Universal Access: Adding Alt Text to Images in Microsoft Office

The process for adding Alt Text to an image is the same throughout Microsoft Office. I’ll demonstrate this process using Microsoft Word.

Locate the image you’d like to add alt text to and select it (left mouse click). If you’re using JAWS, use Ctrl + Shift + O to open the objects menu and find the image there. Keep in mind this image presumably won’t have good alt text, so you’ll have to work with whatever is there.

Open the context menu for the image with the right mouse click, the context key, or use Shift + F10.

On the context menu, select Format Picture.

Screen shot of Windows 7 computer running Microsoft Word 2013 showing the open context menu for a selected image

This will open the Format Object Pane which can be found as a side menu on the right side of the screen. This pane has four tabs: Fill in Line (paint can icon), Effects (pentagon icon), Layout and Properties (square with measure lines icon), and Picture (portrait icon). Select Layout and Properties.

If you’re using JAWS, use tab to navigate through the tabs and tab controls. Tabs are only differentiated from controls by JAWS by their instructions – JAWS will announce that you can “navigate with left and right, up and down arrow keys”.

Screen clip of Word 2013 Format Object Pane with the Layout and Properties tab open and Alt Text section expanded and blank

Expand the Alt Text button with a left mouse click or by pressing space bar. Fill out the title and description fields. The title field seems to have a character limit of about 70, but the description field is seemingly limitless. Be as verbose as necessary in the description field to do your best to describe the image and convey to the reader any visual information that it conveys.

When you’re done, simply close the Format Object Pane by left mouse clicking the x in the corner, or simply return to your document by pressing escape. You can move back and forth between your document, the ribbon, and the Format Object Pane by pressing F6.





Important JAWS Commands

Open the Objects List Ctrl + Shift + O
Open Context Menu Shift + F10
Navigate between ribbon, document, and open panes F6

JAWS Topic: Creating Posts and Events on Front Porch Forum

Posting on Front Porch Forum

Navigate to frontporchforum.com. On the homepage, check if you’re logged in or not by opening the links list dialog (Insert + F7) and pressing M and look for My Account. If you can’t find My Account on the links list, you’re not logged in. You’ll find a link to login in the links list if you hit M.

General Instructions for Filling in Forms

Use tab and shift + tab to move forward and backwards through the form
Use the up and down arrows to change the selection of drop down boxes
Use the space bar to check and uncheck check boxes

Creating a Post

On the homepage, open up the links list dialog (Insert + F7) and press C until you find Compose Posting and press enter.
This will load a new page with a blank form where we’ll be able to create a new post.
After the page loads, use the quick key F to move down to the first form field on the page and press enter to activate forms mode. Alternatively, you may also open the form field list dialog (Insert + F5) and move to the first control on the page.

Select posting category that best applies:

The initial form field on the page is a dropdown box where you’ll be asked to choose a posting category. There are a number of options here. Choosing event will give us additional fields to fill out, so we’ll cover that type of post below. For now, assume we are not creating an event.
Use the up and down arrows to move through the items in the dropdown. When you have your choice selected, press tab.

Posting subject:

The posting subject is a text edit field. This field will serve as the title or subject line of your posting. After you’ve entered your text, press tab.

Posting body:

The posting body is a narrative field where we can write as much as we’d like. Here is where your posting will go. When you’ve entered your text, press tab.

Allow neighboring FPFs to see this posting:

This is a check box which allows you to increase or decrease the audience for your post. Unchecking this box will mean that only members of your neighborhood will see your post. Keeping this box checked, on the other hand, will allow nearby neighborhoods to see your post.

Submit Posting

This is a button. Pressing enter will send your post off to get posted. Remember, if you’d like to review the fields you just filled out, simply use shift + tab to move back up the page. Otherwise, simply press enter to submit your posting.

Creating an Event

As mentioned above, we can create an event on Front Porch Forum via the Compose Posting form if we choose event in the posting category dropdown. Once you’ve selected event in the posting dropdown, press tab.
The next field will be for the posting subject. This is exactly the same field as we encountered with a normal posting. Add your text and press tab.
The time and date fields for events don’t have descriptive alt text. You’ll need to memorize their order to successfully fill in this form.

Event Start Date (Event date info: (no date applies? then please select a different posting category) Edit)

The first new field you’ll encounter is the event date info text edit field. This is a text edit field, but we’ll need to be careful about the type of text we enter here. The field is looking for the start date of your event. You’ll need to enter this date with numerals and dashes only – no spaces. You’ll need to write the year as four numerals (ex. 2017), dash, the month as two numerals (ex. 01 for January), dash, and the day as two numerals (ex. 05 for the fifth). So, for example, if my event was on January 1, 2017 I would write: 2017-01-05. This utility isn’t very smart, so we need to stick to that exact syntax. When you’re date has been added, press tab.

Event Start Time (Date (yyyy-mm-dd) Edit)

The next field is looking for the start time of your event. Again, we’ll need to add it in as a text in a specific way. This field is looking for us to add the time as 3 to 4 numerals followed by am or pm with no spaces. We can use one or two numerals to enter the hour (ex. 09 or 9 for 9 O’clock), colon, two numerals for the minute (ex. 05 for five minutes past the hour), and then am or pm. So, for example, if my event starts at twelve thirty in the afternoon, I would enter 12:30pm. When you’ve entered your time, press tab.

Event End Time (To Edit)

The next field is functionally the same as the last. However, this field is looking for an end time. Enter your end time in the same manner with which you entered the start time. When you’ve entered your time, press tab.

Event End Date (Time (i.e. 8:00 pm) Edit)

The last special event field is for the end date of your event. This field will auto-populate with the same date as your start date field. This is convenient for when you have a single day event. However, if you have an event that stretches over multiple days, you’ll update this field following the same method as the first date field. When you’ve entered your date, press tab.
Again, you’ll be able to check or uncheck the box to share this post with nearby neighborhoods. And you’ll use the Submit Posting button to submit your event post.

