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JAWS Screen Reader Quick Reference Guide

JAWS (or Job Access for Windows) is a software program called a screen reader. It speaks aloud the text on a computer so a user with a visual impairment can interact with the computer. This guide is meant for new users of JAWS to get started doing a few simple but important tasks - reading documents like Microsoft Word files and browsing the internet with Internet Explorer.

Windows hot keys and short cuts provide fast access to menus, allow switching between applications, and execution of common tasks like opening or saving files.

Reading documents with JAWS

Many speech functions in JAWS are accessed by using the numeric keypad (Num Pad) located on the far right side of your keyboard. Usually this Num Pad is used to type numbers so you must turn off the number lock function. Do this by pressing the Num Lock key in the upper left corner of the NUM PAD.

JAWS uses the Insert key at the bottom left of the Num Pad in combination with the other keys on this keypad to control what JAWS will speak.

To start JAWS reading the screen, press the key combination Insert +Down Arrow. This is the SayAll command.

To halt speech, press the Ctrl key.

Here are the rest of the keystroke combinations using this keypad and the name of the command.

Num PadSay Character

Insert+Num Pad 5 Say Word

Insert+Num Pad 5 twice Spell Word

Insert+Left Arrow Say Prior Word

Insert+Right Arrow Say Next Word

Insert+Up Arrow Say Line

Insert+Home(7) Say To Cursor

Insert+Page Up (9) Say From Cursor

Insert+Page Down (3) Say Bottom Line Of Window

Insert+End (1) Say Top Line Of Window

Browsing the Internet

We recommend you use Internet Explorer 5 or newer with JAWS. Internet Explorer allows you to read documents on the Worldwide Web as well as interact with other people in several ways. You can move through web pages, open new pages, and fill out forms easily. JAWS lets you read a web page as you would in a word processing document.

Reading and Moving through Web Pages

When you open Internet Explorer, your home page opens. If you don't have a home page specified, you can select a web page from your Favorites menu or press Alt+D to move to the Address Bar and type in the address of a page. Once a page is selected, Internet Explorer loads it and JAWS announces the presence of frames, links, headings, and forms and begins speaking the text on the screen. To move through the page, use Up and Down Arrow, Page Up, and Page Down as you would in a word processing document. The JAWS commands to Read By Word, Line, Sentence, and Paragraph work normally.

Note: If you start to read before a page finishes loading, some of the page may not be available.

JAWS says, "link," when it encounters a link to another document or portion of the page. To follow a link, press Enter while positioned on the link.

To go back to the previous page, press Alt+Left Arrow or Backspace. To move forward one page after you have moved back, press Alt+Right Arrow.

Displaying Lists of Information

JAWS can look at a web page and compile lists of links or headings so you can quickly find what you need and move to information. Press Insert+F7 to display a list of all links on the current page. Press Insert+F6 to display a list of all headings on the current page. Move through the lists with the arrow keys or press the first letter of items to move right to them. Press Enter to follow a link in the Links List or to move to a heading from the Headings List.

Interacting with Forms

JAWS lets you easily work with forms on the web. Press F to move to the next form control on the page. Press Enter to enter Forms Mode. Press Tab to move between form controls while in Forms Mode. Type in edit fields, check check boxes, and select items from lists and combo boxes. Press Num Pad Plus to exit Forms Mode.

Quick and Easy Navigation

JAWS provides easy to use and remember commands to move through web pages. Press a single letter on your keyboard and move right to an item. Press T for table, F for form control, V for visited link, or H for heading. Add Shift to move to the previous table, form control, visited link, or heading.


This text adapted from Surfing the Internet with JAWS and the Freedom Scientific JAWS Headquarters