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. 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 2023

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What’s New in JAWS 2023 Screen Reading Software

This page describes the new features and improvements available in JAWS 2023.

  • Download JAWS
  • Read previous JAWS release notes by selecting a version from the list

JAWS 2023 Features

Smart Glance

Often, web page developers will use text or background colors, different fonts, or certain text attributes to draw attention to text on a page. For instance, different fonts or colors might be applied to specific text that is part of a chart or dashboard to indicate the status of an option. The new Smart Glance feature analyzes the page and ranks textual content in reverse order based upon the infrequency of its color, text attribute or font usage on the page. Colors, fonts, or attributes used least will rank highest as potential points of interest, referred to as glance highlights.

When a web page first loads, JAWS now announces the number of glance highlights along with the number of links, headings, regions, and form fields. In addition, you can configure JAWS to play a sound to indicate a glance highlight as you navigate by character, word, line, sentence, paragraph, or when reading with Say All. If a page contains glance highlights, the following new Navigation Quick keys are available:

  • Move to next glance highlight: Y
  • Move to prior glance highlight: SHIFT+Y
  • Display a list of all glance highlights on the page: INSERT+CTRL+Y

Examples of glance highlights can be found on the Amazon website. For instance, if you go to Amazon.com and search for a product, the product search results page contains several glance highlights for certain areas of the page including “Results,” “More results,” or “Need Help.” This text visually stands out, but since it is not an actual heading, it would not be found when using H or SHIFT+H to move by heading. You can use Y to move through the smart glance highlights, or display a list by pressing INSERT+CTRL+Y where you can select one to move to.

Another example of a glance highlight can be found on the Freedom Scientific home page. If you press Y, you move directly to the text, “Call Today,” where you will find the main Freedom Scientific phone number.

To configure Smart Glance settings, open Settings Center (INSERT+6), expand the Web/HTML/PDFs group, and then expand the Smart Glance group. You can then configure the following:

  • Indicate Smart Glance highlights: Lets you determine how JAWS indicates glance highlights. You can choose to have JAWS announce the number of glance highlights when the page loads (selected by default), alert you to glance highlights as you navigate by playing a sound, indicate glance highlights both when the page loads and as you navigate, or turn off all glance highlight indication.
  • Sensitivity: Set this option to High to increase the sensitivity for determining a glance highlight. With a higher sensitivity, more results are displayed by also analyzing smaller text segments for special text attributes.
  • Include elements: Lets you choose whether or not links, headings, or form fields are included when analyzing pages for glance highlights. Even though there are navigation quick keys for moving to these specific elements, you may want to include these so you can use a single keystroke to quickly move to all useful elements on the page. By default, only fields marked as invalid or required are included.

You can also press INSERT+V while on a web page to open Quick Settings and change the Smart Glance highlight indication option.

Notification History Improvements

The JAWS Notification History feature was introduced in the JAWS 2022 June update, and helps you manage the large amount of notifications that can be received from Windows and applications on a daily basis. When you press INSERT+SPACEBAR, followed by N, a dialog box opens and displays a history of all notifications received in the last 24 hours while JAWS or Fusion was running. From this dialog box, you can choose to exclude selected notifications from appearing in the history in the future, as well as create rules specifying how future notifications should be spoken or shown in braille. For example, you may want JAWS to announce notifications from an application only if they include specific text, or play a sound instead of interrupting you with a spoken message.

JAWS and Fusion 2023 offer several improvements to managing notifications based on feedback from customers. Some key enhancements include:

  • Toggle toast notification announcements: Using the new layered keystroke, INSERT+SPACEBAR, followed by CTRL+N, you can toggle the automatic announcement of incoming toast notifications, which is a type of notification used by some applications including Microsoft Outlook. For instance, if you receive a lot of emails and you do not want JAWS automatically speaking the notification each time you receive a message, instead of creating a rule, you can use this keystroke to quickly silence all of these announcements. Notifications will still be added to the history, so you can still review them if necessary. Toast notification announcements remain off until you perform this keystroke again, or restart JAWS.

