Moderated Jaws 2021 public beta 3 is live

Richard Turner <richardturner42@...>

Here is the what’s new info:

What's New in JAWS, ZoomText, and Fusion 2021 Public Beta

Thank you for participating in the JAWS, ZoomText, and Fusion 2021 public beta testing. This page provides all the necessary details that you need to know and at the end of the page, you will find links to download JAWS, ZoomText, or Fusion 2021 Beta now. Please take a few moments to review this information and take advantage of the beta report form link to provide Freedom Scientific your feedback during the public beta.

Quick Notes About the Public Beta

Thank you for your help during the public beta period. Please note that this is beta software, and its accuracy and reliability are not guaranteed. You should not rely exclusively on the beta software for any reason.

  • This 2021 public beta is available in English, Spanish, German, French, French Canadian, Dutch, Hebrew, Brazilian Portuguese, Russian, Arabic, Danish, Hungarian, Swedish, Italian, Norwegian, and Finnish.
  • Please note that while the final release of JAWS, ZoomText, and Fusion 2021 will be a Software Maintenance Agreement (SMA) upgrade, this public beta version will run for anyone with a license that provides access to JAWS or Fusion 2020.
  • If you do not have JAWS or Fusion 2020 authorization, you can still install the public beta version and run it using 40-Minute Demo mode.
  • This public beta version will expire later this year. To use JAWS, ZoomText, or Fusion without interruption, you must continue to update to later versions of the public beta and then to the final release.
  • You do not have to remove earlier versions of the software to install the 2021 public beta. Your previous versions will continue to function when you have 2021 installed, just as each new major version release of the software has in the past.

Technical Support During the Public Beta

While in public beta, general technical support of JAWS, ZoomText, or Fusion 2021 is not available using our direct support phone lines or email. However, you may use normal support lines in order to resolve any problems you experience related to installation or authorization using the Public Beta. For all other issues you may discover, we ask that you send feedback directly to Freedom Scientific using the Beta Report Form web page. Please bookmark the report page in your web browser so that you can easily locate it if you need technical assistance. Also, please submit one problem per report.

If reporting issues with Microsoft Office, please include the full version number. For example, 16.0.10730.20102. To locate this information, press ALT+F, D, A from within Office.

New Features Added in JAWS, ZoomText, and Fusion 2021

PictureSmart Improvements

Introduced in JAWS and Fusion 2019, Picture Smart allows you to choose a photo and submit it to be analyzed. A description of the image is then displayed in the Results Viewer. To use Picture Smart, press INSERT+SPACEBAR, followed by P to activate the Picture Smart layer. You can then press A to describe a photo acquired from the PEARL camera or a flatbed scanner, F to describe a selected image file in Windows Explorer, C to describe the current control, or B to describe an image on the Windows Clipboard.

JAWS and Fusion 2021 continues to expand this feature by offering several improvements including:

  • Describing images on web pages: If focused on an image that is part of a web page, such as a photo on Facebook, pressing INSERT+SPACEBARP followed by C now describes the photo.
  • Submitting images to multiple services to help improve accuracy: By default, images are submitted to Microsoft for analyzing. However, the Results Viewer now contains a More Results link which submits the image again to additional services for analyzing and displays an updated description. You can also add SHIFT to a Picture Smart command to use multiple services. For example, INSERT+SPACEBARP followed by SHIFT+FSHIFT+C, or SHIFT+B.
  • Using Picture Smart in multiple languages: If you are using JAWS or Fusion in a language other than English and you attempt to use Picture Smart, JAWS and Fusion will use machine translation to display descriptions in the particular language. You can also manually choose from 38 languages for displaying results, configurable using the new Picture Smart Language option in Settings Center.

Please note that these changes, especially the machine translation for other languages, is still experimental, so things may not always work as expected. Results will improve as we continue refining this functionality.

For more information on Picture Smart, press INSERT+SPACEBARP followed by QUESTION MARK or refer to the Picture Smart topic in the JAWS help.

OCR Text Directly into a Word Document

The Convenient OCR (Optical Character Recognition) feature has been enhanced to support sending recognized text directly to Word. Convenient OCR enables you to access images containing text that is part of the image and displays this information in the Results Viewer. This includes onscreen images such as the graphical setup screen for an application, an inaccessible PDF opened in Adobe Reader, a currently selected image file in Windows Explorer, or a document acquired by the PEARL camera or a flatbed scanner.

