New Features in Jaws, ZoomText, and Fusion

New Features in Jaws, ZoomText, and Fusion

New Features in JAWS, ZoomText, and Fusion

 

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. ZoomText updates are separated by headings making it easy to jump to your software of choice.

JAWS 2021 Features

Picture Smart Improvements

Introduced in JAWS and Fusion 2019, Picture Smart allows you to choose a photo and submit it to be analyzed. A description of the image is then displayed in the Results Viewer. To use Picture Smart, press INSERT+SPACEBAR, followed by P to activate the Picture Smart layer. You can then press A to describe a photo acquired from the PEARL camera or a flatbed scanner, F to describe a selected image file in Windows Explorer, C to describe the current control, or B to describe an image on the Windows Clipboard.

JAWS and Fusion 2021 continues to expand this feature by offering several improvements including:

  • Describing images on web pages: If focused on an image that is part of a web page, such as a photo on Facebook, pressing INSERT+SPACEBAR, P followed by C now describes the photo.
  • Submitting images to multiple services to help improve accuracy: By default, images are submitted to Microsoft for analyzing. However, the Results Viewer now contains a More Results link which submits the image again to additional services for analyzing and displays an updated description. You can also add SHIFT to a Picture Smart command to use multiple services. For example, INSERT+SPACEBAR, P followed by SHIFT+F, SHIFT+C, or SHIFT+B.
  • Using Picture Smart in multiple languages: If you are using JAWS or Fusion in a language other than English and you attempt to use Picture Smart, JAWS and Fusion will use machine translation to display descriptions in the particular language. You can also manually choose from 38 languages for displaying results, configurable using the new Picture Smart Language option in Settings Center.

Please note that these changes, especially the machine translation for other languages, is still experimental, so things may not always work as expected. Results will improve as we continue refining this functionality.

For more information on Picture Smart, press INSERT+SPACEBAR, P followed by QUESTION MARK or refer to the Picture Smart topic in the JAWS help.

OCR Text Directly into a Word Document

The Convenient OCR (Optical Character Recognition) feature has been enhanced to support sending recognized text directly to Word. Convenient OCR enables you to access images containing text that is part of the image and displays this information in the Results Viewer. This includes onscreen images such as the graphical setup screen for an application, an inaccessible PDF opened in Adobe Reader, a currently selected image file in Windows Explorer, or a document acquired by the PEARL camera or a flatbed scanner.

If Microsoft Office is installed on your system, you can now:

  • Use the new command INSERT+SPACEBAR, O followed by R to perform OCR on a selected image file in File Explorer or the Desktop and place the recognized text directly into a Word document. You can also press the APPLICATIONS key and choose Convenient OCR to Word with JAWS or Fusion from the context menu.
  • Use the new Open in Word link that appears at the bottom of the Results Viewer once the OCR process is complete.

For more information about using Convenient OCR, press INSERT+SPACEBAR, O followed by QUESTION MARK or refer to the Convenient OCR topic in the JAWS help.

New Voice Assistant to Help with Various JAWS Commands and Features

The new Voice Assistant provides a way to interact with JAWS in Windows 10 using speech input. Supported languages include English, Dutch, German, Spanish, and French. Ask it to help you out with various JAWS features using natural speech. This means that the same action can be performed by more than one similar phrase instead of a single predefined voice command. For instance, to launch JAWS Settings Center, you could say “Settings Center” or “change settings.” Unlike keyboard shortcuts, which can be hard to remember, natural voice commands are an easier way to interact with the JAWS software. Using voice input to control JAWS can also benefit users with certain conditions which prevent them from using a keyboard effectively.

The JAWS Voice Assistant uses your computer’s internal microphone or you can talk to it using an external microphone or headset. To tell the Voice Assistant to begin listening for a specific command, there are three options:

  • Press the key combination, INSERT+ALT+SPACEBAR.
  • Speak a specific wake word which alerts the software to begin listening for a voice command, similar to using an Alexa or Google Home device. The wake word is “Sharky.” Speak this word followed by a specific JAWS command, such as, “Sharky, list links.”

Note: The wake word is not available if you are using a Bluetooth microphone. In this case, you must use the keystroke before speaking the voice command.

  • From the JAWS main window, press ALT+U to open the Utilities menu, expand the Voice Assistant submenu, and then select Talk to JAWS.

