Temporary Versus Permanent Changes
With JAWS you have the flexibility to make changes quickly that are temporary, or you can make changes that stay in effect permanently. Throughout the exercises in Surf's Up - Surfing the Internet with JAWS you will encounter some of these differences, which are described below.
JAWS Quick Settings
Use the Quick Settings dialog box to make changes very quickly without having to go into various other dialog boxes to do so. There are three different types of changes that can be made in the Quick Settings dialog box:
- Temporary changes that revert back to normal settings as soon as focus switches to another program window.
- Temporary changes that revert back to normal settings when JAWS is closed and restarted.
- Permanent changes that stay in effect until you change them again at some other time. (This is the default setting.)
When you press INSERT+V to open the JAWS Quick Settings dialog box, the items at the top of this list are specific to the program that has focus when the keystroke is pressed. So pressing INSERT+V while in a web browser shows options specific to reading web pages, whereas the items near the bottom of the list are more generic. This is very handy for making quick changes for testing or reading purposes.
NOTE: Quick Settings are used to make changes that are application-specific. If you wish to make global changes to all programs, use Settings Center.
Documentation for the JAWS Quick Settings Dialog Box
The JAWS Quick Settings dialog box has a tree view of different options that can be changed, depending on the program being used. There is also a read-only documentation area within the dialog box that describes what each option does. To move to and read the documentation for any given item, select the item and press the TAB key to move to the read-only edit area and use normal reading commands to read the text describing what that option does.
Persistency in JAWS Quick Settings
Here are a couple of examples showing how having different persistency levels might benefit you:
- A friend is using your computer for a few minutes and her preferences are different than yours. She uses a different verbosity level and typing echo. You can set it so that JAWS is changed for her only as long as that session is open and running. When she hands you back your computer, just shut down and restart JAWS and your settings are back to normal.
- You are downloading a large file and you want the progress bar announcements to be silent. Normally progress bar announcements are spoken. In this example you could set the persistence level so that the progress bar is only silent while focus remains in that window. As soon as you switch to a different window or program, progress bar announcements return to normal.
NOTE: The persistency level cannot be set for individual document settings. Document settings will always be written to disk.
By default, every change you make in Quick Settings gets saved to disk. This means that the changes you make will still be set the next time you quit and restart JAWS. It also means that the changes you make will still be set the next time you shut down and restart your computer. But what if you want the changes to be temporary and not permanent?
- Press INSERT+V in your default web browser to open the Quick Settings dialog box. Focus is in the search edit box.
- Press TAB to move to the tree view. The first thing you notice is a node for Virtual Cursor options.
- Press DOWN ARROW to explore the items beneath this node.
- Press the APPLICATION Key or SHIFT+F10 to open a context menu for any of these items. You should find the following choices in the context menu:
- Restore setting when JAWS exits
- Restore setting when focus changes
- Save the setting (checked). This is the default for all items.
There is also a graphic icon out to the left of each item in the tree view showing an image representing save to disk. If you change to one of the other settings, the icon changes accordingly to a different icon. This option in Quick Settings gives you the ability to make temporary changes if you wish to. Personally, the author believes it is best for most JAWS users to leave everything set to the default, which is save to disk. Let's take a look at one more item.
- If you closed Quick Settings, reopen it from your web browser with INSERT+V.
- Press DOWN ARROW to move to the node for Virtual Cursor options. What if there were many different items beneath this node that had been changed? Perhaps some were set to restore settings when JAWS exits, some were set to restore settings when focus changes, and some were set to save all settings. Wouldn't it be easier to change them all at once instead of having to change them each individually?
- While focus is on a node of the tree you can press the APPLICATION Key or SHIFT+F10 to open a context menu that controls the settings of every item within that node. Try it and you should find the following items in the context menu:
- Restore all settings for this node when JAWS exits
- Restore all settings for this node when focus changes
- Save all settings for this node
As you can see, this gives you as a JAWS user a lot of flexibility and control over how JAWS saves different settings. For most people the default setting, save to disk, is probably the best choice.
Settings Center in JAWS
The JAWS Settings Center allows you to make permanent changes to the way JAWS behaves on the Web, or in other programs. Settings Center provides a consistent interface and central access point for JAWS features and settings.
- Press INSERT+F2 in your default web browser, the JAWS List of Managers appears.
