Authors note: Please note that this is a republished post due to some unavoidable technical issue.
Freedom Scientific has just released its popular screen reader software JAWS (Job Access With Speech) version 2018. Here is a quick summary of what’s new in this version.
- Change in version numbering. Until now, JAWS used to have numbering with single and then two digits kile JAWS 7, 8, 10, 11 and so on… With this version, JAWS has adopted version numbering based on year. But I’m not sure why this is named as “2018” and not “2017”; perhaps the reason could be its immediate past version is JAWS 18
- JAWS 2018 now supports Microsoft Edge browser. 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, they 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 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.
- 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.
- 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
- Support for Microsoft Mobile Voices in Windows 10
- Updated Liblouis Braille Translator
- Option for Moving to Any Link Added to Navigation Quick Key Manager
- “Document and Web Pages Automatically Read when Loaded” Option Added to Settings Center
- User can now press CTRL+APOSTROPHE or CTRL+SEMICOLON in Google Docs to move to the next or previous misspelled word in a document.
- Acronym Expansion Included When Spelling a Word
- Improvements to JAWS Language Switching
If you purchased JAWS 18 after September 1, 2017, you can download the JAWS 2018 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.
It’s good to see some major feature upgrade to the JAWS after a while.