JAWS Topic: Adding Contacts in Outlook

Outlook Contacts

In Outlook, we have a couple options for adding new contacts. Options 1 and 2 assume you either have all the information in your head or in front of you as you’ll be keying everything in. Option 3 will let you create a contact off an email you received

Method 1 – From the Address Book

  1. Press Ctrl + Shift + B
  2. Press Alt to move your focus to the toolbar
  3. Press down arrow to open the file menu and then press enter to activate the option for New Entry…
  4. Press enter on new contact
  5. Use tab and shift tab to navigate through the new contact form
  6. Use Alt + S to save

Method 2 – From Contacts

  1. Press Ctrl + 3 to open Contacts
  2. Press Ctrl + N to create a new contact
  3. Use tab and shift tab to navigate through the new contact form
  4. Use Alt + S to save
  5. Use Ctrl + 1 to move back to Mail

A Note About the New Contact Form

The new contact form can seem overwhelming. There are a lot of fields. You by no means need to fill them all out. In fact, the only piece of information that needs to be filled out before you can save the form is the name.

Method 3 – From an Email

  1. Open an email from a sender you’d like to add to contacts
  2. Use Shift + Tab to move your focus up to the recipients email address and make sure your cursor is to the left of their email
  3. Open the context menu with Shift + F10
  4. On the context menu, choose add to Outlook contacts
  5. Use tab and shift tab to navigate through the contact info
  6. Use Alt + S to save


Setting up and Using Email on the BrailleNote Apex

Email on the BrailleNote

This guide includes:

  • Sections from the BrailleNote Apex User Manual about setting up and using email
  • YouTube videos demonstrating setting up email on the BrailleNote
  • Contact Information for Humanware Support

Setting up Email on Your BrailleNote

Directory of E‑mail Accounts

To select “Directory of E‑Mail Accounts,” first select KeyMail from the Main Menu, then select Setup Options. You are presented with the KeyMail Setup Menu and “Directory of E‑mail Accounts” is the first item on this menu.
There are two options on this menu; “Add an Account,” and “Look up an Account.”

“Add an Account” is used to set up the details of a new e‑mail account.

“Look up an Account” allows you to review the details for an existing e‑mail account, and modify individual fields as appropriate.

Information relating to a particular e‑mail account is stored in a record, and each record has a number of fields that contain the details for that record. KeySoft provides commands for moving between records and reviewing the fields within them. To move to the next record, press SPACE with dots 5‑6. To move back to the previous record, press SPACE with dots 2‑3. Within a record you can use the SPACE and BACKSPACE keys to move forward or back through the list of fields.

The next two sections provide detailed information on “Adding an Account” and “Looking up an Account.”

Add an E‑mail Account

To send and receive e‑mail you need access to an e‑mail Service Provider. When you open an account with a Service Provider you need to obtain details of the service such as the POP server and SMTP addresses, and these details must be loaded into KeyMail before you can use that e‑mail account.

Note: Details of the actual internet connection are listed separately. This is because it is not uncommon for users to access the internet in multiple ways, via a different set‑up to the default one, and this arrangement saves double entering account details or connection configurations.

To add an e‑mail account, follow these steps:

  1. Select E‑mail from the Main Menu, or press BACKSPACE with ENTER with E, anywhere.
  2. KeySoft displays “KeyMail Menu.” Select Set Up Options from the KeyMail menu. KeySoft displays “KeyMail Set Up Menu.” Select Directory of E‑mail accounts.
  3. KeySoft displays “Directory of E‑mail Accounts.” Select Add an account. KeySoft displays “Entry List for Directory of E‑mail accounts.”
  4. KeySoft now steps you through a list of details of the service so that you can enter details for each item. KeySoft queries “Account Name?” Enter the name you wish this account to be called and press ENTER. Typically you would use the name of your provider, for example, “Earthlink.”
  5. KeySoft prompts “User Name?” Enter the user name, for example Murray_Thorn. Typically this is the part of your e‑mail address that precedes the @ sign.
  6. KeySoft prompts “Password?” For greater security, you can leave this blank and you will be prompted for the password each time you connect. Alternatively, type your password. The password is displayed as you enter it. You can review it before pressing ENTER. After pressing ENTER it displays as 5 asterisks. Remember that passwords are often case sensitive, so it is important that you enter the password exactly as you have chosen or been given.
  7. You are then prompted for “Your Name?” and reminded that computer Braille is required. This is the name that will appear in the From: field when the recipient reads e‑mail from you.
  8. KeySoft prompts “Your E‑mail address?.” Type your full e‑mail address for this provider, for example: Murray_Thorn@earthlink.net.
  9. KeySoft now queries “POP Server?.” Enter the POP server address. For example a POP server address might be “pop.humanware.com.” The POP server address defines the path via which you receive mail from your e‑mail account provider.
  10. KeySoft queries “Use a secure connection for POP server?” If your POP server requires a secure connection (SSL), press Y. If a secure connection is not required, press N. The default is No.
  11. Next KeySoft queries “SMTP Server?.” Enter the SMTP server address. For example a SMTP server address might be “smtp.humanware.com.” The SMTP server address defines the path via which you send mail to your e‑mail account provider.
  12. KeySoft then queries “Use a secure connection for SMTP server?” If your SMTP server requires a secure connection (SSL), press Y. If a secure connection is not required, press N. The default is No.
  13. KeySoft displays, “SMTP authentication required?” Increasingly, e‑mail providers expect users to verify their user name and address on the SMTP server before allowing them to proceed. The BrailleNote BT is set up to automatically provide your username and password if you have turned this feature on. The default is No. Press Y to turn on.
  14. KeySoft asks you to enter the Pop port. The default value is 110. This may vary depending on E‑mail service.
  15. Finally, KeySoft asks for SMTP port. The default value is 25. This may vary depending on E‑mail service.
  16. You can review your list of entries with the BACKSPACE and SPACE keys. When you are happy with the entries, press SPACE with E to exit the list and KeySoft prompts “Add this record?.” Press Y to save this record in the list of e‑mail accounts. KeySoft confirms your choice with the message “Yes,” “Record added” and returns to the Directory of E‑mail Accounts Menu.

