Getting to Know Your PAC Mate Omni

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  1. What Is PAC Mate Omni?
  2. Documentation Conventions
  3. Using Windows Mobile with PAC Mate Omni
  4. Personalizing Your PAC Mate Omni
  5. Getting Help
  6. Using Online Help

Congratulations on your purchase of the PAC Mate Omni QX400. The QX400 is a Personal Data Assistant designed and developed by Freedom Scientific. The QX400 uses X-scale technology for higher performance and lower power consumption that results in a longer battery life.

What is PAC Mate Omni?

The PAC Mate Omni line of computers combines the Windows Mobile® 6.0 operating system with JAWS® screen reading technology. It offers the latest in mobile technology making it a powerful, portable information management tool. The combination of blindness-specific features written by Freedom Scientific, the rich suite of information management tools provided by Microsoft, and the ability to install a wide range of Windows Mobile applications makes the PAC Mate Omni the ultimate PDA for blind people.

Key features include:

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Documentation Conventions

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Using Windows Mobile with PAC Mate Omni

Using Windows Mobile with PAC Mate Omni is quite easy once you master the basic skills. It is recommended that you read and learn this section as it teaches you basic PAC Mate Omni skills needed to operate Windows Mobile.

Starting the PAC Mate Omni

Before you start your PAC Mate Omni for the first time, plug the AC adapter into a wall plug and then plug the other end into the PAC Mate Omni's power jack found on the right back side of the unit. Next, press the On/Off switch, which is next to the power jack on the right. To indicate that it is on, the PAC Mate Omni uses an audible low high sound, and to indicate that it is off, it uses a high low sound.

After a few seconds you will hear, "JAWS for Pocket PC is ready."

You can immediately start using your PAC Mate Omni while it is charging, but, charge your battery for at least three hours before using your PAC Mate Omni without the AC adapter.

Keyboard Orientation and Basic Commands

The PAC Mate Omni QX400 keyboard consists of six rows of keys with the QWERTY keyboard complete in the first five rows from the bottom up. The bottom row, from left to right, includes: FN, CTRL, WINDOWS Key, ALT, Backslash, SPACEBAR, INSERT, ALT, Windows Key, and the APPLICATIONS Key.

The 12 function keys follow the ESC key, which is the first key on the left in the top row. To help you stay oriented, there are three finger bumps on the QX400 surface, above and between the Function Keys: F4 and F5, F8 and F9, F12 and the PrtSc Key.

This picture shows the QX keyboard layout. The keyboard is labeled showing the general area of the keys described in the text.

The arrow keys are in the lower right corner of the keyboard with the Up Arrow above the other three arrows.

Along the right side of the keyboard, from top to bottom are the DELETE, HOME, PAGE UP, PAGE DOWN and END Keys.

JAWS Laptop keystrokes have been used where possible and with the inclusion of the INSERT Key as the JAWS Key, experienced JAWS users should have no problem learning the PAC Mate Omni commands.

To use the PAC Mate Omni you only need to know the basic function keys and six common commands:

In addition, many of the PAC Mate Omni menus allow first letter navigation.

These 15 commands are the foundation from which you will become familiar with your PAC Mate Omni. For more information on commands, please see Appendix A: PAC Mate Omni Commands.

Another command you should get familiar with right away is the APPLICATIONS Key. This command activates the Context Menu, which allows you to quickly perform an action on an item. For example, you can use a Context Menu to cut, copy, select all, paste, delete or create a new folder. To access a Context Menu, select an item such as a word in a document, a date in the Calendar View, or a file in a list view and press the APPLICATIONS Key. Select a command from the Context Menu with the arrow keys and press ENTER. Press the CLOSE button (ESC) to close the menu without performing an action.

The PAC Mate Omni keyboard also has a NUM PAD layer. The NUM PAD feature is useful if you do a large amount of numerical data entry. Activate this feature by pressing FN+SCRLK. The FN key is the key in the lower left corner and the SCRLK key is the third key from the right in the top row. To deactivate the NUM PAD keys, press FN+SCRLK a second time.

