What's New in JAWS 17 Screen Reading Software

This page describes the new features and improvements available in JAWS 17.

  • Download JAWS
  • JAWS 17 Enhancements, for a complete list of enhancements made in this release, including the most recent update.
  • FSCast web page, provides demonstrations of the exciting features in JAWS 17.
  • Windows 10 Upgrade Information
  • Read previous JAWS release notes by selecting a version from the list

JAWS 17 Features

Smart Navigation, More Efficient Interaction with Complex Web Pages and Applications

Today and in the future, users will be faced with an increased need to work with complex web forms, tables, and even applications that run inside of a web browser. This will impact your day to day interactions with online services such as banking and shopping, in addition to many web apps found in both companies and government agencies. For instance, Internet Explorer can be used to log onto a Microsoft SharePoint server to collaborate with other co-workers and create and store documents. The new Smart Navigation™ feature is designed to make it more efficient when navigating web-based applications with the Virtual Cursor, as the LEFT and RIGHT ARROW or CTRL+LEFT and CTRL+RIGHT ARROW commands move by control instead of character and word. This makes navigation such as moving across toolbars, tab strips, and navigation links more like navigating around a desktop application. Pressing the Say Character, Say Word, or Say Line commands twice quickly changes to the traditional navigation by character, word, line, sentence, and paragraph so you can review the text of the control. Smart Navigation resumes when you move to a different control by pressing UP or DOWN ARROW or TAB. Alternatively, you can use the INSERT+X command to quickly toggle Smart Navigation on or off depending on the type of website you are navigating.

For example, if you use the LEFT and RIGHT ARROW keys to move across a tab strip, you might hear JAWS announce something like: "Home tab selected," "Insert tab," and "Page Layout tab." If you wanted to review the items on the tab strip character by character, press the Say Character (NUM PAD 5), Say Word (INSERT+NUM PAD 5), or Say Line (INSERT+UP ARROW) commands twice quickly. You can now navigate by character or word until you press DOWN ARROW to move away from the tab strip to another control.

Smart Navigation is off by default. To turn it on, there are a few ways.

The quickest way to enable Smart Navigation is through the Startup Wizard which automatically launches after JAWS is installed. It can also be launched at any time by selecting Startup Wizard from the JAWS Help menu. When the wizard starts, select the Next button until you reach the Common Options page. the focus will be on a group of radio buttons where you can use the ARROW keys to choose the Smart Navigation option you want to use (Controls and Tables or Controls). Pressing TAB moves you to another group of radio buttons that allow you to select how Forms Mode activates. For the best experience with Smart Navigation, it is recommended that users set Forms Mode to Semi-Auto or Manual. This prevents JAWS from unexpectedly turning on Forms Mode while navigating with the ARROW keys. Once you have changed the options you want, continue selecting Next until you reach the Braille Settings page, and then select Finish to save your changes. Smart Navigation will now be enabled for any environments that use the Virtual Cursor.

Alternatively, Smart Navigation can be configured through Settings Center or Quick Settings. For instance, you may want to use Smart Navigation in Firefox, but not in Internet Explorer.

You can also temporarily toggle Smart Navigation on or off using the INSERT+X command. This command will toggle Smart Navigation between Off and the Smart Navigation option that is currently selected in the Startup Wizard. This means that if the default selection is Off, or Controls and Tables, pressing INSERT+X will toggle between Off and Controls and Tables. If the default selection is Controls, pressing INSERT+X will toggle between Off and Controls.

An example of when you might use this command is if you have configured Smart Navigation to be enabled by default and you encounter a web page where you would prefer not to use it, you can press INSERT+X to turn it off and use the more traditional navigation. JAWS will switch back to Smart Navigation when focus moves away from the browser or you navigate to a different web site. This command is also useful if you do not want to use the Say Character, Say Word, or Say Line commands twice quickly to switch to standard navigation. It offers the additional benefit of not automatically switching back to Smart Navigation when you move to a different control with the UP or DOWN ARROW keys. You can just press INSERT+X again to toggle back to Smart Navigation when you are ready. As Smart Navigation is toggled, the JAWS focus will always remain at the current location of the toggle.

