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 listed after JAWS and Fusion updates. You can use heading navigation to jump to them quickly.

Enhancements in JAWS 2020.2006.12 and Fusion 2020.2006.2 (June 2020)

The following is a list of improvements made between the April 2020 release and the June 2020 update.

To download the latest release, visit the JAWS Downloads web page. You must be logged on as an administrator to install this software.

Updated Braille and Text Viewers

For many years, the JAWS Braille Viewer has been a very helpful tool for visually displaying on screen, the textual representation of exactly what JAWS is outputting on a refreshable braille display. This is very useful for sighted instructors, script writers, and testers who do not read braille or have limited or no access to an actual braille device. The Braille Viewer represents the number of cells on the currently connected braille display. For example, if a Focus 80 or Focus 14 is connected, you will see 80 or 14 cells on the screen. If a physical display is not in use, the Braille Viewer will represent a 40 cell display including status cells.

In JAWS and Fusion 2020, we have made several much needed updates including improved support for displaying contracted braille, the ability to show braille text as well as the actual braille dot patterns, and a visual connection so a sighted person can see which dot patterns are used to represent characters and words. We have also added Layered keystrokes to simulate display panning which will really benefit sighted script writers.

To activate the Braille Viewer, navigate to the Utilities menu in the JAWS main window, open the Braille and Text Viewer submenu, and select Enable Braille Viewer. You can also now press the new layered command INSERT+SPACEBAR, followed by V, and then B to toggle the Braille Viewer on or off. The following braille navigation commands are also available after pressing INSERT+SPACEBAR, V:

  • Pan left: LEFT ARROW
  • Pan right: RIGHT ARROW
  • Prior line: UP ARROW
  • Next line: DOWN ARROW

Text Viewer

The popular Text Viewer utility has also been brought over to JAWS and Fusion. This will be a welcome addition especially for those who previously used MAGic.

The Text Viewer displays a continuous line of text across the top or bottom of your screen. It provides clarity and ease of reading by allowing you to work in a live application while referencing normalized text in the Text Viewer window. You control the text formatting (font styles and colors) that displays in the window so that it is easier for you to read documents, e-mails, Web pages, and more. This is very useful when you encounter text that is difficult to read because of its formatting, varying sized text, and contrasting colors used in the application.

The text shown in the Text Viewer window follows your navigation within Windows. For example, if the cursor is moved, the text at the cursor position displays in the Text Viewer window. Likewise, if you navigate with the mouse, the text that comes in contact with the mouse displays in the Text Viewer window. When used in Fusion, Text Viewer eliminates the need to adjust the magnification level of the screen when trying to follow along with what Fusion is reading. This is especially helpful when reading with Say All (INSERT+DOWN ARROW).

To activate the Text Viewer, go to the Utilities menu in the JAWS main window, open the Braille and Text Viewer submenu, and select Enable Text Viewer. You can also press the new layered command INSERT+SPACEBAR, followed by V, and then T to toggle the Text Viewer on or off. The Text Viewer also provides easy right and left line panning keystrokes. After pressing INSERT+SPACEBAR, V to enter the Braille and Text Viewer layer, press CTRL+RIGHT ARROW or CTRL+LEFT ARROW.

The Braille Viewer/Text Viewer is a visual only option and the PC focus does not move to this window. Once activated, it will automatically start whenever JAWS or Fusion is restarted. The Braille and Text Viewer window resizes your application windows to avoid covering anything someone may need to work with, and when closed, the windows go back to full screen. You can place the windows on the top or bottom of the screen as well as customize the font, point size, and the background and foreground colors for displayed text. The Braille and Text Viewer even works in a multiple monitor setup. To configure these options, go to the Utilities menu in the JAWS main window, open the Braille and Text Viewer submenu, and select Settings.

Note: Fusion must be running in Full Window Mode in order to use the Braille and Text Viewer. If a user switches to Lens or Split View while the Braille or Text viewer is active, it will be suspended until you return to Full Window magnification.

New Option to Keep Wireless Speakers and Sound Cards from Clipping Speech When JAWS or Fusion Begins Speaking

Many modern Bluetooth headphones and speakers as well as some onboard sound cards shut down when no audio is received in order to conserve battery. JAWS now includes a new option, which when enabled, keeps these devices awake by constantly playing silence. You will not hear anything, but your device will remain active, resulting in more consistent speech. To enable this feature, open Settings Center (INSERT+6) on the number row, press CTRL+SHIFT+D to load the default settings, and search for “Avoid speech cut off when using Bluetooth headphones or some sound cards.”

