JAWS Keyboard Shortcuts

JAWS Keyboard Shortcuts

Screen Reader Keyboard Shortcuts and Gestures > JAWS

Also available in a single-page printer-friendly PDF version.

JAWS, which stands for Job Access with Speech, is a screen reader developed by Freedom Scientific.


JAWS works well with Chrome, Edge, Firefox, and Internet Explorer.
JAWS + Chrome, JAWS + Edge, JAWS + Firefox, JAWS + Internet Explorer

Historically, JAWS has worked best with Internet Explorer, and that combination still works well, but Internet Explorer is old and will never be updated with new features, so it is best to migrate to newer browsers.

Getting started

PC Cursor: The usual cursor on the screen. When activated, users can move this cursor around the screen. It can only go where a cursor can be placed.

Virtual PC Cursor: The virtual PC cursor is similar to the PC Cursor, and is used for navigating HTML documents.

JAWS cursor: is the mouse pointer on the screen. When activated, users can move around the screen and navigate through areas where a normal cursor cannot go.

Forms Mode: When entering a form using Tab, Arrow Keys, or the JAWS cursor, JAWS automatically leaves Browse Mode and enters Forms Mode. This changes some of the keystrokes so that the user can enter text. If Forms mode does not activate automatically, press Enter when on a form field to activate it. Press the Numpad Plus (+) to go back to browse mode and use normal navigation keystrokes.

To install JAWS, download the latest version at https://support.freedomscientific.com/Downloads/JAWS, run the installation program, review and accept the license agreement, and reboot the computer when prompted to do so.

The basics

Topic Task Command
Reading: Stop reading Control
Start reading continuously from this point on Insert + down arrow
Read next item down arrow
Read next focusable item (e.g. link, button) Tab
Activate: Link Enter
Button Enter or Space Bar
Headings: Go to next heading H
Show list of all headings Insert + F6
Go to next heading of level [1-6] 1 - 6
Landmarks: Go to next landmark/region R
Main: Go to the main content region Q
Elements list: Show list of all buttons, frames, graphics, lists, links, etc. Insert + F3
Tables: Go to next table T
Navigate table cells Ctrl + Alt + right arrow or down arrow or left arrow or up arrow
Lists: Go to next list L
Go to next list item I
Graphics: Go to next graphic G
Links: List all links Insert + F7
Go to next unvisited link U
Go to next visited link V
Navigate: Toggle between:
Radio buttons,
<select> list items,
Tabs (ARIA widget),
Tree view items (ARIA widget),
Menu items (ARIA widget)
right arrow or down arrow or left arrow or up arrow
Virtual PC Cursor: Toggle Virtual PC Cursor Insert + Z
Go backward: To previous heading, landmark, table, focusable item, etc. Shift + [H, R, T, Tab, etc.]

Reading text

Topic Task Command
Line: Say prior line up arrow
Say next line down arrow
Say current line Insert + up arrow
Say to cursor Insert + Home
Say from cursor Insert + Page Up
Character: Say prior character left arrow
Say next character right arrow
Say character Numpad 5
Say character phonetically Numpad 5 twice quickly
Word: Say prior word Insert + left arrow
Say next word Insert + right arrow
Say word Insert + Numpad 5
Sentence: Say prior sentence Alt + up arrow
Say next sentence Alt + down arrow
Say current sentence Alt + Numpad 5
Spelling: Spell word Insert + Numpad 5 twice quickly
Spell current line Insert + up arrow twice quickly
Spell to cursor Insert + Home twice quickly
Spell from cursor Insert + Page Up twice quickly
Fast forward: Forward during a say all right arrow
Rewind: Rewind during a say all left arrow


Topic Task Command
Table: Go to next (previous) table T (Shift + T)
Cell: Cell to right Ctrl + Alt + right arrow
Cell to left Ctrl + Alt + left arrow
Cell below Ctrl + Alt + down arrow
Cell above Ctrl + Alt + up arrow
First Cell Ctrl + Alt + Home
Last cell Ctrl + Alt + End
Say current cell Ctrl + Alt + Numpad 5
Row: Read current row Insert + Shift + up arrow
Read from start of row Insert + Shift + Home
Read to end of row Insert + Shift + Page Up
First cell in row Ctrl + Alt + Shift + left arrow
Last cell in row Ctrl + Alt + Shift + right arrow
Column: Read current column Insert + Shift + Numpad 5
Read from top of column Insert + Shift + End
Read to bottom of column Insert + Shift + Page Down
First cell in column Ctrl + Alt + Shift + up arrow
Last cell in column Ctrl + Alt + Shift + down arrow


Topic Task Command
Form elements: List all form elements Insert + F5
Navigate: Next focusable item Tab
Next form field F
Next button B
Next checkbox X
Checkboxes: Select and deselect Space Bar or Enter
Combo boxes (<select>): Open combo box Alt + down arrow
Browse/select options down arrow or the First letter
Select multiple options Shift + down arrow (or up arrow)
Radio buttons: Toggle selection up arrow/down arrow
Forms mode*: Enter forms mode Enter (when focus is on a form field)
Exit forms mode (enter browse mode) Numpad Plus (+)

* “Forms mode” allows you to enter data into form fields. Browse mode allows you to navigate the page using standard screen reader shortcuts (e.g. to navigate headings, landmarks, links, etc.)

Other commands

Task Command
Search for a word or a phrase Ctrl + F
Refresh Screen, i.e. repaints all the currently displayed items on the screen Insert + Esc
Reformat documents, i.e. reformats multiple column pages to be more readable with speech. Insert + F5
Help with current element Insert + F1

Additional resources

Freedom Scientific provides comprehensive information on using JAWS at www.freedomscientific.com/Training/Surfs-Up/_Surfs_Up_Start_Here.htm.