If Microsoft Office is installed on your system, you can now:

  • Use the new command INSERT+SPACEBARO followed by R to perform OCR on a selected image file in File Explorer or the Desktop and place the recognized text directly into a Word document. You can also press the APPLICATIONS key and choose Convenient OCR to Word with JAWS or Fusion from the context menu.
  • Use the new Open in Word link that appears at the top of the Results Viewer once the OCR process is complete.

For more information about using Convenient OCR, press INSERT+SPACEBARO followed by QUESTION MARK or refer to the Convenient OCR topic in the JAWS help.

New Voice Assistant to Help with Various JAWS, ZoomText, and Fusion Commands and Features

The new Voice Assistant provides a way to interact with JAWS, ZoomText, and Fusion in Windows 10 using speech input. Supported languages include English, Dutch, German, Spanish, and French. Ask it to help you out with various JAWS or ZoomText features using natural speech. This means that the same action can be performed by more than one similar phrase instead of a single predefined voice command. For instance, to launch JAWS Settings Center, you could say "Settings Center" or "change settings." Unlike keyboard shortcuts, which can be hard to remember, natural voice commands are an easier way to interact with the JAWS or ZoomText software. Using voice input to control JAWS or ZoomText can also benefit users with certain conditions which prevent them from using a keyboard effectively.

The JAWS Voice Assistant uses your computer's internal microphone or you can talk to it using an external microphone or headset. To tell the Voice Assistant to begin listening for a specific command, there are three options:

  • Press the key combination, INSERT+ALT+SPACEBAR (CAPS LOCK+ALT+SPACEBAR for ZoomText and Fusion).
  • Speak a specific wake word which alerts the software to begin listening for a voice command, similar to using an Alexa or Google Home device. The wake word is "Sharky" for JAWS and "Zoomy" for ZoomText and Fusion. Speak this word followed by a specific JAWS or ZoomText command, such as, "Sharky, list links," or "Zoomy, increase zoom level."

Note: The wake word is not available if you are using a Bluetooth microphone. In this case, you must use the keystroke before speaking the voice command.

  • From the JAWS main window, press ALT+U to open the Utilities menu, expand the Voice Assistant submenu, and then select Talk to JAWS. From the ZoomText or Fusion main window, select Talk to ZoomText.

When the Voice Assistant starts listening for a voice command, a short audio indicator plays, and a visual indicator is displayed. After hearing a voice command, a different audio indicator plays until the command is processed. After processing, the visual indicator is removed, a different, short, audio indicator plays, and the desired JAWS or ZoomText action is performed.

If the Voice Assistant does not hear anything, the message, "Sorry, I didn’t hear anything" is spoken. If the Voice Assistant does not understand or if the voice command is not supported, the message, "Sorry, I didn’t catch that" is spoken.

Note: Since all voice recognition processing is performed over the Internet using Microsoft Services in the cloud, there will be a slight delay depending on your connection. Be patient and experiment with different commands. This is a new technology being added to our software products and will continue to change and evolve over time. We welcome your suggestions and feedback.

To turn off the Voice Assistant or change other options, such as whether or not JAWS or ZoomText listens for the wake word or to turn off the sounds, do one of the following:

  • For JAWS, open the JAWS Utilities menu, expand the Voice Assistant submenu, and then select Settings.
  • For ZoomText or Fusion, select the Tools tab, press DOWN ARROW on the Voice Assistant drop down button, and select Settings.

To learn more and to view a full list of voice commands for specific actions, say "Sharky, help," or "Zoomy, help." You can also select Getting Started from the Voice Assistant menu.

Here are a few commands you can try to help you get started.

For JAWS (Remember to say "Sharky" or press INSERT+ALT+SPACEBAR before speaking each command):

  • Help
  • Talk faster
  • Talk slower
  • Change settings
  • Command search
  • What time is it
  • List links
  • List headings
  • List spelling errors

For ZoomText or Fusion (Remember to say "Zoomy" or press CAPS LOCK+ALT+SPACEBAR before speaking each command):

  • Increase zoom level
  • Zoom out
  • Set zoom level to 5
  • Where is my focus
  • What time is it
  • Activate speech
  • Talk faster
  • Open Reader app view
  • Launch finder
  • Change the color enhancement scheme

Improved Microsoft Teams Support

  • If you press ENTER on a document in the Files list which opens the inaccessible document viewer, you can now press ESC to return to the files list. You are also prompted to use the SHIFT+F10 context menu and open the document in the desktop application, which is the suggested method.
  • You can now press ALT+1 through 5 to go directly to the first five tab pages.
  • Pressing ALT+LEFT ARROW now automatically activates the back button from anywhere in Teams.
  • You can now press ALT+H to hang up a call in progress.
  • You can now press ALT+T to set focus to the Teams tree view, if visible. Note that it is usually only visible if CTRL+3 has been pressed to show the teams and channels list. The screen should also be maximized to ensure this control is visible.
  • Pressing ALT+R now raises or lowers your hand in a meeting.

