JAWS 2021 Updates: Voice Assistant

Meet Sharky

JAWS 2021 introduces a new feature – a voice assistant that will help users with various JAWS features using natural speech. Think of it like Amazon Alexa but for JAWS. So, how does it work? It’s easy, you simply say “Sharky”. You’ll hear a tone in response and an image of a microphone will briefly appear on the screen. After hearing a Voice Command, the voice assistant will play a different tone. You can also wake up the voice assistant by pressing Insert + Alt + Spacebar.

What Can Sharky Do?

So, what can Sharky do? Sharky can do a variety of JAWS features. These include the following list:

Help
Talk faster
Talk slower
Change settings
Command search
What time is it
List links
List headings
List spelling errors
Tell me a joke

This is not an exhaustive list. A full list of commands is at the end of this post under the heading Full Voice Command List. You can also learn more and to view a full list of voice commands for specific actions by saying “Sharky, help.” You can also select Getting Started from the Voice Assistant menu. Sharky has commands for the web, Word, Outlook, OCR, and more.

If Sharky doesn’t hear what you asked, they will respond: “Sorry, I didn’t hear anything.” However, if you give Sharky a command that it outside its repertoire, it will instead respond: “Sorry, I didn’t catch that.”

A Couple Things to Consider

  1. Give time for processing and response.

    Since all voice recognition processing is performed over the Internet using Microsoft Services in the cloud, there will be a slight delay depending on your connection. Be patient and experiment with different commands. This is a new technology being added to our software products and will continue to change and evolve over time. We welcome your suggestions and feedback.
  2. You can disable the Voice Assistant if you don’t want it on.

    To turn off the Voice Assistant or change other options, such as whether or not JAWS listens for the wake word or to turn off the sounds, open the JAWS Utilities menu, expand the Voice Assistant submenu, and then select Settings. If you want to turn the Voice Assistant on, from the JAWS main window, press ALT+U to open the Utilities menu, expand the Voice Assistant submenu, and then select Talk to JAWS.
  3. Microphone considerations.

    The JAWS Voice Assistant uses your computer’s internal microphone or you can talk to it using an external microphone or headset. The wake word is not available if you are using a Bluetooth microphone. In this case, you must use the keystroke before speaking the voice command.
  4. Languages.

    Supported languages include English, Dutch, German, Spanish, and French.

Final Thoughts

Additional features and functions for the Voice Assistant are going to be added as the year goes on, so the Voice Assistant will continue to improve and expand.

Full Voice Assistant Command List

Below is the full list of Voice Assistant commands as of JAWS version 2021.2102.34 that comes directly from JAWS Help.

General Voice Commands

“Display the Voice Assistant help topic” or “Help”
“Display the Window List dialog box” or “Window list”
“Display the Commands Search dialog box” or “Command search”
“Display the Keyboard Manager dialog box” or “Keyboard Manager”
“Display the Dictionary Manager dialog box” or “Dictionary Manager”
“Display the Settings Center dialog box” or “Settings”
“Temporarily increase the voice rate” or “Increase voice rate”
“Temporarily decrease the voice rate” or “Decrease voice rate”
“Temporarily set the voice rate to [number] (Example, set voice rate to 100.)” or “Set voice rate to [number] (Example, set voice rate to 100.)”
“Toggle the screen shade” or “Toggle screen shade”
“Toggle the audio ducking” or “Toggle audio ducking”
“Toggle the speech on demand” or “Toggle speech on demand”
“Use the JAWS Cursor” or “JAWS Cursor”
“Use the PC Cursor” or “PC Cursor”
“Use the Touch Cursor” or “Touch Cursor”
“Toggle the Virtual PC cursor” or “Toggle Virtual PC cursor”
“Copy the speech history to the clipboard” or “Copy speech history”
“OCR the selected file” or “OCR file”
“OCR the PDF contents” or “OCR PDF”
“OCR the current window” or “OCR window”
“OCR the screen” or “OCR screen”
“OCR the current control” or “OCR control”
“OCR from a camera” or “OCR camera”
“OCR from a scanner” or “OCR scanner”
“Stop the OCR” or “Stop OCR”
“Tell me a joke” or “Joke”

Web Pages

“Display the list of links” or “List links”
“Display the list of headings” or “List headings”
“Display the list of graphics” or “List graphics”
“Display the list of tables” or “List tables”
“Display the list of form fields” or “List form fields”

Item Lists in Word

“Display the list of links” or “List links”
“Display the list of headings” or “List headings”
“Display the list of graphics” or “List graphics”
“Display the list of tables” or “List tables”
“Display the list of form fields” or “List form fields”
“Display the list of comments” or “List comments”
“Display the list of grammatical errors” or “List grammatical errors”
“Display the list of spelling errors” or “List spelling errors”

Navigation in Word

“Go to the first comment” or “First comment”
“Go to the next comment” or “Next comment”
“Go to the previous comment” or “Previous comment”
“Go to the last comment” or “Last comment”
“Go to the first grammatical error” or “First grammatical error”
“Go to the next grammatical error” or “Next grammatical error”
“Go to the previous grammatical error” or “Previous grammatical error”
“Go to the last grammatical error” or “Last grammatical error”
“Go to the first spelling error” or “First spelling error”
“Go to the next spelling error” or “Next spelling error”
“Go to the previous spelling error” or “Previous spelling error”
“Go to the last spelling error” or “Last spelling error”
“Go to the first heading” or “First heading”
“Go to the next heading” or “Next heading”
“Go to the previous heading” or “Previous heading”
“Go to the last heading” or “Last heading”
“Go to the first table” or “First table”
“Go to the next table” or “Next table”
“Go to the previous table” or “Previous table”
“Go to the last table” or “Last table”
“Go to the first page” or “First page”
“Go to the next page” or “Next page”
“Go to the previous page” or “Previous page”
“Go to the last page” or “Last page”
“Go to the first field” or “First field”
“Go to the next field” or “Next field”
“Go to the previous field” or “Previous field”
“Go to the last field” or “Last field”
“Go to the first section” or “First section”
“Go to the next section” or “Next section”
“Go to the previous section” or “Previous section”
“Go to the last section” or “Last section”

General Outlook Navigation

“Go to the Calendar view” or “Calendar”
“Go to the Messages view” or “Messages”
“Go to the Contacts view” or “Contacts”
“Go to the Tasks view” or “Tasks”
“Go to the Notes view” or “Notes”

Navigating Outlook Messages

“Go to Attachments” or “Attachments”
“Display the list of links” or “List links”
“Display the list of headings” or “List headings”
“Display the list of graphics” or “List graphics”
“Display the list of tables” or “List tables”
“Display the list of grammatical errors” or “List grammatical errors”
“Display the list of spelling errors” or “List spelling errors”

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