Anytime you are using Smart Navigation, JAWS will work in Screen Layout. This presents pages in the virtual buffer similar to how they appear visually on the screen. Toolbar buttons or other lists of controls that are visually laid out horizontally on the screen are displayed on one line in the virtual document, allowing a single press of the DOWN ARROW to skip the entire toolbar instead of having to move from button to button to get past it.

For a great example, please try JAWS 17 on a web form such as the WebTrack sample form on the Surf's Up pages. On this page, you will be able to see the power of navigating more efficiently with the DOWN ARROW then in previous versions.

Smart Navigation offers two modes: Controls and Tables, or Controls. Controls and Tables offers the most complete experience when navigating a web page using Smart Navigation.

When set to Controls and Tables and you are currently not in a table, most web-based controls, including, but not limited to, buttons, links, edit fields, list boxes, tree views, and headings, are treated as single units when navigating by character or word. Performing a Say Character, Say Word, and Say Line command twice quickly while focused on a control will switch to character and word Navigation so you can use the traditional navigation by character, word, line, sentence, and paragraph to review a control, such as the text of a button or link, in greater detail. Smart Navigation by Controls automatically resumes when you move to another control using TAB or UP or DOWN ARROW.

If focused inside a table, the RIGHT and LEFT ARROW keys move between columns while the UP and DOWN ARROW keys move between rows. If you press RIGHT ARROW to move from the last column in the current row to the first column of the next row, an ascending sound is heard. If you press LEFT ARROW to move from the first column in the current row to the last column in the prior row, a descending sound is heard. JAWS also announces the number of the row that was moved to.

When focused in a cell that contains any controls, such as a heading or an edit field, pressing the Say Character, Say Word, or Say Line commands twice quickly will switch to control navigation, and performing these commands again twice quickly will switch to character and word navigation. If the cell does not contain controls, you can only switch to character and word navigation. Moving focus away from the current table cell using LEFT or RIGHT ARROW will switch back to the prior navigation level. For example, pressing RIGHT ARROW while in character and word navigation will return to Smart Navigation in tables as soon as you move to a different cell. When you are in control navigation, or character and word navigation, pressing UP or DOWN ARROW will move to and read the entire row. Pressing UP or DOWN ARROW from the beginning or end of the table will also resume Smart Navigation by Controls and Tables.

For an example of using Smart Navigation in tables, visit the Tables with JAWS and MAGic page on the Surf's Up pages.

When Smart Navigation is set to Controls but focus is not in a table, navigation is the same as the Controls and Tables option. The only difference is that if you encounter a table, you will need to use the standard table reading commands (CTRL+ALT+ARROW keys) or the Table layer (INSERT+SPACEBAR, T) to navigate the table.

When Smart navigation is active, press ALT+DELETE or INSERT+TAB to have JAWS announce the current Smart Navigation level.

New Sound Indication for Links

As you navigate by line with Smart Navigation active, JAWS plays a sound if the current line contains one or more links that would generally be displayed on separate lines when you are not in Smart Navigation. This sound helps you identify that a link exists and gives you a chance to pause to hear about it or use TAB or the ARROW keys to move to it. To keep this sound from being too intrusive, it is not heard if a line contains a link that is preceded by less than five characters such as a bulleted or numbered list that contains a link directly after the number or bullet.

Use Settings Center to Configure Settings for a Specific Website

In JAWS 17, you can now apply settings changes to a specific website domain using Settings Center. For instance, if you use Smart Navigation and you have a particular website where you would prefer not to have this feature active, you can open Settings Center from the current site and turn it off. Smart Navigation will continue working on all other websites.

To configure website specific settings, do the following:

  1. Open the website where you want settings changes to apply.
  2. Press INSERT+F2, select Settings Center, and press ENTER.
  3. Press CTRL+SHIFT+W to open the settings file associated with the currently active website. Alternatively, press SHIFT+TAB to move to the application list, press CTRL+HOME to move to the top of the list, and then press DOWN ARROW one time to move to the settings file for the current site. For example, if you open Settings Center from the Freedom Scientific website, you should see something like www.freedomscientific.com (Domain).
  4. From the Search edit box, type all or part of the setting you want to change. For example, "smart" for Smart Navigation, "Forms" for Forms Mode options, etc.
  5. Press DOWN ARROW to move to the filtered results of the Settings Center tree view and make your preferred settings changes.
  6. Press TAB to move to the OK button and activate it with the SPACEBAR. The changes are made and saved. Settings Center closes.

