Adaptive Apps for iOS (2020 Edition)

Work and School Apps for the Blind

Below is a list of adaptive apps for iPad and iPhone that I typically recommend to folks. This list is mostly comprised of apps to support people at work and in school. This is not a comprehensive list, so I apologize if I miss your favorite.

Voice Dream Reader

This app makes reading text feel like listening to an audio book. The app reads a variety of documents with its own synthesized voice. It tracks your progress, offers a variety of options for audio and visual accommodations, and allows you to create notes, highlights, and bookmarks. You can import a variety of documents (HTML, Word, PDF, ePub). It will perform OCR on documents that do not include textual data. Further, it is setup to work with Bookshare, Google Drive, Dropbox, Project Gutenberg, and more.

Voice Dream Reader has a one-time cost of $14.99 on the Appstore. It comes with one free voice profile. Additional voices can be purchased for $4.99.

Jimmy’s Thoughts on Voice Dream Reader: It is tempting to call Voice Dream Reader an eBook reader but that would be misleading. While it does read eBooks from Bookshare, Gutenberg, or anything in DAISY or ePub format, almost all eBook platforms do not work with it. For example, I can’t purchase books from Kindle and hope to read them in the app. Regardless, this app is awesome for those dealing with lots of documents, taking classes, or using Bookshare.

Find Voice Dream Reader on the Appstore

Hadley School for the Blind Tutorial on Voice Dream Reader

Voice Dream Scanner

From the makers of Voice Dream Reader, Voice Dream Scanner is a print OCR app that works better than any other OCR product on the market. This app has great recognition and makes grabbing scans easier than ever. You can even take a scan of a page that is completely upside down and get fantastic recognition.

Voice Dream Scanner is available on the Appstore for $5.99.

Jimmy’s Thoughts on Voice Dream Scanner: Voice Dream Scanner is amazing. It has completely supplanted knfbReader as my go-to OCR app. The app is easy and powerful. Highly recommended.

Find Voice Dream Scanner on the Appstore

Walk through of Voice Dream Reader and Voice Dream Scanner by IllegallySighted

Seeing AI

From Microsoft, Seeing AI is a multifaceted app that can do a variety of functions: OCR, barcode scanning, money reading, image description, color ID, and light detection.

The app is free and available on the AppStore.

Jimmy’s Thoughts on Seeing AI: I think everyone should have this app. It has such a wide variety of features, and it is free! However, if I had serious OCR needs, I would highly recommend Voice Dream Scanner. Some folks find navigating the interface of the app to be somewhat difficult, but it shouldn’t be a problem if you’re confident with your VoiceOver skills.

Find Seeing AI on the Appstore
Review of Seeing AI by the Blind Life
Microsoft Seeing AI Tutorial Series

BARD Mobile

BARD Mobile offers audio books and audio magazines from the National Library Service.

The app is free but you must have a BARD Mobile account which can be easily setup by becoming a patron of the ABLE library.

Jimmy’s Thoughts on BARD Mobile: A great free resource. BARD Mobile has a similar collection of works as you would find at a public library – general reference, popular reading, and bestsellers.

Find Bard Mobile on the AppStore
Become a Member of the NLS Talking Books Program
Vermont ABLE Library

NFB Newsline

This app offers eText versions of daily newspapers and magazines. They have a wide collection of local (Burlington Free Press, Rutland Herald, Seven Days, etc.) and national newspapers (New York Times, Washington Post, Boston Herald). They also have many magazines. You can become a member by signing up with DBVI, so please contact me if you’re interested.

This app is free to download, but you’ll need a membership to access the content.

Jimmy’s Thoughts on NFB Newsline: If you’re working with DBVI, you qualify for NFB Newsline. If you get your news elsewhere or are not interested, feel free to skip. But this is an amazing free resource.

Find NFB Newsline on the Appstore

NFB Newsline App Spotlight from IllegalySighted

BlindSquare

Blindsquare is a GPS app to support folks with outdoor navigation. There are several GPS apps available for blind and visually impaired users. There are also dedicated GPS devices that perform in the same way. BlindSquare remains to be one of the best options on the market for GPS. The app works in tandem with your favorite map app (Google Maps, Apple Maps, etc.) to provide you with turn by turn walking directions and local information.

Blindsquare is available for the one-time cost of $39.99 on the Appstore. You can also spend additional money to unlock voice commands for the app.

