New Features in Jaws, ZoomText, and Fusion 2022

New Features in Jaws, ZoomText, and Fusion 2022

The information below has been taken directly from Freedom Scientific. Check out my brief comments in the All Wrapped Up section, after the new features are listed. Updates are separated by headings making it easy to jump to your software of choice. Note that some of the features may overlap between JAWS, Fusion, and ZoomText as they routinely share features among the three products.

JAWS 2022 Features

Automatic Settings Import from Previous Releases

When upgrading to a new version of JAWS, any custom settings from a previous release are now automatically imported. This includes features such as speech and braille display settings, custom scripts, dictionary entries, labeled graphics, and any custom settings you created for applications. Unlike previous releases, the migration process is now silent (no messages or dialog boxes appear) and begins the first time you start the new version. Custom settings older than the two previous versions will not be imported. If the import is successful, you will only be prompted to configure JAWS startup options.

If you do not want settings from a prior version to be migrated to the new version, when performing a new install, there is now a check box on the initial setup screen where you can choose whether or not to silently migrate settings from the prior version. Clear this check box if you do not want to migrate settings.

New Option to Restore Factory Settings

Use the Restore to factory settings item, located in the Options menu of the main JAWS application window, to clear all custom settings that were imported from a previous release or manually configured. Once all settings are removed, JAWS restarts as if it was a brand new installation.

JAWS, ZoomText, and Fusion Discontinues Windows 7 and 8.1 Support

In order to keep pace with continued advancements in Microsoft Windows technology, JAWS, Fusion, and ZoomText 2022 will no longer install and run on versions of Windows earlier than Windows 10. We also continue improving support for Windows 11. Versions of our software will continue to be available for users of older Windows versions from our Previous Downloads web pages.

Improved Performance in Microsoft Office Apps

JAWS 2022 offers a number of general improvements when working in Office 365 applications. In particular, users should notice increased responsiveness when navigating Outlook message lists and working with emails, as well as when editing Word documents.

Sound Splitter

Earlier in JAWS and Fusion 2021, we introduced a way for users to lower the volume of JAWS speech independently of system audio to help make it easier to hear audio from other applications. Version 2022 takes this a step further by now allowing those using stereo headsets or speakers to route all JAWS or Fusion speech to one ear while routing audio from all other applications to the other ear. This helps make it easier to continue getting work done with JAWS while following along during a Zoom or Teams meeting, a Skype call, or a YouTube video.

To split audio:

  1. Press INSERT+SPACEBAR followed by V to activate the Volume layer.
  2. Press B for Balance, and then do one of the following:
    • Press LEFT ARROW to route JAWS Speech to the left and audio from all other applications to the right.
    • Press RIGHT ARROW to route JAWS speech to the right and audio from all other applications to the left.
    • Press UP ARROW to restore both JAWS speech and application audio to both channels.

Note: Before attempting to split your audio, make sure your headset or speakers are properly oriented. For instance, if you route JAWS speech to the left and instead hear it in your right ear, your headset is most likely reversed.

Once you split your JAWS speech and application audio, it remains in effect until you restart JAWS, or use the command to restore the audio balance.

You can also wake up the Voice Assistant and say, “Sound Left,” “Sound Right,” or “Sound Balance.” Make sure your microphone is not muted before speaking these commands. You also may not want to use these commands in apps like Teams or Zoom as other meeting participants will hear you.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: I use a stereo Bluetooth headset that includes a microphone for participating in Teams and Zoom calls. Can I split the audio in this situation?

Answer: No, splitting the audio will not work in a call when using a Bluetooth headset. This is not a JAWS issue. When connecting to a call in Teams or Zoom, it switches from a headphone device to a headset device. By design, the headset device works as a mono device, so sound splitting does not work. If you want to split your audio during a call, we recommend using a wired headset.

Q: Can I split my audio if I’m using a stereo Bluetooth headset to just listen to music?

Answer: Yes. If you are playing audio from another source such as a YouTube video, the sound splitter works as expected even if you are using a Bluetooth headset. You will only experience issues with splitting audio when connecting to a Teams or Zoom call using a Bluetooth headset as it changes from a stereo headphone device to a mono headset device.

Q: Does the sound splitter work with external speakers?

Answer: Yes, JAWS speech and application audio will split as expected if you are using your computer’s internal speakers, or you have external speakers connected.