Now, whatever you have set for the current website should only be applied when any pages on this site are open and have focus. For example, if you set Smart Navigation to Controls and Tables for the Freedom Scientific website, it should be off for all other websites. This is the default unless you are on Freedomscientific.com.

New Options Added to Startup Wizard

The Startup Wizard contains a series of pages that allow users to quickly configure some of the more commonly used JAWS options including speech settings, startup options, keyboard settings, verbosity options, and Braille settings. The Startup Wizard automatically launches after a full install of JAWS, but can be accessed any time through the JAWS Help menu. In JAWS 17, we have added a few more options we expect users will want convenient access to.

  • The page that follows the Run JAWS Settings page is now called Common Options. It contains new controls to configure Smart Navigation and Forms Mode.
  • A new Braille Translation Settings page has been added directly after the Verbosity Settings page and before the Braille Settings page. It contains the following new options:
    • Language: Use this combo box to specify the Braille language. For example, English, Spanish, French, German, and so on.
    • Output: Use this combo box to configure the output mode for reading Braille on your display. The first option is always Computer Braille. The other available options depend on the currently selected language. For example, when the language is set to English United States, the available output modes are U.S. English Grade 1, U.S. English Grade 2, Unified English Braille Grade 1, and Unified English Braille Grade 2. If you set the language to French, the available modes are French Grade 1 and French Grade 2.
    • Input Use this combo box to specify the input mode used when typing Braille from the Perkins-style keyboard on your display. The first option is always Computer Braille. The other available option depends on the currently selected output mode. For instance, if you have chosen to display Unified English Braille Grade 2, then you can choose to type in either Computer Braille or Unified English Braille Grade 2. This setting is not available if the selected output mode is Computer Braille, or the selected output mode does not support input.

Create Domain-Specific Scripts for Web Pages and Web Applications

JAWS has always provided the ability to script desktop applications, enabling many non-standard applications to be made accessible to JAWS users. In recent years, however, more and more applications are being developed to run inside web browsers. For example, Microsoft SharePoint and Google Docs are web applications that allow you to create, edit, and save documents, as well as collaborate with other users, directly through web pages opened in Internet Explorer or Firefox.

Since each web application can offer its own unique functionality, the JAWS scripts for the web browser are too general to be of use for specific pages. JAWS 17 extends the scripting functionality to enable you to create scripts that only load when a particular website is being accessed, so you can customize a web page or application to your specific needs. For instance, if you created scripts for www.microsoft.com, these scripts would be loaded for any page opened on the Microsoft website. Domain-specific scripts are loaded on top of the browser scripts so that JAWS can fall back to the general scripts in situations where a domain-specific script behavior is not available. This gives scripters much more control when scripting a web-based application for a client at a job site, as they can create specific functionality for the application without affecting how JAWS performs on other web pages.

To aid in creating domain-specific scripts, three new script functions have been added.

  • GetDocumentXML: This function obtains well-formed XML from the Dom Server for parsing using the MSXML com object.
  • PerformActionOnElementWithTagAndAttribute: This function finds an element in the DOM by tag and attribute/value pair and performs an action on it such as setFocus, makeVisible, doDefaultAction, leftClick, or rightClick.
  • PerformActionOnElementWithID: This function finds an element in the DOM by unique ID and performs an action on it such as setFocus, makeVisible, doDefaultAction, leftClick or rightClick.

Using these functions, you could write scripts to do things like find and speak a particular heading, add the numbers in the last row of a table and speak the total, and much more, all without moving the Virtual Cursor.

To demonstrate domain-specific scripting, we have included sample SharePoint scripts that allow you to access web-based toolbars on a SharePoint domain using the INSERT+CTRL+F8 keystroke. To enable these sample scripts, do the following:

  1. Create a confignames.ini file in your JAWS user settings folder located at C:\Users\Your User Name\AppData\Roaming\Freedom Scientific\JAWS\17.0\Settings\enu.
  2. Add the following lines.

If the scripts are not working, meaning that toolbars cannot be activated with the INSERT+CTRL+F8 keystroke, check the address of the current domain. If necessary, add another line to your confignames.ini to enable that domain to be recognized so that the SharePoint sample scripts load.