Note: The battery of your headphones/speakers could drain faster if you choose to turn on this feature. This option is also not available if the Audio Ducking feature is enabled which lowers the audio volume of programs while JAWS speaks.

Other Changes

  • When connecting to a remote computer using remote access software (Remote Desktop, Citrix, VMware Horizon, or Amazon WorkSpaces), JAWS and Fusion can now get its remote authorization from a license installed locally on the remote computer if it is running a work station operating system like Windows 10 Professional. For example, you have a JAWS Professional license with remote access authorization on a Windows 10 computer at your office which you sometimes connect to from home using Remote Desktop, but you only have a Home Annual license with no remote authorization on your personal computer. When you establish a remote connection between your home and work computers, as long as you are running the June 2020 release or later of your Freedom Scientific software, JAWS will use the license on your work computer to enable the remote access flag.

If connecting to a remote computer running a server operating system like Windows Server 2019 which supports multiple user connection, JAWS and Fusion will continue to only use the license on the client or a Freedom Scientific network license server for authorization.

  • To address reported issues with removing ILM timed licenses, new options have been added to the License sub menu located in the JAWS Help menu. Select Remove current activation to remove the currently active ILM license or select Remove all products activation to remove all ILM licenses for JAWS, Fusion, and ZoomText from the system. If you perform a full install of the June 2020 update or later, a new Remove all products ILM activation shortcut is also added to the Utilities folder.
  • Beginning with the June 2020 release, if you perform a clean install, the option to send anonymous usage data as you use JAWS and Fusion is now enabled by default. If you install as an update, you will be asked if you want to turn this feature on if it is not already enabled. Having this feature on is necesary to use certain features such as Picture Smart. See our Anonymous Data Collection Polocy for more information about what we collect.
  • When installing JAWS, ZoomText, or Fusion, there is now a link to view the End User License Agreement on the Freedom Scientific website.
  • In Excel, resolved a customer reported issue where JAWS was not reading as expected in the Sort By combo box.
  • Removed the Stock Quotes Research It lookup source as this information could no longer be retrieved due to significant changes to the NASDAQ website.
  • Pressing ENTER no longer turns off Forms Mode in edit fields. Forms Mode now only deactivates when focus moves away from an edit field when using Auto or Semi-Auto or when you press ESC or the PC Cursor command (NUM PAD PLUS or CAPS LOCK+SEMICOLON).
  • The option to have JAWS and Fusion announce nesting levels for list items in web-based editors like Google Docs is now enabled by default to be consistent with Microsoft Word. If you do not want to hear this information when reading bulleted or numbered lists, open Quick Settings (INSERT+V) and turn off List Nesting Level Announcement.
  • Improved JAWS indication of ARIA group names for check boxes and list items.
  • Resolved an issue using JAWS with the about:config page in Firefox which allows you to configure advanced preferences or experimental features.
  • Addressed an issue where button labels were being announced twice when using INSERT+B to read the contents of some dialog boxes.
  • Addressed a reported issue where JAWS was not announcing indentation in the Visual Studio Code application.
  • Added a new JAWS dictionary entry for TPGi.




Enhancements in ZoomText 2020.2006.12 and Fusion 2020.2006.2 (June 2020)

The following changes are in the latest ZoomText 2020 and Fusion 2020 June releases. To download, select ZoomText 2020 or Fusion 2020. You must be logged on as an administrator to install this software.

  • Two new options to remove ILM authorization from your computer are available in this release. The first is “Remove Current Authorization,” which removes the ZoomText activation key. The second is “Remove All Product Authorization.” It removes any activation keys for JAWS, ZoomText, Fusion, or MAGic installed on your computer. These options are found under ZoomText > Manage License Menu.
  • Resolved an issue where Cursor Enhancements would appear next to web page links when pressing TAB to navigate a web page. This occurred when using Firefox.
  • Resolved an issue where ZoomText speech was not reading while navigating the Thunderbird Email Message List. (ZoomText only)
  • Addressed stability issues provided via the Collect Error Report feature.

All Wrapped Up

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

What I like in these updates are the text/Braille viewers, the ability to manage ILM authorizations, and the new tweak to stop audio from clipping on some sound cards. For some, that last one may be the best reason to upgrade to the June updates.

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.


2 thoughts on “New Features in JAWS, ZoomText, and Fusion”

  1. Pingback: WORDPRESS WEDNESDAY-TECH TIPS: New Features in Jaws, ZoomText, and Fusion #WebFriendlyHelp | Campbells World

What's in your head about what you just read?

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.