What's New in JAWS 2018 Public Beta

Thank you for participating in the JAWS 2018 public beta testing. This page provides all the necessary details that you need to know and at the end of the page, you will find links to download JAWS 2018 Beta now. Please take a few moments to review this information and take advantage of the beta report form link to provide Freedom Scientific your feedback during the public beta.

Quick Notes About the Public Beta

Thank you for your help during the public beta period. Please note that this is beta software, and its accuracy and reliability are not guaranteed. You should not rely exclusively on the beta software for any reason.

  • This JAWS 2018 public beta is available in English, Spanish, German, French, French Canadian, Dutch, and Hebrew. Note that for Hebrew, localization is still in progress, so you will still encounter messages in some areas that are still in English. These will be addressed as new updates are released.
  • Please note that while the final release of JAWS 2018 will be a Software Maintenance Agreement (SMA) upgrade, this public beta version will run for anyone with a license that provides access to JAWS 18 or Fusion 11.
  • If you do not have JAWS 18 or Fusion 11 authorization, you can still install the public beta version and run it using 40-Minute Demo mode.
  • This public beta version will expire later this year. To use JAWS without interruption, you must continue to update to later versions of the public beta and then to the final release.
  • You do not have to remove earlier versions of JAWS to install the JAWS 2018 public beta. Your previous versions will continue to function when you have JAWS 2018 installed, just as each new major version release of JAWS has in the past.

Technical Support During the Public Beta

While in public beta, general technical support of JAWS 2018 is not available using our direct support phone lines or email. However, you may use normal support lines in order to resolve any problems you experience related to installation or authorization using the Public Beta. For all other issues you may discover, we ask that you send feedback directly to Freedom Scientific using the JAWS 2018 Beta Report Form web page. Please bookmark the report page in your web browser so that you can easily locate it if you need technical assistance. Also, please submit one problem per report.

New Features Added in JAWS 2018

The following features are new to JAWS 2018. For more information and complete demonstrations, go to the FSCast web page and listen to episodes 143, 144, and 145.

JAWS Version Number Change

Beginning with this release, JAWS will now be numbered using the year it will be shipping in, rather than an arbitrary number. You can think of it as though this is the 2018 model of JAWS coming out this Fall, just as they do with cars. The versions of ZoomText and Fusion that get released following this new JAWS 2018, will also have the same 2018 numbering. This will make it easier for users to know which versions go together, and when they were released.

Microsoft Edge Support (must be enabled in Settings Center)

JAWS 2018 introduces support for Edge, the latest web browser from Microsoft included in Windows 10. To use JAWS with Edge, you must be running the Windows 10 Creators update (version 1703) or later. While there are still several JAWS features that are not available in Edge such as selecting and copying using the Virtual Cursor, PlaceMarkers, Smart Navigation, Flexible Web, and domain-specific settings, we have made the overall experience of navigating pages in Edge using both speech and braille as similar as possible to working in Internet Explorer, Chrome, or Firefox. As we continue to work with Microsoft to improve the Edge experience, future JAWS updates will include greater functionality.

Edge support is turned off by default in JAWS 2018. This is because support for Microsoft Edge depends on some emerging technologies, which we continue to fine-tune in close collaboration with Microsoft. You can turn on Edge support through Settings Center by doing the following:

  1. Press INSERT+F2, and select Settings Center.
  2. Press CTRL+SHIFT+D to load the JAWS default settings.
  3. In the Search edit box, type "edge browser" without the quotes.
  4. Press DOWN ARROW to move to "Microsoft Edge Browser Support" in the filtered search results in the tree view.
  5. Press SPACEBAR to toggle this option.
  6. Press ENTER to save your change and close Settings Center.

Once this option is enabled, you will be able to use JAWS to access web pages in Edge.

The Virtual Cursor is used to read pages in Edge just like in other browsers. You can use the standard reading commands as well as most of the Navigation Quick Keys to navigate through pages. Currently, there are a few Navigation Quick Keys that are not yet supported in Edge, however the most used commands; moving by headings, paragraphs, forms, tables, lists, graphics, and regions, are available. More Navigation Quick Keys will be supported in future updates.

By default, JAWS uses Semi-auto Forms Mode in Edge, which turns on Forms Mode automatically only when you move to a form control using TAB or SHIFT+TAB. Due to the way Edge displays pages, Auto Forms Mode is not available as it is possible to have multiple controls on a single line. You will need to press ENTER to turn on Forms Mode if you use the ARROW keys to move to form fields.