Liblouis Braille Translator Now Included for English

JAWS 17 has switched to the popular and widely accepted open-source Liblouis Braille translator. This new translation now offers both contracted and uncontracted Unified English Braille (UEB) and the more traditional Contracted English Braille (CEB) when reading and writing. Starting in 2016, UEB will become the standard in the United States. Switching now to Liblouis will ensure JAWS offers the latest standards for UEB translation.

New in JAWS: Touch Screen Support

Since JAWS 15, users have had the ability to interact with the touch screens found on various devices like the Dell Venue series of Windows tablets. Using one- and multi-finger gestures such as taps, flicks, and swipes, users navigate to and activate controls, read text, and perform other common JAWS functions. In JAWS 17, we have continued to enhance touch screen support by providing access to the Windows touch keyboard as well as adding the ability to edit and select text in documents, messages, or web pages right from the touch screen.

Support for the Windows Touch Keyboard

JAWS 17 offers full support for the Windows touch keyboard, enabling you to write documents, email messages, and fill out forms on the Internet right on your device's touch screen if you do not have access to a physical keyboard. While a regular keyboard is still recommended for writing lengthy documents or performing complex editing tasks, using the Touch keyboard is convenient for writing a quick note, composing or replying to an email, or filling out a form on a website.

To activate the Touch Keyboard, double tap the Start Touch Keyboard button on the Desktop, or perform the new JAWS gesture, four-finger swipe down then up. JAWS announces "opened Touch Keyboard" and plays an ascending sound. Once enabled, the keyboard is positioned in the bottom part of the screen and each key is represented by a button. Use flick gestures to move to each key, or drag your finger around the screen to explore and locate keys. While exploring, JAWS plays a unique set of sounds to alert you when you enter or leave the area of the screen containing the touch keyboard. Once you become familiar with the touch keyboard layout, you can tap at the location of each key. To close the touch keyboard, perform another four-finger swipe down then up. JAWS announces "closed touch keyboard" and plays a descending sound.

JAWS offers two different modes for typing characters:

  • Standard Typing: A key is typed when a double tap or split tap is performed on the screen after exploring to any of the keyboard buttons. If alternative characters are available for the current keyboard button, a triple tap will open a panel of alternative keys related to the selected key. Performing a triple tap on any keyboard button in the alternative characters panel will close the panel. Standard Typing is the default mode.
  • Touch Typing: A key is typed when the finger is lifted from any of the keyboard buttons, or a split tap is performed on the selected keyboard button. If alternative characters are available for the current keyboard button, a split double tap will open a panel of alternative keys related to the selected key. Performing a split double tap on any keyboard button in the alternative characters panel will close the panel.

Use the new Touch Keyboard settings group located in the main Keyboard group in Settings center to change the typing mode as well as choose whether JAWS announces characters, words, both characters and words, or is silent as you type using the touch keyboard. You can also change how you are notified when the touch keyboard or the panel of alternate characters opens and closes.

Note: Changing the feedback for the touch keyboard is separate from the feedback for the physical keyboard. This means you can have JAWS say nothing when using a regular keyboard, but continue to announce both characters and words when using the touch keyboard.

Text Selection and Other Improvements in Text Reading Mode

Text reading is one of the three gesture modes that can be activated by rotating two fingers on the screen. JAWS 17 will now also automatically switch to Text Reading if you double tap on an element that supports cursor navigation such as an article in the News app, or the text area of an editing application like Microsoft Word. When Text Reading is activated using a double tap on a text element, for instance, the second paragraph of a document, JAWS attempts to position the cursor at the location of the double tap.

When Text Reading is active, flicking left or right moves by character, flicking left or right with two fingers moves by word, flicking up or down moves by line, flicking up or down with two fingers moves by paragraph, flicking left or right with three fingers moves to the beginning or end of a line, and flicking up or down with three fingers moves to the top or bottom of the text area. In addition, you can now flick up or down with four fingers to move by page, similar to using PAGE UP and PAGE DOWN. These gestures also move the cursor, enabling you to navigate to the location in a document where you want to insert text or begin selecting text. For example, you could flick up with two fingers to move to the prior paragraph, flick left or right to position the focus on a blank line, and then begin typing to insert text at that location.

