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

Updates for JAWS, ZoomText, and Fusion May 2021)

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

Enhancements in ZoomText 2021 and Fusion 2021 (May 2021)

The following changes are in the latest ZoomText 2021 and Fusion 2021 update.

Quick Access Bar (QAB) Feature Available for ZoomText and Fusion Users

The Quick Access Bar is a new feature available in ZoomText and Fusion when running on Windows 10. This toolbar lets you place up to eight shortcuts of your most commonly used magnification and speech features in one convenient place. For mouse users, the benefits are twofold. First, you no longer have the distraction of leaving your current app to find the ZoomText or Fusion toolbar to perform an action and then returning to and trying to find your previous place in the app. Second, you do not have to memorize keystrokes for all the different things that you can do with ZoomText and Fusion.

Using the Quick Access Bar

  1. To launch the Quick Access Bar, do one of the following:
  • Press CAPS LOCK+SPACEBAR+Q (this keystroke also works for Fusion when using Laptop keystroke layout)
  • Press INSERT+SPACEBAR+Q (when running Fusion using Desktop keystroke layout)
  • Click the Quick Access Bar shortcut located on the right side of the ZoomText or Fusion toolbar
  1. When launched, the Quick Access Bar appears on the screen as a vertical icon bar at the same location as your mouse pointer.

Selecting the arrow at the bottom of the bar lets you expand it into a window that shows both icons and text descriptions.

  1. Click a feature that you want to use (for example, Color Enhancements), and continue with your current activity.

Note: The Quick Access Bar disappears from view when you move focus away from it. If you need to return to the bar, use the keystrokes or Quick Access Bar shortcut previously mentioned in step 1. You can also press ALT+TAB to jump to the ZoomText or Fusion toolbar.

Customizing the Quick Access Bar

The first time you launch the Quick Access Bar, it is fully populated with eight shortcuts. You can easily swap out these default shortcuts and replace them with the features that you use the most. You can also change the order that they appear on the bar to better suit your needs. To learn more, see Adding Shortcuts and Deleting Shortcuts below.

Adding Shortcuts

Note: You can have a maximum of eight shortcuts on the bar. Before adding another shortcut to the bar, you must delete an existing shortcut. See Deleting Shortcuts for more information.

To add a shortcut to the bar, do the following:

  1. Launch the Quick Access Bar.

If the bar is collapsed, click the Show Shortcut Names button to expand the bar.

  1. Click the Customize button located at the bottom of the bar.

The Customize dialog box appears.

  1. Click Add Shortcut.

The Add Shortcut dialog box appears.

  1. Scroll through the list of available features in the Add Shortcut dialog box, select the item you want to add, and click OK

Deleting Shortcuts

To delete a shortcut from the bar, do the following:

  1. Launch the Quick Access Bar.

If the bar is collapsed, click the Show Shortcut Names button to expand the bar.

  1. Click the Customize button located at the bottom of the bar.

The Customize dialog box appears.

  1. Select a shortcut, and click the Delete icon (located to the right of the shortcut name) to remove the shortcut.
  2. Repeat step 3 to delete other shortcuts. When finished, click OK to close the Customize dialog box.

Changing the Order of Shortcuts in the Quick Access Bar

To move shortcuts up and down the Quick Access Bar, do the following:

  1. Launch the Quick Access Bar.

If the bar is collapsed, click the Show Shortcut Names button to expand the bar.

  1. Click the Customize button located at the bottom of the bar.

The Customize dialog box appears.

  1. Select a shortcut, right-click, and choose Move Up or Move Down.
  2. Repeat step 3 to move other shortcuts. When finished, click OK to close the Customize dialog box.

Other ZoomText Changes

  • Resolved a customer reported issue where Firefox would crash when logging on to the ING Bank website.
  • Resolved a customer reported issue where ZoomText was not reading correctly when running Chrome on a second monitor.
  • Resolved an issue where the Voice Assistant key combination CAPS LOCK+ALT+SPACEBAR was not working in AppReader/Text View
  • Resolved an issue where Background Reader command keys (for example, ENTER, LEFT ARROW, RIGHT ARROW, etc.) were not working.
  • Resolved an issue with focus tracking not updating properly after opening folders in the Windows 10 Start menu.
  • Resolved several issues where focus tracking and program echo were not working correctly when navigating in File Explorer, Control Panel, and ribbon tabs.
  • Resolved an issue where the installation process would freeze when installing ZoomText on a Windows 7 computer

Enhancements in JAWS 2021.2105.53 and Fusion 2021.2105.8 (May 2021)

The following is a list of improvements made between the April 2021 release and the May 2021 update.