The NUM PAD keys are arranged on the QX400 keyboard as follows:

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Overview of Soft Keys

Soft keys are available in many Windows Mobile applications, so it is important to understand how they work as you will use them extensively on the PAC Mate Omni. The left and right soft keys are virtual keys that perform different functions depending on the program being used. Soft keys generally are assigned to the most common action based on the current screen. For example, in most programs, the right soft key opens the menu while the left soft key may perform some common action such as starting a new document, replying to an e-mail message, or going to the previous Web page. Once you become familiar with the various actions the soft keys perform, you will find they are extremely convenient to use.

As soft key assignments change based on the currently active screen, the PAC Mate Omni will automatically announce the current soft key assignments when a screen first opens. For example, if you go to the Today screen from another program, you will hear "Today," followed by "left soft key is Calendar right soft key is Contacts." If you open an application or screen and receive no soft key announcement, this means that soft keys are not available in the particular program.

Use F1 to activate the left soft key and F2 to activate the right soft key. In addition, use the command ALT+F3 at any time to have the PAC Mate Omni announce the current soft key assignments. If soft keys are not available, you will be told this as well.

Once you become more familliar with using soft keys and the various functions they perform, you may decide you no longer wish to hear an announcement each time they change. To turn off the automatic announcement of soft keys, do the following:

  1. Open the Start menu (WINDOWS Key) and press S to choose Settings.
  2. Press V once to move to Verbosity Settings and press ENTER.
  3. When the Verbosity Settings dialog box opens, do one of the following:
  4. Press the CLOSE button (ESC) to save your changes and close the Verbosity Settings dialog box, and once more to close the Settings dialog box.

Remember: Even if you choose to not have soft keys announced, you can still use ALT+F3 at any time to hear the current soft key assignments.

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Today Screen Orientation

When you turn the PAC Mate Omni on, the Today Screen is immediately available. On the Today Screen are eight default items: the system date and time, Owner's Information, E-mail Messages, Tasks, Appointments, Windows Live sign in, Live Search, and Battery Charge. You move to these items using the UP or DOWN ARROWS of the keyboard. You handle all menu navigation, including the Start Menu, in this manner as well. To activate any of the items on the Today Screen and on the menus, press the ENTER Key. When you press ENTER on Live Search, you are placed in an edit field where you can type in a search string. If your PAC Mate Omni is connected to the Internet, pressing ENTER will open a page in Internet Explorer Mobile containing a list of search results.

Note: The "Sign into Windows Live" option is different from Windows Live Messenger. Using this item allows you to directly sign into the main Windows Live service. However, if you have a Windows Live Messenger account, your same username and password will work here as well. For more details on Windows live, visit the Windows Live Web site.

To refresh the Today Screen so that it reflects the most current information, press INSERT+ESC.

For those items on the Today Screen that open to a dialog box or list view, press the CLOSE button (ESC) to close the item and return to the Today Screen.

Customizing the Today Screen to show only those items that you use often is an option available in the Today dialog box, which is in the Settings list view under the Personal page.

From the Today Screen, you can quickly access your Contacts and Appointments with a single keystroke. Press F1 to open Calendar or F2 to open Contacts.

Regardless of where you are or what you are doing on the PAC Mate Omni, the Start Menu is always accessible with the WINDOWS Key.

Note: As you explore your PAC Mate Omni, you will occasionally come across unsupported features or phrases such as the words, "tap here." In this instance, instead of tapping, press ENTER.

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Program Layout and Menus

Typically, most programs have a menu with items such as New, Edit, or Tools. In programs that use soft keys, the right soft key or F2 will usually open the menu. In applications that do not use soft keys such as FSEdit, the command to access the menus is the ALT key. Press ENTER on the menu item you want to open.

Many menus have submenus, which frequently are announced. To open a submenu, you can press ENTER or the RIGHT ARROW to open the submenu and use the LEFT ARROW to return to the previous menu.

Note: In programs where the right soft key F2 opens the menu, you can still use the ALT Key to open the menu as well. In this situation, pressing ALT brings up a small menu containing the left and right soft key assignments. DOWN ARROW to Menu and press ENTER TO OPEN THE PROGRAM'S MAIN MENU. In most cases however, it is much faster to just use F2 when available.

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Working with dialog boxes and Controls

dialog boxes are smaller windows that usually appear from a menu choice. They contain controls used to configure various settings.

