What’s New in the May 2021 Software Updates?

The May updates of JAWS, ZoomText, and Fusion are here! No matter which product you use, you will benefit from exciting new features and enhancements. Here are several examples.

Improvements to Voice Assistant

Voice Assistant was introduced in the initial 2021 release of JAWS, ZoomText, and Fusion. This feature gives users a new way to interact with Windows 10 by performing various commands by voice.

Thanks to customer feedback, you can now access even more JAWS features using Voice Assistant and increase productivity. These include:

  • Select text in documents and on web pages.
    You can now tell the Voice Assistant to select text in documents and on web pages.
    1. Speak the wake word Sharky followed by “start selection.” This marks the beginning location.
    2. After moving focus to the block of text you want to select, speak the wake word again followed by “finish selection.” You must save the document before giving Voice Assistant this command.
  • Quickly move to Outlook messages in a thread.
    When reading a message thread in Outlook that contains several forwards or replies, you can move to the next or previous message using the Voice Assistant. Speak the wake word followed by “previous message” or “next message.”
  • Move to elements in a Word document or Outlook message.
    Use Voice Assistant in a Word document or Outlook message to move to elements such as headings, graphics, and tables. Speak the wake word followed by commands like “list headings,” “previous graphic,” or “next table.”

Other features you can now access using Voice Assistant include:

  • Navigate to the system tray
  • Navigate to spelling or grammatical errors
  • Open the Math Viewer when focused on math content in Word
  • Review, copy, or clear the JAWS speech history
  • Start/stop a JAWS Tandem session

Navigate Email Threads in Outlook

Email messages commonly include several recipients, resulting in lengthy message threads as replies and forwards are added to the conversation. Reading these threads with JAWS or Fusion using the arrow keys can be time-consuming.

New Quick Navigation keys make navigating easier. Press N to move to the next message in the thread, and SHIFT+N to navigate to the previous message.

JAWS and Fusion read the message sender, date it was sent, and the first line of the message.

Braille Math Editor

JAWS and Fusion currently enable you to read math equations displayed using Math ML or math equations in Microsoft Word using the native Word math format.

If JAWS braille translation is set to Unified English Braille (UEB) or United States English Grade 1 or Grade 2 output, math expressions are shown on a braille display using Nemeth Braille format. You can also input and edit equations in Word documents when running Office 365.

  1. Press the layered command INSERT+SPACEBAR followed by SHIFT+EQUALS (PLUS SIGN) to open the Math Editor.
  2. If using a Focus braille display, press DOTS 3-4-6-7 CHORD to perform the same task.
  3. When the Math Editor opens, focus is placed in an edit field where you can type an equation using Nemeth braille using the keyboard on your braille display.
  4. The equation is visually displayed in a preview pane below the edit field. This enables a sighted parent or teacher to view work as it is completed.
  5. After inputting the equation, press ENTER or select the Accept button to close the Math Editor.
  6. The equation is inserted into your current Word document and is copied to the clipboard so you can paste it in another location.

Quick Access Toolbar in ZoomText and Fusion

Users transitioning from ZoomText to Fusion may not be accustomed to using keyboard commands to perform tasks. The Quick Access Toolbar is like the toolbar in MS Office applications such as Word and Outlook in that it places frequently used commands at your fingertips so you can quickly perform these tasks.

A total of eight commands can occupy this toolbar, which is fully customizable. By default, it includes items such as:

  • JAWS Manager
  • Speech rate
  • Mouse echo
  • Color Enhancements
  • Voice Profile

You can remove the default commands and replace them with others you choose. To access the Quick Access Toolbar:

  1. Press CAPS LOCK while performing a right mouse click.
  2. Press TAB to navigate through the items on the toolbar.
  3. Alternatively, press the layered command INSERT+SPACEBAR, followed by Q to access the toolbar. If you are using Fusion in Laptop layout, press CAPS LOCK+SPACEBAR to activate the layer, followed by Q.

Want additional information about these and other software features? Visit the What’s New pages for JAWS, ZoomText, and Fusion for a list of all software enhancements. Visit the Freedom Scientific Software page or the Freedom Scientific Software Licensing Portal to download your software.