Other familiar JAWS features that are currently supported include:

  • Displaying a list of links, headings, or form controls by pressing INSERT+F7, INSERT+F6, or INSERT+F5.
  • Searching for text on the current page by pressing CTRL+F.
  • Obtaining font information by pressing INSERT+F.
  • The ability for JAWS to detect changes in the language used on a web page and automatically switch to the appropriate voice if available.

As you begin using Edge, one important item to note is that Edge is a Modern app with no menu bar that can be accessed using the ALT key. To access Edge specific features, press TAB from the bottom of a page or SHIFT+TAB from the top. Continue using TAB or SHIFT+TAB to move through the various controls until you cycle back around to the content area. Alternatively, Edge offers many of the same shortcut keys found in other browsers such as CTRL+T to open a new tab, CTRL+H for History, CTRL+I for Favorites, CTRL+J for Downloads, and so on.

Convenient OCR Adds Support for Freedom Scientific Cameras and Flatbed Scanners

The Convenient OCR (Optical Character Recognition) feature, which enables you to recognize the text of inaccessible PDF documents opened in Adobe Reader or the text of images on the screen, has been expanded to support the recognition of image files as well as images captured by Freedom Scientific's PEARL® reading camera or a flatbed scanner. The PEARL is a highly portable document camera that allows you to capture and recognize a page within seconds, and also features an automatic mode that senses motion which causes it to capture an image whenever a page is turned.

To recognize text in image files saved as BMP, JPG, JPEG, GIF, TIF, TIFF, PNG, PCX, or PDF, press the layered keystrokes INSERT+SPACEBAR, O, F while focused on the specific file in File Explorer. The recognized text will be displayed in the results viewer where you can use standard reading commands to review the text or select and copy it to other applications. Alternatively, press the APPLICATIONS key to open the context menu and choose "Recognize File with JAWS," or "Recognize File with ZoomText Fusion" if Fusion is running.

Note: If JAWS is not able to perform OCR on a PDF due to its security settings, try opening the PDF in Adobe Reader and then use the INSERT+SPACEBAR, O, D command to recognize PDF documents.

To acquire and read a document with the PEARL camera, position a page under the camera aligned with the page guide, and then press the layered keystrokes INSERT+SPACEBAR, O, A. This will open the new Camera and Scanner Recognition dialog box and if you have a PEARL USB camera plugged in, it will be the default option. Just press ENTER to start the single page capture and OCR. After a few seconds, the recognition is complete and JAWS displays the text in the Results Viewer where you can use standard reading commands to review the text or select and copy it to other applications.

Note: The field of view that can be captured by the PEARL is 9 inches by 12 inches.

To recognize multiple images, after pressing INSERT+SPACEBAR, O, A, you will want to select the Motion Detect Multi-Page Recognition check box before pressing the Acquire button to start capturing documents. When you hear JAWS play a camera shudder sound, the current image has been captured and you can place a new page under the camera or turn the page in a book. Once the PEARL no longer detects motion, the next image is captured and recognized. Once you are finished recognizing pages, press INSERT+SPACEBAR, O, A again to stop recognition. You can also select the Timeout check box to have recognition stop automatically if the PEARL detects no motion for 30 seconds.

To acquire an image from a scanner, place the page on the scanner bed then press INSERT+SPACEBAR, O, A to open the Camera and Scanner Recognition dialog box. Make sure your scanner is selected in the Cameras and Scanners combo box and then choose the Acquire button to begin the recognition process. Once recognition is complete, JAWS displays the text in the Results Viewer where you can use standard reading commands to review the text or select and copy it to other applications. If your scanner includes an auto document feeder, select the Use auto-document feed, if available check box to scan and recognize multiple pages.

When capturing from the PEARL or a scanner, JAWS also announces the page orientation such as "sideways", "upside down", or "right side up." This is especially helpful for users who need to make sure a page is positioned correctly for folding and inserting into an envelope so the correct information is showing through the window.

All New Installer

The JAWS installation process has been completely redesigned to take advantage of the latest technology. The setup process has been streamlined with fewer dialogs and offers faster download and installation of various components. The installer is now also self-voicing, no longer using a run-time version of JAWS. If you happen to be running an older version of JAWS while installing 2018, the self-voicing of the install will remain silent, allowing you to use your previous version of JAWS to speak during setup.