There are many types of controls in a dialog box, such as edit fields, combo boxes, and slide controls.

In dialog boxes, the TAB key moves you forward through the controls, while SHIFT+TAB moves you backwards.

Multi-Page dialog boxes

A Multi-Page dialog box is a dialog box with multiple pages. When you open a multi-page dialog box, the name of the current page is announced after the name of the dialog box. For example, "Sounds and Notifications, Sounds page."

To quickly move between pages of a multi-page dialog box, press CTRL+TAB or SHIFT+CTRL+TAB.

When you press CTRL+TAB or CTRL+SHIFT+TAB, you are first placed on the name of the currently active page. Continue pressing these keystrokes to move through the pages until you hear the one you want, then press TAB to move to the first control on the page.

HTML dialog boxes

Windows Mobile uses HTML dialog boxes, better known as Information Bubbles, to display information in HTML text, hyperlinks, and buttons. Typically these dialog boxes are available only with software and hardware devices that support this type of dialog box. Use the arrow keys to navigate this dialog box and use ENTER to activate a button, hyperlink or radio button.

Radio Buttons

Radio buttons are presented in a dialog box as two or more small circles. This control type allows exclusive selections in that only one radio button in a group can be selected. Use the DOWN ARROW key to move through the radio buttons, and when you land on the appropriate choice, press TAB to move to the next control.

Note: Only one radio button in a group can be selected at a time.

Edit Fields

Edit fields are similar to the edit fields in word processing programs. You can type text into an edit field and use any of the Reading Commands to move about your typed text. A multi-line edit field allows you to type more than one line in an edit field.

Edit Combo Boxes

An edit combo box is a combination of two controls: an edit field and a list box. You can either type in a value or press ALT+DOWN ARROW to open a list box. The list contains suggestions for the contents of this field. Use the UP and DOWN ARROW keys to move through the list, and use ALT+UP ARROW or ESC to close the list box. If you do not find your choice in the list box, type it in the edit field.

Combo Boxes

A plain combo box differs from the edit combo box. You must make your selection from suggestions provided by the program. Either press DOWN ARROW to move through the choices, or press the first letter of the choice you want to make.

Note: When you encounter a combo box you may need to press DOWN ARROW twice in order to move to the next item.

Edit Spin Boxes

The edit spin box is also a combination of two controls. You can type in this field, or use the arrow keys to move through the list of suggestions. Edit spin boxes are common for fields that require numeric values.

Left/Right Sliders

Left/right sliders are oriented horizontally. You can use your LEFT and RIGHT ARROW keys to adjust this control. For some left/right slider controls, you can use PAGE UP and PAGE DOWN to move by larger increments.

Check Boxes

A check box can be checked or unchecked. The PAC Mate Omni announces the current state of a check box when you move to it. Press SPACEBAR or ENTER to check or clear a check box.

In an extended select list box, use the arrow keys to navigate the list of options that have check boxes associated with them, and press SPACEBAR or ENTER to check or clear the check boxes.


Buttons are common in dialog boxes and in the Windows Mobile environment require special consideration. In most dialog boxes, pressing ENTER activates a button.

In dialog boxes that contain OK and Cancel buttons, you can not press ENTER while on another control and have the OK button activated as you can with Windows dialog boxes on the desktop. You must TAB to the OK button and then press ENTER to activate it and close the dialog box.

In dialog boxes that do not contain OK and Cancel buttons, you must press the CLOSE button (ESC) to exit the dialog box. If you have made any changes, they are automatically applied. Otherwise, the dialog box is simply closed.

List Views

When you start using the PAC Mate Omni regularly, you will notice that one of the items common among all Microsoft programs is the list view. The list view lists the files you have created in a particular program and is seen whenever you open a program or close a file. To hear the available items in a list view, press UP or DOWN ARROW. As you move through the list, the first column of information is read. To hear information from all columns for the current item, press INSERT+I, the Read Current Line command.

In the list view, you always have the context menu (APPLICATIONS Key) available. This context menu offers a quick way of performing actions such as cut, copy, delete, rename, move, select all etc. To perform an action on an item(s), use the DOWN ARROW to select an item or if you want to select multiple items press SHIFT+DOWN ARROW. To select items non-contiguously, press and hold the CTRL key while moving up and down the list with the arrow keys. Press the SPACEBAR to select or unselect an item. JAWS says "not selected" for items that you have not selected. Once the items are selected, press the APPLICATIONS Key on the selected item(s). From the context menu select a command and press ENTER.

