Ask an Expert – January 2024 – Ten Tips for Learning JAWS

Donna Jodhan, a woman with short dark hair and glasses, sits at a table with a laptop in front of her.

Hello everyone! Welcome to my “Ten Tips” series, where each month I’ll be sharing 10 tips on various pieces of technology. This would include tips on popular screen readers, office software, and browsers.

If you have any suggestions on what you would like me to share then by all means! Write to me at

For this month:

Ten Tips for Learning JAWS

JAWS (Job Access With Speech) is a popular screen reader software used by individuals with visual impairments to interact with computers and access digital content. Learning to use JAWS effectively can greatly enhance a visually impaired person’s computer usage experience.

Here are 10 tips to help you learn JAWS:

  1. Explore Basic Navigation: Learn the JAWS navigation commands, such as using the arrow keys to move around text and navigating headings, links, and lists.
  2. Master Keyboard Commands: Familiarize yourself with essential keyboard commands, such as reading characters, words, lines, and paragraphs. This will help you interact with various types of content.
  3. Practice Regularly: Consistent practice is key to mastering JAWS. Regular usage will help you become more comfortable with its commands and navigation techniques.
  4. Use JAWS Help: JAWS has built-in help documentation that can be accessed by pressing INSERT+F1. This is a valuable resource for looking up commands, troubleshooting issues, and learning advanced features.
  5. Learn Application-specific Commands: Different applications might have specific JAWS commands. Spend time learning how to navigate and interact with your most frequently used applications, like web browsers, word processors, and email clients.
  6. Customize JAWS Settings: JAWS offers a range of customizable settings, from speech rate and voice pitch to verbosity level. Adjust these settings to suit your preferences and needs.
  7. Utilize JAWS Training Materials: Freedom Scientific, the company behind JAWS, offers training resources including tutorials, webinars, and documentation. These materials can help you delve deeper into JAWS functionality.
  8. Join Online Communities: Online forums and communities, such as those on social media or specialized websites, can be excellent places to ask questions, share experiences, and learn from other JAWS users.
  9. Practice Web Browsing: Web browsing is a common task, so practice navigating websites, interacting with links, and using JAWS-specific commands like listing headings or forms.
  10. Be Patient and Persistent: Learning any new technology takes time. Be patient with yourself and recognize that there might be challenges along the way. Don’t be afraid to revisit commands and practice regularly.

Remember that JAWS is a powerful tool that can significantly improve your digital accessibility, so investing time and effort into learning it thoroughly will be rewarding.

To contact me please send an email to
I’m Donna J. Jodhan (sight loss coach and accessibility advisor)

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