New Verbosity Options for the Virtual Cursor

When reading content using the Virtual Cursor, JAWS alerts you to the beginning and end of various elements such as lists, tables, and regions. With JAWS support for ARIA continuing to improve and web developers becoming more aware of accessible design, the amount of extra information provided by the Virtual Cursor can become overwhelming when you just want to focus on the page content. To make it easier to determine what is spoken, JAWS now offers three levels of verbosity for the Virtual Cursor, giving you control over how much detail you want to hear when reading various web content. The three levels are:

  • High - JAWS speaks the most information about elements on the page or inside a document. Everything is announced at this level.
  • Medium - This level is configured to provide the best user experience on most pages and documents and is the default verbosity level.
  • Low - JAWS speaks as little structural information as possible about the elements on a page or inside a document.

To choose a verbosity level, do the following:

  1. Press INSERT+F2, and select Settings Center.
  2. In the Search edit box, type "web verbosity" without the quotes.
  3. Press DOWN ARROW to move to "Web Verbosity Level" in the filtered search results in the tree view.
  4. Press SPACEBAR to choose the level you want.
  5. Press ENTER to save your change and close Settings Center.

You can also choose a Virtual Cursor verbosity level to be active for a specific website. From the website where you want to use a different verbosity level, press INSERT+V to open Quick Settings, navigate to the Personalized Web Settings group, and press SPACEBAR on Verbosity Level to choose the verbosity level you want for the current site.

Each verbosity level is preset to provide the most optimal experience. However, just like with speech verbosity, each level can be further customized to give only the information you want to hear. For example, you may want to continue using the default Medium verbosity level, but you may want JAWS to announce a couple more elements that are not spoken by default at this level.

To customize a verbosity level, open Settings Center, expand the Web/HTML/PDFs group, expand the Reading group, and expand the Configure Web Verbosity Levels group. Next, press the SPACEBAR on the verbosity level you want to customize. A dialog box opens containing a tree view listing the structural elements that can be announced by the Virtual Cursor. Use the SPACEBAR to select or clear an element and then choose OK to save your changes.

"Document and Web Pages Automatically Read when Loaded" Option Added to Settings Center

The option to determine whether or not JAWS automatically begins reading after a PDF document or web page loads has been added to Settings Center and Quick Settings. Previously, this option was only available for Fusion users, but it has been expanded to be available for users who are only running JAWS.

When enabled, JAWS automatically begins reading web pages and PDF documents when loaded. Turn it off if you do not want JAWS to automatically begin reading. Disabling this option is especially useful if you are using JAWS in conjunction with screen magnification software as the focus is not unexpectedly moved back to the top while you are using the mouse to navigate through the document.

By default, this setting is on when only JAWS is running and off when using Fusion or FSReader.

Support for Microsoft Mobile Voices in Windows 10

JAWS now works with the Microsoft Mobile voices, a new speech interface from Microsoft developed for the Universal Windows Platform. If you are running JAWS in Windows 10, a new Microsoft Mobile voice profile will be listed in the Voice Adjustment dialog box and the Select a Voice Profile dialog box (CTRL+INSERT+S). The available voices depend on the installed Windows language. For English, three voices are available. Additional voices can be added through downloadable language packs which can be installed through the Region and Language settings.

Updated Liblouis Braille Translator

JAWS 2018 includes version 3.3 of the popular Liblouis braille translator. This offers our users the latest updates to contracted and uncontracted Unified English Braille (UEB) translation as well as improvements for other language tables.

Improvements to JAWS Language Switching

If a document or web page contains text in a language that is different from the JAWS primary language, JAWS can automatically switch to the specific language if the currently active voice profile contains the appropriate voice and the document author has used the correct tags to indicate the change in language. However, most international versions of JAWS turn automatic language switching off by default, requiring users to manually change the voice to match the language of document text. When manually switching languages, either by changing the active voice profile or using the Select a Language dialog box (CTRL+WINDOWS Key+L), JAWS now only reads the text of the document or web page in the selected language, but will continue reading JAWS messages, application menus, and dialog boxes using the primary language.

For example, if you have a profile that has Dutch set as the primary language and you switch to an English voice to read an English web page, JAWS will read the English text using the English voice, but will continue using the Dutch voice to read JAWS messages such as the indication of links and headings.

Acronym Expansion Included When Spelling a Word

When navigating web pages with the Virtual Cursor and you encounter words that include an acronym expansion, pressing INSERT+NUM PAD 5 (CAPS LOCK+K) in Laptop layout) twice quickly to spell the current word now also speaks the acronym or abbreviation.