If you have more than one e‑mail account that you wish to access on the BrailleNote BT, simply add another record in the same way. Each account will have its own POP and SMTP server addresses, which you can get from the e‑mail account provider.

Look up an E‑mail Account

To check or modify details of a particular account, select “Look up an Account”. To do this, follow these steps:

  1. Select E‑mail from the Main Menu, or press BACKSPACE with ENTER with E, anywhere.
  2. KeySoft displays “KeyMail Menu.” Select Set Up Options from the KeyMail menu. KeySoft displays “KeyMail Set Up Menu.” Select Directory of E‑mail accounts.
  3. KeySoft displays “Directory of E‑mail Accounts.” Select Look Up an account. KeySoft queries “Account to Look Up?”
  4. To lookup all account records, press ENTER. To move to the next account record, press SPACE with dots 5‑6, and to move to the previous account record, press SPACE with dots 2‑3. Alternatively type part or the entire e‑mail account name, then press ENTER. If your entry matches more than one account name, KeySoft displays the number of matches and places you at the first matching account name. To move to the next match, press SPACE with dots 5‑6, or to move back, SPACE with dots 2‑3. Make a selection by pressing ENTER.
  5. KeySoft steps you through the fields of the nominated account so that you can check the details of each item. If you want to change a field, press BACKSPACE with dots 1‑4 anywhere in the list. This takes you into an entry mode where all fields are presented and you can enter or change any field. Press ENTER when you have finished modifying a field and the next field will be presented. SPACE with E takes you back to the review option.
    To make a duplicate copy of an e‑mail account record, you can use the same technique as discussed in 10.5 Duplicating a Record, for duplicating address list records. This provides a quick and convenient way of duplicating a record, and then modifying a field.
    The account record list comprises the following items:
    Account Name;
    User Name;
    Your Name;
    E‑mail address;
    POP Server;
    POP Server secure connection (SSL). Yes or No;
    SMTP Server;
    POP Server secure connection (SSL). Yes or No;
    SMTP Authentication Required?
  6. When you are happy with the entries, press SPACE with E to exit the record, and if you changed any details KeySoft prompts “Add this record?” Press Y to save this record in the list of services or N if you do not want to save your changes.
    If you want to delete an account record, select the account you wish to remove, and press BACKSPACE with dots 2‑3‑5‑6.

Receive Options

Receive Options allows you to choose whether you want to delete e‑mail from the e‑mail service after uploading it to your BrailleNote BT, and to put a size limit on incoming e‑mails.

To select Receive Options, first select KeyMail from the Main Menu, and then select Setup Options. You are presented with the KeyMail Setup Menu and Receive Options is the second item on this menu.

Selecting Receive Options places you in the E‑mail Receive Options Setup List, which contains two items.

  1. “Delete e‑mail from service after receiving? currently Yes or No”
    For the usual option of having each e‑mail deleted from your service account after it has been successfully received, press Y. To leave it on the service so that, for example, you can also download it to your PC, press N. This feature can be useful if you wish to keep a complete record of your received e‑mail on your PC, and are using your BrailleNote BT to download your messages while you are traveling.
  2. “Size limit for automatic download of e‑mail? Currently 50K”
    If an e‑mail is larger than this setting, KeySoft will prompt you with a number of options before downloading it. These options were discussed in 11.9.1 Download status. To change the value, enter the maximum size in kilobytes and press ENTER. For example, to set the limit at 60 kilobytes, enter 60, followed by ENTER. The default setting is 50K, or approximately 50,000 characters.
    To exit the Receive Options list, press SPACE with E and you are returned to the KeyMail Setup Menu.

Free Database Space

E‑mail folders are held in a database. One of the peculiarities of databases is that when you delete items from them, they don’t automatically shrink back down again. Because of this, simply deleting your unwanted e‑mails does not free up more space. The “Free database space” software shrinks the database back to the smallest size capable of storing the e‑mails remaining in the database.

To use this utility, simply go to the e‑mail set‑up menu, and select the item “Free database space”. After running, the utility will report how much space has been freed.

Videos on Email Setup

Gmail on ApexYouTube Video from gallagher123123
Adding a Gmail account on the BrailleNote Apex YouTube Video from HumanWare Technologies

Using Email on Your BrailleNote


You can access KeyMail by typing E from the Main Menu, or by pressing BACKSPACE with ENTER with E. This takes you to the KeyMail Menu, which contains 4 items. These are:

  • Write an e‑mail
  • Read e‑mail
  • Send and receive e‑mail
  • Set up options

Write E‑mail

Choose “Write an e‑mail” when you wish to send a new message to one or more people. You can enter their e‑mail addresses manually, or more conveniently, choose them from your KeyList address list. KeyMail steps you painlessly through the various options that include the following items:

  • main recipient or recipients
  • carbon copy recipient or recipients
  • blind carbon copy recipient or recipients
  • subject
  • file attachments

You can then create, review, spell check, and edit the text of your e‑mail message using the same friendly commands used in KeyWord. At this point you may choose to send your e‑mail, with or without saving a copy, or save it as a Draft, so that you can return to it at a later time. You may also emboss or print a copy of your e‑mail.