Jimmy’s Thoughts on Blindsquare: My feeling about GPS apps and devices are that they are for folks who are extremely solid in their O&M abilities. These apps and devices are in no way a replacement for any O&M skills. Instead, they provide you with extra information and tools. For some, it is way too much information and they find trying to practice good O&M while listening to their phone give them updates and directions to be completely overwhelming. However, apps and devices like Blindsquare can provide people with extra tools to increase their independence.

Find Blindsquare on the Appstore

Blindsquare tutorials by BESTA11Y

Be My Eyes

Be My Eyes is a free app that connects blind and low-vision people with sighted volunteers and company representatives for visual assistance through a live video call.

Be My Eyes is free.

Jimmy’s Thoughts on Be My Eyes: This is another mandatory app for blind and visually impaired users. It is free and easy to use. I have heard enough stories from clients about how the app was a life saver to recommend it without a doubt. Download it now.

Find Be My Eyes on the Appstore

Be My Eyes App Demonstration and Review by Blind to Billionaire

Fantastical

Fantastical is an awesome calendar app that makes creating appointments and managing your events much easier for blind and low vision users. Rather than displaying your calendar in a difficult to navigate grid, the app gives you your calendar in a text list that is simple and clear. It is extremely easy to setup – you simply download and allow it access to your calendar, reminders, and contacts. Any accounts setup in your phone are automatically imported. Further, you can continue to use Siri to create and manage your calendar as well.

This app is free but offers premium membership that includes extra features and daily weather forecasts for $4.99 a month or $39.99 a year.

Jimmy’s Thoughts on Fantastical: This app is great for folks with good VoiceOver skills who want to manage their calendar. The premium membership isn’t necessary to get what you need from the app. Note that this app was $4.99 until very recently, it is now free.

Find Fantastical on the Appstore

JAWS Topic: Zoom Cloud Meetings

Downloading Zoom for Windows

Zoom is available on the web, as an app for Android and iOS, and as a Windows 10 application. For this guide, we’re going to be focusing on the Windows 10 application as it is the best way to use Zoom as a JAWS user.

The first step on the Zoom journey is to download the app for Windows.

Download Zoom for Windows 10

Once the program is installed, open it. Now, you’ll need to create an account.

Creating a Zoom Account

The Zoom account creation process is relatively straight forward. You can either set up an entirely new account or create an account from your Facebook or Google accounts.

How to Join or Start a Meeting

There are a couple different ways you might find your way to a Zoom Meeting. The first is by following a link in an email. If you do so on a computer with the Zoom application, the application will open.

You may also go to the application, tab to New Meeting, and press enter. You’ll then get a pop-up Window asking for the meeting ID. You can simply type in the ID of your meeting (provided by the meeting organizer).

Finally, you can start your own meeting. Simply tab to New Meeting and press enter.

Basic Zoom Commands for Meetings

The Zoom for Windows interface is relatively straight forward and can be navigated easily using Tab and Shift + Tab. In some instances, you might instead need to use F6 and Shift + F6.

Turn on/off always show meeting control toolbar | Alt
More info: By default the toolbar will timeout and hide. Press Alt to keep this from happening.

Mute/unmute audio | Alt + A

Start/Stop Video | Alt + V

Raise/lower hand | Alt + Y

Display/hide Participants panel | Alt + U
More info: Alt + U will open the chat panel. Here you can view your participants

Open Invite window | Alt + I
More info: Alt + I will open the invites window. Here you can invite additional participants.

Display/hide In-Meeting Chat panel | Alt + H
More info: Alt + H will open the chat panel. Here you can type text messages to other meeting participants. More on chat and alert controls below.

Alert and Chat Controls

Hear most recent chat alerts | Ctrl + 1 through 0
More info: Press Ctrl + 1 through to Ctrl + 0 to hear the 10 most recent chat messages. Press twice quickly to virtualise. Now available in the primary Zoom interface and in a meeting.

Switch between recent chats and recent alerts | Ctrl + F5
More info: Press Ctrl + F5 to enable or disable a special feature where only chat messages are output using Ctrl + 1 through to Ctrl + 0. If enabled, this will ensure that messages such as “You have muted the computer audio” are not spoken when using these keystrokes. Moreover, people seem to drop in and out of meetings at an alarming rate, and if all you want to do is to flick through your chat messages then hearing other announcements is superfluous. Now available in the primary Zoom interface and in a meeting.

Mute announcements and alerts | Alt + Windows + S
More info: When in a meeting, use Alt + Windows + S to enable or disable the announcement of Alerts, such as when someone has left the meeting room. Note that with the free scripts alerts are only suppressed from within the Zoom client at this time.

