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.


Enhancements in JAWS 2021.2012.57 and Fusion 2021.2012.15 (January 19, 2021)

The following are a list of improvements made in the latest JAWS 2021 and Fusion 2021 release. To download, select JAWS 2021 or Fusion 2021. You must be logged on as an administrator to install this software.

  • A new feature was introduced earlier this month, designed to let a user change the volume of JAWS speaking or the system volume itself using a layered keystroke: INSERT+SPACE, V followed by J for JAWS or S for System. Since this change, Eloquence users reported hearing Ticks when reading and typing, especially around the letter O. We also had reports of the volume randomly changing when reading documents or web pages. These issues are now resolved.
  • Resolved an issue where pressing INSERT+ALT+SPACEBAR was not starting the Voice Assistant in JAWS or Fusion.
  • The JAWS voice commands to speak faster or slower now adjusts the speech in larger increments.
  • Addressed an issue where JAWS was not reading table headings in Excel.
  • Added a new JAWS Dictionary entry for “DocuSign.”
  • When spell checking a document in Word, resolved an issue where JAWS was not reading as expected when navigating by word through the text containing the error.
  • Resolved an issue where attachments were not being reported correctly in the Danish version of Outlook 2019.
  • In the Italian version of JAWS, addressed an issue where the keystrokes to access the Braille and Text Viewer layer, as well as the Volume layer, were not working as expected.

Enhancements in ZoomText 2021.2012.48 (January 2021)

The following changes are in the latest ZoomText 2021 release. To download, select ZoomText 2021. You must be logged on as an administrator to install this software.

Select a Microphone to Use with Voice Assistant

“Microphone Input Device” is a new Voice Assistant setting. It shows all available microphones on your computer (for example, an internal microphone and a connected headset) and lets you choose which microphone Voice Assistant uses when listening for commands. By designating a different microphone for this feature than what is being used for other applications such as Teams or Zoom, it allows you to mute those applications during meetings and still use the Voice Assistant with JAWS, ZoomText, or Fusion. You will find this option in the Voice Assistant Settings dialog box (Tools toolbar tab > Voice Assistant > Settings).

Other Changes

  • A customer in France recently reported an issue discovered when using ZoomText with Chrome and Edge Chromium on the web site: After further review, it was determined that it was a web browser problem. Freedom Scientific shared information with Microsoft and Google, and the problem was resolved as of Chrome build 87.
  • Resolved an issue where the Vocalizer Expressive synthesizer was not available if both ZoomText 2021 and ZoomText 2020 were installed on the same computer.
  • Resolved issues where mouse echo was not working in Outlook 365, Outlook 2016, and Excel 365.
  • Resolved focus tracking and cursor enhancements problems when running ZoomText with Excel 2010.
  • Resolved a reported issue from Europe related to ZoomText performance when used with the OpenScape SoftPhone application.
  • Improved stability and performance based on feedback received using the FS Support Tool.

All Wrapped Up

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

No new features this time around. Mostly bug fixes.

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.


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