New Features in Jaws, ZoomText, and Fusion 2023

New Features in Jaws, ZoomText, and Fusion 2023

The information below has been taken directly from Freedom Scientific. 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.

Enhancements in ZoomText 2023.2212.21 and Fusion 2023.2012.5 (December 2022)

The following describes new features and improvements made in the December 2022 update.

Early Adopter Program

The Early Adopter Program lets you preview new and updated product features that are in development. As we gradually introduce features, you can evaluate them and provide feedback that will help us make improvements before the final release. The Freeze View Update is our first feature available for evaluation using the Early Adopter Program. It’s an update to the existing Freeze View in ZoomText and Fusion, that provides you with additional functionality.

Using the Early Adopter Program

To turn on or off Early Adopter Program features, do the following:

  1. In the ZoomText or Fusion menu, choose Early Adopter Program.

    Image of the Fusion menu with the Early Adopter Program command selected.

    The Early Adopter Program dialog appears and shows the features available to evaluate. The dialog is empty if no features are currently available.

    Image of the Early Adopter Program dialog box.

  2. Select one or more check boxes to activate features. Clear one or more check boxes to deactivate features.
    Note: If you are evaluating changes to an existing product feature, it will revert to its original operation when you clear the check box.
  3. Click OK and restart the software. Features that were turned on are available for use.

Submitting Feedback

While evaluating a feature, you are encouraged to give feedback about your experience. Feedback can be given whether the feature is activated or not.

To give feedback, do the following:

  1. In the ZoomText menu, choose Early Adopter Program.
    The Early Adopter Program dialog displays the features available to evaluate.
  2. Select the Send Feedback button for the feature you are evaluating.
    The Early Adopter Program Feedback form appears.
  3. Complete the Early Adopter Program Feedback form and click Send Feedback.

Freeze View Update

Freeze View, currently in ZoomText and Fusion, is our first feature available for evaluation using the Early Adopter Program. The following describes how to use Freeze View when it is activated using the Early Adopter Program.

Freeze View Overview

In a magnified view, it is impossible to see the entire screen at once. As a result, items of interest, such as the clock and Start menu, cannot be seen at the same time since they are on opposite sides of the screen. Freeze View solves this problem by letting you draw a window around an area of the screen that you want to monitor. When you’ve completed your selection, the Freeze View automatically appears on top of the Full zoom window displaying the selected area. The Full zoom window continues to operate normally, tracking all on-screen activity and allowing you to navigate and work in all areas of the screen.

When Freeze View is activated using the Early Adopter Program, you can create and display up to four Freeze Views simultaneously. Freeze Views can be placed anywhere on the screen. For example, you can create a view of the ZoomText app icon located in the system tray and drag it to an area on the screen that is convenient for you to access. This lets you quickly bring the ZoomText toolbar into view instead of scrolling with the mouse pointer to the system tray and then clicking the app icon. Another example is to create a view of the clock, which is located in the notification area. Again, you can position it on the screen so that it is always in view.

Note: Freeze View is only available when the Zoom Window Type is set to Full and you are using one monitor or a single display duplicated across multiple monitors.

Early Adopter Freeze View and Current Freeze View Operation

The table below describes the differences between the Early Adopter Freeze View and the current Freeze View operation.

Freeze View – Early Adopter ProgramFreeze View
Up to four Freeze Views can appear simultaneously on the screenOne Freeze View
Assign a name for each Freeze ViewNot available
Option to keep the mouse pointer in front or behind the Freeze View.
When in front, you can click inside the Freeze View and interact with items visible in the Freeze View. When behind, you can only view what is in the Freeze View.
Always behind
Toggle Freeze Views 1…4 on and off: CAPS LOCK+CTRL+1…4Toggle Freeze View on and off: CAPS LOCK+E
Create a specific Freeze View: CTRL+ALT+SHIFT+1…4
Note: These hotkeys are disabled by default. You can enable them using the ZoomText Command Key dialog.
Not available
Resize and move Freeze View: CAPS LOCK+ANot available

Create a Freeze View

Note: Freeze View is only available when the Zoom Window Type is set to Full and you are using one monitor or a single display duplicated across multiple monitors.