Q: I currently have JAWS configured to use a different sound device instead of the Windows default sound card. Will I still be able to split the audio?

Answer: As long as both JAWS and the other applications playing sound are all routed through the same sound card, the audio will split as expected. If you use the Sound Cards option under the JAWS Utilities menu to configure JAWS to use a different sound card, JAWS remains routed, but audio from other apps will be restored to both speakers.

New Layered Keystrokes for Selecting a Sound Card for Speech Output

In some instances, Windows may switch to a different sound device, causing you to lose speech from JAWS or Fusion. A couple examples of this could be when you plug in another sound device which becomes the new default or when you are using a Bluetooth headset and you start a call on Teams or Zoom, causing Windows to switch the sound device.

If these situations occur, you can now press INSERT+SPACEBAR, followed by V, and then C to access the new Sound Cards layer. Once in this layer, use UP or DOWN ARROW to cycle through all sound cards available on your system. JAWS attempts to announce each sound card as you move to it. Once you find the sound card you want to use for speech, press ESC to exit the layer. Note that the list of available devices does wrap, so continuing to press DOWN ARROW, cycles through them all.

Voice Assistant Improvements

  • The default wake word for JAWS is now “Hey Sharky.”
  • When running Fusion, you can now say either “Hey Sharky” or “Hey Zoomy” and the voice assistant knows which features are for JAWS or ZoomText and will do the appropriate action depending on what you asked. Previously, Fusion users could only access ZoomText features using the voice assistant.
  • After selecting text with JAWS or Fusion, you can now say “Hey Sharky, Read Selection” to read the selected content, or “Hey Sharky, Append” to append the selected text to the clipboard.
  • Selecting the Settings option from the Voice Assistant submenu in the JAWS Utilities menu now opens a dedicated Voice Assistant Settings dialog box instead of taking you to Settings Center.

Faster Braille Language Switching for Multi-lingual Users

For users who speak multiple languages as well as students who are learning another language, JAWS has supported manual and automatic speech synthesizer language switching for years. For braille display users needing to switch between languages regularly, the process was not as straight forward., You had to open Settings Center, and select a specific language and translation options each time you wanted to read or enter text using a different language.

To help make this easier for multi-lingual braille users, JAWS and Fusion 2022 introduces braille profiles. A braille profile consists of a translator mode and associated braille tables for input and output in a specific language. This now allows you to switch the braille language on-the-fly from the main keyboard, braille display, or using automatic language switching in documents or web pages, as we do with speech. You can also link the braille input language to the keyboard input language so when you press ALT+SHIFT on your computer’s keyboard to switch the language used for typing, the Braille input language switches with it.

To configure profile options, a new Language Profiles dialog box has been added to Settings Center under the Braille > General > Translation group. For users who only use one language, there is no need to use this dialog box as you can still set your input and output translation settings as you always have in the main Translation group or the Startup Wizard.

Setting Up Preferred Profiles

To choose your preferred profiles that you can quickly switch between using a keystroke, do the following:

  1. Press INSERT+6 on the number row to open Settings Center.
  2. To apply changes to all applications, press CTRL+SHIFT+D to load the JAWS default settings.
  3. Type “profiles” without the quotes into the search edit field.
  4. Press DOWN ARROW to move to Language Profiles in the search results in the tree view and press SPACEBAR to open the dialog box. You are placed in a list of profiles that correspond to all braille languages installed with JAWS.
  5. Press SPACEBAR on each profile that you want to select as a preferred profile.
  6. Select OK to close the dialog box and once more to close Settings Center.

After setting up preferred profiles, you can then use the CTRL+SHIFT+WINDOWS+L keystroke, or DOTS 2-3-4-5-7 CHORD on a Focus braille display, to quickly switch between profiles if you need to read or type text in different languages.

You can also set a primary language profile which is always used when JAWS starts. By default, the primary profile always matches the JAWS language. For instance, English – United States is always used when running the English version of JAWS. To change the primary profile, open the Language Profiles dialog box, choose the language profile you want from the list, and then select the Set Primary button.

