaws.

Insert F10.   List all open programs.

Insert F11.   Open system tray, arrow through the items, eg volume control and Remove Hardware. (you may need to to uncheck the default system tray option “Hide inactive icons” for Jaws to read all icons in the system tray) see separate note on how to remove hardware.

Control Shift F11.   View System tray icons.

Insert F12.   Say time.

Insert T.   Read Window Title.

Insert End.   Say top line of window (often title).

Insert Page Down.   Say bottom line of window (status bar).

Insert V.   Adjust Jaws Verbosity – specific to application.

General Windows Shortcuts – Available even when Jaws turned off.

Windows key or Ctrl+Esc.   Opens the Start Menu.

Windows key + B.   Focus to System Tray – arrow through options.

Windows key D.   Switch to Desktop.

Windows key  E.   Open Windows Explorer.

Windows key F.   Opens the Find File or Folder.

Windows key M.   Minimise all open windows and focus to desktop.

Windows key+ tab.   Focus to Taskbar – arrow through options.

Alt+ F4.   Closes the Application.

Control F4.   Closes the Child window (ie document) but not application.

Alt+Tab.   Switches between applications.  Hold down Alt, tap on Tab, read and Tab again.

Shift+ Alt + F4.   Closes all  Explorer Windows.

Alt + spacebar.   Opens the application window control box.

Alt + hyphen.   Opens the child window control box.

Alt Spacebar, then n).   to select Minimise program window.

Alt + hyphen, then n).   to select Minimise child window.

Ctrl F10.   Maximise document window.

Notes for using the Desktop for Jaws users

When you start your computer the first area of focus is the desktop.

The Desktop has 4 or 5 areas of focus depending on whether the Quick Launcher toolbar is activated.

  • The Desktop which has icons to represent programs, folders and files that you regularly use for easy access.
  • The Start button (bottom left of screen) which opens a Menu which allows you to access more programs and other functions.
  • The Taskbar along the bottom of the screen, which will display icons for all programs which are currently open.  
  • The Quick Launch toolbar is an optional toolbar on the left side of the taskbar and contains icons for the Microsoft Office Programs and some other Microsoft programs.
  • The System Tray or notification area in the right on your taskbar which displays icons that appear when certain events occur, such as connection status to the internet, when a memory stick or camera has been inserted into your computer, the status of your anti-virus program, temporarily when a document has been sent to the printer as well as the time and date.   The default option is to hide inactive icons.  For Jaws users it is best to uncheck this option. (instructions later).
  • Press Tab or Shift tab to move to each area of focus.  The Arrow keys will allow you to navigate within the area of focus that you have selected.  Enter will open any program or file once selected.

Turning on Jaws

If this option has been activated when installing Jaws, press Control Alt + J to start Jaws.  It is also possible to have Jaws automatically start when the computer starts.  Ensure the Number Lock key is turned off when using jaws.

Opening Applications using icons on the desktop

If you have just started the computer you will already be on the desktop.  If not, press Windows key and D to place focus on desktop.  Arrow through the icons.   Press Enter to open an application program, folder or file. 

A faster way is to type the first letter of the icon’s name.  If more than one item begins with the same letter, press the letter again to move to the next item beginning with that letter.

The default setting for the desktop is to have My Documents, My Computer, Internet Explorer and My Network Places automatically as icons on the desktop.  For all other programs a shortcut icon will have to be created.  Refer to Point  0 REF _Ref157749872 \r \h 1.10 for instructions how to do this.

Opening Applications if the icon is not on the desktop

Press Windows ˙ key to open the start menu which contains a series of sub-menus.  Press up or down arrows to navigate the main menu items. Jaws will announce if a menu item has a sub-menu.  Press Enter or right arrow to open a submenu.  Press up or down arrows to navigate the sub-menu items.  Press Enter to activate the menu item.  Note it is possible to open several programs while other programs are still open. 

To close the Start menu without activating a menu command, press Escape key.