Note: The INSERT+SPACEBARCTRL+N keystroke only toggles the announcement of toast notifications. It will not work for applications that use UIA (User Interface Automation) for displaying notifications. For these applications, you can create a rule through the JAWS Notification History dialog box to mute them, or turn them off through the settings in the application.

  • Clear notification history: After pressing INSERT+SPACEBARN to open the Notification History dialog box, select the new Clear history button to delete all notifications from the Recent Notifications list.
  • Review notification details: Pressing ENTER while focused on a notification in the Recent Notifications list now displays details for the selected notification. These include the notification text, the application where it came from, and the time it was received.
  • Specify a rule type: When you choose to create a new rule for a selected notification in the Recent Notifications list, you now start in the Rule Type combo box. This new option lets you determine how the original notification text in the edit box directly after this combo box is treated. The following choices are available:
    • Contains – Creates a rule that acts on a notification that contains specific text. For example, if you want to create a rule for a notification from Outlook that contains the word “Suggestion:” at any point in the notification, you could delete everything except “suggestion:” from the notification text in the following edit box
    • Begins with – Creates a rule that acts on a notification that begins with specific text. For example, if you want to create a rule for a notification from Outlook that begins with the word “Suggestion:” followed by some specific text, you could delete everything except “suggestion:” from the notification text in the following edit box.
    • Ends with – Creates a rule that acts on a notification that ends with specific text. For example, if you want to create a rule for a notification from Teams that ends with the words “Press CTRL+SHIFT+J to join” preceded by some specific text, you could delete everything except “Press CTRL+SHIFT+J to join” from the notification text in the following edit box.
    • Matches pattern – Lets you create a regular expression that any incoming notification will be matched against. While the following edit box contains the text for the selected notification, it is recommended you change it to a regular expression using elements from the notification. If you want to use the notification text as is, or parts of it, consider using one of the other Rule Types. As an example of a regular expression, take a look at the regular expression to capture the name of the sender from an Outlook notification: “^New Notification from Outlook, (.*?),” without the quotes.
  • Naming rules: When creating a rule for a selected notification, you can now enter a name for the rule. In addition, the Manage Notification Rules dialog box now includes an option to rename an existing rule.

Refer to the Notification History topic in the JAWS Help for more information.

Solution for Dell Waves Max Audio Issues

Changes were made in the Eloquence, Vocalizer Expressive, and Microsoft Mobile speech synthesizer drivers to fix increased memory usage issues caused by Waves Max audio. This application is often used on Dell computers. If you previously disabled the Waves Max application to resolve these performance issues , you can now reenable it. This is only necessary if you want your computer to automatically begin using a specific audio output device as soon as you connect it, such as headphones.

Improved ILM Authorization Access

The file location for the JAWS, ZoomText, and Fusion ILM authorization files have been moved to a location where users no longer need administrative permission to authorize on their own system.

New Tables Only Option for Smart Navigation

Users are faced with an increased need to work with complex web forms, tables, and even applications that run inside a web browser. Our existing Smart Navigation feature offers a more efficient way to navigate in web-based applications with the Virtual Cursor, as the LEFT and RIGHT ARROW or CTRL+LEFT and CTRL+RIGHT ARROW commands move by control instead of character and word. This makes Navigation such as moving across toolbars, tab strips, and navigation links more like navigating around a desktop application. Currently, the different options for this setting are Controls, Controls and Tables, or Off. This means that you could only activate the Smart Navigation for Tables together with Controls.

In JAWS and Fusion 2023, there is now a new Tables option which only enables Smart Navigation when you are focused inside a table. You can adjust the Smart Navigation settings through the Startup Wizard, Settings Center, or Quick Settings. The new Tables option offers the same Smart Navigation experience inside tables as it does when set to Controls and Tables while keeping our regular Navigation outside tables.