Reading E‑mail

To read e‑mail stored on your system, choose “Read E‑mail.” You can check for new messages before you start, or read messages stored from previous sessions. KeyMail uses a series of folders to organize your mail, and you can add folders of your own to streamline the filing of your mail. KeyMail guides you through selecting the desired folder, and provides tools for replying to and forwarding e‑mail, with and without the original text and/or attachments included.

E‑mails can be marked for further action, such as moving or copying to another folder, or sending to the Trash folder.

Checking for E‑mail

To check for new e‑mail, choose “Send and receive e‑mail.” KeyMail prompts you through the necessary steps, and provides feedback about the status of the connection and mail download. If you have any unsent mail, it is also sent at this time.

Setup Options

The purpose of the “Set up options” is to define the details of your e‑mail accounts. You can set up as many accounts as you wish. Using the Receive options you can choose not to delete messages from your service provider after they have been downloaded, leaving them available to be downloaded to another computer. A size limit can also be set on e‑mails to be downloaded, and if exceeded, an alert will be given. The Address list set up allows you to define which address list to use, if you have more than one, and to tell it your own name and e‑mail address so these can be included in e‑mail you send.

Selecting Setup Options from the KeyMail menu presents the KeyMail Setup Menu which provides 4 options:

  • Directory of E‑mail Accounts
  • Receive Options
  • Address List
  • Free Database Space

“Directory of E‑mail Accounts” allows you to define account details for e‑mail using a particular Service Provider, and provides options for both adding a new account and looking up and modifying an existing account.

“Receive Options” allows you to choose whether or not your e‑mail is deleted from your mail box at the Service Provider after you have downloaded it to the BrailleNote BT. It also allows you to set the size limit for automatic download.

“Address List” allows you to select the Address List file that will be used by KeyMail.

“Free Database Space” allows you to reclaim space in the e‑mail database that had been taken up by unwanted e‑mails.

Still Need Help?

You can contact Humanware support by calling 1 800 722-3393 or emailing info@humanware.com.

VoiceOver for iOS Topics: Checking Voicemail in the Phone App

Checking Voicemail with Siri

New Voicemails should be announced by your phone with a tone (when the voicemail has arrived) and alert telling you there is a new voicemail. If you’re unsure if you’ve missed a voicemail, you can always ask Siri by saying, “Siri, do I have any new voicemails?”

Siri’s response will be to tell you if you do or don’t and who those voicemails might be from, etc. If you’d like to listen to your new voicemail, you can ask siri: “Siri, play my new voicemail.” Siri will play the voicemail over your phone speaker, so you’ll need to hold the device to your ear to listen. After Siri plays a voicemail, she’ll give you options for what you can do with the Voicemail. She’ll even ask if you’d like to call the caller back.

Checking and Deleting Voicemail with VoiceOver

Step 1 – Ask Siri to open Phone.
Step 2 – After the phone app opens, search your finger along the bottom edge of the screen until you find the toolbar. The toolbar includes 5 buttons: Favorites tab (1 of 5), Recents tab (2 of 5), Contacts tab (3 of 5), Keypad tab (4 of 5), and Voicemail (5 of 5).
Step 3 – On the toolbar, find the Voicemail tab and single finger double tap to open it.
Step 4 – Move your finger to the top edge of the screen until you land of the Greeting button, the Voicemail heading, or Edit button. It doesn’t matter which of these you land on, we just want to be above the start of the call list.
Step 5 – Use the single finger flick to the right to move down the page until you begin hearing your voicemails.
Step 6 – To delete a voicemail, swipe up with one finger until you hear delete and then single finger double tap to confirm.
Listen carefully! If you have recently deleted messages, you’ll hear an option for “Deleted Messages” beneath your list of Voicemails.

Reading and Writing with ZoomText Fusion

Start Reading and Writing

In this lesson, we’re going to start learning how to use ZoomText Fusion to navigate, read, and edit an electronic document. What is an electronic document? Think of Microsoft Word files (.docx), Adobe Reader files (.pdf), email messages (.msg), and text files (.txt, .rtf, and .html).
We’ll be practicing using a Microsoft Word document. We’ll learn some specifics of using Word later. You can download the document below:
Document Example

Reading & Writing

When you open a new document in most document editor programs, your cursor will be at the beginning of the document. The page is ready to take your input from the keyboard.
Exercise: Go to your desktop and open Microsoft Word. Type out the line, “Hello World! I am writing in Word with Zoomtext Fusion!”
When you’re done, move the cursor over to the left so that it is positioned right behind the exclamation point after, “Hello World”. You can move the cursor by pressing the left arrow button. What does ZoomText Fusion do when we move through our writing with the arrow buttons?
As we move through a line or word or paragraph with the left and right arrow keys, ZoomText Fusion will read out the character we just moved past. For example, if my cursor is at the end of the word “cat” and I press left arrow 3 times, I will hear ZoomText Fusion say “t”, “a”, “c”.
With the cursor in position, press the delete button 24 times. What does ZoomText Fusion do when we delete characters? What is this similar to doing?
As we delete characters, ZoomText Fusion will read the character we are about to delete. For example, if my cursor is at the beginning of the sentence, “I love cats”, and I press delete 11 times, I will hear “space”, “l”, “o”, “v”, “e”, space,”c”, “a”, “t”, “s”. If you hear ZoomText Fusion say “blank”, it means you’ve reached the end of your content. Deleting characters is similar to using the right arrow button.
Now press the Backspace button 12 times. In this instance, what does ZoomText Fusion do? What is this similar to doing?
The Backspace button will delete characters to the left of the cursor. It is similar to moving through the line with the left arrow key.