Easier Navigation Through Email Threads in Outlook

It is quite common, particularly in a work or school environment, for email messages to include several people, resulting in lengthy message threads as participants reply and add to the conversation. When opening an email that contains a thread of messages, including replies or forwards, it can be time consuming to read through the thread with JAWS or Fusion using the ARROW keys to locate particular responses as you need to move through all of the header information for each message.

To make this easier, you can now use the N or SHIFT+N Navigation Quick Keys to quickly move to and place focus at the beginning of the next or previous message in an open email thread, skipping over all of the header information. As you navigate with these commands, JAWS and Fusion reads who the message is from, the date it was sent, and the first line. If you determine this is not the message in the thread you were looking for, continue using N or SHIFT+N until you reach the message you want. While reading a particular message in the thread, pressing ALT+1 or ALT+2 now announces the sender or date of the message at your current location. To review sender and date info for the entire email, press CTRL+HOME to move back to the top before pressing ALT+1 or ALT+2.

For users of the Focus braille display, you can set a NAV rocker to move through messages in an open email thread. While focused in an email, press the NAV Mode button above the NAV rocker you want to set to cycle through the available navigation modes until “Message” is selected. If you are using an older Focus display that includes Wiz Wheels, press down on the wheel to select the mode. If focus moves away from the message, the navigation mode defaults back to Line.

Note: Currently, this feature is only available while reading an email and not when editing a message. Additionally, while currently limited to messages containing replies and forwards from Outlook, we will continue to improve this feature over time to support emails from other sources like Gmail and iOS.

Voice Assistant Improvements

In the initial 2021 release, we introduced Voice Assistant, a new way to interact with JAWS in Windows 10. Voice Assistant offers a convenient option for quickly performing various JAWS commands using natural speech instead of memorizing specific keystrokes. Since its introduction, we have received numerous requests from customers wanting to be able to access more JAWS features by voice in order to increase productivity.

Some JAWS features you can now access by using voice commands include:

  • Selecting Text, especially blocks of text, has never been easier. Just locate the spot where you wish to begin selecting and say “Hey Sharky, Start Selection.” Then navigate to the location where selection should end and say “Hey Sharky, Finish Selection.” You did it! At that point, all text between the two locations will be highlighted. You can confirm using the SHIFT+INSERT+DOWN ARROW Command to verify you got it all. This works on Web Pages, in Documents, and even in Emails.
  • Working with the JAWS speech history without remembering any keystrokes is now even easier. Try any of the following:

◦ “Hey Sharky, Show Speech History”

◦ “Hey Sharky, Copy Speech History to Clipboard”

◦ “Hey Sharky, Clear Speech History”

  • Working with Technical Support just got easier. Have you ever been asked to get the version information for your software or operating system? Try this out:

◦ “Hey Sharky, Virtualize Version Info”

◦ “Hey Sharky, Copy Version Info to Clipboard”

  • You can now ask JAWS to help virtualize a control or window, or even copy them directly to the Clipboard. For example, go to the JAWS About dialog box, and try the following:

◦ “Hey Sharky, Virtualize Window”

◦ “Hey Sharky, Copy Window”

◦ “Hey Sharky, Virtualize Control”

◦ “Hey Sharky, Copy Control”

  • When navigating Word documents and Outlook messages, you can use Voice Assistant to work with various elements like headings, tables, and graphics. Try the following:

◦ “Hey Sharky, List Headings”

◦ “Hey Sharky, Next Table”

◦ “Hey Sharky, Next Graphic”

  • When editing a Word document or Outlook message, you can use Voice Assistant to move to Spelling or Grammatical errors. For Example, try:

◦ “Hey Sharky, Next Spelling Error”

◦ “Hey Sharky, Next Grammatical Error”

  • While reading a message in Outlook containing several replies or forwards, you can now say “Hey Sharky, Next Message” or “Previous Message.” You will skip the headings and get right to the various replies within that email.
  • When focused on math content in Word that you wish to navigate, you can now say “Hey Sharky, Math Viewer.” This opens the JAWS Math Viewer where you can explore the current equation.
  • To edit a math equation using the new Braille Math Editor, move to the equation and say “Hey Sharky, Math Editor.”
  • Toggle the Braille or Text Viewers on or off by saying “Hey Sharky, Braille Viewer” or “Text Viewer.”
  • Start or stop a JAWS Tandem session by saying “Hey Sharky, Tandem.”
  • Open the Select a Voice Profile dialog box by saying “Hey Sharky, Voice Profile.”
  • To access something in the System Tray, try saying “Hey Sharky, System Tray.”
  • Speak the most recent Windows notification by saying “Hey Sharky, Notification.”
  • If you have a laptop and want to know the charge level of its battery, just say “Hey Sharky, Battery.”
  • On a web page, open the Custom Label dialog box for labeling an element by saying “Hey Sharky, Custom Label.”