Using Hot keys in the Start Menu

If you are regularly using certain commands it may be useful to use hot keys. A hot key is a shortcut key for a menu item.  The hot key is identified by an underlined letter in the menu name – this is most often the first letter of the menu item, for example P for programs.  However if there are several menu items starting with the same letter, it may use the second or third letter, for example the menu Shutdown uses the hotkey U

Press Windows key to open the start menu.  Press the hotkey for the menu item, for example P for programs, press Enter to open submenu, arrow through the programs. Press Enter to open programs.

Switching between Programs using the Alt key

It is possible to have several programs open at the one time.  Hold down the Alt key and tap the Tab key once to switch to the next program that is open.  Still holding down the Alt key, allow Jaws to read the name of the program and filename.  If this is not the correct program, press the Tab key again until you reach the correct program, then release the Alt and Tab keys.

Alternative ways of switching between open programs

Method 2:  Press Windows key and then tab to move focus to taskbar.  Arrow through the open programs and Press Enter.

Method 3: Press Jaws shortcut key Insert F10.  Arrow though to list the open programs.  Press Enter to switch to that program.

Method 4: To switch to the open Jaws program press Insert and J. 

Closing Applications

Most Microsoft programs have two windows.  The parent window which is the program window and the child window which is the file which is being created using that program.  To close a program down, press Alt + F4 key.  To close down the active file within the program, press Control + F4 key.  To close down the Jaws program, press Insert + F4 key.

To Shut down Windows using Hot key

Press Windows key to open the start menu.  Press U for shutdown.  And then U again for Turn Off if using Windows XP.  Ensure that shutdown or turn off is the active option.  If not arrow up or down.  Press Enter to activate the shutdown.

How to Create a Program Shortcut Icon

Locate the program using the usual method of Start, Programs. Arrow down to find the program you want, but instead of pressing enter to open the program, use the application key (right click key next to right Alt key).  Arrow down to the menu option: Send To, Press Enter to open submenu, Arrow down and select ”Desktop Create Shortcut”.  This will create a shortcut icon on the desktop.

How to rename the icon to a shorter more meaningful name

Press Windows M or Windows D to move focus to desktop.  Locate the new icon. press F2 key, type a new name, press Enter.

How to create a keyboard shortcut for Program Icons

To create a keyboard shortcut, locate the program’s shortcut icon, press Alt and Enter to access Properties.  Control Tab to the Shortcut tabbed chapter.  Tab down to Shortcut Key box.  Press the keys you would like to use for the shortcut.  A recommended option is Control + Alt + Relevant letter. 

Using Memory Sticks and Safely Remove Hardware

When a memory stick is inserted into a USB port on the computer, Windows 2000 or Windows XP automatically recognises that it is there and places an icon with a green arrow in the System Tray. 

Files can be written to this drive similar to the method of saving to a floppy or My Documents.  Windows assigns a drive letter called E or F and usually has the name Removable Disk. 

To safely remove the memory stick from the computer while the computer is on, it is necessary to activate the “Safely Remove Hardware” icon in the system tray.  As the default Windows setting is for inactive icons to be hidden, Jaws sometimes has difficulty finding this icon.  It is advisable to first adjust this for screenreaders as follows:

How to Adjust the System tray so that it shows all icons

  • Press Windows key and B to place focus on Taskbar

  • Press Application key

  • Select Properties

  • Tab down to the option “Hide Inactive icon”

  • Make sure this option is left unchecked by pressing the spacebar.

  • Tab down to OK.  Press Enter.

How to safely remove the memory stick

First of all close all documents which have been saved to the memory stick as you cannot remove the memory stick while they are still open.  Press Insert F11 to place focus on system tray.  Arrow to the option Safety Remove Hardware.  Press Tab twice to go to command called Left Single click button, Press Enter.

A prompt will ask “Safely Remove Mass Storage Device and will name the drive letter.

Press Enter to accept this option.   If the memory stick is not connected to any open files, a dialog box will come up saying “Safe to remove Hardware device etc.”  Press Enter to accept and then physically remove the memory stick.

Adjust Computer volume control    

Press Insert and F11 key, arrow to move to volume, press Enter to open, then press tab to move to volume slider, arrow up or down to increase or decrease volume.  Press Enter to accept.

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