Moving Through a Document

In our example document from above, see what happens when you use the up and down arrow keys. How does this differ from what ZoomText Fusion did with the left and right arrow keys?
As you can see, the arrow keys move vertically between lines. As the cursor arrives on a new line, ZoomText Fusion will read the entire line. This is different from left and right as those controls moved the cursor horizontally along and read characters.
What happens to the cursor and what does ZoomText Fusion do when you press the Page Up button? How about when we press the Page Down button? What is this similar to?
The Page Up and Page Down buttons will move the cursor vertically through a document with half page jumps with each press. Continue pressing page up and you’ll arrive at the top of the document. Continue to press page down and you’ll arrive at the button. With each jump, ZoomText Fusion will read the line.
The up and down keys and page up and page down are all great ways to move through a document.


Read Characters

Read Previous Character Numpad 4 (left arrow)
Read Current Character Numpad 5
Read Next Character Numpad 6 (right arrow)

Read Words

Read Previous Word Insert + Numpad 4 (left arrow)
Read Current Word Insert + Numpad 5
Read Next Word Insert + Numpad 6 (right arrow)

Read Lines

Read Previous Line Numpad 8 (up arrow)
Read Current Line Insert + Numpad 8
Read Next Line Numpad 2 (down arrow)

Read Sentences

Read Previous Sentence Alt + Numpad 8 (up arrow)
Read Current Sentence Alt + Numpad 5
Read Next Sentence Alt + Numpad 2 (down arrow)

Read Paragraphs

Read Previous Paragraph Ctrl + Numpad 8 (up arrow)
Read Current Paragraph Ctrl + Numpad 5
Read Next Paragraph Ctrl + Numpad 2 (down arrow)

Read To End

Read from cursor to end of document Insert + Numpad 2 (down arrow)


Function Keyboard Command ZoomText Keyboard Command
Enable/ Disable Voice Caps Lock + Alt + Enter F12
Increase Speaking Rate Caps Lock + Alt + Up F8
Decrease Speaking Rate Caps Lock + Alt + Down F7
AppReader: App View Caps Lock + Alt + A F9
AppReader: Text View Caps Lock + Alt + T F10
AppReader: SpeakIt Tool Caps Lock + Alt + S
Pause Speech Ctrl

Selecting Text

Being able to select text is critical to working in a document. To highlight text hold shift and move the cursor.
Holding shift pressing the left or right arrow keys will highlight text one character at a time. Notice that you can only highlight in one direction at a time.
Since all the key commands we just learned for reading previous and next words, lines, and paragraphs also move the cursor, we can use them to highlight text.
Select previous/ next word Shift + Insert + Numpad 4 (left arrow)/ Numpad 5(right arrow)
Select previous/ next line Shift + Numpad 8 (up arrow)/ Numpad 2 (down arrow)
Select previous/ next paragraph Shift + Ctrl + Numpad 8 (up arrow)/ Numpad 2 (down arrow)
Holding shift and pressing Page Up and Page Down will select items by the half page.
Use the Windows hotkey Ctrl + A to select all the text in a document.

Using Selected Text

Now that you know how to select text, what to do? Well, there are a lot of things. You can read, copy, cut, delete, and replace it.
Read Shirt + Insert + Numpad 2 (down arrow)
Copy Ctrl + C
Cut Ctrl + X
Delete When text is selected, press Delete or Backspace to remove it.
Replace If you hit any character key while text is selected, the selected text will be replaced with the new input.
Text that is copied or cut is placed on the “clipboard”. The clipboard is an invisible space on your computer that temporarily stores data. Every time you use the clipboard, the old data is dumped for the new data.
Read the clipboard Insert + Windows Key + X
Paste the clipboard Ctrl + V

Starting ZoomText Fusion

ZoomText logo

ZoomText 11 Fusion

ZoomText 11 Fusion is a magnification and screen reading application developed by AI Squared
Also referred to as a “Large Print Program”
ZoomText Fusion is also a screen reader
You can also use the ZoomText Fusion guide from AI Squared to get started.

Starting ZoomText

ZoomText Fusion runs like any other program in Windows. However,
since the computer becomes more difficult to visually navigate as we increase our level of zoom, ZoomText provides users with a large variety of keyboard commands.
Start ZoomText Ctrl + Alt + Shift + Z
Enable/ Disable ZoomText Caps Lock + Ctrl + Enter
Switch to ZoomText Caps Lock + Ctrl + U
Enable/ Disable Voice Caps Lock + Alt + Enter

ZoomText 11 Magnifier Tab

Screenshot of the ZoomText 11 user interface showing the Magnifier Tab

Zoom Level

Magnifies the screen from 1x to 60x
There are several ways to change the Zoom Level when using ZoomText 11.
Via the Keyboard
Decrease Zoom Caps Lock + Down Arrow
Increase Zoom Caps Lock + Up Arrow
Zoom to 1x Toggle Caps Lock + Enter
Via the ZoomText Keyboard Software
Decrease Zoom F5
Increase Zoom F6
Via the Mouse Wheel
Mouse Wheel Zoom Caps Lock + Shift and Roll Mouse Wheel


The Window button allows users to select the zoom window type. The types of zoom windows that are available depend on whether you are running your system with one monitor or multiple monitors that are set to “Extend these displays”. Below we’ll go over the options for users with a single monitor.
Full The entire screen is magnified at the same level
 Image of laptop running Zoomtext 11 in full windows mode
Overlay A magnification window approximately one forth the size of the entire screen sits on top of the screen.
 Image of laptop running Zoomtext 11 in overlay window mode
Lens  A magnification window that follows the cursor.
 Image of laptop running Zoomtext 11 in lens window mode
Line  A line of magnification that stretches horizontally across the screen.
 Image of laptop running Zoomtext 11 in line window mode
Docked  The screen is split into two vertical sections, one with no magnification and the other with magnification.
 Image of laptop running Zoomtext 11 in docked window mode