Performing a triple tap on the screen with one finger will now toggle text selection on or off. When enabled, using any of the above text reading gestures will select the specific unit as well as move to it. For example, to move to and select the next line, perform a triple tap and then flick down. Text will continue to be selected as you navigate until you perform a triple tap again to turn it off. To read currently selected text, you can now perform a two-finger triple tap.

Other Touch Screen Improvements

Dragging a finger around the screen to explore and hear each element now works in Text Reading mode in addition to Touch Navigation mode. If Text Reading is currently active and you explore to an item that does not support this mode, JAWS will automatically switch back to Touch Navigation. As you explore, you can now have JAWS announce the character or word at the current location by performing a split tap or split double tap.

If you encounter an element that does not support standard cursor navigation, such as a button, or an item in a list, performing a three-finger swipe down then up now opens a Virtual Viewer window containing the name of the element. You can then use the navigation gestures described above to review this information. This is useful if you want to review a control in greater detail that you did not quite understand when it was announced by JAWS during exploration or when tapping it. When this mode is active, you will not be able to navigate to other items on the screen. If you explore outside of the Virtual Viewer, JAWS plays a sound to indicate you are no longer in the window. Performing the three-finger swipe down then up gesture again will close the Virtual Viewer.

Tablet Orientation Notification

JAWS now indicates in both speech and Braille when the screen orientation changes between portrait and landscape. When changing to landscape, JAWS says "landscape, with home button to the left" or "landscape, with home button to the right", depending on the position of the tablet. When changing to portrait, JAWS says "portrait" or "portrait flipped."

Explore Scripts

A new Explore Scripts shortcut has been added to the Utilities folder in Windows 8 and later and the Explore JAWS submenu located under the JAWS program group in Windows 7 and earlier. Selecting this shortcut opens the folder where the shared script files are stored.

Script Compatibility with Prior Versions of JAWS

By default, scripts compiled using the Script Manager or the scompile.exe command line tool in JAWS 17 will not work with prior versions of JAWS. This is due to changes in JAWS 17 to improve the localization process. In order to compile scripts that will work in JAWS 17 as well as prior versions, the following line must be added to the JSS file before compiling your scripts.

;#pragma usePoFile 0

If this line is not included, scripts will be compiled using the new localization model and will only work with JAWS 17 and later.

Sports Scores Lookup Sources Temporarily Removed from Research It

Until we can get cooperation from ESPN to allow access to their sports results using the Research It feature, the MLB, NFL, NBA, and NCAA Scores lookup sources have been removed. We hope to add them back in the future once a solution is reached.

Merge Utility No Longer Available

Major changes have been made to improve the JAWS localization process. This included reorganizing many of the JAWS settings files. Due to these changes, the Merge utility is no longer installed with JAWS 17 as settings from prior versions cannot be merged. We are planning a solution for the future which will replace this utility and provide an even greater benefit for our customers.

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Enhancements in JAWS 17.0.1377 (January 2016)

The following is a list of improvements made between the JAWS 17 November 2015 release and the January 2016 update.

To download the latest release, visit the Downloads web page.