To create a Freeze View, do the following:

  1. Make sure the Zoom Window Type is set to Full.
  2. On the Magnifier toolbar tab, click the arrow next to Window or navigate to Window and press the down arrow key.
    Note: You can also press CAPS LOCK+N to create a new Freeze View. When you do this, the Freeze tool becomes active as mentioned in step 3.
  3. In the Window menu, choose Freeze View > New Freeze View.
    The Freeze tool becomes active.

    Image of the Freeze tool.

    Note: You can have up to four Freeze Views. If you try to create a fifth Freeze View, you must first delete an existing Freeze View.

  4. Move the mouse pointer until the area you want to freeze is scrolled into view.
  5. Hold down the left button and drag a selection rectangle around the desired freeze area and release the button.

    Image of the Freeze Selection tool.

    When you complete the drag, the Freeze View will appear with sizing handles on the frame.

    Image of the Freeze View Adjustment frame.

  6. To size the window, drag any handle. To move the window, drag inside the window frame. To scroll the contents of the window, hold down CTRL and drag inside the window frame.
  7. To exit the Freeze tool, right click or press ESC.
  8. To create additional Freeze Views, repeat steps 1-7. You can have a total of four Freeze Views.
    Note: If you try to add a fifth Freeze View, the Freeze View Settings dialog opens. You must delete at least one Freeze View from the Views list before adding another.
  9. To save Freeze View changes, in the ZoomText menu, choose Configurations > Save As Default.

Enable and Disable Freeze View

To enable or disable a Freeze View, do one of the following:

  • Press the Freeze View On/Off hotkey:
    • CAPS LOCK+CTRL+1 for Freeze View 1
    • CAPS LOCK+CTRL+2 for Freeze View 2
    • CAPS LOCK+CTRL+3 for Freeze View 3
    • CAPS LOCK+CTRL+4 for Freeze View 4
  • On the Magnifier toolbar tab, choose Window > Freeze View > Enable (or Disable).

Note: This only enables and disables the first Freeze View that is in the Views list in the Freeze settings tab.

Delete a Freeze View

To delete a Freeze View using hotkeys, do the following:

  1. Press CAPS LOCK+A until the Freeze View you want to delete is selected.
  2. Press DELETE.
    The Freeze tool appears.
  3. Press ESC to restore the mouse pointer
  4. Repeat steps 1-3 to delete other Freeze Views.

To delete a Freeze View using Freeze View settings, do the following:

  1. On the Magnifier toolbar tab, select the Zoom Window Settings button, which appears in the lower-right corner of the Zoom Window group.
    The Zoom Window Settings dialog appears.
  2. Select the Freeze tab.
  3. Choose a Freeze View from the Views list and click the Delete button.
  4. Repeat steps 1-3 to delete other Freeze Views.

Customize a Freeze View

To customize a Freeze View, do the following:

  1. On the Magnifier toolbar tab, select the Zoom Windows Settings button, which appears in the lower-right corner of the Zoom Windows group.
    The Zoom Windows Settings dialog appears.
  2. Select the Freeze tab.
  3. Choose a Freeze View from the Views list and do any of the following:
    • Assign a name
    • Choose a zoom level
    • Decide if you want the mouse pointer to appear in front of or behind the Freeze View. When in front, you can click and use the items in the Freeze View. When behind, you can only view what is in the Freeze View.
  4. Repeat steps 1-3 to customize other Freeze Views
  5. Click OK.
  6. To save Freeze View changes, in the ZoomText menu, choose Configurations > Save As Default.

    Image of the Freeze View tab in the Zoom Window Settings dialog box.

