Yesterday I began highlighting some of the new features within JAWS Version 16. I discussed how an entire unmarked PDF document could be easily converted into synthetic speech. Today I would like to take a few moments to talk about the new JAWS Command Search. This new feature allows a user to look up any of the hundreds of JAWS commands whether it is anything from a reading key, to a Layard key stroke, to a Braille display command. To take advantage of this feature simply do the following: press the insert key plus the space bar and then the letter j. You will be placed in an edit field where you can begin typing the command that you need to be refreshed upon. Although all of us use commands such as read current line routinely, there are many commands that we simply don’t have occasion to use all that frequently; such as the list of special symbols (insert plus number’s row 4)it is for these commands that the JAWS Command Search really stands out as a powerful tool for with just a couple of key strokes the user is immediately brought to the information they would have otherwise had to spend far longer looking up in one of the help topics. I have been a JAWS user for nearly thirty years and I have already taken advantage of this new feature. I hope you find it as useful as I have.
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It is that time of the year once again. As many long time JAWS user’s know, September and October mean the new version of JAWS, the industry’s leading screen reader. On September 30th Freedom Scientific released Beta two for JAWS Version 16. This beta contains one of the most useful new features to come along in quite some time. Most JAWS users are familiar with convenient OCR which was introduced a few versions ago. Freedom Scientific has taken Convenient OCR to an entirely new level in Version 16 with document recognition. Document recognition gives the user the ability to read otherwise inaccessible PDF documents; in other words, PDF’s which have simply been scanned rather than written from the ground up. Previously, JAWS could only read these documents one screen at a time. Now however, with the document reading feature in Convenient OCR the entire PDF can be read at once whether it is one page or 100 pages. How does it work? To invoke this feature do the following: open the inaccessible PDF in Adobe Reader and JAWS will say “document is empty” press the insert key plus the space bar followed by the letter o, next press the letter d and JAWS will begin performing OCR on the document and will begin reading the document within a couple of seconds.
I am particularly excited about this feature and I hope all of you find it as useful as I already have.