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By default, JAWS retains a list of the last 50 announcements that were spoken by the speech synthesizer. For users of refreshable braille displays, JAWS has always provided a mode where you could review this spoken information in braille. When this mode is active, you can use the controls on the braille display to review the last 50 announcements that have been spoken by JAWS. Speech History extends this functionality to users who rely on using speech more than braille.
Let's take a moment to familiarize ourselves with the four available braille output modes, because they can be useful when JAWS is run with a Braille display.
Braille users have had access to Speech Output Mode for quite a while. Speech Output Mode displays braille information that is generated from the speech synthesizer. This mode is beneficial to you if you are deaf and blind because you can access spoken information not visible on the computer screen. If the information filtering through the speech synthesizer is larger than ten lines, only the last part of the information is displayed. In this situation, pan left to display the beginning of the text.
In Speech Output Mode, the braille movement keys let you review what is being spoken, but the cursor routing buttons have no effect.
Speech output mode can only be accessed when JAWS is being used with a braille display and is accessed by pressing M-CHORD on a braille display's Perkins-style keyboard (DOTS 134+SPACE). This command cycles through the four available output modes:
Structured Mode gives you descriptive information about the current dialog and/or control. If there is no special descriptive information, such as in a text document, the braille display behaves as if it were in Line Mode. By default, JAWS is configured to use Structured Mode.
Structured Mode is designed to provide one or two lines of descriptive information about menu dialogs and their controls. The additional information offered in Structured Mode is particularly helpful because it lets you navigate the dialog and its controls faster. When specific dialog and/or control type information is in focus, JAWS uses braille and specific braille abbreviations to compose a "structured line" that describes the screen information on your braille display. JAWS also attempts to position the structured line on the display so the most relevant information, such as a prompt, appears at the beginning of the display.
If Braille Follows Active is selected, JAWS switches to Line Mode when the Braille cursor moves away from the control that is in focus. This gives you an exact representation of the information on the screen. When the Braille cursor moves back to the control in focus, JAWS switches to Structured Mode.
In Structured Mode, the braille being displayed will be aligned with the focused control information, such as the state and label of a check box, as this is considered to be the most relevant information a user would want. You may need to PAN LEFT so you can see the title of the dialog box and the page title if it contains multiple pages. When in a structured line, your PANNING keys allow you to see any information about the structured line not showing on the display. This is especially helpful with displays containing 40 or fewer cells.
EXERCISE: Structured mode in the Taskbar And Navigation Properties Dialog
Let's use the Windows Taskbar to see how Structured Mode displays essential information on the braille display.
After pressing ALT+ENTER on the task bar, a line similar to the following will appear on the braille display:
"<x> Lock the taskbar chk Taskbar and navigation properties dlg Taskbar"
Note the special symbols and abbreviations used in the braille example. See the JAWS Specific Braille Abbreviations section for the complete list and their descriptions.
The words "Dialog," "checkbox," and "Check Box not checked," never appear on the screen in this situation. And since Windows is a three-dimensional graphical environment, the information shown on the braille display does not follow the order spoken by the JAWS speech synthesizer. The information is presented on the braille display in an order which allows a braille user to quickly determine the state of the control which currently has focus, the type of control (in this instance, a checkbox) and the dialog in which this control appears.
NOTE: Your braille output may be somewhat different depending on the versions of Windows and JAWS you are using.
Let's take a look at this same control without the benefit of Structured mode.
Press M-CHORD until JAWS announces and displays "Line Mode" in braille. Notice the difference in what is displayed. The braille display merely shows
"Lock the taskbar"
Using Settings Center, you can configure how information appears in Structured Mode. You can specify what information is displayed for various control types, as well as the positioning of text on the structured line. More advanced users can even modify braille control symbols, the display order in which they appear, and the braille representation of the control state.
Line Mode gives you an exact representation of the information on the screen, in the same way the JAWS Cursor does. As we demonstrated in the exercise above, a great deal of essential information may not be directly communicated via the displayed text. Instead, it is often communicated by means of the position of a control within a dialog and through visual indications of a control's state.
When in Line Mode, JAWS uses screen coordinates to determine what information is sent to the braille display. Using its Braille Cursor, JAWS relays information to the braille display exactly as it is formatted on the computer screen. While this helps you better understand screen layout and print format, the braille format may be confusing because Windows text can appear anywhere on the screen.
In Line Mode, JAWS provides a way for you to change how text is shown on your braille display. The default setting is 8 pixels per space. For more information on pixel space relative to white space on your braille display, see the section on braille formatting.
In attribute mode, JAWS indicates all attributes assigned to a block of text with a letter or symbol. Attributes can include such changes as bold, italics, underline, and so on. This information appears in the display's status cells. When multiple attributes are assigned to the same block of text, the braille display cycles through each of them. To determine the rate at which this cycling occurs, use the Attribute Rotation Rate option, which is located in the Braille Marking group within Settings Center's Braille group.
NOTE: To use Attribute Mode, you must have a braille display with status cells.
By default, JAWS retains a list of the last 50 announcements that were spoken by the speech synthesizer. For users of refreshable braille displays, JAWS has always provided a mode where you could review this spoken information in braille. When this mode is active, you can use the controls on the braille display to review the last 50 announcements that have been spoken by JAWS.
Speech History extends this functionality to users who rely on using speech more than braille. If you miss one or more messages spoken by JAWS, you can press INSERT+SPACE, followed by H to open a Results Viewer window containing up to the last 50 announcements spoken by the synthesizer.
When the Speech History window opens, you are placed on the line containing the most recent announcement. You can navigate through the text in the Results Viewer window using standard JAWS reading commands. You can also select and copy any part of, or all of the text within the Results Viewer Window and paste it into another file or document.
To clear the history, press INSERT+SPACE, followed by SHIFT+H. The history is also cleared when you lock the computer or completely log off.
If you do not want JAWS to keep a history of what is spoken, do the following:
EXERCISE: Reviewing Spoken Messages
Let's invoke Speech History mode by pressing INSERT+SPACE (laptop: CAPSLOCK+SPACE) followed by H
JAWS will announce "Speech History" and the Virtual Viewer window will open. Take a moment to use the Arrow keys to move up and down through the messages.
These are only a few of the uses to which Speech History mode is put daily.