Configuring Translation Options for a Specific Profile

To configure braille translation input and output settings for a specific language profile, do the following:

  1. Press INSERT+6 on the number row to open Settings Center.
  2. To apply changes to all applications, press CTRL+SHIFT+D to load the JAWS default settings.
  3. Type “profiles” without the quotes into the search edit field.
  4. Press DOWN ARROW to move to Language Profiles in the search results in the tree view and press SPACEBAR to open the dialog box. You are placed in a list of profiles that correspond to all braille languages installed with JAWS.
  5. Select the profile you want to configure translation options for and then choose the Details button to open the Profile Details dialog box. Here, you can:
    • Choose the grade of braille to use when reading and typing contracted braille. The available options depend on the currently selected profile. For instance, Unified English Braille (UEB) Grade 1 or Grade 2 are not available when configuring the Spanish language profile.
    • Choose which translation mode to use. The available choices are to use Computer Braille for both input and output, Computer Braille for input and Contracted Braille for Output, or Contracted Braille for both input and output. You can also quickly toggle between translation modes for the active profile by using DOTS 1-2-4-5-7 CHORD on a Focus braille display.
    • Select which tables to use if Computer Braille is selected for input or output. This enables you to use different languages for reading and typing text if needed.
    • Choose whether or not capital signs are shown on the braille display when viewing Contracted Braille.
    • Choose whether or not the Liblouis computer braille tables are used when reading or typing in Computer Braille.
  6. After making your changes, select OK to close the Profile Details dialog box and continue selecting OK to close the Language Profiles dialog box and Settings Center.

Configuring Braille Language Auto Detection

If you want JAWS to automatically switch to the appropriate braille language when reading or entering text, do the following:

  1. Press INSERT+6 on the number row to open Settings Center.
  2. To apply changes to all applications, press CTRL+SHIFT+D to load the JAWS default settings.
  3. Type “profiles” without the quotes into the search edit field.
  4. Press DOWN ARROW to move to Language Profiles in the search results in the tree view and press SPACEBAR to open the dialog box.
  5. Select the Link braille input language to keyboard language check box to have JAWS use the appropriate braille input language that matches the currently active keyboard language. For example, if you switch the keyboard language to Spanish (ALT+SHIFT), JAWS automatically switches to Spanish braille, so you can continue entering text from your display in the correct language.
  6. Select the Automatic language detection check box to have JAWS use the appropriate braille language that matches the current language of text in a document or web page. For example, if JAWS detects text in a document written in Spanish, JAWS automatically switches to displaying the text in Spanish braille using the translation mode settings configured in the Profile Details dialog box for the Spanish profile.
  7. Select OK to close the dialog box and once more to close Settings Center.

Additional Changes

  • In JAWS and Fusion, added new Quick Settings options for Outlook 365 that let you turn off the announcements for unread, replied, or forwarded. While in Outlook 365, press INSERT+V for Quick Settings, and then search for “Indicate” to find the 3 options.
  • When focused in an Outlook message list, such as the Inbox, the Customize Outlook Message List option is no longer available in the Run JAWS Manager dialog box (INSERT+F2). This is by design as this feature no longer applies to these types of Outlook 365 lists.
  • JAWS 2022 includes updated scripts from Corel for WordPerfect 2021.
  • For those who create JAWS scripts, added comments at the top of default.jss, so users know how to save a modified copy of this file to their user folder.
  • In the Braille and Text Viewer, changed the default font size to 20. The previous font size of 40 was too large for most users. Additionally, it is now possible to set the font size as low as 16 if needed.
  • Added a new option to toggle the announcement of text marked as a suggestion in Google Docs. To change this, open Settings Center and locate the Suggested text announcement check box.
  • When navigating a table in Google Docs, JAWS now announces the current row or column after reading the cell contents. Additionally, if you have turned off the announcement of table cell coordinates in Quick Settings, JAWS now only reads the cell contents as expected when using the table reading commands (ALT+CTRL+ARROW Keys).
  • Addressed an issue where JAWS was not indicating the start of commented text in Google Docs when navigating by word.
  • Addressed an issue where JAWS was not reading as expected while navigating by line in Google Docs and you encountered a link spanning multiple lines.
  • When moving to a new slide in PowerPoint, JAWS no longer says “no selection” prior to speaking the slide info, which was unnecessary speech. Now, JAWS only announces the slide title and number.
  • Addressed many reported issues with reading messages in Outlook 365.
  • Addressed a reported issue in Outlook 365 where JAWS was not announcing autocomplete results when typing names into the address fields of a new message.
  • Added the CTRL+U keystroke to Windows Keys help (INSERT+W) for Outlook. This command marks the current message as unread.
  • If Show as Conversations is enabled in Outlook, addressed a reported issue where the current message or conversation was not displayed in braille while navigating the list.
  • Resolved an issue where JAWS was not announcing the Date picker button when creating a meeting request in Outlook.
  • Added the ALT+Q command to the Windows Keys Help (INSERT+W) which opens the Quick Search feature in Microsoft Office apps.
  • JAWS now properly reads the title of the current page in Chrome or Edge when using CTRL+TAB to move between open pages.
  • Resolved an issue where pressing INSERT+SPACEBAR, X to launch the Flexible Web wizard was not working as expected in Edge Chromium.
  • Resolved an issue where JAWS was not reading search results on the Windows 11 Start Screen.
  • Resolved an issue reported by several international users where Settings Center and Quick Settings were displaying in English instead of the user’s specific language.
  • Addressed a reported issue where Settings Center would become unresponsive if you typed a quotation mark in the Search edit box.
  • When using INSERT+WINDOWS+F4 to manually close JAWS in situations where it has stopped working correctly, resolved an issue where JAWS was not automatically restarting and creating the memory dump file that contains diagnostic information for Freedom Scientific.
  • Added support for Azure Virtual Desktop.