Hear last alert | Alt + Windows + A
More info: Press Alt + Windows + A to hear the last alert, even if it was not spoken. This should enable you, for example, to ascertain whether someone has entered the room, but you are in control of that output.

Verify whether alerts are enabled or disabled | Insert + Tab

Screen Sharing

Launch share screen window and stop screen share | Alt + S
More info: Alt + S will only work to launch and stop screen share when meeting control toolbar has focus.

Start/stop new screen share | Alt + Shift + S
More info: Alt + Shift + S only work to start and stop screen share when meeting control toolbar has focus

Pause or resume screen share | Alt + T
More info: Alt + T will only work to pause or resume screen sharing when meeting control toolbar has focus

Gain Remote Control | Alt + Shift + R
More info: Remote control allows another participant to gain control of your screen.

Stop Remote Control | Alt + Shift + G

Move focus to Zoom’s meeting controls | Ctrl + Alt + Shift

Show/Hide floating meeting controls | Ctrl + Alt + Shift + H

For Meeting Organizers

Mute/unmute audio for everyone except host | Alt + M

More Training Resources for Zoom

Freedom Scientific recently did a webinar on using Zoom with JAWS.

JAWS and Zoom, a Lesson on Learning from Freedom Scientific

Further, Jonathan Mosen recently made his book “Meet Me Accessibly – A Guide to Zoom Cloud Meetings from a Blindness Perspective” free to download.

Meet Me Accessibly – A Guide to Zoom Cloud Meetings from a Blindness Perspective from Mosen Consulting

JAWS Topic: Google Chrome

Starting Google Chrome

When Google Chrome starts, JAWS is focused on the address bar. From here, you can type in a web address (ex. http:/Wikipedia.org) or a search (“pottery classes near me”, “What do hamsters eat?”, etc.).

Basic Commands

Move focus to address bar | Ctrl + L

Go back | Alt + Left Arrow

Go forward | Alt + Right Arrow

Reload page | F5

Open settings menu | Alt + E

Open a new window | Ctrl + N

Dealing with Tabs

Tabs can be frustrating to deal with for JAWS users. However, they are easy to manage with a couple of important commands.

Switch between open tabs | Ctrl + Tab

Open a specific tab | Ctrl + 1 through 8

Open the rightmost tab | Ctrl + 9

Close current tab | Ctrl + F4

Open a new tab | Ctrl + T

How to Avoid Tabs

Some links are programmed to open as a new tab. If you want to avoid these at all costs, follow the steps below.

  1. Move your focus to the link you want to open. Don’t activate the link yet.
  2. Open the context menu on the link. You can do this by pressing Shift + F10 or by using the context key on your keyboard (Note – not all keyboards have a context key).
  3. Use your arrow keys to navigate the context menu. Choose open link as new window.

Bookmarks

Bookmarks (or “Favorites” if you’re coming from Internet Explorer or Microsoft Edge) are fairly easy to manage in Google Chrome.

Add current page to bookmarks | Ctrl + D

Open the Bookmarks Manager | Use Alt + E to open the Chrome menu, then use the arrow keys to navigate to Bookmarks and press enter. Use the arrow keys to navigate to Bookmarks Manager.

Managing Bookmarks in Bookmark Manager

To manage bookmarks, tab past the bookmark you want to move, copy, or delete and press enter on the more info button.

Move a bookmark | From the more info menu, select cut. Then tab to the Tree view. Use the arrow keys to navigate tree view. When you locate the folder, you’d like to move your bookmark to, press Ctrl + V.

Copy a bookmark | From the more info menu, select copy. Then tab to the Tree view. Use the arrow keys to navigate tree view. When you locate the folder, you’d like to copy your bookmark to, press Ctrl + V.

Delete a bookmark | From the more info menu, select delete.

More Commands

 

