JAWS Enhancements

Enhancements in JAWS 18.0.2945 (May 2017)

The following is a list of improvements made between the JAWS 18 April 2017 release and the May 2017 update.

New Visual Tracking as JAWS Reads Web Pages and PDF Documents in Windows 10

When using JAWS together with ZoomText or MAGic to read web pages, the screen magnification software visually highlights text as JAWS reads. However, if only JAWS is running, there has never been a way to visually track as you navigate web pages, making it difficult for sighted users to locate where on the page the Virtual Cursor is currently positioned.

Beginning with this update, JAWS now visually highlights text in Windows 10 and Windows 8.1 as you navigate using the Virtual Cursor on the web, in PDF documents, and when using the Microsoft Mail app even if there is no screen magnification software currently running. As JAWS reads, the current text being read is highlighted so a sighted user such as a parent or teacher can easily follow the text visually. JAWS visual tracking is available in Internet Explorer, Chrome, Firefox, PDF documents opened in Adobe Reader, and Microsoft Mail. It is enabled by default in these specific applications. Note that when navigating by line on pages in the web browser, JAWS highlights the virtual line and not the actual line as it appears on the web page.

While the default settings for the highlight should work well for many users, you can also customize the appearance of the visual highlight including the color, style, transparency, thickness, and spacing. For example, the default color is Lime Green while the default style is Block, which places a solid rectangle around the highlighted text. However, you may prefer a different color, style, and more transparency for the highlight. To change these Settings, open Settings Center while focused in one of the supported applications, expand the new Visual Settings group, select Highlight Virtual PC Cursor, and then press F6 to move to the pane where you can configure visual tracking settings.


  • Addressed an issue where pressing the Text Analyzer keystroke, ALT+WINDOWS Key+I, to move to the next inconsistency in the document was causing JAWS to close unexpectedly in some instances.
  • When pressing the APPLICATIONS Key to open the context menu for a book in the Kindle app, resolved an issue where you could no longer use the app with JAWS until you closed and restarted it.
  • Improved JAWS performance with the Alarms and Clock app in Windows 10.
  • In the Windows 8.1 and Windows 7 Calculator, resolved an issue where using first letter navigation in the combo boxes for selecting a unit of conversion was attempting to activate a Calculator button instead of selecting the unit.
  • Addressed an issue where pressing INSERT+PAGE DOWN was not reading the status bar in Visual Studio 2017.
  • Addressed a customer reported issue with JAWS not correctly speaking certain fraction symbols.
  • Resolved a reported issue with some of the Research It lookup sources in the German version of JAWS not displaying any results.

Microsoft Office

JAWS provides updated support for the Office 365 spellchecker to work with the latest changes from Microsoft. When you press F7 to open the spellchecker, or when you move to the next error after selecting an option, focus is now placed into a read-only edit field that displays the sentence containing the error. You can also press INSERT+C from anywhere in this pane to have JAWS read the misspelled word as it appears in the document.

Suggestions are now displayed as split buttons instead of in a list. When an error is found, JAWS still announces and spells the first suggestion, but you must now tab to the suggestion you want to use and press ENTER. Pressing INSERT+F7 now also reads the current suggestion. Pressing ALT+DOWN ARROW on the selected split button for a suggestion displays extra options for the current suggestion. To access additional options such as Ignore, use the Other Actions group.

Note: If the spellchecker in your version of Office 365 still displays suggestions as a list instead of split buttons, you are not yet running a version containing the latest Microsoft changes. This new functionality will become available as new Office updates are released.

Other Office issues addressed in this update include:

  • Resolved an issue where JAWS would become unresponsive when typing in Excel 2016 with the editing language set to Hebrew.
  • Addressed an issue where the correct scripts were not being loaded if an embedded Internet Explorer window was opened in Outlook.
  • Resolved a customer reported issue with JAWS sometimes not working correctly after closing Word 2010 on some systems.

Web Browsers

  • Addressed a reported issue with Google Chrome where Forms Mode was not turning off as expected in certain situations.
  • When running JAWS and ZoomText together, addressed an intermittent issue where Internet Explorer was closing unexpectedly when started through the Windows Run dialog box.

Windows 10 Calculator

  • JAWS no longer reads the contents of the results display field after each digit is pressed.
  • When pressing shortcut keys to perform various functions, JAWS will now announce the name of the function. Note that some shortcut keys are only available in a specific calculator mode. In addition, if a shortcut key causes the results display field to update, you will hear the results field followed by the function. For example, if you type PLUS and the display contains the number 12, you would hear "12+."
  • JAWS now indicates the correct state of various toggle buttons in both speech and braille.
  • When INSERT+T is pressed to read the window title, the currently active calculator mode (Standard, Scientific, or Programmer) is also announced. JAWS also announces the current mode when using ALT+1, ALT+2, and ALT+3 to switch modes.

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