  • The INSERT+X command, which temporarily toggles Smart Navigation, now uses the default selection configured in the Startup Wizard. For instance, if the default setting is Off, performing this command toggles between Controls and Tables and Off. If the default setting is Controls, performing this command toggles between Off and Controls.
  • When typing in Contracted Braille using the keyboard on the Focus display, resolved an issue where text was not being entered into edit fields if the particular field was completely empty.
  • When JAWS is configured to display text in Unified English Braille (UEB), resolved an issue where the word "in" was being incorrectly contracted when followed by a punctuation mark or preceded by a quotation mark.
  • Resolved a customer reported issue with UEB translation where the "ever" contraction was being used incorrectly in some instances.
  • Resolved an issue where the dollar sign (dot 4 followed by dots 2-3-4) was not being entered as expected when typing in Unified English Braille Grade 2.
  • On the Braille Settings page in the Startup Wizard, the Placement of Status Cells and Dot Firmness options will now only be available when a braille display supporting these features is connected.
  • Added new braille tables for Dutch.
  • Resolved a customer reported issue where JAWS was unexpectedly speaking the system time after pressing ENTER from the Search Box in the Windows 7 Start menu.
  • Added links in the JAWS Help to the web page where users can download the Freedom Scientific Developer Network (FSDN).
  • A new option, Annotation Indication, has been added to the Reading Options group in Quick Settings for all applications. It determines whether or not JAWS detects annotations such as comments, footnotes, and endnotes in rich text documents.
  • Resolved an issue with the Technology News from CNet Research It lookup source where results containing an apostrophe were not being displayed correctly.
  • If JAWS is configured to start automatically at the logon screen or after you have logged into Windows, you can now press and hold both the ALT and CTRL keys as Windows boots to prevent JAWS from starting. This is useful if you need to troubleshoot any startup related issues you may be experiencing.
  • A new speech output type has been added which enables JAWS to automatically announce toast notifications in Windows 8.1. Toasts are a newer standard than the popup notifications used in Windows 7, Windows Vista, and Windows XP, and are used by Windows and modern apps to display time-sensitive or personally relevant notifications regardless of whether the user is in another app or on the Start screen, Lock screen, or Desktop. For example, a toast may be used to alert a user to an incoming VOIP call, instant message, text message, or the availability of a software update. The new Toasts output type is selected for all verbosity levels and can be adjusted using the Configure Verbosity Levels group in Settings Center. JAWS will be able to automatically read Windows 10 toast notifications in a future update.
  • Resolved reported issues using JAWS with the Miranda NG instant messaging client.
  • Resolved a customer reported issue where pressing INSERT+PAGE UP in a command prompt window was reading the next line instead of reading from the cursor to the end of the current line as expected.
  • Addressed a reported issue with dialog boxes that are generated using JAWS scripts not being spoken as expected.
  • Worked with Pitney Bowes to resolve several reported issues that impacted their company employees using JAWS.

IBM Notes (formerly Lotus Notes)

  • Due to limitations with JAWS support for IBM Notes, Smart Navigation does not work as well as it does in other applications that use the Virtual Cursor. At this time, we have disabled this feature in IBM Notes until we can get it working properly.

Microsoft Internet Explorer and Mozilla Firefox

  • When navigating the contents of some edit fields, resolved an issue where the last and first words of consecutive lines were being read as a single word.
  • Improvements continue to be made to JAWS performance with Google Docs and Google Sheets. These include the paragraph navigation commands (CTRL+UP ARROW and CTRL+DOWN ARROW) as well as the commands for reading the current line and current paragraph (INSERT+UP ARROW and INSERT+NUM PAD 5) now working as expected, the document content edit field now being properly recognized as a multiline edit, and JAWS now speaking the correct label for the document content edit field and no longer displaying it on every line in Braille.
  • You can now use the JAWS cursor to navigate web page content in Firefox.
  • Resolved an issue where spaces in the content of some tables were being ignored by JAWS.
  • Resolved an issue where JAWS domain-specific settings for a specific web page were not being loaded as expected in some situations.
  • When pressing ENTER or SPACEBAR on a toolbar button, JAWS no longer exits Forms Mode, enabling you to continue interacting with the toolbar until focus changes.
  • Resolved a reported issue with JAWS not reading form field descriptions as expected when the aria-describedby property is applied to a fieldset.
  • When pressing INSERT+F5 to open a list of form fields on a web page, addressed an issue where some fields were not being displayed properly if they contained HTML markup.
  • While typing into a multiline edit field, JAWS no longer exits Forms Mode when the ENTER key is pressed to add a new line.

Microsoft Outlook

  • Addressed a reported issue with shared calendars not being read by JAWS in some versions of Outlook 2010.
  • In the Outlook 2013 calendar, resolved a reported issue where JAWS was not indicating the "checked" status of shared calendars.
  • In an email message that contains tables, addressed a reported issue where the SHIFT+COMMA and SHIFT+PERIOD keystrokes were not moving to the beginning or end of the current table.

Microsoft Word

  • If ALT+UP ARROW is pressed from the files list in the Open dialog box to move to the parent folder, resolved an issue where this keystroke would not work unless the Pass Key Through command (INSERT+3) was pressed first.
  • Addressed an issue with using the F11 and SHIFT+11 keystrokes to move through form fields in a document.
  • Resolved an issue where Research It could not be launched while focused in the Backstage view.


  • When using Skype in Windows 10, addressed an issue where JAWS was not correctly announcing the title of chat windows.

