Jaws script to layer commands.


When using the keyboard to navigate around your environment all day every day the number of key combinations you need to remember runs into the thousands. I want a more logical system to give me access to the information I need quickly and efficiently. Layers provide that to me. If I want jaws information such as the font, window title or even currently active script I can start a layer for those commands and choose letters that seem more logical to me. then don’t have to remember if the command for title on a Braille display is t chord, control t or shift t or any combination of the three. This isn’t a negative reflection on the conventions used by companies who implement keyboard navigation, it’s simply a fact that different people find different solutions more suitable.

Layers also cut down on the number of keys that need to be pressed similtainiously allowing for one handed access when required. Take for example the wonderful Qwitter-Client for Twitter For every command in Qwitter you must hold down control, Windows key then the letter or arrow associated with that function. With layers you could specify that once in the Qwitter layer you only press single letters or arrows. This allows you to keep one hand on a Braille display for example. ith layers you can also associate Braille keys with functions that wouldn’t ordinarily be accessible from your Braille display. For example with the Focus 40 Blue you can use the wiz wheels to navigate around buffers and tweets.

With layers you could also associate different voice profiles and configuration options so that for example when in the Jaws information layer the speech rate is slower and all punction is spoken if that was required.

This idea is in it’s early stages. Please Contact me with your suggestions.


The following steps show a high level overview of the tasks required to install the Jaws Layer Commands scripts.

Get the files.

  1. Download the compressed ZIP archive jlc.zip.
  2. Copy the files in this zip archive to your jaws settings directory. To find this do the following.
    1. Press the windows key to enter the start menu.
    2. If using Windows XP press the letter p. If using indows Vista or seven, arrow down to all programs, press the right arrow then arrow down three more times.
    3. Press the letter j until you land on the Jaws menu.
    4. Press the right arrow to expand this menu.
    5. Press the letter e to jump to the explore Jaws item.
    6. Press the right arrow to set focus on the Explore your settings item then press enter.
    7. This will open the folder where you can paste the files from the ZIP archive.

Make changes to your default file.

Note, making changes to your default file is not as risky as making changes to the default file for all users however it is still suggested that you make a backup before completing this. If you are uncertain as to what to do here please do not hesitate to Email DigitalDarragh for assistance.

  1. Open the script manager by pressing JawsKey and 0. The Jaws key is the insert on a desktop keyboard or the caps lock on a laptop keyboard.
  2. Now open your default file by pressing control, shift and the letter d.
  3. o down to the bottom of this file by pressing control and end.
  4. Paste the following line.

    use “jlc.jsb”

  5. Save this file by pressing control and s.
  6. Open your default keyboard map file by pressing control and o to launch the open box then typing the following file name


  7. Now press enter.
  8. Press control and end to go to the bottom of the file.
  9. Paste the following lines exactly as they are shown here.

    Braille Dots 1 2 3 4 5 Chord=JLCQwitterLayer
    Braille Dots 1 4 5 Chord=JLCJawsBrailleInfoLayer

  10. Save the file by pressing control and s.
  11. Exit the script manager by pressing alt and F4.

To ensure all of the new enhancements have taken effect press control insert and escape to refresh the Jaws scripts.

Keyboard commands.

The following table provides commands for starting each layer. Press the command a second time to exit that layer.

Description Qwerty keyboard Braille keyboard
Start Qwitter mode Control Alt and Q Q chord
Jaws info layer Control Alt and D D chord
Qwitter mode

The following table gives a quick overview of the keyboard commands used by the Qwitter layer.

Top of bufferDelete current tweet
Description Qwerty keyboard Braille keyboard
New tweet N N
Reply to tweet R R
Direct message D D
Retweet F F
Previous tweet Down arrow Braille wizwheel down
Dot 4 chord
Next tweet Up arrow Braille wizwheel up
Dot 1 chord
Previous buffer Left arrow Press left Braille wizwheel
Dots 1 2 chord
Next buffer Right arrow Press right Braille wizwheel
Dots 4 5 chord
Home Dots 1 2 3 chord
Bottom of buffer End Dots 4 5 6 chord
Indevidual timeline I I
Update buffer U U
Dot 7
Activate link Dot 8

Jaws info commands

These don’t really provide any usability benefits. They are here as a proof of consept. The aim is to illustrate how commands could be standardised across Braille displays by using layers. Please contact me via Email if you would like any functionality added to this layer or indeed if you would like other layers to be created.

Jaws graphics labeler
Description Braille keyboard
Read window title T chord
Jaws find F chord
G chord

Of course these commands can be written without using chords. however this functionality has not been extended to the Jaws info layer yet. Expansion of this will depend on the level of interest.

While in any buffer other scripts become temporarily unavailable. This has been done deliberitly to ensure that there can be no over lap.


My huge thanks to Sean Randall. ithout him this would be nothing mroe than idea. He’s the brains behind it.