moderated Re: How should Custom Highlights work?

Bill White <billwhite92701@...>

Hi, again, Jonathan. To make it easier to find Custom Highlight Assign in JAWS Help,


1. Open JAWS Help.

2. Arrow down to JAWS Help Topics, and press ENTER.

3. Press CONTROL plus TAB until JAWS says Index Page.

4. Once on the Index Page, type the words custom highlight into the search box. Now the topic will come up in the search results.

5. Press F6 to open the first topic. Links at the bottom of this first topic will direct you to related topics.


Bill White



From: [] On Behalf Of Cohn, Jonathan via
Sent: Monday, December 21, 2020 1:56 PM
Subject: Re: How should Custom Highlights work?


I was not able to find help documentation for Custom Highlight in JAWS 2021. But the short description in settings center goes along with my understanding. 

Where did you find documentation?



On Dec 19, 2020, at 9:06 AM, James Benstead <james.benstead@...> wrote:


Hi Jonathan,


Thanks, that's really interesting. It sounds like Custom Highlights works in a different way to what is described in the help file, is that right? Are you able to provide any examples of how you use Custom Highlights that I could replicate on my own JAWS installation? I'm keen to know what the feature does and how it works but I'm struggling to do that.


Thank you!



Too brief? Here's why!



On Wed, 16 Dec 2020 at 15:35, Cohn, Jonathan via <> wrote:

I generally use custom highlighting features in applications that do not indicate selected items correctly. For example if you have an application (not a web page one!) that has a list and you are supposed to press space to select an item in the list but JAWS does not recognize this. You might find that the selected text is Bright orange background. So, bring up the custom highlight tool and it will recognize the foreground and background color of the currently focused item. You can then tell JAWS to use that foreground and/or background color to indicate an item is selected.


On Dec 15, 2020, at 12:59 PM, James Benstead <james.benstead@...> wrote:


I've never used Custom Highlights before and I'm trying to figure out how they work. I've read through the Custom Highlight Colors section of the help file but Custom Highlights are not working the way I would expect.


To test CH I've created a Word document with five paragraphs. The text in each paragraph is a different colour. I go to the fourth paragraph, which is green, and hit:

  • CTRL + INS + H and then enter to "Set foreground and background"
  • Enter again to confirm
  • The "Customer Highlight Options - WORD" dialog appears, and confirms that "SpringGreen3 on white" is set as a Highlight
  • Enter to close the dialog and return to Word

According to the help file, "Once assigned, text matching the color(s) you have specified is treated as highlighted by JAWS. For example, SaySelectedText (INSERT+SHIFT+DOWN ARROW) reads Custom Highlights you have assigned." When I hit INS + SHIFT + DOWN, I would expect JAWS to read out the green text, but it doesn't: instead, it just says "nothing selected".


What am I doing wrong?


(Apologies for crossposting; I originally asked about this on the JAWS UK list, but didn't get a response).



Too brief? Here's why!





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