Of course, instead of pressing the APPLICATIONS Key you can always use equivalent commands such as CTRL+X, CTRL+C, DEL or CTRL+A.

Tree Views

In a tree view, items are presented in a hierarchical format, which is organized vertically on the screen. Press UP or DOWN ARROW to move through the tree view. When you hear, "level zero closed," you press RIGHT ARROW to open that level. If an item is closed, press RIGHT ARROW again to expand that item. If you want to close a level, press LEFT ARROW.

Note:  The PAC Mate Omni only announces the level number when it changes.

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Using the Search Feature

  1. Open the Start menu (WINDOWS Key), P for programs, move to Search, and press ENTER.
  2. Enter the text, topic or subject you are trying to find.

Tip:  If you have looked for this text before, press DOWN ARROW in the Find box and select the name from the list.

  1. In the Type combo box, use your arrow keys to narrow your search by selecting the appropriate item in the combo where you will find it.
  2. Press ENTER when you are ready to begin the search. If your PAC Mate Omni or any attached storage devices contain a large number of files, the search may take some time to complete.
  3. Press TAB to move to the Results list, use the arrow keys to select what you are looking for and then press ENTER to open it.

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Personalizing Your PAC Mate Omni

If you will be using your PAC Mate Omni in public places, then this section is important because it discusses how to personalize, password protect, and identify your PAC Mate Omni.

This section is also important if you want to purchase any of the off-the-shelf programs available for the PAC Mate Omni as it discusses how to locate hardware and software information.

Entering Owner Information

You can enter this information in the Owner Information dialog box of the PAC Mate Omni.

To do this, from the Today screen, use the arrow keys to locate the item “Tap here to set owner information,” and press ENTER. You can also access this dialog box by going to the Start Menu (WINDOWS Key) and pressing S. This opens the Settings multi-page dialog box. Use the arrow keys to move to Owner Information and press ENTER.

When this dialog box opens, the Identification page is active for you to enter your personal information. You can press the SPACEBAR to check the "Show information when device is turned on" check box so that if you lose your PAC Mate Omni, it can be returned to you.

If you want to add any additional information, press CTRL+TAB to move to the Notes page. Type the information you want to add and press the SPACEBAR to select the check box if you want to display this information when the PAC Mate Omni is on. Press the CLOSE button (ESC) to save the changes and close the dialog box, and once more to return to the Today Screen.

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Protecting PAC Mate Omni Information

As you become familiar with your PAC Mate Omni and begin to truly use it as your personal data assistant, you may find that you are storing more and more personal or confidential information. For example, names and phone numbers of important contacts, credit card numbers, and work or school related documents. To protect you from data theft, your PAC Mate Omni allows you to password protect your information as well as encrypt any files you save to a storage card.

To set up a password, go to the Start menu (Windows Key), press S to choose Settings. Press L to move to Lock and then press ENTER.

In the Password Settings dialog box, use the SPACEBAR to select how long your PAC Mate Omni must be idle before the password is required check box. Use the arrow keys to choose the idle time. Press TAB and select one of the two radio buttons to indicate the type of password you would like to use: simple 4-digit password or strong alphanumeric password.

To type the password, press TAB to move to the Password edit box and, if necessary, confirm the password. It is helpful to record this password and store it elsewhere for safekeeping.

You can also provide a hint in case you forget your password. From the Password Settings dialog box, press CTRL+TAB to access the Hint page. Press TAB and enter your hint in the edit box.

Note:  If you choose to use an alphanumeric password it must be at least seven characters long and contain a combination of uppercase and lowercase letters, numerals, or punctuation.

When you are done press the CLOSE button (ESC) twice to return to the Today Screen. Now, when you turn your PAC Mate Omni on it will require the password to access it.

Caution:  If you forget your password, you must perform a clean reset to clear the memory before you can access your PAC Mate Omni. This erases all files and data you have created and programs you have installed. For this reason, it is recommended that you use ActiveSync to regularly synchronize your data or use Sprite Backup to create a complete backup file of all of your programs and data so they can be restored.

