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Guide to JAWS

JAWS (Job Access With Speech) is a screen reading technology which allows users to hear whatever is on screen.

To find out which University PCs have JAWS installed, please view the Library Assistive Technology pages.

Activating JAWS

When you open JAWS, the application icon remains on the taskbar at the bottom of the screen. Click on the taskbar icon to see the JAWS toolbar or press INSERT+J on your keyboard.


To open JAWS Help menu, activate the JAWS window (INSERT+J) and press ALT+H or the F1 key. Use the Up and Down arrows to move through the Table of Contents. Use the Right arrow to open the contents of a book within the Table of Contents, and Left arrow to close a book. Press Enter on a selected page to access the text and then press F6 to move to the topic window. Press F6 again to return to the Table of Contents (or ALT+C to return to Table of Contents from any section of the Help system). See the 'New Users Start Here' section of the Help pages to learn about the features and keystrokes for JAWS.

For context sensitive help (help for the screen that you are working in), press INSERT+F1. Hot Key Help is opened using INSERT+H, which gives useful JAWS keystrokes that are available. To open JAWS Help topics for the current application you are running, press INSERT+F1 twice quickly.

JAWS Keyboard Help is opened with INSERT+1. JAWS will say "Keyboard Help on": press any key combination to hear what it will do. Get a more extensive description of the combination by pressing the last key in the combination twice quickly. To use the keystrokes, Keyboard Help needs to be switched off by pressing INSERT+1. Commonly used Windows application keystrokes can be accessed using INSERT+W.

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Options in JAWS

Activate the JAWS application by pressing INSERT+J. The JAWS toolbar will appear with the following menus: Options, Utilities, Language and Help. To select the first menu, click the ALT key and use the left and right arrows to move through the menu bars. To move through the menu options, use the up and down arrows.

The Options sub-menu contains Basic Settings, Voices, Braille, and Exit. Select the Voices sub-menu category and select 'Individual Voice Adjusment'. You can change the pitch, speed and voice type of individual voices (PC Cursor, JAWS Cursor, Keyboard Cursor and Tutor and Message Cursor) from this window. To apply the same speed (rate) change for all applications, select the Voices sub-menu and 'Global Adjustment'. Enter the Language menu and select Synthesizer Language to alter the language of JAWS.

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Using JAWS with Internet Explorer

Open Internet Explorer (JAWS is best used with Internet Explorer 5 or higher). JAWS starts to read the presence of links, frames, headings and forms, and then reads the text on the screen. To move through the page, use the Up and Down arrows and Page Up and Page Down keys. JAWS will say "link" when it reads a link on the page; to visit this link, press ENTER whilst on the link.

The following is a selection of some of the Internet Explorer keystrokes - see the Help pages or User Guide for full list:

ALT+D: move to the address bar (then type in a URL)

INSERT+TAB: move to the address bar text

TAB: go to next link on page

SHIFT+TAB: go to previous link

G: move to next graphic on page

SHIFT+G: move to previous graphic on page

S: move to next same element on page

D: move to next different element on page

ALT+Left Arrow: visit previous page

ALT+Right Arrow: go forward a page (this can only be used if you have visited more than one page and gone back to a previous page)

INSERT+F7: lists all links on the current page

INSERT+F6: lists all headings on current page

INSERT+F5: lists all form fields on current page

Use the arrow keys to move through these lists and press ENTER to follow link or heading.

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