Essential Keyboard Commands for JAWS

There are hundreds of JAWS keyboard commands. You probably can't learn them all and even if you did you would quickly forget them. What subset is essential for blind students?

I've compiled the attached list based on my daily use of JAWS for more than a decade. Think I'm missing important commands? Think the list is too long? Drop me a line in the comments section.

Attached Essential Commands for JAWS here.




Posted by George S. ThompsonNov 13, 2018

I am looking for a minimal JAWS configuration for students who have limited vision (face an inch from the monitor) but really could use the JAWS audio as prompts but not verbose descriptions. Do you have any suggestions? I viewed the Chrome SAS extension video ( I think it was yours) and it seemed that Jaws was set to minimalistic settings, that is what I am seeking.

Posted by Ed SummersNov 17, 2018

Hi George,

We designed the speech output within SAS Graphics Accelerator to provide the appropriate amount of information to users given the context. I'm delighted you think it is useful. Unfortunately, that behavior is specific to SAS Graphics Accelerator.

However, I believe all students with visual impairments can benefit from text-to-speech technology. That is particularly true for low vision students with their face inches from the screen. Nausia and fatigue will greatly undermine their reading speed and endurance. They will correctly view reading as a painful experience to be avoided. As a result, they will probably never read for pleasure.

Unfortunately, there is a huge learning curve for JAWS and other screen readers. I think you are very wise to introduce text-to-speech technology in a way that creates the minimum amount of friction and learning curve. I also recommend that you find a way to introduce text-to-speech in a way that solves a problem that is particularly painful for the student.

So, the question is ... what is the most painful/slow/frustrating task that your student must perform on a regular basis with their nose on the screen?

Let's find an alternative solution for that task that uses text-to-speech. Once the student sees the value in text-to-speech they may be willing to use it in other circumstances. Eventually, they may come to the conclusion that audio is easier and faster and painless so they may be willing to invest the time to learn a screen reader or at least the screen reading functions of a magnifier like ZoomText.

The answer to the question above will determine what text-to-speech tool you introduce. The answer will vary by student.

Here's a few tools you may want to consider on Windows. Note that there are also great lightweight text-to-speech options on iOS.

Use the Speak text-to-speech feature in Microsoft Office products:

Configure a shortcut key to speak selected text in Microsoft Office products:

Read and Write extension for Chrome and Edge:

Speak It extension for Chrome:



Posted by Krystal Ebner Dec 05, 2018


I am a vision teacher and am working with a student who is progressively loosing vision. We are starting to work with screen reading technology and I find your articles very helpful. I have a few questions for you. Would you by any chance have time to talk with me?

Thank you so much

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