Read Dialog Boxes in Modern Apps

When a dialog box is displayed in a desktop application, you can press INSERT+B to have JAWS read the entire contents of the dialog box. This command now also works in Modern apps including Mail, Store, and Edge to read the contents of various popup dialogs.

Enhancements in JAWS 2018 Public Beta 3

The following is a list of improvements made between Public Beta 2 and Public Beta 3. Note that while many customer-reported enhancements are included in this release, the following is a list of more notable changes.

Note: For Dutch users, no update will be presented during a Check for Updates. You must uninstall all prior JAWS 2018 builds including shared components, and then perform a full install of Public Beta 3 or the final release. Once Public Beta 3 or later is installed, future JAWS updates will work as expected.

Option for Moving to Any Link Added to Navigation Quick Key Manager

A new navigation option that can manually be assigned to a Navigation Quick Key has been added for use in all browsers to move to any link. To assign a key to this action, do the following:

  1. Press INSERT+F2, then select Navigation Quick Keys.
  2. Select Any Link from the list and then choose the Edit Key Assignment button.
  3. In the edit box, type the key you want to assign to this option and press ENTER. The key must be A through z or 0 through 9.
  4. Choose OK to save your change and close the dialog box.

Once this item is assigned, it will move the Virtual Cursor in a browser to both visited and unvisited links.

Other Changes

  • Addressed reports where JAWS 2018 would not install on certain 64-bit computers. In these cases, the installation process was not able to install the Convenient OCR components. This is now fixed.
  • Resolved issues using JAWS with Edge in the Windows 10 Fall Creators update.
  • Resolved a customer reported issue where JAWS would stop responding when opening certain PDF documents.
  • Addressed issues with the JAWS 2018 installer not working as expected on systems running the Avast or AVG antivirus software.
  • Addressed an issue where braille was not always tracking properly in multiline edit fields in Internet Explorer.
  • Resolved a customer reported issue where it was necessary to press INSERT+ESC to perform a JAWS screen refresh on certain pages in order to view changes in page content. This was observed with Internet Explorer in Windows 10.
  • If more than one keyboard layout is available for an input language, resolved an issue where JAWS would not indicate in speech or braille when pressing CTRL+SHIFT to change the keyboard layout in Windows 7.
  • If you changed the default voice or pitch in the active voice profile for a specific context such as the PC Cursor, resolved an issue where content was not being spoken using the selected voice or pitch as expected.
  • Resolved an issue where pressing the Left or Right Selector button on a Focus braille display was not changing the Braille Auto Advance speed.
  • When navigating the User Account Control (UAC) dialog box, resolved an issue where JAWS was not announcing the currently selected option.
  • Added a new Arabic Computer Braille table.

Enhancements in JAWS 2018 Public Beta 2

The following is a list of improvements made between the first Public Beta and Public Beta 2. Note that while many customer-reported enhancements are included in this release, the following is a list of more notable changes.


  • If you are running a previous version of JAWS while installing 2018, JAWS now speaks the progress bar which displays the percentage of the install that is complete. The self-voicing feature of the installer also now announces more progress information.
  • Improved various installer messages including the messages confirming a successful install or uninstall.
  • When using the default voice contexts for the various cursors and you press NUM PAD+MINUS to turn on the JAWS Cursor, resolved a customer reported issue where "JAWS Cursor" was not being announced using the correct voice, which uses a lower pitch.
  • Added new Research It lookup sources to the French version of JAWS for two libraries for the blind in France.
  • When using JAWS Settings Center in Windows 10, resolved an issue where JAWS was not announcing the current location in the tree view after expanding a group, or the path to the currently selected item when pressing INSERT+UP ARROW. In addition, when navigating the filter tree view of results after performing a search, JAWS now announces the item followed by its location.
  • The What's New in JAWS DAISY book has been updated for JAWS 2018. To get the new book, select Training from the JAWS Help menu to open the JAWS Basic Training Table of Contents in FSReader, and then press ENTER on the What's New in JAWS link.
  • In response to a customer request, JAWS now includes version 3.3 of the Liblouis braille translator.
  • Updated the control names in Settings Center for the Virtual Cursor verbosity options to say, "Web Verbosity Levels" and "Configure Web Verbosity Levels", to make them easier to find when doing a search.
  • If the JAWS Laptop keyboard layout is active, resolved an issue where pressing INSERT+SHIFT+1 through 0 was not working in Excel to define a monitor cell. In addition, INSERT+SHIFT+T now works in Winamp to display track information. In Laptop layout, both The CAPS LOCK and INSERT keys can be used as the JAWS Key.
  • Addressed issues with editing text files on remote systems using SSH.
  • A customer using the Spanish version of JAWS reported several issues with various help and application messages. These have been resolved.