When the Voice Assistant starts listening for a voice command, a short audio indicator plays, and a visual indicator is displayed. After hearing a voice command, a different audio indicator plays until the command is processed. After processing, the visual indicator is removed, a different, short, audio indicator plays, and the desired JAWS action is performed.

If the Voice Assistant does not hear anything, the message, “Sorry, I didn’t hear anything” is spoken. If the Voice Assistant does not understand or if the voice command is not supported, the message, “Sorry, I didn’t catch that” is spoken.

Note: Since all voice recognition processing is performed over the Internet using Microsoft Services in the cloud, there will be a slight delay depending on your connection. Be patient and experiment with different commands. This is a new technology being added to our software products and will continue to change and evolve over time. We welcome your suggestions and feedback.

To turn off the Voice Assistant or change other options, such as whether or not JAWS listens for the wake word or to turn off the sounds, open the JAWS Utilities menu, expand the Voice Assistant submenu, and then select Settings.

You can also press INSERT+ALT+SPACEBAR twice quickly to immediately toggle the wake word on or off. When the wake word is off, you must always press INSERT+ALT+SPACEBAR first to tell JAWS to begin listening for a command.

To learn more and to view a full list of voice commands for specific actions, say “Sharky, help.” You can also select Getting Started from the Voice Assistant menu.

Here are a few commands you can try to help you get started. Remember to say “Sharky” or press INSERT+ALT+SPACEBAR before speaking each command.

  • Help
  • Talk faster
  • Talk slower
  • Change settings
  • Command search
  • What time is it
  • List links
  • List headings
  • List spelling errors
  • Tell me a joke

Improved Microsoft Teams Support

  • If you press ENTER on a document in the Files list which opens the inaccessible document viewer, you can now press ESC to return to the files list. You are also prompted to use the SHIFT+F10 context menu and open the document in the desktop application, which is the suggested method.
  • You can now press ALT+1 through 5 to go directly to the first five tab pages.
  • Pressing ALT+LEFT ARROW now automatically activates the back button from anywhere in Teams.
  • You can now press ALT+H to hang up a call in progress.
  • You can now press ALT+T to set focus to the Teams tree view, if visible. Note that it is usually only visible if CTRL+3 has been pressed to show the teams and channels list. The screen should also be maximized to ensure this control is visible.
  • Pressing ALT+R now raises or lowers your hand in a meeting.

Teams also allows you to show meetings and calls in separate windows with fewer controls. To do this, press CTRL+COMMA to open Preferences and select the check box labeled: “Turn on new meeting experience (New meetings and calls will open in separate windows. Requires restarting Teams.)” While JAWS specific keystrokes for meetings and calls will not work in this split mode, Microsoft has their own set of keystrokes you can review by pressing CTRL+PERIOD.

New Keystroke for Setting Punctuation Level

You can now press INSERT+SHIFT+2 on the number row (CAPS LOCK+SHIFT+2 in the Laptop keyboard layout) to cycle through the four punctuation levels which controls how much punctuation JAWS and Fusion speak while reading. The available levels are None, Some, Most, and All. Similar to toggling Screen Echo (INSERT+S) or Typing Echo (INSERT+2), the punctuation level will revert back to the previous setting when JAWS or Fusion is restarted. To permanently set a punctuation level, use the JAWS Startup Wizard or Settings Center.

Note: Due to issues with some Dell keyboards when using the Laptop layout, you may need to use the RIGHT SHIFT key to perform this keystroke.

Announce Most Recent Windows Notification

You can now perform the new layered command INSERT+SPACEBAR followed by N to have JAWS repeat the last notification that was spoken. Notifications include an incoming Teams or Skype call, a recent Zoom message, a new email in Outlook, and more. If you use a Focus braille display, you can also press RIGHT SHIFT+N (DOTS 1-3-4-5). To view and manage all your Windows notifications, use the Microsoft keystroke WINDOWS Key+A.

FS Support Tool for Gathering System Information

The FS Support Tool is a new utility that collects information about your computer and sends a report to our Technical Support and Software Development teams to help us troubleshoot any issues you may be experiencing while running JAWS, ZoomText, or Fusion. You will typically be asked to run this utility during a technical support session if it is determined that additional details about your system are needed. Some information that is collected includes:

  • System information such as processor, RAM, operating system, architecture, and more
  • Event logs
  • Version of Adobe Reader (if installed)
  • Versions of all installed web browsers
  • Information on installed Microsoft Office applications
  • Crash dumps
  • Installation logs
  • Currently running system processes
  • User settings

The FS Support Tool can be started from the Help menu in JAWS, or the Support menu in ZoomText or Fusion and guides you through collecting and submitting a report.