Other Changes in ZoomText 2023.2212.21

  • ZoomText now supports Estonian.
  • Improved performance when running ZoomText on laptops with a dedicated video card. By default, ZoomText will now use the dedicated video card if it exists.
  • Resolved an issue in Outlook where focus tracking was constantly jumping between the To or Cc fields and the list of suggested contacts.
  • Resolved an issue in Word where cursor enhancement tracking would stop working when toggling between the Navigation task pane and the document.
  • Resolved an issue where tracker alignment would jump between edge alignment and center alignment when moving up and down the contents of a list box.
  • Resolved an issue where the Layered Keys Banner did not display correctly when using multiple monitors.
  • Resolved an issue with Tethered View where the Excel formula bar and the Word Comments pane were not displaying on the correct monitor. This occurred when the zoom window type was set to Span.
  • Resolved an issue where the Tethered View window would not display properly after expanding it with CAPS LOCK+T.

Other Changes in JAWS 2023.2212.23

  • In Adobe Acrobat, we discovered that the JAWS Smart Glance feature was causing longer than usual load times for larger PDF documents. To resolve this issue, we have turned off Smart Glance only in Adobe. Note that if you press Y or SHIFT+Y in Adobe, JAWS still announces “there are no glance highlights on this page.”
  • In the Notification History dialog box, there is now an option to disable individual rules. To disable a rule, press INSERT+SPACEBAR followed by N to open the Notification History, choose Manage Rules, select the rule you want to disable in the list, press the APPLICATIONS Key, and choose Disable.
  • PictureSmart can now describe images saved using Apple’s HEIC format.
  • Added a new Quick Settings (INSERT+V) option, Cell Header and Content, which lets you choose whether table headers are announced before or after reading cell content. This setting is available in Office 365 (Outlook, Word, Excel), supported web browsers (Edge, Chrome, Firefox), and Google Docs and Sheets. By default, headers are announced before content.
  • If you are in a Teams meeting or call with your microphone muted, JAWS now supports the “push to talk” functionality in Teams where you can press and hold CTRL+SPACEBAR to temporarily unmute, and then release to mute again.
  • Addressed an issue where JAWS was not announcing the current microphone or camera state in newer Teams updates.
  • When pressing CTRL+HOME or CTRL+END inside a modal dialog box on a web page, JAWS is now restricted to only moving to the beginning or end of the dialog. JAWS also now properly indicates when a nested modal dialog box opens.
  • When activating a link in a dropdown menu that changes information on the current page, JAWS now announces the region on the page that was updated.
  • If JAWS verbosity is set to Beginner, the “not pressed” state of toggle buttons on web pages is announced in addition to the “pressed” state as you navigate.
  • Resolved issues interacting with radio button groups that use the aria-activedescendant property.
  • Addressed an issue where JAWS was announcing page information twice when selecting a link that was displayed after expanding a button.
  • Resolved an issue with combo boxes that allow you to select multiple items where JAWS was not indicating which items were selected.
  • In Adobe, resolved a reported issue where JAWS was not reading as expected in a multi-page table.
  • When pressing ALT+F to open the File menu in an Office 365 application such as Word, resolved an issue where JAWS was saying “leaving menus” even though the menu remained open.
  • Resolved a reported issue where JAWS would become unresponsive when attempting to select colors in an Excel spreadsheet.
  • In response to customer feedback, the JAWS Tandem option has been moved back to the top of the Utilities menu in the JAWS main window.
  • When the Spell Checker displays as you attempt to send an email in Outlook, addressed a reported issue where the first incorrect word was not automatically read.
  • If the Show Hotkey setting was enabled in Settings Center for Braille Structured Mode, resolved an issue where hotkeys for some items on the Office ribbons were not being displayed in Braille.
  • When editing a Speech and Sounds scheme, resolved an issue where there was no label for the Smart Glance Highlight option on the Attributes tab.
  • Resolved an issue where JAWS was not reading all of the information for a restore point when attempting to perform a system restore.
  • Addressed translation issues with various commands in the Italian version of JAWS when using Keyboard Help or Command Search.
  • Addressed several issues related to stability and performance.

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.

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