Fusion/ZoomText 2022 Features

Docking the Quick Access Bar

By default, the Quick Access Bar is now docked to one of four corners on your screen when you start ZoomText or Fusion. This provides a location for the Quick Access Bar to return to when it loses focus. It also makes it easy to find when viewing a magnified screen.

The bar can be docked in the top right corner, top left corner, lower right corner, or lower left corner of the screen. If you want to change the dock location, do the following:

  1. If the Quick Access Bar is not expanded, click the Show Shortcut Names button to expand the bar.Show Shortcut Names button
  2. Click the Customize button and then Preferences.Customize button
  3. Select Automatically Dock to Screen Corner and select a screen corner in the Corner list.

Voice Assistant Improvements

  • The default wake word for ZoomText is now “Hey Zoomy,”.
  • When running Fusion, you can now say either “Hey Sharky” or “Hey Zoomy” and the voice assistant knows which features are for JAWS or ZoomText and will do the appropriate action depending on what you asked. Previously, Fusion users could only access ZoomText features using the voice assistant.
  • After selecting text with JAWS or Fusion, you can now say “Hey Sharky, Read Selection” to read the selected content, or “Hey Sharky, Append” to append the selected text to the clipboard.
  • Selecting the Settings option from the Voice Assistant submenu in the JAWS Utilities menu now opens a dedicated Voice Assistant Settings dialog box instead of taking you to Settings Center.

JAWS, ZoomText, and Fusion Discontinues Windows 7 and 8.1 Support

In order to keep pace with continued advancements in Microsoft Windows technology, JAWS, Fusion, and ZoomText 2022 will no longer install and run on versions of Windows earlier than Windows 10. We also continue improving support for Windows 11, scheduled for release in the coming months. Versions of our software will continue to be available for users of older Windows versions from our Previous Downloads web pages.

Sound Splitter (Fusion 2022 Only)

Earlier in JAWS and Fusion 2021, we introduced a way for users to lower the volume of JAWS speech independently of system audio to help make it easier to hear audio from other applications. Version 2022 takes this a step further by now allowing those using stereo headsets or speakers to route all JAWS or Fusion speech to one ear while routing audio from all other applications to the other ear. This helps make it easier to continue getting work done with JAWS while following along during a Zoom or Teams meeting, a Skype call, or a YouTube video.

To split audio:

  1. Press INSERT+SPACEBAR followed by V to activate the Volume layer.
  2. Press B for Balance, and then do one of the following:
    • Press LEFT ARROW to route JAWS Speech to the left and audio from all other applications to the right.
    • Press RIGHT ARROW to route JAWS speech to the right and audio from all other applications to the left.
    • Press UP ARROW to restore both JAWS speech and application audio to both channels.

Note: Before attempting to split your audio, make sure your headset or speakers are properly oriented. For instance, if you route JAWS speech to the left and instead hear it in your right ear, your headset is most likely reversed.

Once you split your JAWS speech and application audio, it remains in effect until you restart JAWS, or use the command to restore the audio balance.