Announce Accessible Notification Events

By default, JAWS now automatically announces Windows generated accessible event notifications in both speech and braille. These types of notifications are found in a variety of places including business bars in Microsoft Office. If you do not want to hear these announcements, open Settings Center and clear the Enable Accessible Notification Events check box.

Automatic Message Reading in Outlook 365

When you open a message from the Inbox in Outlook 365, JAWS and Fusion will now immediately begin reading the message contents without reading the title or header information. Currently, messages are not automatically read if you ALT+TAB to an open message, or you press ENTER on a message in the Inbox that is already open.

To further customize how messages are read, open Quick Settings (INSERT+V) while in Outlook, search for “message,” and configure any of the resulting options. A few items you might want to change include:

  • Message Header Field with Message Announcement: Turn this option on if you want JAWS and Fusion to announce the sender’s email address and the subject of the message when a message opens or gains focus.
  • Messages Automatically Read: Turn this option off if you do not want JAWS and Fusion to automatically read messages when they are opened.
  • Speak Window Titles For Read-only Messages Automatically: Turn this option on if you want JAWS and Fusion to announce the title of the message window when a message opens or gains focus.

General Changes

  • Fixed a long-standing issue in File Explorer where JAWS would often not announce the correct number of files in the current folder.
  • JAWS now properly reads as expected in Skype when moving focus back to the app without the need to first press ALT and ESC.
  • Added a new Settings Center and Quick Settings option called “Pan Text by Paragraph” which is off by default. When enabled, JAWS sends an entire paragraph to the braille display instead of only the current line as you navigate web pages and documents. This can help improve the flow of reading when panning through text as you are less likely to encounter large amounts of empty space on the display when you reach the end of a line. You should now only encounter blank space if you reach the end of a paragraph, and you would move to the start of the next paragraph when panning again.
  • While in a Zoom meeting, you can now press CTRL+SHIFT+T to find out who is currently talking. Zoom recently added this option with CTRL+2 but we were previously using it for a JAWS feature.
  • The default graphics verbosity for JAWS is now to read only labeled graphics as it is no longer as important for JAWS to read graphics that are not labeled. If you encounter a situation where you need to read unlabeled graphics, or you do not want to hear graphics at all, open Settings Center and search for Graphics Verbosity.
  • When using certain keyboards or headsets with multimedia controls, you can now press the layered command INSERT+SPACEBAR, followed by the GRAVE ACCENT key to toggle volume notification announcements. These announcements are off by default.
  • Removed the announcement of Tutor Messages in Microsoft Office Ribbons as they were very verbose when attempting to navigate.
  • Increased the size of the Speech History Buffer to allow for 500 strings rather than just 50 when you press INSERT+SPACE, H to review the most recent strings sent to the synthesizer.
  • Updated braille drivers provided by Papenmeire.

 

Fusion 2021 and ZoomText 2021 New Features

New Voice Assistant to Help with Various Fusion and ZoomText Commands and Features

Voice Assistant provides a way to interact with Fusion and ZoomText in Windows 10 using speech input. Supported languages include English, Dutch, German, Spanish, and French. You can ask Voice Assistant to help you with various Fusion or ZoomText features using natural language and speech. This means that the same action can be performed using similar phrases instead of a single predefined voice command. For instance, to increase magnification, you could say “zoom in” or “increase zoom level” or “increase magnification.”

Unlike keyboard shortcuts, which can be hard to remember, natural voice commands are an easier way to interact with Fusion and ZoomText. Using voice input to control actions can also benefit users with any conditions that prevent or limit them from using a keyboard effectively.

Using Voice Assistant

Voice Assistant accepts voice commands to perform Fusion and ZoomText functions. To activate the feature and the listening process, you can use either a wake word, a key combination, or the user interface. You can speak voice commands using your computer’s internal microphone, an external microphone, or a wired headset’s microphone.

Note: Since all voice recognition processing is performed over the Internet using Microsoft Services in the cloud, there may be a slight delay depending on your connection.

  1. To begin listening for a specific command, do one of the following:
  • Press the key combination, CAPS LOCK+ALT+SPACEBAR.
  • Speak the wake word which alerts the software to begin listening for a voice command, similar to using an Alexa or Google Home device. The wake word for ZoomText and Fusion is “Zoomy.” Speak this word followed by a specific command, such as, “Zoomy, speech off” or “Zoomy, zoom in.”
  • Click the microphone button in the upper right corner in the Fusion or ZoomText toolbar.