Convenient OCR

  • In response to customer feedback, improved the quality of the OCR results when using INSERT+SPACEBAR, O, F to recognize an image file or INSERT+SPACEBAR, O, D to recognize a PDF document in Adobe Reader.
  • In response to customer feedback, the camera light frequency correction is now saved when changed through the Advanced dialog box located in the Camera and Scanner Recognition dialog box.
  • JAWS now plays a progress sound when recognizing large PDF documents.

Google Docs

  • You can now press CTRL+APOSTROPHE or CTRL+SEMICOLON in Google Docs to move to the next or previous misspelled word in a document.
  • When navigating a Google Docs table in Chrome using JAWS table reading commands (ALT+CTRL+ARROW keys, addressed an issue where JAWS was double speaking cell contents.

Microsoft Office

  • Resolved a customer reported issue with the 8400 series of Outlook 365 updates where JAWS was not automatically reading the suggested addresses when typing in the address fields of a new message. To check your Outlook 365 version, use the JAWS command CTRL+INSERT+V while focused in Outlook.
  • When navigating time slots in the Outlook Calendar using Vocalizer Expressive for speech, addressed a reported issue where JAWS was saying "comma" before the time.
  • When opening the Spell Checker for the first time after starting Word 365, resolved an issue where JAWS was not automatically reading the misspelled word and suggestion.


  • Resolved an issue where both JAWS and Skype would stop working if the Call Quality Feedback dialog box was displayed after ending a call.

Web Browsers

  • JAWS 2018 contains changes necessary to support Firefox version 57, scheduled for release in the fourth quarter of 2017.
  • Improved overall JAWS performance with Edge. In particular, multiple reports where Edge would unexpectedly stop working on various web pages or become less responsive after opening multiple pages were addressed.
  • When INSERT+A is pressed to read the web page address in Firefox or Chrome, addressed a customer reported issue where this information was not being displayed in braille if flash message verbosity was set to Advanced.
  • Addressed an issue with JAWS double speaking live region updates in Google Chrome.
  • Resolved an issue where Internet Explorer would sometimes close unexpectedly when right clicking on various toolbar items using the mouse.
  • Resolved a reported issue with JAWS not reading as expected when encountering form controls inside an ARIA grid.
  • You can now use the U and SHIFT+U Navigation Quick Keys in Edge to move by links. Note that in Internet Explorer, Firefox, or Chrome, these commands only move to the next or previous unvisited link. However, since Edge currently does not indicate when a link has been visited, U and SHIFT+U will move to all links in this browser.
  • If the mouse is used to select text on a web page, resolved an issue where pressing CTRL+C was not working as expected to copy the selected text.
  • Addressed intermittent issues where domain specific settings were not always loading as expected.
  • Resolved an issue with Chrome where braille was not working as expected when typing and navigating in certain edit fields.

Windows Mail

  • When opening an email message, resolved a customer reported issue where JAWS was reading the contents of the previous message, even if it had been closed or deleted.
  • When using JAWS table reading commands to navigate a table inserted into a new message, resolved an issue with JAWS not reading as expected.

Windows 10

  • Addressed an issue where JAWS was not indicating the selected item when navigating between time picker controls.

Download JAWS 2018

The following briefly describes how to download, save, and install the JAWS public beta release.

  1. Select the preferred language which will list the available download links (By default English is selected).
  2. Select the appropriate download link.
  3. When the dialog box opens, choose Save and select a location where you can easily find the downloaded executable file. Make sure to download the correct version (64-bit or 32-bit) for your computer, which we have detected is a -bit computer. Instructions to verify whether you have a 64-bit or 32-bit computer can be found at the bottom of this page.
  4. Run the executable and follow the talking installer.

Do I need to download the 64-bit or 32-bit version of software?

  1. Press WINDOWS Key+R to open the Run dialog box.
  2. Type "c:" without the quotes and then press ENTER to display the contents of your C drive.
  3. Press the letter P until you reach the "Program Files" folder, and then press P once more.
    If you have 64-bit Windows, you have two folders: one named "Program Files" and another named "Program Files (x86)."
    If you have 32-bit Windows, you only have one folder named "Program Files."
  4. Please select the appropriate 64-bit or 32-bit version to run on your system.