What’s New in the February 2023 Software Updates

The February updates of JAWS, ZoomText, and Fusion 2023 are here. No matter which product you use, you will benefit from the new features and improvements.

We strongly encourage installing new updates so you can take advantage of user-centric software features and enhanced performance. A few of these are described in this blog post. In addition, we regularly update JAWS, ZoomText, and Fusion to stay current with Windows, browsers, Office, and other applications.

Improved Support for WhatsApp

JAWS now includes scripts for the popular WhatsApp messaging application, which is available for Windows 10 and later through the Microsoft Store. For more information about WhatsApp and its features, visit the WhatsApp website.

Additional features improve the experience when interacting with messages, as well as while making and receiving audio and video calls. These include:

  • Incoming chat messages are automatically announced and a sound is played when a contact is typing. Options in Quick Settings enable you to turn off these automatic announcements if desired. Press INSERT+V to access Quick Settings.
  • Press ALT+1 through 9 on the number row to review the most recent nine messages. Add SHIFT to these commands to display the message in the Virtual Viewer.
  • Press ALT+E to navigate to the chat edit field.
  • Press ALT+C to navigate to the chat list.
  •  Press ALT+H to navigate to the chat history.

For a complete list of available JAWS keystrokes for WhatsApp, press INSERT+H. For a complete list of WhatsApp keystrokes, press INSERT+W.

Updated FSDN

The Freedom Scientific Developer Network (FSDN) is a complete scripting reference manual that documents all scripts, user-defined functions, and built-in functions found in JAWS. This manual is for those who create JAWS scripts to help improve performance with various applications, and includes documentation for all the latest scripts and functions as of JAWS 2023, plus contains new topics on ZoomText scripting. Visit the FSDN page to download the latest FSDN reference guide.

True Center Tracking

True Center Tracking is a new feature in ZoomText and Fusion. As you move the mouse, type text, and navigate menus, dialogs and other program controls, the zoom window automatically scrolls to keep the focus in view. This is known as tracking. Alignment controls how the zoom window scrolls to keep tracked items in view.

When using True Center Tracking, the focus is always in the center of the screen. As you approach the edge of the screen, that edge now moves to the center of the viewing area, and a background color appears and fills the area beyond the edge of the Windows desktop.

Smooth Mouse Panning and Sensitivity

Smooth panning provides a more natural panning motion when the magnified view scrolls to keep the focus in view. As you type text and navigate menus, dialogs, and other program controls, the magnified view smoothly pans across the screen, rather than moving in increments.

Without smooth panning, ZoomText immediately jumps to the new location when you move focus or the text cursor. This is true when moving small distances, for example, from one character to the next when typing, or larger distances when moving from one side of your screen to the other.

In contrast, when using smooth panning, ZoomText pans to the new location. Visually, this can be less jarring, and it can help you follow movement on the screen while panning to the new location. At higher magnification levels, however, it can take longer to move greater distances. By default, ZoomText uses smooth panning when moving smaller distances in the magnified view.

You can change the threshold, known as sensitivity, of smooth panning. With low sensitivity, smoothing is used for tiny focus shifts, for example, if the text cursor moves by one character. On the other hand, focus will appear to jump to the new location when moving greater distances. With higher sensitivity, smooth panning is always used and is very noticeable when moving greater distances on the screen.

Visit the What’s New pages for JAWSZoomText, and Fusion to see a list of all software enhancements. Visit the Freedom Scientific Software page or the Freedom Scientific Software Licensing Portal to download your software.