Web Browsing with JAWS


Move to the address and search bar | Ctrl + L

Concept: Address and Search Bar | When your focus is in the address and search bar, you can type either a web address or keywords for an online search. If the web address you put in is incorrect, your browser will simply do a web search for it. To submit your web address or search, press enter.  

Back Button | Alt + Left Arrow

Concept: The Back Button | The back button will take you one step back in your web browsing journey. 

Next Element | Down Arrow

Previous Element | Up Arrow

Concept: Moving by Element | This is the most fundamental way to move using JAWS when working with the web. Each arrow key press will move you to the next HTML element on the page. “HTML Elements” is basically just everything on a web page – headings, links, form controls, images, tables, lists, etc. So, when you use the arrow keys, you won’t miss anything on the web page. However, using arrow keys is also the slowest way to navigate.  


Concept: Headings | Headings are titles of pages or sections. Headings have different levels which typically correspond to the page’s overall structure. 

Next Heading | H

Previous Heading | Shift + H

Headings List | Insert + F6


Concept: Links | Links or “Hyperlinks” contain a reference to another web address. When you click or press enter on a link, you are typically taken to a new webpage. In JAWS, we can navigate through unvisited links (places we have never been) and visited links (locations we have been). 

Next Unvisited Link | U

Previous Univisited Link | Shift + U

Next Visited Link | V

Previous Visited Link | Shift + V

Links List | Insert + F7

Form Controls

Concept: Form Controls | Form controls refer to a group of related elements on the web. These elements include text fields, radio buttons, dropdown menus, buttons, and check boxes. All of these elements are related as they take input from the user. While there are quick keys and element lists for each of these types of elements in JAWS, there is also a combined form control list which is typically more beneficial to use. I also only highlight a few of the quick keys for the various types of form controls. 

Form Controls List | Insert + F5

Next Edit Field | E

Previous Edit Field | Shift + E

Next Button | B

Previous Button | Shift + B

Concept: Forms Mode | When using a web page, JAWS is in one of two modes: virtual PC cursor or forms mode. Forms mode allows JAWS users to input text into edit boxes. When you’re in forms mode, the printable keys will simply print out their corresponding letter into the edit field. However, when we are using the virtual PC cursor, key presses are mainly done for navigation. For example, if I am in forms mode and press the H key, JAWS will print an H into the edit field. If I am using the virtual PC cursor and I press H, I will be moved to the next heading. JAWS informs the user of which mode they are in with beep sounds. The higher beep indicates that forms mode is on. The lower beep indicates that forms mode is off. 

Concept : Tabbing | A common way to move throughout other applications with JAWS is to use the Tab key. However, tabbing isn’t quite as central to web browsing. JAWS users can tab whenever they would like on the web, but a tab on the web moves the user to the next link or form field. This can make tabbing a somewhat confusing method for navigating a web page. However, tabbing is extremely useful on the web when filling in a form. When you enter the top of a form, you will most likely be put into forms mode. When you’re ready to move to the next control in the form, the easiest way to do so is via the tab key. This gives us the added benefit of keeping JAWS in forms mode as we navigate, rather than having to manage what mode we are currently in. 


Concept: The JAWS Find | JAWS find is a search that JAWS users can initiate to find text in a window. This feature is extremely helpful when using the web as you can type your search and the JAWS find will bring you to your searched term regardless if it is a heading, link, form field, plain text, or whatever. JAWS Find can also be a powerful workaround when dealing with inaccessible web content. 

JAWS Find |Ctrl + F 

Next JAWS Find Result | F3

Previous JAWS Find Result | Shift + F3


Concept: Tables | Tables present information in a tabular, two dimensional structure. This can make them hard to understand with JAWS as screen readers present information only in a one dimensional way. However, we can use a variety of JAWS commands to help tables feel easier.

Next Table | T

Prior Table | Shift + T

List Tables | Insert + Ctrl + T 

Next Cell | Ctrl + Alt + Right Arrow

Prior Cell | Ctrl + Alt + Left Arrow

Cell Above | Ctrl + Alt + Up Arrow

Cell Below | Ctrl + Alt + Down Arrow

First Cell | Ctrl + Alt + HOME

Last Cell | Ctrl + Alt + END

Virtual HTML Features List

Concept: Virtual HTML Features List | We have learned to navigate by a handful of element types on the web. However, JAWS has even more options for navigating by types of elements. The Virtual HTML Features list will show a list of other element lists that the user can bring up. This includes graphics, lists, frames, divs, and more. Most of these other element lists won’t be as useful as the element lists already discussed above (headings, links, form fields, etc.), but they may be helpful on certain webpages or in the completion of certain tasks. 

Virtual HTML Feature List | Insert + F3 

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