Note: The wake word is not available if you are using a Bluetooth microphone. In this case, you must press CAPS LOCK+ALT+SPACEBAR before speaking the voice command.

  1. When Voice Assistant starts listening for a voice command, a short audible notification plays, and a visual indicator appears on the screen.You can now speak the command. After hearing a voice command, a different audio and visual indicator plays and displays until the command is processed.
  2. When complete, the visual indicator disappears, another audio indicator plays, and the requested action is performed.
    If Voice Assistant does not hear anything, it says, “Sorry, I didn’t hear anything.”
    If Voice Assistant does not understand or if the voice command is not supported, it says, “Sorry, I didn’t catch that.”

Here are a few commands you can try to help you get started. Remember to say “Zoomy” or press CAPS LOCK+ALT+SPACEBAR before speaking each command:

  • Help
  • Zoom in
  • Zoom out
  • Toggle zoom
  • Color off
  • Color on
  • Speech on
  • Speech off
  • Talk faster
  • Talk slower

Turning Voice Assistant On and Off

To turn off and disable Voice Assistant, do one of the following:

  • Use the voice command, “Voice Assistant off.”
  • On the Tools toolbar tab, select the Voice Assistant button.
  • Click the down arrow on the Voice Assistant button and choose Settings.
    In the Voice Assistant Settings dialog box, clear the “Enable Voice Assistant” setting.
  • In the Startup Wizard, clear “Enable Voice Assistant” in the Voice Assistant page.
    (Fusion > Preferences > Run Startup Wizard or ZoomText > Preferences > Run Startup Wizard)

Note: When Voice Assistant is off, the microphone button in the upper right corner in the ZoomText and Fusion toolbar is unavailable.

Turning Off the Wake Word

You can turn off the wake word and use CAPS LOCK+ALT+SPACEBAR instead to make Voice Assistant begin listening for a command. You can then speak the command after pressing the keystroke.

To turn off the wake word, do one of the following:

  • Use the voice commands, “Wake word off” or “Disable wake word.”
  • Toggle off “Listen for wake word Zoomy” in the Voice Assistant Settings.

Note: When the wake word is off, you must always press CAPS LOCK+ALT+SPACEBAR first to tell Voice Assistant to begin listening for a command.

Turning Off Voice Assistant Sounds

To turn off the sounds associated with the wake word and command processing, do the following:

  1. On the Tools toolbar tab, click the arrow next to Voice Assistant or navigate to Voice Assistant and press the DOWN ARROW key.
  2. In the Voice Assistant menu, choose Settings.
    The Voice Assistant Settings dialog box appears.
  3. Choose “Enable Voice Assistant sounds” to toggle wake word and command processing sounds on or off.

FS Support Tool for Gathering System Information

The FS Support Tool is a new utility that collects information about your computer and sends a report to our Technical Support and Software Development teams to help us troubleshoot any issues you may be experiencing while running Fusion or ZoomText. You will typically be asked to run this utility during a technical support session if it is determined that additional details about your system are needed. Some information that is collected includes:

  • System information such as processor, RAM, operating system, architecture, and more
  • Event logs
  • Version of Adobe Reader (if installed)
  • Versions of all installed web browsers
  • Information on installed Microsoft Office applications
  • Crash dumps
  • Installation logs
  • Currently running system processes
  • User settings

The FS Support Tool can be started from the ZoomText Support or the Fusion Support menus and guides you through collecting and submitting a report.

Migrating Settings from Previous Releases

When upgrading to a new version of ZoomText or Fusion, any custom settings from a previous release are automatically imported. This includes features such as magnification level, color, pointer, cursor, mouse enhancements, and any custom settings you created for applications. The import is 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.

Continuous Improvements with Focus Tracking

We continue to improve focus tracking in both Fusion and ZoomText. For example, when navigating within the Inbox of Microsoft Outlook, especially at higher magnification levels, tracking now stays left justified. This makes it much easier to see who sent the messages as you scroll up and down in the Inbox. This improved performance carries over to Microsoft Teams where you will see better focus tracking as you navigate screens and options.

