JAWS Quick Start Guide

Last updated: August 16, 2022

JAWS is a feature-rich screen reader. It allows a person who is blind to access a computer using speech or Braille output.

Starting JAWS

  1. StepsActions
  2. Click the Start menu in the lower left-hand corner of the screen.
  3. Click “All Programs.”
  4. Click “Accessible Technology.”
  5. Click “JAWS.”

(Pressing <CTRL> + <ALT> + <J> will also launch JAWS.)

Using JAWS

  1. StepsActions
  2. Activate the PC cursor by pressing <NUMPAD +>. While in this mode, use the num pad and arrow keys to navigate and edit text within the active window.
  3. Activate the JAWS cursor by pressing <NUMPAD ->. While in this mode, the keypad and arrow keys instead navigate the Windows environment.
  4. To silence speech output, press <CTRL>.

The Access Technology Center has an ALVA 544 Braille display that can be used in conjunction with JAWS. The ALVA 544 presents text, graphic, and other visually displayed information in Braille format. Consult ATL staff for further assistance if needed.

Essential Hotkeys

  • Start JAWS: Press <CTRL> + <ALT> + <J>.
  • Activate PC cursor: Press <NUM PAD +>.
  • Activate JAWS cursor: Press <NUM PAD ->.
  • Silence Current Speech Output: Press <CTRL>.

Quitting JAWS

Do any of the following:

  • Press <ALT> + <F4> when FineReader is the active application.
  • Click the X in the upper-right hand corner of the FineReader menu.
  • Click the “File” menu at the top of the FineReader window and select “Exit.”


For help and tutorials, do any of the following:

  • Click on the “Help” menu in the JAWS window.
  • Press <F1> when JAWS is the active application.
  • Consult the JAWS user manual, located on the ATC manual shelf.
  • Contact ATC Staff