Windows Live Mail

  • Addressed a customer reported issue where information was not being spoken as expected when selecting messages.

Windows 10

  • In the Windows 10 Calculator, you can now press INSERT+CTRL+D to move focus to the Display field so you can review a result, or the numbers you entered for a calculation. If you are using a Focus braille display, you can press D CHORD.
  • Improved JAWS performance on the Windows 10 lock screen, which gains focus when you press WINDOWS Key+L to log off.
  • Resolved an issue where JAWS was announcing too much information in the Choose Default Apps dialog box.

Enhancements in JAWS 17.0.1214 (November 2015)

The following is a list of improvements made between the initial JAWS 17 release and the November 2015 update.

Smart Navigation

  • When INSERT+X is used to toggle Smart Navigation, the JAWS focus now remains at the location on the web page where you performed the toggle.
  • If focus is in an application where the Virtual Cursor is active, the command to temporarily toggle Smart Navigation (INSERT+X) can now be found using the JAWS Command Search feature (INSERT+SPACEBAR, J).
  • Resolved an issue where JAWS was not reading list items on certain web pages when using Smart Navigation.
  • Addressed a reported issue with the commands to read from the beginning of the line to the cursor (INSERT+HOME) and from the cursor to the end of the line (INSERT+PAGE UP) not working in a table cell when using Smart Navigation.
  • When using the V and SHIFT+V Navigation Quick Keys to move to the next or previous visited link, resolved an issue where all links on the current line were being read instead of the specific visited link if Smart Navigation was active.
  • Addressed an issue where many blank lines were appearing on some web pages with Smart Navigation active.


  • Addressed an issue with the Amazon Product Search Research It lookup source not returning results as expected.
  • Addressed an issue with symbols not being read as expected when inserted into a document using the Select a Symbol to Print dialog box (INSERT+4).
  • In response to customer feedback, the folder path for the Explore Scripts shortcut has been changed from C:\ProgramData\Freedom Scientific\JAWS\17.0\Scripts\enu to point to C:\ProgramData\Freedom Scientific\JAWS\17.0\Scripts.
  • This update contains new drivers from HumanWare for the Brailiant BI Braille display in order to support Windows 10.
  • If Active Follows Braille is not enabled, addressed issues where the Braille display would not move away from the structured line when panning, or using the commands to move the Braille cursor to the next or prior line (RIGHT ROCKER BAR on Focus Blue Braille displays).
  • When entering text from the Perkins-style keyboard on a Braille display using Unified English Braille (UEB) or another form of Contracted English Braille, resolved an issue where contracted words beginning with dots 4-5-6, such as spirit, many, world, etc., were not appearing correctly in documents. The dots 4-5-6 portion of the word was being dropped when the word was back-translated.
  • When verbosity for Braille Flash messages is set to Advanced, resolved customer reported issues where "sts" messages were being shown on the Braille display even when the option to display status information was turned off. In addition, the flash messages for the INSERT+T and INSERT+Q commands now display the short message as expected instead of the long message.
  • If the JAWS cursor is configured to follow the PC Cursor using the CTRL+INSERT+NUM PAD Minus command, an issue was resolved where JAWS was not reading as expected when moving between applications with ALT+TAB.
  • Addressed an issue with JAWS not correctly identifying the factorial symbol in MathML content.
  • If you perform a two-finger double tap to open a context menu while text selection is active, the flick gestures will now work as expected to navigate through the menu items. Text selection is toggled by performing a triple tap with one finger.
  • If you perform a five-finger tap to open the Run JAWS Manager dialog box from an Internet Explorer window, addressed an issue where you could not use touch gestures to navigate this dialog box.
  • To address potential issues, changes have been made to the process of compiling scripts so they are compatible with versions of JAWS prior to 17. The Compatibility Mode option has been removed from Script Manager and scompile.exe. To compile scripts that will work with prior versions of JAWS, you must now insert the following line without the quotes into your JSS file: ";#pragma usePoFile 0"

Adobe Acrobat

  • Resolved an issue reported by Adobe where labels for check boxes in PDF documents were being read twice in the virtual buffer.

Microsoft Excel

  • In Windows 8.1, resolved an issue where the backstage view in Excel 2013 was not being announced when it gained focus.
  • Resolved a reported issue with the GetCellSpan script function.