Teams also allows you to show meetings and calls in separate windows with fewer controls. To do this, press CTRL+COMMA to open Preferences and select the check box labeled: "Turn on new meeting experience (New meetings and calls will open in separate windows. Requires restarting Teams.)" While JAWS specific keystrokes for meetings and calls will not work in this split mode, Microsoft has their own set of keystrokes you can review by pressing CTRL+PERIOD.

New Keystroke for Changing the Punctuation Level

You can now press INSERT+SHIFT+2 on the number row to cycle through the four punctuation levels which controls how much punctuation JAWS and Fusion speak while reading. The available levels are None, Some, Most, and All. Similar to toggling Screen Echo (INSERT+S) or Typing Echo (INSERT+2), the punctuation level will revert back to the previous setting when JAWS or Fusion is restarted. To permanently set a punctuation level, use the JAWS Startup Wizard or Settings Center.

Announce Most Recent Windows Notification

You can now perform the new layered command INSERT+SPACEBAR followed by N to have JAWS repeat the last notification that was spoken. Notifications include an incoming Teams or Skype call, a recent Zoom message, a new email in Outlook, and more. If you use a Focus braille display, you can also press RIGHT SHIFT+N (DOTS 1-3-4-5). To view and manage all your Windows notifications, use the Microsoft keystroke WINDOWS Key+A.

FS Support Tool for Gathering System Information

The FS Support Tool is a new utility that collects information about your computer and sends a report to our Technical Support and Software Development teams to help us troubleshoot any issues you may be experiencing while running JAWS, ZoomText, or Fusion. You will typically be asked to run this utility during a technical support session if it is determined that additional details about your system are needed. Some information that is collected includes:

  • System information such as processor, RAM, operating system, architecture, and more
  • Event logs
  • Version of Adobe Reader (if installed)
  • Versions of all installed web browsers
  • Information on installed Microsoft Office applications
  • Crash dumps
  • Installation logs
  • Currently running system processes
  • User settings

The FS Support Tool can be started from the Help menu in JAWS, or the Support menu in ZoomText or Fusion and guides you through collecting and submitting a report.

Announce Accessible Notification Events

By default, JAWS now automatically announces Windows generated accessible event notifications in both speech and braille. These types of notifications are found in a variety of places including business bars in Microsoft Office. If you do not want to hear these announcements, open Settings Center and clear the Enable Accessible Notification Events check box.

Enhancements in JAWS, ZoomText, and Fusion 2021 Public Beta 3

The following is a list of improvements made between Public Beta 2 and Public Beta 3. Note that while many customer-reported enhancements are included in this release, the following is a list of more notable changes.