If focused inside a table, the RIGHT and LEFT ARROW keys move between columns while the UP and DOWN ARROW keys move between rows. If you press RIGHT ARROW to move from the last column in the current row to the first column of the next row, or LEFT ARROW to move from the first column in the current row to the last column in the prior row, JAWS plays a sound to indicate the new row. When focus moves out of the table, the LEFT and RIGHT ARROW or CTRL+LEFT and CTRL+RIGHT ARROW keys move by character or word like they always have.

ARM64 Support

Support for ARM64 is now officially provided in JAWS 2023. The JAWS 2023 installer will recognize if you are using a device with an ARM processor like the Microsoft Surface Pro X, and will automatically install the ARM version of JAWS. ARM support for ZoomText and Fusion will come at a later date. Following are a few frequently asked questions.

Can I use ZoomText or Fusion on my ARM64 device?

No. ARM64 is currently only supported with JAWS. ZoomText and Fusion (magnification software) for low vision users are not yet supported.

What device is required?

An ARM64 based device which is a computer with an ARM64 processor. An example is the Microsoft Surface Pro X.

What Operating System is required?

Windows 11 is the minimum supported Operating System.

What braille devices are currently supported?

At this time, only the Freedom Scientific Focus Braille Displays are supported. Additional braille display support will be added as we work with our third-party partners.

What speech synthesizers are currently supported?

At this time, Eloquence, Vocalizer Expressive, SAPI 5x, SAPI 5x 64-bit, and Microsoft Mobile synthesizers are supported. Additional synthesizer support will be added as we work with our third-party partners.

What features are currently not available?

The following features are still under development:

  • Citrix remote
  • Convenient OCR from a scanner or camera
  • Dongle authorization

What applications are currently not supported?

While on ARM64 devices, JAWS does not currently support applications compiled as 32-bit ARM. At the moment, Microsoft still has a few applications that have not yet been addressed, but we expect this to be resolved in future updates from Microsoft and Freedom Scientific.

The following are examples of these applications:

  • Windows Mail
  • Windows Calculator
  • Windows Weather
  • Windows News

What is the recommended version of Office 365?

Office 365 was originally installed on ARM devices as 32-bit. This 32-bit version can experience some sluggishness. For the best performance, we recommend installing the latest 64-bit version of Office designed specifically for ARM64 devices.

For German braille users, is RTFC available?

Currently, the RTFC German braille translator is only available in X64 installations of JAWS 2023. If JAWS 2023 is installed on ARM64, the German braille translator used in previous versions of JAWS is used instead.

Additional Changes

  • The Liblouis braille translator used by JAWS and Fusion has been updated to version 3.23.0 and is now selected by default.
  • For German users, JAWS now includes the RTFC German braille translator for all contracted braille like Basisschrift, Vollschrift, and Kurzschrift (These are the German names for Grade 0-2). This translator is the default when the JAWS language is set to German.
  • The JAWS and Fusion About box now includes a System type field which shows whether you are using X64 or ARM64. This information can also be found by pressing CTRL+INSERT+V while focused on the Desktop.
  • In the Outlook Scheduling Assistant, JAWS now reads as expected in the All Attendees field when reviewing the status of meeting attendees.
  • When encountering an element or entering a region on a web page that has a details relation, JAWS now says “has details” when you first move to the element. You can then press ALT+INSERT+D to access the details.
  • Addressed an issue with the JAWS Virtual Cursor unexpectedly moving back to the top of a web page on pages containing advertisements that constantly update.
  • In Edge and Chrome, resolved an issue where JAWS was not properly reading table headers defined by using the “ID” and “header” attributes. JAWS also now properly reads the “axis” attribute. You can find examples of these types of tables on our Surf’s Up training pages.
  • When navigating through a list where the Virtual Cursor is off, such as a list of chat messages in Teams or Slack, list items containing a lot of content are now fully read without speech stopping in the middle of the text.
  • Removed the Reuters Top News Stories Research It lookup source due to changes to the Reuters website which no longer allows us to retrieve information.
  • Addressed issues using JAWS with the DVORAK keyboard.
  • Resolved an issue for Danish, Swedish, and Norwegian users where you could not enter the @ symbol from a Focus braille display keyboard into a Word document.
  • For Italian users, MathML content is now spoken correctly when the JAWS language is set to Italian.