Fusion 2021 Only

Picture Smart Improvements

Introduced in Fusion 2019, Picture Smart allows you to choose a photo and submit it to be analyzed. A description of the image is then displayed in the Results Viewer. To use Picture Smart, press INSERT+SPACEBAR, followed by P to activate the Picture Smart layer. You can then press A to describe a photo acquired from the PEARL camera or a flatbed scanner, F to describe a selected image file in Windows Explorer, C to describe the current control, or B to describe an image on the Windows Clipboard.

Fusion 2021 continues to expand this feature by offering several improvements including:

  • Describing images on web pages: If focused on an image that is part of a web page, such as a photo on Facebook, pressing INSERT+SPACEBAR, P followed by C now describes the photo.
  • Submitting images to multiple services to help improve accuracy: By default, images are submitted to Microsoft for analyzing. However, the Results Viewer now contains a More Results link which submits the image again to additional services for analyzing and displays an updated description. You can also add SHIFT to a Picture Smart command to use multiple services. For example, INSERT+SPACEBAR, P followed by SHIFT+F, SHIFT+C, or SHIFT+B.
  • Using Picture Smart in multiple languages: If you are using Fusion in a language other than English and you attempt to use Picture Smart, Fusion will use machine translation to display descriptions in the particular language. You can also manually choose from 38 languages for displaying results, configurable using the new Picture Smart Language option in Settings Center. To open Settings Center, press INSERT+J, U, E

Please note that these changes, especially the machine translation for other languages, is still experimental, so things may not always work as expected. Results will improve as we continue refining this functionality.

For more information on Picture Smart, press INSERT+SPACEBAR, P followed by QUESTION MARK.

OCR Text Directly into a Word Document

The Convenient OCR (Optical Character Recognition) feature in Fusion has been enhanced to send recognized text directly to Word. Convenient OCR enables you to access images containing text that is part of the image and displays this information in the Results Viewer. This includes onscreen images such as the graphical setup screen for an application, an inaccessible PDF opened in Adobe Reader, a currently selected image file in Windows Explorer, or a document acquired by the PEARL camera or a flatbed scanner.

If Microsoft Office is installed on your system, you can now:

  • Use the new command INSERT+SPACEBAR, O followed by R to perform OCR on a selected image file in File Explorer or the Desktop and place the recognized text directly into a Word document. You can also press the APPLICATIONS key and choose “Convenient OCR to Word with Fusion” from the context menu.
  • Use the new Open in Word link that appears at the bottom of the Results Viewer once the OCR process is complete.

For more information about using Convenient OCR, press INSERT+SPACEBAR, O followed by QUESTION MARK or refer to the Convenient OCR help topic. To access the help topic in Fusion, press INSERT+J, H, J.

New Keystroke for Setting Punctuation Level

You can now press INSERT+SHIFT+2 on the number row (CAPS LOCK+SHIFT+2 in the Laptop keyboard layout) to cycle through the four punctuation levels which controls how much punctuation Fusion speaks while reading. The available levels are None, Some, Most, and All. Similar to toggling Screen Echo (INSERT+S) or Typing Echo (INSERT+2), the punctuation level will revert back to the previous setting when Fusion is restarted. To permanently set a punctuation level, use the JAWS/Fusion Startup Wizard or Settings Center.

To access the Startup Wizard in Fusion, press INSERT+J, H, Z.

To access Settings Center in Fusion, press INSERT+J, U, E.

Note: Due to issues with some Dell keyboards when using the Laptop layout, you may need to use the RIGHT SHIFT key to perform this keystroke.

Automatic Message Reading in Outlook 365

When you open a message from the Inbox in Outlook 365, Fusion will now immediately begin reading the message contents without reading the title or header information. Currently, messages are not automatically read if you ALT+TAB to an open message, or you press ENTER on a message in the Inbox that is already open.

To further customize how messages are read, open Quick Settings (INSERT+V) while in Outlook, search for “message,” and configure any of the resulting options. A few items you might want to change include:

  • Message Header Field with Message Announcement: Turn this option on if you want Fusion to announce the sender’s email address and the subject of the message when a message opens or gains focus.
  • Messages Automatically Read: Turn this option off if you do not want Fusion to automatically read messages when they are opened.
  • Speak Window Titles For Read-only Messages Automatically: Turn this option on if you want Fusion to announce the title of the message window when a message opens or gains focus.

All Wrapped Up

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

What I like in these updates are the Focus improvements for ZT and Fusion, better picture smart features, the ability to scan directly to word. I’m also glad that they fixed the Outlook email message reading feature.

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.

Qapla

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