To encrypt files saved on a storage card, go to the Start menu (Windows Key), press S to choose Settings. Press CTRL+TAB to move to the System page, then E to move to Encryption, and press ENTER.

In the Encryption dialog box, press SPACEBAR to check the "Encrypt files placed on storage cards" check box. Since this is the only control in this dialog box, press the CLOSE button (ESC) twice to return to the Today Screen.

Now, any files that are located on your storage card, or any files that you save to your card in the future, will only be readable on your PAC Mate Omni. If your card is lost or stolen, none of your files will be readable on any other device.

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Locating the PAC Mate Omni Serial Number

The PAC Mate Omni serial number identifies your PAC Mate Omni in Freedom Scientific’s product database. This number, found in the center of the bottom surface, is printed and Brailled. It may be helpful to record and store this number for safekeeping.

Finding Firmware Information

Anytime you call Freedom Scientific Technical Support, you will need to have your serial number and other information available. This information is found in the Version Information dialog box, which is accessed using the command INSERT+ENTER, A.

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Knowing About Windows Mobile

To learn more about your PAC Mate Omni system go to the About multi-page dialog box. Here you will find information on Windows Mobile software version, processor type, memory amount, device ID, and Copyright notifications.

To view this information, go to the Start menu (WINDOWS Key) and press S to choose Settings. Press CTRL+TAB to move to the System page. Press A to move to About and then press ENTER.

When the About dialog box first opens, you are on the Version page. The PAC Mate Omni will automatically read the contents of this page, which includes software version, processor, memory, and expansion slot.

When you are done with this page press CTRL+TAB to move to the Device ID page. On this page there is a Device Name edit field and a Description edit field. The PAC Mate Omni uses the Device name to identify itself when connecting to other computers. If you cannot connect to a network because another device is already connected using the same name, type a new name in the Device edit field. You may include a description to go with the identification.

To read the copyright notice, press CTRL+TAB to move to the Copyright page. To read the copyright notice follow the steps above to move to the Copyright tab.

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Getting Help

The PAC Mate Omni has a variety of ways to get help and provides this help as conveniently as possible. The following paragraphs provide a brief description of each type of help available. Or if you prefer you can quickly access the list of Help Commands by going to Appendix A: PAC Mate Omni Commands.

Control Help

A control is any object or field that appears in a dialog box. To hear a description of the currently selected control, press INSERT+F1.

Context Help

Context help provides a complete description of the entire dialog box, application, or window that is currently open. Press INSERT+F1 twice quickly to obtain Context help.

System Help

Press WINDOWS Key, H to access and hear in-depth help about the current application or dialog box.

Keyboard Help

Keyboard help allows you to safely explore keyboard commands without actually performing the command. For example, when you turn on Keyboard Help mode, and press a key, the PAC Mate Omni tells you what the selected key does without executing the function. To turn on Keyboard Help mode, press INSERT+1. To quit Keyboard Help mode, press INSERT+1 again.

Windows Key Help

The command INSERT+W gives a list of Windows Commands frequently used to operate the PAC Mate Omni. Use the JAWS reading keys to review the messages.

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Using Online Help

Tip:  The fastest way to open Help is to go to the Start Menu (WINDOWS Key), press the UP ARROW once and then press ENTER or press WINDOWS Key, H.

The online help in the PAC Mate Omni uses a task-oriented approach and briefly covers the steps necessary to complete a task. To aid you, the online help is specific to the program that is running. For example, while in FSEdit, if you open Help from the Start Menu, only FSEdit Help opens. While Help is open, press ALT and select Contents to open a complete list of all the help topics that you can browse.

In addition, because the PAC Mate Omni online help is written in HTML, you can use many of the Internet Explorer Mobile commands to navigate and read each help topic. For example, you can navigate to a topic quickly by opening a list of links with the command INSERT+F7. Or you can move easily through a table using ALT+CTRL+ the arrow keys.

For added convenience, next links have been added to Help so you can easily move to the next consecutive topic. To move back, just press ALT+LEFT ARROW. If, after you go back to the previous help topic, you are not at the top of the page, press CTRL+HOME and then use the reading commands.

To hear a list of commands that you can use to navigate the online help, go to Appendix A.

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