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Zoomtext 2023

Original Source

 

What’s New in ZoomText 2023 Magnifier/Reader

This page describes the new features and improvements introduced in ZoomText 2023.

  • Download ZoomText
  • Read previous ZoomText release notes by selecting a version from the list

ZoomText 2023 Features

Tethered View in ZoomText and Fusion

Tethered View is a new feature available in ZoomText and Fusion. When using higher zoom levels (magnification), there is often an activity that occurs on the screen that is outside of the magnified viewing area. This is where Tethered View is helpful. It opens a new window inside the magnified area that brings the activity into view. Tethered View currently supports the Windows Start menu search, Excel formula bar, Word Comments pane, and links list on a web page (Fusion only). It is enabled by default for these items.

To toggle Tethered View on and off, or change settings, do the following:

  1. In the ZoomText or Fusion Magnifier toolbar tab, select the Window button.
  2. Choose Tethered View.
  3. Choose Enable or Disable to toggle Tethered View on and off.
    Choose Settings to customize Tethered View settings as desired.

Windows Start Menu Search and Tethered View

When you use the search box in the Windows Start menu, you may notice that you cannot see the top search result in the magnified view. With Tethered View enabled, the best match appears in a window next to the search box. You can click the result or move through the list to see other items.

The following keystrokes are available when using Tethered View with the Windows Start menu:

  • Expand or collapse Tethered View window: CAPS LOCK+T
  • View the result at the top of the search list: CAPS LOCK+SHIFT+T

Microsoft Excel Formula Bar and Tethered View

In Excel, a similar scenario occurs when working with formulas. Excel displays the formula related to a cell in the formula bar located at the top of the worksheet. This position is far away from the actual cell. The Tethered View brings the formula to you and displays it next to the cell that has focus. If you want to switch to the formula field, you can click it or use the CAPS LOCK+SHIFT+T keystroke.

Other times you may want to read the Excel spreadsheet without the formula displayed. In this case, you can toggle the Tethered View with CAPS LOCK+T.

The following keystrokes are available when using Tethered View with Excel:

  • Expand or collapse Tethered View window: CAPS LOCK+T
  • View the Formula bar: CAPS LOCK+SHIFT+T

Microsoft Word Comments and Tethered View

If you distribute a Word document for review, others may add comments to the document. The Comments pane or list is positioned to the far right side of the screen. In Tethered View, each comment is placed next to the text where it is inserted. This eliminates the need to move across the screen, find and read the comment, and then return to the text.

The following keystrokes are available when using Tethered View with Word:

  • Expand or collapse Tethered View window: CAPS LOCK+T
  • View the comment: CAPS LOCK+SHIFT+T
  • Return to the text at the insertion point: ESC

Fusion Links List and Tethered View

When reading a web page while running Fusion, you can press INSERT+F7 to display a list of links that are on the page. With Tethered View, as you move through the list, the current link’s URL appears next to the item in the list. You can click or press ENTER to select the link.

The following keystrokes are available when using Tethered View with the Fusion links list:

  • Expand or collapse Tethered View window: CAPS LOCK+T
  • View the URL for the link: CAPS LOCK+SHIFT+T
  • Open the links list: INSERT+F7

Solution for Dell Waves Max Audio Issues

Changes were made in the Eloquence, Vocalizer Expressive, and Microsoft Mobile speech synthesizer drivers to fix increased memory usage issues caused by Waves Max audio. This application is often used on Dell computers. If you previously disabled the Waves Max application to resolve these performance issues, you can now reenable it. This is only necessary if you want your computer to automatically begin using a specific audio output device as soon as you connect it, such as headphones.

Improved ILM Authorization Access

The file location for the ZoomText, JAWS, and Fusion ILM authorization files have been moved to a location where users no longer need administrative permission to authorize on their own system.

 

All Wrapped Up

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

What I like:

So far I am really liking the smart glance feature. It can make it much easier to find interesting things on the web that you may have to work harder to locate.

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

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