moderated Questions from someone who will soon be a Focus 40 Blue owner.

Kevin Minor



I’m not sure when, but in a couple of weeks to a month or so I will be getting a brand new Focus 40 Blue 5th Generation, and I have questions concerning it.  Since this is a JAWS list, I’ll keep most of them to using it with JAWS.  I have used a Focus 40 before, but it was one that used USB to hook up to the PC, and that was over ten years ago, and this technology has sure changed.  So, here are my questions.


The first one is a general Windows question, but it is JAWS related, because The first thing I need to do is to get the Focus and the computer to communicate with each other, and then I’ll add JAWS to the mix.  The first is how should you set up connections for the Focus to work.  I want it to work with both USB as well as blue tooth, so is there a particular order to do these?  I have read the User’s manual, and I’m not sure what to do.  I’m pretty good at plug and play, but the documentation mentions to refer to the device manager in Windows and see what COM port the Focus is using.  Does that concern USB or blue tooth?  Also, I know that you can connect with blue tooth before setting up USB, but is it better to do it the other way?  Finally, how do I find out if my laptop has blue tooth on it in the first place?  I think I’ve seen it in a list or so, but I can’t find where to see if it is available or not.  If it is, but it somehow got turned off, how do I get it working again?  This is Windows 10 1803, and I’m not real familiar with network settings other than connecting to internet, so guidance would be appreciated.


Now for my JAWS questions.  I’m using the most current update of JAWS 2019, so I know it supports the Focus.  I think I understand how to get JAWS to connect with both USB as well as blue tooth, but is there an order to do it so both will work?  Also, just how do use this thing with JAWS and Windows.  I know that the Blue will let you control a PC using its keyboard, and I pretty well can figure out things like hitting JAWS and another key to do something, but I’m not sure about working in Windows itself.  My main questions have to deal with working with Windows Explorer and files.  First, how do you cut, copy and paste files?  Next, I have Windows displaying in a list view with certain details of files that I’d like to check.  This brings up two questions concerning this.  First, how do you do a right arrow to move to something in the details you want to read.  For example, I have a lot of music that I’m organizing, and I organize songs by year.  In the details, I have the year of the file, and next is how long it is.  How can I check this information.  Also, with speech, when I check out these fields, JAWS will tell me the position in the list they are, for example, the file is 100 out of 379.  Does the Focus display this as well, and is there a command I need to issue to hear it?


My final Windows Explorer question concerns moving through a list.  When I tried to use a braille display way back when, I would have liked it to navigate through the entire whatever, and not just what was on the screen.  How do you simulate pressing the arrow keys on a regular keyboard so that focus is moved to the next or previous item?  This doesn’t just apply to Windows Explorer, but other programs such as Outlook, Word, and Excel.  I know the Focus keyboard can do this, but I don’t know how, and I’ve read the Braille In help, and most of it makes sense, but some of it doesn’t.  Can anybody tell me what to do, or give me a comprehensive tutorial concerning this?


That’s pretty much all I can think of concerning the Focus Blue and JAWS.  I do have a question about something that you can get to work with Windows itself, as well as some other questions regarding the Focus 40 Blue itself.  I don’t know where else to ask right now, but since the same company makes both, I figure here’s a good place to ask.  If this would be considered as off topic, or clutter on the list, either let me know of a better group to join, or send your answers directly to me.  Let me put my email address here before I ask my questions.  My email address is




Now for my first question, and it has to do with translating a text file into contracted braille.  Is there a good, inexpensive translator that works with Windows to do this?  I have a .txt file that I want to work with on the Focus scratchpad, and if I just had it as a text file, when I opened it, it would be in computer braille.  I’d like it translated to grade 2 braille so I can transfer it to the scratchpad to work with it.  Any suggestions out there are appreciated on this one.  The translator doesn’t have to be really fancy, doing things such as math or other languages, or even UEB.  I just want good old grade 2 braille.  Come to think of it, a grade 3 translator would be fun to have, and I would like to learn that form of braille just to know it.  That way I could have stuff that hardly anyone else would understand, so any grade 3 tutorials or translators would be fun.


My next general question concerning the Focus concerns transferring files to it.  I know you can export from the scratchpad to a file in Windows, but can you go the other way?  Let’s say I get my nice file translated to grade 2 on Windows, and I want to work with it on the Focus.  Can I do it, and if so, how do I do it?


I do have a final question, and that’s simply, where can I learn more about refreshable braille displays, and using them in general, and specifically the Focus 40 Blue 5th Gen.  I want to learn how to use it completely.  Another thing I want to do is to pair it with my iPhone X so I can control my iPhone with it.  Where do I learn to do this?


That’s it from me.  I’m so glad I happened to think of this group for most of my questions, and I figure people will steer me to Focus email lists, web sites, and other good resources.  I’m one of those who wants to learn as much as I can before I get new technology, so I can be that farther ahead.  I know, however, that you can do only so much without actually having something to work with, and I figure the Focus is such a device.  I do understand panning buttons, and I have seen cursor routing buttons, but I’m not as familiar with these.  Other things like select buttons, the menu button and navigator buttons really don’t make sense to me, and oh yeah, there are those SHIFT buttons that are used with the keyboard to do some JAWS stuff.  I don’t understand a lot of this stuff, but I will when I get my Focus.  I just wish I could find someone who could help me learn, but I don’t have that, so I’ll have to go it alone.  That’s part of the fun, though.  I know a lot about the Echo and Alexa, for instance, because I did find a great tutorial for it, and I just tinkered around myself to see what would happen, and now if someone has some questions about Lady A, I can tell what I know in simple terms.  I want to do that with the Focus, so others can ask questions on the proper lists, and I can help.


Thank you all in advance for the help that I get.  It’s much appreciated.


Have a blessed day, and don’t work too hard.


Kevin Minor and Jilly, my Seeing Eye dog, Lexington, KY

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