Enhancements in JAWS 2021 and Fusion 2021 Public Beta 3

  • Added the ability for Sharky to tell you a joke, currently only available in the English Version and for JAWS. Coming soon to other languages.
  • Removed volume change announcements that some users reported hearing in Public Beta 2 when using certain keyboards and headsets with multimedia controls.
  • In response to customer feedback, we have moved the link to open Convenient OCR results directly in Word to the bottom of the results window rather than the top to make it less distracting.
  • For Voice Assistant in the German Version of JAWS and ZoomText, the word "hey" has been added to the wake words Sharky and Zoomy. Therefore, you now open Voice Assistant by saying "Hey Sharky" or "Hey Zoomy."
  • Improved the results returned for Voice Assistant in German, which was based on customer feedback.
  • Resolved a problem seen in Notepad where the flashing cursor on a braille display was blinking faster than normal after selecting all text in a short document. This also made it difficult to read flash messages on the display.
  • Updated Voice Assistant so you can now say "settings center" or "quick settings" to access those utilities.
  • Resolved a reported issue when using the new Braille Panning feature which helps avoid blank spaces on the display. When moving in HTML or the Virtual buffer, there were certain edit controls in the Chrome and Edge browsers where text was not being displayed as expected when panning.
  • Resolved a reported issue in Outlook where JAWS was not echoing text as expected when typing in the body of a new message with Typing Echo set to Words.
  • Removed the announcement of Tutor Messages in Microsoft Office Ribbons as they were very verbose when attempting to navigate.
  • When opening a message in Outlook, resolved a reported issue where JAWS would not always start reading from the top if it has previously been opened. It would often start reading from the previous location where you stopped reading the last time.
  • Resolved an issue in MS Mail where JAWS was reporting list start and end info for each item in a list.
  • Users can now use Voice Assistant to Toggle certain features of JAWS and Fusion. Screen Shade, Audio Ducking, Speech on Demand, and Virtual PC Cursor can all be toggled if you say the word toggle, followed by the feature. And in the December Update of 2021, we will make it so you can just say the name of the feature, and it will toggle the state and avoid the need for the word toggle.
  • Resolved issues for the Picture Smart Feature where the "more results" link in the Results Viewer, was not properly getting more results and displaying them as expected.
  • Updated the Help for Voice Assistant by removing and adding some commands for the current update.
  • Resolved an issue when selecting all text (CTRL+A) in a large Word document. This action would cause JAWS to hang for several seconds.
  • Resolved a reported issue where exporting your Settings, could cause instability as you navigated the dialogs while using this feature in JAWS.
  • Resolved an issue where JAWS would not remain in Forms Mode, while trying to compose email messages in OE Classic.
  • Resolved several issues related to migrating settings from previous versions of JAWS to JAWS 2021.
  • Resolved issues for customers reporting that JAWS did not recognize ScaleRichView controls used in certain editors. This custom window class will be recognized by default in JAWS and Fusion.
  • Resolved an issue reported where braille was not tracking to the Navigation Bar in Outlook 365 or Outlook 2016 when pressing F6.
  • Additional User Settings are collected when running the FS Support Tool. This will help Technical Support to gather all the relevant data to help solve customer issues.
  • JAWS would leave Forms Mode and the Virtual Cursor would be on when creating an email in Thunderbird Email. This occurred when navigating with arrow keys.
  • Resolved an issue where JAWS was not reading the Auto Complete options in the Chrome Address bar.
  • Increased the size of the Speech History Buffer to allow for 500 strings rather than just 50 when you press INSERT+SPACE, H to review the most recent strings sent to the synthesizer.
  • The feature "Keyboard Lock" has been added to JAWS Command Search. To activate it, press INSERT+SPACE, L. This locks the keyboard and only allows informational keystrokes to be used. To find the keystroke using JAWS Command Search, type the word "lock."
  • Resolved reported issues with early public beta versions of 2021 where third-party scripts were not compiling. This was an issue when using WordPerfect and Quattro Pro.
  • Updated braille drivers provided by Papenmeire.
  • Resolved reported issue in Power Point 365 in the Notes Area of a slide where JAWS was saying graphic while navigating text in the note.

Enhancements in Fusion 2021 Public Beta 3

  • Resolved an issue when composing an email in Outlook where tracking by Fusion in the magnified view would fail. This occurred if you first selected text, and then started typing to replace it.
  • Resolved an issue where the Focus highlight is not tracking in Office Ribbons when JAWS Virtual Ribbon is enabled.
  • Resolved an issue where Braille Viewer and Text Viewer were not remaining persistent and restarting after rebooting. They should stay active until the users shuts them off in the future.

Enhancements in ZoomText 2021 Public Beta 3

  • Resolved an issue in Mozilla Firefox 82 where ZoomText Focus Enhancement was failing to track as you read while navigating in Firefox.
  • Resolved a Voice Assistant issue when trying to increase or decrease magnification to a Fractional Level. For example, asking Zoomy to set Magnification to 1.2, resulted in getting 12X. the decimal point was being excluded.
  • Resolved an issue where ZoomText speech would not stop when saying a Voice Assistant command. The feature was designed to interrupt speech.
  • Resolved an issue in the Outlook Inbox when your Windows Display Setting Zoom Level is higher than 100%, and you navigate the inbox. The view is shifted to the right as you navigate making it impossible to see the left edge of the window.





"He that cannot forgive others breaks the bridge over which he must pass himself,” and we forget that only grace can break the cycle of ancient hatreds among peoples. (It is notable that while I have regretted not granting grace to others, I’ve never once regretted extending it.)" - Edward Herbert


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