Open History | Ctrl + H

Open Downloads | Ctrl + J

Jump to Recent Download | Shift + F6

JAWS Topic: Facebook Page Events

  1. Using the links list (Insert + F7), go to Pages.
  2. On the following page, open the links list and go to your Facebook Page. For example, if my Facebook page is titles “Vermont DBVI Training”, I will find a Vermont DBVI Training link.
  3. Using the links list, go to Events.
  4. Using the links list, go to Create Event.
  5. Use the quick key e to move into the Event Name field. Add your event name and press tab.
  6. The next field is Location, add the location of your event and press tab.
  7. The next fields are for the date of your event. The alt text isn’t great for this series of drop down boxes. However, they appear in the following order: Month, Day, Year. Further, each has default data that will help you identify the box you’re in. For example, if the current content of drop down box you’re on is February, you can be sure you’re on the month field. Use the up and down arrows to select the date, tabbing to move from box to box.
  8. The next fields are for the start time of your event. Similarly, the three drop down boxes for entering the start time of your event also are lacking in alt text. We’ll employ a similar strategy to fill out these boxes as we did with the date fields. The time boxes appear in this order: hour, minute, AM or PM. Use the up and down arrows to select the time, tabbing to move from box to box.
  9. The next field is the event description. Note that this field lacks alt text and JAWS announces it as: “Region edit, type in text”. This box is important for describing the event, including contact information, pricing, special instructions, etc.
  10. The last field is the Privacy controls. By default, your event will be private – meaning that only Facebook members you invite will be able to view it. Make sure to hit down arrow to set the event to Public Event.
  11. Press tab to move to Continue and press enter.

JAWS Topic: Password Protecting Files in Microsoft Office

Protect Document

Have you ever wanted to password protect a file in Microsoft Office for extra security? Here is the way to do it with JAWS!

Steps for encrypting a file with a password in Microsoft Office

  1. Open the file you’d like to password protect in Microsoft Word.
  2. Use Alt + F to open the backstage view. Your focus should be on the Info tab.
  3. Use tab to navigate through the info tab until you reach “Menu – control what types of changes people can make to this document. Protect document submenu.” Press enter.
  4. A menu will open. Use the down arrow to navigate to “Encrypt with password”. Press enter.
  5. A window will open with a password edit. Type the password you’d like to use for this file. Remember – the password can be anything you’d like and does not have any length or complexity requirements. Press enter when you’ve entered your password.
  6. Confirm your password. Enter the password one more time and press enter.
  7. After adding a password, you’ll end up back in the backstage view. Press escape to return to your document.

How do I know it’s working?

To verify the password protection is working – close Word and reopen it. Now, open your password protected file. You should be prompted with a dialog and password edit box. While the edit box is on the screen, your document is not being displayed.

Audio Notes

Listen to me describe the process above and use JAWS to get it done.

JAWS Topic: Creating Posts with WordPress

Logging in to WordPress

  1. Navigate to wordpress.com
  2. From the homepage, go to the Log In link.
  3. The log in page will load with focus on the Email Address or Username Edit field. Type your account username or password. Tab to the Continue Button and press enter.
  4. The password page will load with focus on the Password Edit field. Enter you account password. Tab to the Log In Button.

Composing a new post

After login and from the WordPress homepage, navigate the Write link to compose a new post.

The new post page will load with focus on the Edit Title Edit field. This will let you edit the title of your post.

Use tab to move from the title field to the text entry area (JAWS announces it as “Rich Text Area”).

In the text editor, you can use the following commands:

Alt + F9 – Menu

Alt + F10 – Toolbar

Alt + 0 – Help

The Toolbar command will quickly move your focus to the toolbar for the post editor where you’ll find controls for text editing, such as: add content (media), bold, italic, alignment, text color, etc.

Adding Headings

When creating web content with WordPress, it’s important to use headings. Headings are just special text that denote titles, section titles, or subtitles on a webpage. However, as you likely know, headings are important tool that screen reader users utilize to navigate a webpage. Here is how we add a heading in WordPress.

  1. In the location you’d like to add a heading, type out what you’d like your heading to say.
  2. Select the text using the shift key. You can verify you have the write text selection by using the Shift + Insert + Down Arrow command to read what is currently selected.
  3. Use Insert + F5 to bring up the list of form controls on the page and navigate to the Paragraph menu. Press the down arrow to open the menu and use the up and down arrows to navigate to the heading you’d like to use.
  4. Once you’ve used this feature, the “paragraph button” will be renamed to whatever you chose. For example, if you used this feature to add a heading, it will now be called the heading button in the form field list.

Add Links

Adding links using the controls in WordPress is difficult and the outcomes seems to be inconsistent. Instead, I suggest you add links by creating them in Microsoft Word and then copying and pasting them into WordPress.

Publishing a post

When you’re done with you post, you can publish it by navigating to the Publish Button and pressing enter. Note that once you’ve published your post, the publish button becomes the update button.

Editing Drafts

Navigating to the drafts section of WordPress seems to be difficult (if not impossible) with JAWS. Instead, you might consider bookmarking: http://wordpress.com/posts/drafts

Once you’re in the drafts area, use Insert + F7 to open the list of links. You should find your draft post in this list under whatever title it was given. Untitled posts will show up as untitled.

 

ZoomText: Reader

ZoomText logo

Using the Reader Functionality in ZoomText 11

While ZoomText 11 is primarily a magnification program, it does include some screen reader functionality. Screen readers are software applications that will attempt to identify, interpret, and read the information being presented on the computer’s screen. You might have heard of screen reading programs, such as: JAWS, NVDA, Window-Eyes, and Dolphin.

Using the reading functionality in ZoomText, you can have the text on the screen read to you by a synthesized voice. Some examples of synthesized voices you might be familiar with include Apple’s Siri, Microsoft’s Cortana, Amazon’s Alexa, or possible good ol’ Microsoft Sam (the default text-to-speech voice from Windows 2000 and XP).

The ZoomText 11 Reader Tab

The ZoomText Reader tab can be found in between the Magnifier and Tools tabs.

Using the Reader tab, users can change settings that control how the ZoomText speech sounds, when it talks, and how quickly it talks. The tab is also used to start the various reader functionalities. The tab has three sections: Voice, Echo, and Reading Tools.

Voice

Voice

Activating the Voice button will open a drop-down menu which allows users to disable or enable speech and open the Voice Settings menu.

Keyboard – enable/ disable speech: Caps Lock + Alt + Enter

ZoomText Keyboard – enable/ disable speech: F12

Rate

Use the up and down arrow buttons to increase or decrease the speech rate.

Keyboard – increase speech rate: Caps Lock + Alt + Up

Keyboard – decrease speech rate: Caps Lock + Alt + Down

ZoomText Keyboard key – increase speech rate: F8

ZoomText Keyboard key – decrease speech rate: F7

The Voice Settings Menu

The Voice Settings Menu allows users to adjust a range of settings relating to the reader output of ZoomText, including: changing the voice profile and synthesizer, how the program should process text, and what extra information about formatting and the document the reader will identify. The Voice Settings menu has three tabs: Voice, Text Processing, and Hints.

Voice Tab – This tab allows users to enable/ disable speech output, select a synthesizer and voice profile, adjust synthesizer settings for speech rate, pitch, and volume, and test out your synthesizer settings with text to speech sampler.

Text Processing – This tab has three sections: Text, Numbers, and Punctuation. In the Text section, users can select whether or not they want the speaker to speak mixed case as separate words and whether or not they want the speaker to filter out repeated word after a customizable amount of repeats. In the Numbers section, users can choose the manner in which the reader deals with numbers. Finally, in the Punctuation section, users can choose how the reader deals with punctuation.

Hints – The Hints tab lets users choose settings about whether or not the reader will give indication of changes in capitalization, the presence of hyperlinks, and the beginning and end of a document.EchoThis section of the interface allows user to change echo settings. “Echo” refers to the reader speaking the input the program is receiving from the user via the keyboard (typing characters and words) and the mouse (what is clicked on or hovered over).

Keyboard

The Keyboard split button has two functions. The top half of the control will enable/ disable the keyboard echo, and the bottom half of the control will allow you to choose what the reader echoes back from the keyboard input. Users can have the reader repeat every character, every word, both keys and words, or turn keyboard echo off.

By clicking the bottom half of the Keyboard split button and selecting Settings from the dropdown menu, users can open the Echo Settings menu in the Typing tab. This menu can also be used to choose the typing mode. If the user selects for the reader to echo keys or keys and words, this menu will allow them to choose whether to enable or disable echo on different types of keys.

Toggle typing echo mode: Caps Lock + Alt + K

Mouse

The Mouse split button has two functions. The top half of the control will enable/ disable the mouse echo, and the bottom half of the control will open a drop-down menu that lets users select the mouse echo mode. Users can turn mouse echo completely off or have the reader echo whatever the pointer is moved over instantaneously or only after the mouse has hovered over an item for a specific amount of time.

Selecting Settings from the drop-down menu with launch the Echo Settings menu in the Mouse tab. In this menu, users can set how long of a hover will trigger an echo and the extent of reading that will occur.

Toggle Mouse Echo Mode: Caps Lock + Alt + M

Verbosity

The Verbosity button lets users choose settings related to how much the reader speaks. Users can choose between three verbosity mode: Beginner where the reader will speak text and detailed descriptions, Intermediate where the reader will speak text and brief descriptions, and Advanced where the speaker will simply speak the text on the screen.Selecting Settings will open the Echo Settings menu in the Verbosity tab. In this menu, users can select their desired Verbosity mode. As well, under verbosity settings, there is an extensive list of verbosity options which can be toggled on and off.

Toggle verbosity level: Caps Lock + Alt + B

Echo Settings: Program

You might notice that there is fourth tab in the Echo Settings menu: the Program tab. This tab allows user to change settings related whether or not items are echoed when they become active (ex. Text cursor, alerts, menus), and what will be echoed as users move to a new line of text (the first word or the entire new line).

Reading Tools

AppReader: App View

The AppReader split button has two functions. The top half of the control will launch the AppReader, which is a functionality that allows users to have large amounts of text read to them. The bottom half of the control will open a dropdown menu which allows us to activate the controls that will be discussed below. By default, the AppReader App View tool will launch.

When the AppReader is activated, the underlying application (where the text to be read is) will become active. The pointer will change from simply being an arrow to and arrow with a little page icon to the lower right. Simply click on text in the application and the AppReader will read the page from that point to the end of the document.

You’ll notice that when App View mode is enabled, your mouse pointer no longer functions normally. Left clicking will start the App View, and right clicking will take you back of AppReader mode. You can still move the pointer around in the screen in this mode.

Use the Ctrl button to pause the AppReader.

When paused, press Enter to restart the reader from the current position or click elsewhere in the document to start the reader from a different position.

Press Esc at any time to leave AppReader mode.While the AppReader is reading, you can follow along as the focus moves from word to word. You’ll also notice that while the AppReader is reading you will be unable to do anything else with the computer. Your pointer disappears and the program follows the text to the bottom of the document.From the AppReader dropdown, you can open the App View Settings tab of the AppReader Settings menu. Users can choose whether or not they want to track and highlight words while the App View is running. They can also choose whether or not they want the App View to turn off automatically at the end of the document. Finally, users can use this menu to customize the appearance of the App View highlight.

Keyboard – AppReader App View: Caps Lock + Alt + A

ZoomText Keyboard AppReader App View: F9

Pause AppReader: Ctrl

Continue AppReader (from pause): Enter

Get out of AppReader Mode: Escape

AppReader: Text View

Text View is a mode that is great for reading documents. The Text View will open up a window that has pulled all the text from the underlying document and presented as plain text. Along the top of this window is a menu bar with options. The first option, Play will start the reader. As the reader moves through the document, the current word will be highlighted.

After the play button, users will find Rate and Power buttons. The Rate button will increase the speech rate of the reader. The power button will increase the font size of the Text View font.The next two options are Ticker and Prompter. These two buttons refer to the different modes the Text View can be in. In Ticker mode, the Text View window takes up approximately 1/3 of the screen is on top of actual document which occupies the remaining screen space below. The Text View text is still visible but only a single line at a time can be displayed in this mode. When you start the reader, you’ll see both the Text view text and the actual text, and highlighting will follow along in both windows. In Prompter mode, the Text View window occupies the entirety of the screen and multiple lines of the Text View text are visible.

The next button you’ll encounter in Text View is the App View button. This control will simply switch you to the App View reading mode outlined above.The Settings button will open up the AppReader menu in the Text View tab. Here users can change the appearance of the Text view text, including font, style, text and background colors highlight shape, highlight thickness, highlight transparency, and highlight color.

Keyboard shortcut to start Text View reading: Caps Lock + Alt + D

ZoomText Keyboard key to start the Text View: F10

AppReader: SpeakIt Tool

When you activate the SpeakIt tool, your pointer will change (similar to when we activated the AppReader: App View). This time, our pointer gets a small speech bubble added to the lower right. Like we saw when using the AppReader: App View, when the SpeakIt tool is activated, we lose some functionality in our mouse pointer.

In SpeakIt mode, you’ll simply left click and drag to highlight a section of the screen. Whatever if beneath your highlight, if it’s readable by ZoomText, it will be read. You’ll notice this doesn’t only work on text, but program controls, icons, images, and more.

Keyboard shortcut to start the SpeakIt Tool: Caps Lock + Alt + I

Zones

Zones is a feature where you basically setup a SpeakIt Window on some part of the screen and ZoomText reads it. The difference is that zones will remain in that area of the screen and read whatever is underneath them. So, if I set up a zone in the middle of my screen in Word and trigger that zone to be read, it will read what is there in word. If I then switch to Excel and trigger the same zone, it will read what is there in Excel.

Zones are definitely an advanced feature in ZoomText. One possible application of this feature might be putting a zone over a calculated field in Word or Excel. As you change the data in other parts of the file, your calculated field may change. You can trigger the zoom window anytime you’d like it read.

More Reading Tools: Background Reader

 

There is another reading tool in ZoomText 11 worth mentioning. However, you won’t find this control on the Reader tab – you’ll find it in the Tools tab. The Background Reader allows you to listen to documents, webpages, email or any text while you simultaneously perform other tasks. You simply copy or select the text you want to listen to and start Background Reader. While the text is being read aloud, you are free to type notes, browse the web or do other work on your computer.

Copy text to your clipboard and then press the Background Reader button or use the hotkey Caps Lock + Ctrl + B.

Pressing the BgRdr button (or using the hotkey) will bring up the ZoomText Background Reader toolbar. Use the toolbar to play and pause the recording, restart the recording from the beginning, capture and start reading new text, and move through the text by sentence and word.

JAWS Topic: Firefox

Mozilla Firefox is a free and open-source web browser. It works well with JAWS. Here are some basic functions for JAWS users new to Firefox.

Firefox Keyboard Commands

 

Function Command
Move to address bar Ctrl + L
Back one page Alt + Left Arrow
Forward one page Alt + Right Arrow
Go to Home Page Alt + Home
Add Bookmark Ctrl + D
Organize Bookmarks Ctrl + Shift + O
Bookmarks Sidebar (toggle) Ctrl + B
Browsing History (toggle) Ctrl + H
Download Histroy Ctrl + J

Victor Reader Topic: Enabling NFB Newsline Service via WiFi

Before we begin…

  • Make sure you have your NFB Newsline login credentials

    For your NFB Newsline account, you should have an identification number and a security code. If you don’t know them, you can refer to your welcome letter. Can’t find your welcome letter? Contact your NFB Newsline Administrator. In Vermont, you can contact Taya Tarr or Heather Allen.

  • Make sure your Victor Reader Stream in connected to WiFi

    If you need help connecting to WiFi, feel free to check out my guide The Victor Reader Stream – Part 2

  • Make sure you have favorites in your NFB Newsline account

    If you don’t have certain publications favorited, you can do so by going to NFB Newsline Online or by using the NFB Newsline iOS app.

Connecting via WiFi

We’re going to follow the steps below outlined in the Victor Reader Stream New Generation FAQ.

  1. Make sure your Victor Stream is connected and your WiFi is on – or, in other words, make sure you’re not in airplane mode.
  2. Use the online key located above key 2 to navigate to the online bookcase.
  3. Press menu key 7 twice to access the Online Services menu, and select the NFB Newsline item with the confirm key.
  4. Enter your NFB Newsline member ID and PIN each followed by the confirm key.
  5. The NFB Newsline service will be activated and a new NFB Newsline online bookshelf will be created that can be navigated to by pressing the bookshelf key 1.

Need Additional Help?

Victor Reader Stream New Generation FAQ – This site covers the various ways users can connect their Victor Reader Stream to their NFB Newsline content.
Victor Reader Stream Support – Humanware’s support site for the Victor Reader Stream includes sections for: training and troubleshooting, frequently asked questions, documentation, software, and more.
NFB-Newsline In Your Pocket – This page from NFB goes over NFB-Newsline In Your Pocket options and features.
victor reader stream enable NFB NEWSLINE service [how to] – YouTube video from user Daniel Semro demonstrating connecting the Victor Reader Stream to NFB Newsline via WiFi.
Using [NFB] newsline with Victor reader stream – YouTube video from user gallagher123123 demonstrating connecting the Victor Reader Stream to NFB Newsline via WiFi.

JAWS Topic: MLA Format in Word

Getting Started

This guide is based off the recommendations from the Purdue Online Writing Lab (OWL). Please feel free to consult the Purdue OWL: MLA General Format Guide.

What is MLA?

According to Purdue OWL, Modern Language Association (MLA) is a paper writing style that, “…is most commonly used to write papers and cite sources within the liberal arts and humanities.” So, basically MLA is just a set of formatting recommendations. To move our documents into MLA format, we’ll need to change line and paragraph spacing, edit font and font size, add page headings and page numbers, and follow a number of other style parameters.

MLA Format

Below we’ll look at all the recommendations from Purdue OWL and see how we might go about enacting them with JAWS.

Type your paper on a computer and print it out on standard, white 8.5 x 11-inch paper

Unless you’ve been printing envelopes or on legal paper recently, we can likely add this on into the complete pile.

Double-space the text of your paper

So, there are actually two settings here – space between lines and space between paragraphs. To change the line spacing, select all the text in your paper with Ctrl + A and use the command Ctrl + 2 to set the line spacing to Double. At the moment (assuming you’re using the default template in Word), the spaces between paragraphs are greater than the spaces between lines. We want to change that. Select all your text and press the context key (or Shift + F10). On the context menu, select Paragraph. Use tab to move through the Paragraph dialog. In the Spacing section, set After: to 0.

Use a legible font

Select all your text and press Ctrl + D to open the Font menu. Use the up and down arrow keys to set the font. Use tab to navigate this menu. Times New Roman is usually a good bet when working in MLA format.

The font size should be 12 pt

Select all text and use the font menu to change the font size. You can also adjust the font size with Ctrl + Left Bracket (decrease font by one point) and Ctrl + Right Bracket (increase font by one point). If you want to check the formatting of text, use Insert + F to have JAWS read formatting attributes.

Leave only one space after periods or other punctuation marks

This is easy enough – no change to settings or styling required.

Set the margins of your document to 1 inch on all sides

This is another setting that shouldn’t occupy too much of our time. Using the normal template in Microsoft Word (which you are most likely using), your margins are already set to 1 inch on all sides. However, if you have a special template or you want to check your margins, follow the steps below.
Press Alt to move to the ribbon. Now, use the left and right arrow keys to move to the page layout tab – you may also do this by pressing Alt + P. Now, use tab to navigate through the ribbon controls until you find Margins (or press Alt + M) – press space bar to open the Margins dropdown. In the Margins dropdown, select the Normal template (which should have all margins set to 1 inch).

Indent the first line of paragraphs one half-inch from the left margin

Simple enough – we just need to press tab at the beginning of each new paragraph. Note that Purdue OWL states “MLA recommends that you use the Tab key as opposed to pushing the Space Bar five times”.

Create a header in the upper right-hand corner that includes your last name, followed by a space with a page number

Adding headers and page numbers will require us to go into the ribbon. Use Alt to move to the ribbon and the right and left arrow keys to go to the Insert tab (or press Alt + N). Now, use tab to navigate through ribbon controls to find Page numbers (or press Alt + N (open the Insert tab) and then Alt + NU (open the Page numbers dropdown)).

Select Top of Page and then select Plain Number 1. Now, you should be editing the header. You should discover a number in focus that corresponds to your current page. Press left arrow to move your cursor to the left of the number. Now, type your last name and press space. Use Ctrl + R to right align your name and page number. Making this change on any page should change the alignment of all headings and page numbers in the document. When you’re done, simply press escape.

Want to check your header?

Open the Insert tab on ribbon (Alt + N). Now, move to header (Alt + H) and press space bar. Select Edit Header (Alt + E). Use the Insert + F command to hear formatting of the text in your header.

Use italics throughout your essay for the titles of longer works and, only when absolutely necessary, providing emphasis

Again, this one is easy enough as is doesn’t require any special settings or functions. To quickly italicize text, use Ctrl + I.

Center the title

You can use Ctrl + E to quickly center text.

If you have any endnotes, include them on a separate page before your Works Cited page

So, you may or may not have any endnotes for a possible Notes section. However, if you’re including a Notes and/ or Works Cited section at the end of your paper, you’ll need to add a page break. You can do this easily using Ctrl + Enter.

Use a hanging indent in your Works Cited section

The most difficult part of adding a hanging indent will be selecting just your works cited section. You can achieve this in a couple different ways. The easiest way might be to move your focus to the beginning of your first citation and then using Shift + Page Down. You’ll need to use this keyboard combination until you’re confident you’ve selected all your citations, so try to press it for each page of citations you have (or simply do what I do and spam the key like ten times).

Now, we’re going to make changes using the same Paragraph menu we used to adjust paragraph spacing. So, open the context menu using your context key or by pressing Shift + F11. Press P for Paragraph to open the Paragraph dialog. Use tab to move to Special: in the Indentation section and use the up and down arrows to change the setting to Hanging and press enter.

Other recommendations

There are other features we’ll need to include to achieve MLA format. Fortunately, these won’t require any fancy JAWS footwork to achieve these. So, they are simply listed below:

    • Do not make a title page for your paper unless specifically requested.
    • In the upper left-hand corner of the first page, list your name, your instructor’s name, the course, and the date.
    • Do not underline, italicize, or place your title in quotation marks; write the title in Title Case (standard capitalization), not in all capital letters.
    • Use quotation marks and/or italics when referring to other works in your title, just as you would in your text: Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas as Morality Play; Human Weariness in “After Apple Picking”
      Double space between the title and the first line of the text.