Color Enhancements

Color enhancements change the colors you see on screen. Use this feature to change background and font colors. These changes will also be applied to everything on screen, including images and video. Color enhancements improve screen clarity for easier viewing and reduced eyestrain.
ZoomText 11 allows users to choose from preset color enhancement schemes or create custom schemes. The preset schemes include:
Invert Brightness  Image of laptop running ZoomText 11 with Invert Brightness enabled
Reverse Video  Image of laptop running ZoomText 11 with Reverse Video enabled
Yellow on Black  Image of laptop running ZoomText 11 with Yellow on Black enabled
Blue Dye  Photo Apr 28, 11 13 21 AM
Black & White  Image of laptop running ZoomText 11 with black and white enabled
White & Black  Image of laptop running ZoomText 11 with white and black enabled
Users also have the option of creating their own color enhancement scheme. Go to the Color Enhancements split button and select the bottom half of the control. This will open a dropdown menu with Settings. Settings will open the Enhancements window in the Color tab. Under Color Enhancement select Custom and the Custom Settings portion of the menu will become editable.
Users can change effects (including brightness and color inversion) and adjust brightness and contrast. Users can also choose how the color enhancements are applied to the screen – they can choose to apply onto to the zoom window, only to the background, or have the enhancements applied to all parts of the screen.
ZoomText 11 allows users to enable and disable color enhancements using the standard keyboard and the ZoomText Keyboard Software
Standard Keyboard – toggle keyboard enhancements on and off Caps Lock + C
ZoomText Keyboard Software – toggle keyboard enhancements on and off F3

Pointer Enhancements

What is the pointer? The pointer is the what most people think of as the mouse. It is the “mouse pointer”.
The pointer is typically an arrow but will take on different shapes depending on what the context it is in. For example, you might see your cursor turn into a hand icon or an I-beam.
ZoomText has several preset schemes for the pointer for users to choose from. Users can also create their own pointer enhancement scheme by selecting the bottom half of the Pointer split button and then selecting Settings from the drop down menu. This will launch the Enhancements menu in the Pointer tab. Under Pointer Enhancements, selecting Custom will enable the Custom Settings section of the tab.
Users can choose to enable or disable ZoomText smooth pointers. This feature prevents pointers from starting to look pixelated as magnification is increased. Users can also choose the size of their mouse pointer, from standard to extra large. The color of the pointer can also be customized here.
Users can also choose to enable a pointer locator in this section. Pointer locators help users locate the pointer on the screen by adding a circle or crosshairs. Users can customize the locator’s thickness, color, and transparency. Users can also control when the locator is displayed. Options including: always, when pointer is stationary, when pointer is moving, or when modifier key (Shift, Alt, Ctrl, or Win) is pressed.
Enable/ Disable Pointer Enhancements Caps Lock + P

Cursor Enhancements

What is the cursor? The cursor refers to the insertion point in text. Say you open up a Microsoft Word document, you click into the document and you’ll see a cursor appear. With standard settings, the cursor is typically simply a blinking horizontal line.
ZoomText has several preset schemes for the cursor for users to choose from. Users can also create their own cursor enhancement scheme by selecting the bottom half of the Cursor split button and then selecting Settings from the drop down menu. This will launch the Enhancements menu in the Cursor tab. Under Cursor Enhancements, selecting Custom will enable the Custom Settings section of the tab.
Under custom settings, users can select the type of cursor locator of wedges, circle, or frame. They can also choose the size, color, and transparency of the cursor locator. Users can also control when the locator is displayed. Options including: always, when cursor is stationary, when cursor is moving, or when modifier key (Shift, Alt, Ctrl, or Win) is pressed.
Enable/ Disable Cursor Enhancements Caps Lock + R

Focus Enhancements

What is focus? You can think of focus as whatever you’ve clicked onto. On your desktop, if you single right-click on an icon, that icon now has focus. Similarly, if you’re in a web browser and you click on the address bar, the address bar has focus.
ZoomText has several preset schemes for the focus for users to choose from. Users can also create their own focus enhancement scheme by selecting the bottom half of the Focus split button and then selecting Settings from the drop down menu. This will launch the Enhancements menu in the Focus tab. Under Focus Enhancements, selecting Custom will enable the Custom Settings section of the tab.
Under custom settings, users can select the type of focus locator from block, underline, or frame. They can also choose the thickness, margin, color, and transparency of the focus locator. Users can also control when the locator is displayed. Options including: continuously, briefly, or when modifier key (Shift or Ctrl) is pressed.
Enable/ Disable Focus Enhancements Caps Lock + F


The Navigation button displays a menu that opens the Navigation Settings dialog where you can adjust how ZoomText will scroll the zoom window to keep moving objects in view, including the mouse pointer, text cursor, keyboard focus and other objects that appear and move about the screen.
Scroll Up Caps Lock + Shift + Up Arrow
Scroll Down Caps Lock + Shift + Down Arrow
Scroll Left Caps Lock + Shift + Left Arrow
Scroll Right Caps Lock + Shift + Right Arrow

Windows Shortcuts

Minimize all open applications and move focus to the desktop. You can press the key combination to restore the minimized applications. Win + D
Put focus on the Windows Taskbar. Pressing the key combination again will allow you to cycle focus between open and pinned applications. Win + T
When focus is on the desktop, pressing this key or key combination will cycle focus between the Start Menu, Desktop, Taskbar, and Notification Area. Tab/ Shift + Tab
Opens the Task Switcher menu to move between open applications. Hold Alt and move through applications by pressing tab or the arrow keys. Alt + Tab
Exits the current application. Alt + F4
Opens the context menu. Shift + F10
Opens Windows Explorer Win + E
Display main window’s system menu Alt + Space

Starter ZoomText Fusion Keystrokes

Interrupt speech Ctrl
Read Current Element in focus Insert + Tab
Read Title Bar Insert + T

Connecting to WiFi with the BrailleNote Apex

Connecting Your BrailleNote to Wifi

This guide includes:

  • Sections from the BrailleNote Apex User Manual about connecting the device to WiFi
  • YouTube videos demonstrating connecting a BrailleNote Apex to Wifi
  • Contact Information for Humanware Support

Using a Wireless Connection

Wireless networking is just a different form of computer networking that doesn’t require cables. It is also sometimes referred to as WiFi or 802.11, but they are all the same thing.