Braille Math Editor

JAWS and Fusion currently supports reading Math equations on web pages that are displayed using MathML, or math equations in Microsoft Word documents inserted using the native Word math format. You can navigate the individual elements of an equation using the Math Viewer, accessed by pressing ENTER from a web page or INSERT+SPACEBAR followed by EQUALS from a Word document when focused on the equation. If JAWS braille translation is set to Unified English Braille or United States English Grade 1 or Grade 2 output, math expressions are also shown on a braille display using Nemeth Braille format.

The new Braille Math Editor in JAWS now enables braille users in Windows 10 to input their own equations, and in Office 365, edit existing equations in Word documents. To open the Math Editor, press the layered command INSERT+SPACEBAR followed by SHIFT+EQUALS (plus sign). Focus braille display users can also press DOTS 3-4-6-7 CHORD.

When the Math Editor opens, focus is placed into an edit field where you can immediately begin typing the equation in Nemeth braille from your braille display’s keyboard. As you type, a preview pane below the edit field visually displays the equation so a sighted teacher or parent can review it. Once you are finished inputting the math equation, press ENTER or choose the Accept button to close the Math Editor. If you are in Word, the equation you entered is automatically inserted into the document at your current location. The equation is also copied to the Clipboard so you can paste it in other applications.

Opening the Math Editor while focused on a math equation in a Word document displays the existing equation in Nemeth Braille, allowing you to edit or replace it. After making any changes and pressing ENTER to close the editor, the current equation in the document is replaced by the new or modified equation.

Note: After inserting or modifying an equation in Word from the Math Editor, the blinking cursor (dots 7 and 8) on the braille display always remains at the beginning of the math content, even as you move by character with the LEFT and RIGHT ARROW keys. If you need to insert another line of math content, first press the END key to move to the end of the current math content and then press ENTER.

While the Math Editor is opened, you have the following additional options:

  • Press CTRL+N to start a new equation.
  • Press CTRL+P to preview the current equation in the Math Viewer. When finished, press ESC to return to the Math Editor.
  • Press ALT+E to open the edit menu where you can copy your Nemeth Braille to the Clipboard using a specific format. MathML is the default format when copying, however, depending on the application where you intend to paste the equation, you can also choose to copy your Nemeth Braille to LaTeX or Braille ASCII. After choosing a format to copy to, paste the equation into the specific application before pressing ENTER or selecting Accept to close the Math Editor as this always copies as MathML and will erase the current clipboard contents.

To learn more about Nemeth Braille, check out this Nemeth Tutorial which teaches this braille code beginning with the very basics up through advanced mathematics.

Other Changes

  • Resolved an issue where JAWS was not announcing the download status of files in Edge Chromium.
  • Addressed an issue where the text of a link in a GMail message was not being read if it spanned multiple lines.
  • When selecting a link or button on a web page that opens a modal dialog such as a calendar, resolved an issue where JAWS was reading the entire contents of the dialog all at once as soon as it gained focus.
  • JAWS now indicates when you move in and out of text in Google Docs that is marked as a suggestion.
  • Expanded the description in Commands Search for setting a temporary PlaceMarker (CTRL+WINDOWS+K) to describe how this keystroke is used as part of selecting text.
  • Added the Copy Speech History to Clipboard keystroke (INSERT+SPACEBAR, CTRL+H) to Commands Search.
  • Updated the description in Commands Search for the Read Address Bar keystroke (INSERT+A) so it can be found by searching for either “URL” or “address.”
  • If the Navigation Quick Key Manager is launched from an Outlook message, the Navigation Quick Key N for moving through messages in a thread, is now listed so you can reassign it if necessary. The Navigation Quick Key Manager is located in the Run JAWS Manager dialog box (INSERT+F2).
  • Resolved an issue where Navigation Quick Keys in Outlook messages would sometimes unexpectedly stop working until you moved focus away then back to the message.
  • When selecting text in Outlook messages for copying and pasting, addressed an issue where selection was not always working as expected, causing the wrong text to be selected. This occurred most often in messages containing lists.
  • Updated the INSERT+H help for Excel to list all of the latest JAWS hot keys.
  • Added a new dictionary rule for “FYI” so JAWS no longer says the more verbose “for your information” when encountering this acronym.

All Wrapped Up

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

What I like navigation options for outlook, Quick, Navigation bar, and the JAWS fixes for Google docs, and download notifications in chrome.

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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