You can also wake up the Voice Assistant and say, “Sound Left,” “Sound Right,” or “Sound Balance.” Make sure your microphone is not muted before speaking these commands. You also may not want to use these commands in apps like Teams or Zoom as other meeting participants will hear you.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: I use a stereo Bluetooth headset that includes a microphone for participating in Teams and Zoom calls. Can I split the audio in this situation?

Answer: No, splitting the audio will not work in a call when using a Bluetooth headset. This is not a JAWS issue. When connecting to a call in Teams or Zoom, it switches from a headphone device to a headset device. By design, the headset device works as a mono device, so sound splitting does not work. If you want to split your audio during a call, we recommend using a wired headset.

Q: Can I split my audio if I’m using a stereo Bluetooth headset to just listen to music?

Answer: Yes. If you are playing audio from another source such as a YouTube video, the sound splitter works as expected even if you are using a Bluetooth headset. You will only experience issues with splitting audio when connecting to a Teams or Zoom call using a Bluetooth headset as it changes from a stereo headphone device to a mono headset device.

Q: Does the sound splitter work with external speakers?

Answer: Yes, JAWS speech and application audio will split as expected if you are using your computer’s internal speakers, or you have external speakers connected.

Q: I currently have JAWS configured to use a different sound device instead of the Windows default sound card. Will I still be able to split the audio?

Answer: As long as both JAWS and the other applications playing sound are all routed through the same sound card, the audio will split as expected. If you use the Sound Cards option under the JAWS Utilities menu to configure JAWS to use a different sound card, JAWS remains routed, but audio from other apps will be restored to both speakers.

  • In Fusion, mouse echo can be set to either Echo (on) or No Echo (off). When set to on, echo speaks when the mouse pointer is placed over text or an item for a set amount of time. Previously, Fusion’s default echo delay was no delay. The new default is 0.4 seconds as you move your mouse pointer over text.
  • Made changes in both ZoomText and Fusion to address reports that the programs would become unstable after running for roughly 30 minutes. This was seen often when running Chrome with multiple tabs open.
  • The Quick Access Bar now returns to its collapsed view if the bar is expanded, and you move focus away from it.
  • Resolved issues with the Quick Access Bar when using ZoomText or Fusion with more than one monitor. After pressing CAPS LOCK+RIGHT CLICK, the bar did not always appear on the same monitor where you had placed the mouse pointer to perform the keystroke. Also, the bar will dock on the last monitor where it was used.

Enhancements in ZoomText 2022

Resolved an issue where typing echo was not working correctly when typing messages in Skype.

  • Resolved an AppReader issue where sentence and paragraph reading commands were ignored in TextView mode. This resulted in non-stop reading in Word and Notepad documents.
  • Resolved issues with echo performance when using AppReader in Chrome and Edge.
  • Resolved several cursor enhancements and focus tracking issues in Outlook, web browsers, and WordPad.
  • Resolved a problem where Chrome would stop responding when reading certain content with mouse echo on.
  • Resolved an issue that was seen when ZoomText was starting. The focus enhancement was moving to the Quick Access Bar icon on the ZoomText toolbar and would fail to move to the Activation window when it appeared.
  • Resolved an issue where the cursor enhancement did not appear while typing in the Index field in the ZoomText help.
  • Resolved issues related to cursor enhancements remaining on the cursor while navigating in applications such as Word and WordPad.

All Wrapped Up

That’s it for JAWS, ZoomText and Fusion this time around.

What I like:

I personally like the automatic import of settings from the old version.

I also like the new volume control settings. This will help in meetings and even for phone calls done on the PC.

Being able to switch to a new sound card device when one is plugged in even if JAWS cannot talk at the moment is great! I can’t tell you how many of my customers have struggled with this issue over the years.

I also really love the new Outlook settings. Being able to customize what JAWS says is always a plus.

I love how JAWS and Outlook are more responsive together.

If you use Google docs the new table and text improvements are also not to miss either.

Getting the Updates

If your version of JAWS hasn’t offered the update to you yet, go to the JAWS help menu, then arrow to Check for Updates.

If your ZoomText/Fusion hasn’t offered the update to you yet, go to the ZoomText/Fusion menu, navigate to Manage Licenses, then Check for Updates. Note, because this is a new version entirely you will need to manually download JAWS, ZoomText, or Fusion.

Qapla

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

CommentLuv badge

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: