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The learning never ends (she says stating the obvious)...

It's a bit redundant to point out that we never stop learning. I mean, everyone knows that, right? For me, however, so much of that learning seems to be formal learning of one kind or other. For example, for the past couple of years I've been learning to read braille, and just as I have gotten to the end of all the 'new' stuff - just as the formal part of the lessons conclude and we move onto some fun reinforcement work, I'm confronted with a whole new world of adaptive technology.

In preparation for working, I've just started learning how to navigate the most common screen reading program on the market (some would say the best on the market). It's call JAWS, which stands for 'job access with speech'. Basically, it's a program with an extraordinarily long list of commands to assist people who are blind or have low vision navigate the contents of a computer screen, whether it be in a word document, an excel document, or the internet.

Just for fun, let me show you a list of commands:

Reading Text

Say Prior Character 
Say Next Character 
Num Pad 5Say Character
Num Pad 5 twice quicklySay Character Phonetically
Insert + Say Prior Word
Insert + Say Next Word
Insert + Num Pad 5Say Word
Insert + Num Pad 5 twice quickly Spell Word
Say Prior Line
Say Next Line
Insert + Say Current Line
Insert +  twice quicklySpell Current Line
Alt + Say Prior Sentence 
Alt + Say Next Sentence 
Alt+Num Pad 5Say Current Sentence
Insert + HomeSay to Cursor
Insert + Page UpSay from Cursor
Insert + Home twice quicklySpell to Cursor
Insert + Page Up twice quicklySpell from Cursor
Insert + Say All
Fast Forward during a Say All
Rewind during a Say All
Insert + 5Say Color
Num Pad 5 three times quicklySay ASCII or Hexadecimal Value
Insert + F, twice quicklySay Font
Ctrl + Insert + Start Skim Reading
Ctrl + Insert + Shift + Skim Reading dialog box
Insert + Windows Key + Display Skim Reading Summary

Voice Rate

Ctrl + Alt + Page DownDecrease Voice Rate
Ctrl + Alt + Page UpIncrease Voice Rate
Page DownDecrease Voice Rate (when using SayAll)
Page UpIncrease Voice Rate (when using SayAll)

Regions, Headings, and Lists

RRegions Quick Key 
QMain Content Quick Key 
HHeadings Quick Key 
1-6Headings level 1-6
Insert + F6List of Headings
LList Quick Key 
IList Item Quick Key 


Moving within tables

TTable Quick Key 
Ctrl + Alt + Cell to Right
Ctrl + Alt + Cell to Left
Ctrl + Alt + Cell Below
Ctrl + Alt + Cell Above
Ctrl + Alt + HomeFirst Cell
Ctrl + Alt+ENDLast Cell
Ctrl + Alt + Shift + First Cell in Column
Ctrl + Alt + Shift + Last Cell in Column
Ctrl + Alt + Shift + First Cell in Row
Ctrl + Alt + Shift + Last Cell in Row

Table reading

Ctrl + Alt+Num Pad 5Say Current Cell
Insert + Shift + Read Current Row
Insert + Shift + HomeRead from Start of Row
Insert + Shift + Page UpRead to End of Row
Insert + Shift+Num Pad 5Read Current Column
Insert + Shift + EndRead from Top of Column
Insert + Shift + Page DownRead to Bottom of Column


FForm Quick Key
BButton Quick Key
Enter (in a form element)Enter Forms Mode 
TabNavigate to Next form Control 
Shift + TabNavigate to Previous Form Control 
SpacebarSelect and Deselect Checkboxes
Alt + Open Combo Box/Jump Menu 
Ctrl + Shift or Ctrl + SpacebarSelect Multiple List Items
Ctrl\Unselect All But Current
/Select Radio Button 
/ or the First letterSelect Element in Combo Box 
Enter (in forms mode) Submit Form 
+ keyExit Forms Mode
Insert + F5List of Form Elements


Ctrl + TabMove from one frame to the next frame within the page.
Ctrl + Shift + TabMove from one frame to the previous frame within the page.
Ins + F9Bring up a list of frames that are present within the page

Other Commands

Ctrl + FSearch for a word or a phrase
Ins + EscRefresh Screen, i.e. repaints all the currently displayed items on the screen
Ins + F5Reformat documents, i.e. reformats multiple column pages to be more readable with speech.
Insert + F1Help with current element
Ha! Okay, that wasn't really fair, and I'm sure you skimmed over 90%, which is just fine because that's pretty much how I feel, too. It's pretty overwhelming and I've got try to learn this in the next month. Also, JAWS - while it can be used on a Mac environment - is a native Windows platform program. I haven't worked with Windows in about six years and back then I was still using Windows XP, so there will be a bit to catch up on there, too.

To begin with at work, I'm going to have to keep using zoom - Windows zoom is different to Apple zoom, but it'll be quicker to learn than JAWS. I'll have to move onto JAWS pretty quickly though because I'm living with horrendous daily migraines because of the glare and strain of looking at computer screens even when to screen contents is magnified by 16x magnification (that's 192 point font). To most of you that would be extremely pixelated, but to me it's only a little bit blurry, and yet, my eyes get tired very quickly even reading font at that size.

So, I pretty much need to learn how to navigate a computer by Voice Over only. I need to do this on a Windows platform. Finally, I need to learn how to use the Client Management System (or CMS) at work. Luckily, I'm a pretty quick study, and I love a challenge. It would be a lot easier to study all of these things if I had a PC laptop to study on, but as one will be provided through work, it's not very cost effective to buy my own. I'm still thinking about doing it, mind you, only because I'm thinking it might be safest to only use the work one for work, especially with all the sites I browse and the crappy nature of PCs when it comes to warding off viruses (yes, I did just say that, I'm still a committed Mac user at heart).

Leaving uni ≠ no longer studying.


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