moderated Re: Navigating Microsoft Excel with JAWS 2021

Van Lant, Robin


As others have said, there really isn’t a way to do this. I am a project manager and also have a personal task list in Excel.  Because of the limitation, I have the following methods I use.  Maybe this helps for what you are trying to accomplish.


If I’m working on a project with multiple categories, I will do one of the following three approaches.  In each case, individual tasks are on a single row with the task, a Colum for owner, due date, status and notes.

  1. Place the section heading in column A with no other detail in that row, then place all related tasks in the rows below it, where the task is listed in Column B, leaving column A blank for each row. This allows me to use the alt down arrow method people mentioned in Column A to jump from section to section.  The downside of this is that, is that you cannot see the headings if you use the auto filter function to sort tasks based on some criteria such as status or owner, because  the header rows do not have that info. I suppose a work around for this is to always include “blanks” when using auto filter, so they will pull in all header rows. . 
  2. My second method, which I’m currently using for a work assignment is to list the header and subsequent tasks sequentially, but separate each section with a blank row.  Using the Alt down arrow method then jumps to the first and last item in each section fairly quickly.  For the sake of my sighted teammates, I have the tasks indented a bit, but using boldface on the header or something like that would also work.  The downside of this approach is that having entire blank rows throws off auto filter, so I cannot easily filter on status or such.
  3. While I have not used it for a project plan, a third approach is to use column A for your header and include the header at the beginning of each related row.  This is a common practice for people handling a lot of data.  It would then allow you to use auto filter in column A to only display rows related to that specific header.  For example, rather than sorting a large group of employees with a  header row for each office location, I would put the office location in column A for each employee in that office, allowing me to then auto filter to show only the employees in a given office location.

Now, two other ideas come to mind as I am writing this. I don’t have the time to explore them right now, but they could potentially work.

  • Excel allows you to label a cell then use Control G to jump to a cell by name. I did this once on a massive spreadsheet where I wanted to jump to different sections. I named the cell, then in Control G, rather than typing a cell coordinate, I could arrow down a list of named cells. I think I’ll have to play with this idea!
  • I also think I read something about creating links to specific cells. You might then be able to create your own version of a table of contents where you can hit a link to a specific section. I’d only spend the time on this if it’s a file you’ll use for quite a while, but an interesting idea.

Gotta run to a meeting. Let me know if any of this helps or if you want me to give more on naming cells.










From: <> On Behalf Of Sharon Clark
Sent: Sunday, March 28, 2021 1:05 PM
Subject: Re: Navigating Microsoft Excel with JAWS 2021


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Thank you for these useful key commands for Excel.



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