You will also need access to a wireless network. This may be in your home, workplace or school, or in an airport, café or library. There are two ways in which to access a wireless network ‑ through setting up a connection configuration, and through scanning for and picking up a wireless network. Which method you use will depend on the circumstances.

Although there has been much talk over the past few years about wireless security, or lack of it, most workplaces or institutions will have proper security measures in place on their wireless networks. These comprise a range of settings, passwords and codes that are only made available to legitimate users. In the case of public wireless networks such as in libraries and airports, the network itself will provide most of the settings automatically because they are set up to let you log in, not to prevent you. However, before trying to connect your BrailleNote BT to any non‑public wireless network, be aware that you will need to have some advance information about the wireless network, usually via the network administrator.

Scanning for a Wireless Network

An alternative way to log into a wireless network is to scan for it. Wireless networks that have the public display of their SSID disabled will be invisible to a scan, so scanning is not an appropriate way to try to log into those networks. However wireless networks with low, or no security, such as are found in libraries, airports and cafés etc., are set up through scanning. This is because when selected the first time, they then typically transfer most of the settings required in a connection configuration automatically to your BrailleNote BT. This connection configuration is then available to use to log on automatically in the future.

    1. To scan for a new wireless network, from the Wireless Ethernet menu, select Scan for Wireless Networks and press ENTER.
    2. KeySoft prompts, “List of available connections.” The connections listed will depend on how many wireless networks are displaying themselves in your vicinity. To review the list, press SPACE. Each network will announce its name, for example: 1. SSID: Vodaphone; 2. SSID: Tsunami; 3. SSID: Air America
    3. Make a selection by pressing ENTER.
    4. KeySoft prompts, “Entry List for Connection Configurations.” Press SPACE. The first field is the connection configuration name. By default, the SSID name will be used, but you can modify it if needed. Press ENTER when done. In most cases, the rest of the fields will be correctly configured by the connection itself, however this will vary depending on how the wireless network is set up. In some cases, the venue will provide you with a code to enter, in others the whole configuration is provided. Once completed, exit the configuration using SPACE with E and press Y when asked if you wish to save it.
    5. KeySoft displays the name of the network, e.g. “1. SSID: Vodaphone” You are now on the Wireless network.

The next time you scan for this network, it will show up with its configuration listed just before its name. For example, if the connection configuration is called VP, you would hear or read, “VP SSID: Vodaphone.” Just press ENTER on this option and you will be connected.

Reconnecting to a Wireless Network.

This option makes it really easy to connect to a wireless network that you use repeatedly. If you only use one wireless network, this option automatically reconnects to it. If you use more than one, a list of configurations is formed. As the BrailleNote BT can only pick up a wireless network that is in the vicinity, this option will always pick up the one that you want. In the unusual situation that you have two wireless networks with configurations in the same vicinity or two configurations for the same wireless network, so that there is a chance it may pick up the wrong one, you can change the order of the list so that the preferred configuration will get picked up first.

To reconnect to a wireless network; from the Connectivity Menu, select “Reconnect using existing Configurations” and press ENTER. KeySoft will announce, “Please Wait, connecting to (config)” there will be progress beeps as it locates the network, then “Please Wait, connected to (config).” You are now connected to the wireless network.

Review an Existing Connection Configuration

This option allows you to access connection configurations that you have already created, and view and/or edit the information in them. This applies to all configurations including wireless ones.

From the Connectivity Menu, select “Review an existing connection configuration”. Using SPACE, then SPACE with dots 5‑6 or SPACE with dots 2‑3 to move from one to the next, find the configuration record that you wish to review. At this point you can review the different fields in the record by pressing SPACE or ADVANCE and BACK or BACKSPACE.

If you wish to make a change to any field, follow these steps:

  1. Move to the field to be changed. Press BACKSPACE with dots 2‑5, and you are asked for a new entry for this field. There are three options here:
    • Type a new entry and press ENTER.
    • Edit the old field which is offered as the suggestion, as described in 5.19 Editing at a Prompt.
    • Clear the field by pressing SPACE with dots 3‑5‑6, followed by ENTER.
  2. This puts you in an entry list so you can modify or add to any other field as well. You have the same three options for all the fields, and you can change any other field in the record.

If you want to fill in a field that is blank, simply navigate to it and type in the new entry.

Apex Connecting to Wi-Fi YouTube Video from gallagher123123

Connecting to WiFi on BrailleNote Apex YouTube Video from Christina Laty

How to connect to the Internet using Wi-Fi with the apex YouTube Video from Isoto680

Still Need Help?

You can contact Humanware support by calling 1 800 722-3393 or emailing info@humanware.com.

JAWS Topic: AWARE VR Case Management

Introduction to AWARE

AWARE VR is a case management web application. Users will access AWARE with a web browser, the recommended program is Internet Explorer.

What is a web application?

The term web application is somewhat broad, and it might refer to mobile apps, client based apps, and browser based apps. AWARE is a browser based app.

According to PCmag.com’s definition of a web application, “An application in which all or some parts of the software are downloaded from the Web each time it is run.” Further, “In a browser-based Web application, JavaScript instructions are contained within the Web page that is retrieved from a website. Combined with the HTML code that determines the visual layout and the CSS style sheet, the HTML, JavaScript and CSS are executed via the browser. In addition, processing at the server side is often widely performed to access databases and other networks. The data for a Web application may be stored locally or on the Web, or in both locations.”