Microsoft Internet Explorer and Mozilla Firefox

  • Resolved a customer reported issue where JAWS was not indicating the Next and Prior links as well as links to other pages in the search results on Bing.com.
  • After typing some text into the Search edit field on Google.com, addressed a reported issue where JAWS was not reading the list of search choices that appears directly below the edit field. This was observed in Internet Explorer 11.
  • Resolved a customer reported issue with a particular website where a menu was opening and it was not possible to return to the Virtual Cursor.
  • Addressed an issue where the removed text in a live region using the aria-relevant="removals" attribute was not being spoken by JAWS in Internet Explorer.
  • Improved JAWS performance with navigating and reading ARIA slider controls in Internet Explorer.

Microsoft Outlook

  • When opening the Advanced Find dialog box using CTRL+SHIFT+F to search for specific messages and you press F6 to move to the message list, a customer reported issue was resolved where JAWS would sometimes stop reading the selected message if the window scrolled as you navigated through the list.
  • Resolved an issue reported by some customers where JAWS would sometimes not read the currently selected message as you navigated through a list of messages in a folder. You would hear the message status, such as "unread", but no additional info, like the message sender or the subject.
  • In the Outlook 2010 calendar, resolved a reported issue where JAWS was not indicating the "checked" status of shared calendars.

Microsoft Word

  • Resolved an issue with the Text Reading mode touch gestures to move to the prior line, prior word, and prior character not working as expected in Word 2013.
  • When switching pages in a document, resolved an issue where JAWS was not announcing the page number until after reading the line. This occurred if there were no spaces between page breaks.
  • Resolved a customer reported issue where the Design and Layout tabs were not accessible when using the JAWS Virtual Ribbon.
  • You can now use the CTRL+WINDOWS Key+K keystroke to set a place marker at the end of a document. If you attempt to set a place marker at the beginning of the document, JAWS now speaks an error message.

Windows 10

You can now use the JAWS table reading commands (CTRL+ALT+ARROW keys) to navigate the tiles in the Windows 10 Start menu. The tiles are accessed by selecting the All Apps button, pressing RIGHT ARROW from the All Apps list to move to the tile groups, and then pressing DOWN ARROW to move into the grid of tiles for the selected group. While you can use the ARROW keys to navigate in the tile grid, using table reading commands offers a more predictable experience as tiles can be of varying sizes and it is possible to inadvertently navigate out of a group while attempting to find tiles in a specific group.

Since tiles may not always be the same size, the table commands for moving to the start or end of the current row or the top or bottom of the current column are not available in the tiles grid. Table navigation in the tiles grid does not wrap to the next or prior row and does not announce cell coordinates or how many rows the tile spans. It only announces the tile as if the ARROW keys were used to move to it. However, pressing CTRL+ALT+NUM PAD 5 to announce the current cell will speak the current row and column, followed by the tile text, and then the number of rows spanned by the tile.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Question: If I download the JAWS 17 release from the web, should I install JAWS from the DVD when I receive it?

Answer: No. However, you should check for updates by pressing ALT+H from the JAWS program window, and then pressing P to select Check for Updates.

Question: If I wait until my DVD arrives to install JAWS 17, should I also download the version that is available on the web?

Answer: No, but once you have installed JAWS 17 from the DVD, you should check for updates by pressing ALT+H from the JAWS program window, and then pressing P to select Check for Updates.

Question: Should I remove my existing version of JAWS before installing JAWS 17?

Answer: This is not necessary and many users choose to keep multiple versions on their system. Once you find that you are no longer using the prior version, and everything is working well with the new version, you may uninstall the old version but do not remove shared components.

Question: If I recently received JAWS 16, how do I get JAWS 17?

Answer: If you purchased JAWS 16 after September 1, 2015, you can download the JAWS 17 release for free from the Freedom Scientific website. To verify if you are entitled to the current version, visit the SMA and Upgrade Pricing page and enter your serial number.

Question: If my SMA expires, will I receive a notice?

Answer: Customers in the U.S. will receive notification in the mail shortly after the JAWS 17 DVD arrives. The envelope will have a Braille label on the outside, and it will contain an SMA Renewal letter explaining the process in print and Braille. You can also renew your SMA online using the SMA and Upgrade Pricing page on the Freedom Scientific website.

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