- Press S until you find Settings Center, then press ENTER to open it. Focus is in the search edit box. Press TAB to move to the tree view. The tree view is where the major categories for changing settings are grouped. Press UP or DOWN ARROW to move up and down the tree view. Press RIGHT ARROW to open a closed group, and press LEFT ARROW to close an open group. You may also use first letter navigation to move to items in the tree view as long as they are not hidden inside of one of the closed groups.
- Do not make any changes at this time. Just explore the dialog box. Press DOWN ARROW and notice that one of the groups says "Web / HTML / PDFs" closed.
- Press RIGHT ARROW to open this group. Notice that there are several items within this group. You can explore them if you want by pressing DOWN ARROW. Also notice that many of these items are closed, meaning there are more options within each of them.
NOTE: Pressing SPACEBAR on most items in the tree will toggle through the available choices for that item. Do not change anything at this time. At the end of this exercise we will choose the Cancel button just to make sure.
- Press TAB. Focus moves to a read only text area. This is where the help topic for the item you just moved from in the tree is found. Use standard reading commands such as INSERT+DOWN ARROW to read all of the text or UP and DOWN ARROW to read the text by lines.
- Press TAB again. If you made any changes before moving here, focus moves to an Apply button. If focus moves to the Apply button do NOT activate it at this time. Instead, go ahead and press TAB once more to move to the OK button. Do NOT activate the OK button at this time either.
- Press TAB once more and focus moves to the Cancel button. You will activate this in a few minutes, but first continue to explore the dialog box.
- Press TAB again. Focus moves to the Application combo box. Notice that since you were on a Web page when you opened Settings Center, the web browsing application you are currently using, such as Chrome or Edge, is highlighted in the combo box. Settings Center always shows the name of the program you were in when it opens. For example, if you had been in Notepad when Settings Center opened, this combo box would say Notepad. That is because this gives you the ability to make changes that only affect the one program you were in when you started Settings Center. Sometimes you want to make changes to all programs, however.
- Press HOME to move to the top of the list of items in the combo box. Notice that it says Default (All Applications). You don't have to move to the combo box to choose Default, however. If you want to switch to the Default settings just press CTRL+SHIFT+D when Settings Center opens.
- Press TAB again. Focus moves to the search edit box for Settings Center. The keystroke to jump here quickly is CTRL+E. This is a great tool to help you find settings quickly and easily in JAWS. Typing a search word or phrase in the edit box reduces the number of items that appear in the tree view list. Other exercises coming later in Surf's Up will give you opportunities to experiment more with this and other features of JAWS Settings Center. The search edit box is where the focus appears whenever you start Settings Center.
- Press TAB once more and focus returns to the tree view.
- One more part of Settings Center is the configuration display pane. As you move through the tree view, a sighted user can simultaneously track cursor movement using the configuration display pane. Press F6 to switch between the tree view and this pane. This is necessary when typing in an edit or edit spin box. Press F6 again to return to the tree view.
- For now, go ahead and press TAB to move to the Cancel button, and then activate it by pressing SPACEBAR. Settings Center closes and any changes you might have made are not saved.
Tip: You can press INSERT+F1 on an option in any JAWS dialog box to find out more information about that option.
Last Changed Settings
In both Settings Center and the Quick Settings dialog boxes there is an item at the bottom of the tree view called "Last Changed Settings." This group contains the last 25 options that were recently changed for an application or document. Note that once this group has 25 items, the last setting in the list is deleted when another item is added. To remove an item from the list, select it, press SHIFT+F10, and then select Remove. To remove all items from the list, select the Last Changed Settings group in the tree view, press SHIFT+F10, and then select Remove All.
Location of JAWS Settings Files
JAWS stores settings files in your user files location for the version of Windows® you are using. Settings files are stored in C:\Users\username\AppData\Roaming\Freedom Scientific\JAWS\version\settings\enu. The file extension used is JCF, which stands for JAWS Configuration File.
The word username in the path above represents your user login name for your computer. The word version in the path above represents the version of JAWS you are using.
To quickly find your user settings files, open the Utilities menu from the JAWS window, select the Explore Utilities Folder option, and then choose Explore My Settings.
Other ways to make permanent changes for JAWS include:
- Choose an item (including Settings Center) from one of the menus in the JAWS user interface.
- Choose another JAWS manager from the list of JAWS managers (INSERT+F2).
Personalized Web Page Settings with JAWS
If you want to make changes that are permanent, but only for a specific Web site, you can use the JAWS list of Personalized Settings for Web Pages. This is discussed in more detail later in Surf's up-Surfing the Internet with JAWS.