What does AWARE do?

AWARE VR is case management software that allows users to do case entry, status tracking, developing plans, serving participants, and case completion.

Using AWARE with JAWS

As outlined above, AWARE is a browser based application. This means we’ll be using our web browsing skills for JAWS to successfully use AWARE. If you’re not confident in your ability to web browse with JAWS, I recommend working through the guides below before continuing.

Guide Concepts Covered
Web Browsing with JAWS Introduction to JAWS and HTML, beginner browser shortcuts, navigating by headings, links, and forms.
Advanced Web Browsing with JAWS Advanced browser shortcuts, virtual html feature list, HTML Tables, Forms, and Frames.

Further, AWARE has built-in functionality designed for screen reader users. More, unlike a typical website, the best way to have success with AWARE will be through memorization. Learning the placement and makeup of specific pages will be critical for efficiency, clarity, and avoiding frustration. Unlike other websites that will constantly have changes in their content and layout, the AWARE pages should be more or less static.

Basic Navigation

As you likely know, webpages are typically very long and complex documents. We won’t typically want to read a given page from beginning to end. Instead, we’ll navigate around the page to find the relevant fields we need.
Keyboard Command Function
Move to next/ previous element. Up and Down Arrow
Move to next/ previous form control or link. Tab and Shift + Tab

Form Navigation

A large part of aware will involve navigating from form field to form field. The easiest way to work with form fields on the web is to simply tab between them. However, bringing up the form list and utilizing quick keys will also be important.
Keyboard Command Function
Open Form List Dialog Insert + F5
Move to next/ previous link or form control Tab and Shift + Tab
Expand (open) combo box Alt + Down Arrow
Move to next/ previous combo box C and Shift + C
Move to next edit/ previous field E and Shift + E
Move to next/ previous check box X and Shift + X
Move to next/ previous button. Used on pages with Attachments grid. B and Shift + B

Table Navigation

Keyboard Command Function
Skip grid header rows and go to first data row. Alt + K (on grids)
Move to next/ previous table. Listen for name of table plus “with n records” to move to a table on the page. For example, JAWS says “Case Management with 14 records” when you press T on the Case Management page. T and Shift + T
Read next row Windows Key + Alt + Down Arrow
Read previous row Windows Key + Alt + Up Arrow
Read cell to left without moving cursor Windows Key + Alt + Left Arrow
Read cell to right without moving cursor Windows Key + Alt + Right Arrow
Read current row Windows Key + NumPad 5
Move down one cell Control + Alt + Down Arrow or NumPad 2
Move left one cell Control + Alt + Left Arrow or NumPad 4
Move right one cell Control + Alt + Right Arrow or NumPad 6
Move up one cell Control + Alt + Up Arrow or NumPad 8
Listen to cell you are in Control + Alt + NumPad 5

Link Navigation

Like all webpages, links are important. However, AWARE offers special functionality with links. AWARE allows a variety of Keyboard shortcuts which utilize the Alt key. While you don’t need to utilze the links list to use the Keyboard commands, these features are all links. So, when we have AWARE Keyboard commands available, we will find them on the link list.
Keyboard Command Function
Open the Links List Dialog Insert + F7
Move to next/ previous unvisited link U and Shift + U
Move to next/ previous visited link V and Shift + V

Other Helpful Keystrokes

Keyboard Command Function
Repeat form Control Insert + Tab
Read title bar of current window Insert + T
Update JAWS screen Insert + Escape
Find text on page using JAWS Find Control + F

Your First Log on…

Settings for screen readers

  1. From the AWARE landing page (the page you find immediately after logging in), go to Preferences. This will open a new window.
  2. On the Preferences page, go to the heading for Accessibility.
  3. Navigate to the screen reader check box and make sure that it is checked. This will optimize your AWARE interface for use with a screen reader.
  4. Press Alt + F, then enter to save your settings. This will close the current window and return you to the previous Internet Explorer Window (the one with the AWARE landing page).

Dealing with notifications

Internet Explorer displays a Notification bar at the bottom of the screen asking you to confirm an action on an Aware page. For example, you may encounter the notification bar when you print a report or letter in RTF/Word, Excel or PDF or when you open an attachment. The Notification bar typically has Open, Save, Cancel and/or Close buttons.

Internet Explorer supports Alt + N to access the Notification bar.
Unfortunately, most pages in Aware already use Alt + N for the New Activity link button, which takes precedence and prevents you from accessing the Notification bar. To work around this conflict, you can use either of the following options:

Option 1: F6 key

  1. Press the F6 key. The focus moves to the first button in the Notification bar.
  2. Use tab or arrow keys to move between buttons.
  3. Press enter or spacebar to execute the button.

Option 2: View downloads dialog

  1. Press Ctrl + J to option the View Downloads dialog box.
  2. Use tab or arrow keys to move between buttons.
  3. Press enter or spacebar to execute the button.


Vision Accessibility Features for Linux OS

GNOME Vision Accessibility

GNU Network Object Model Environment (Gnome)
Part of the GNU Project
Free software – part of the Open Source movement
“GNOME is a Windows-like desktop system that works on UNIX and UNIX-like systems and is not dependent on any one window manager.”2
Screen Reader The Orca screen reader speaks the user interface
Braille Display Orca works with refreshable braille displays to read the screen in Braille
Adjustable Contrast Adjust the contrast of your screen to make windows and buttons more or less vivid
Increase Text Size Change the font size of system text to make it more reable
Screen Magnification Turn on built-in zoom settings to magnify an area of the screen.
Cursor Enhancements Enable the keyboard cursor to blink to make it easier to locate