Accessing Screen Reader Software at Campus Computing Sites

Windows Access

Campus PCs have the JAWS and NVDA screen readers available for your use. Follow the steps on this page to log on to a public computer, and launch the screen reader of your choice.

Logging On

Before you can launch your screen reader, you will need to log on to the PC. Follow these steps.

Note: You may not hear any sound from the computer during the log in process. See the section on Enabling System Sound to learn how to turn up sound volume after log in.

  1. Press Control+Alt+Delete to unlock the computer.
  2. Press enter to go to the log on screen. Your cursor will be in the username field. (Note: Some Sites PCs do not display a "you must be authorized" message before providing access to the user name and password fields. If the instructions below do not work, try skipping this step.)
  3. Type your uniqname and press tab once.
  4. Type your password and press enter. At this point you will need to wait a moment for the log on process to complete, which may take up to three minutes.

Starting JAWS

Once you are logged on, follow these steps to launch JAWS:

  1. Press either the Windows key or the Control+Escape keys to access the start menu. Your cursor will be located in the search field.
  2. Type jaws and press enter. JAWS should launch at this point. If there is no sound, follow the steps for Enabling System Sound below.

Starting NVDA

Once you are logged in to a public computer, follow these steps to launch NVDA:

  1. Press either the Windows key or the Control+Escape keys to access the start menu. Your cursor will be located in the search field.
  2. Type NVDA and press enter. NVDA should launch at this point. If there is no sound, follow the steps for Enabling System Sound below.

Enabling System Sound

Most public computers have volume set to zero by default. This means you won't hear any sound during the startup process. To enable sound after login, follow these steps.

  1. Press the Windows key or the Control+Escape keys to access the start menu. Your cursor will be located in the search field.
  2. Type adjust sys and press enter. This will load the Adjust System Volume dialogue.
  3. Your cursor is now on the volume slider, use up arrow to raise the volume to a comfortable level.

Keyboard Layout on Sites Windows Computers

The public Windows keyboards use the standard desktop layout for their keyboards. Locations of important keys are described in this section.

  1. If you start on the right side of the keyboard on the row closest to you and move left, you first find the number pad. After a gap, there is a group of three buttons with one button above that is centered. These buttons are the arrow keys.
  2. Above the arrow keys is a group of six keys arranged in two rows. The key closest to you in the left most column is the delete key and the key located one row above this key in the same column is the insert key. The insert key is used as a modifier for many screen readers.
  3. As you continue to move left, the next three keys from right to left are Control, Windows, and Alt. To the right of these keys is the long space bar which is the largest key on the keyboard.
  4. On these keyboards, the number keys are located in the row that is second closest to the monitor near the back of the keyboard. The numbers begin starting on the second key in this row. There is a gap between these keys and the row of function keys which are located closest to the back of the keyboard.
  5. If you want to learn more about the keyboard after logging in, the command insert+1 can be used if NVDA or JAWS is running to enable a keyboard learn mode. In this mode, any key pressed causes the screen reader to speak its function without actually performing the action associated with it. You can press insert+1 again to exit this mode.

Mac Access

To enable the VoiceOver Screen reader on a public Mac computer on campus, follow these steps:

  1. Press Command+F5 to enable Voice Over on the log in screen. If you hear VoiceOver say Authentication but nothing is spoken when you press keys on the keyboard, click the left mouse button anywhere to bring focus to the Login dialog.
  2. If you do not hear VoiceOver, press F12 to raise the system volume. See the Location of Keys section for instructions on locating the F12 key.
  3. Enter your uniqname and press Tab to focus the password field.
  4. Press the Enter key to log on after you have entered your information. Note that this will disable VoiceOver.
  5. Press Command+F5 to start VoiceOver again once you are logged in.

Location of Keys on Mac Desktops

The computers on campus use the full sized Apple keyboard with number pad. On this keyboard, some of the keys are in different locations than on a Mac laptop.

  1. On the bottom left corner of the keyboard in the row closest to you, the first few keys from left to right are Control, Option, and Command. To the right of the Command key is the space bar.
  2. The arrow keys are in the shape of an upside down t and are located to the right of the main keyboard area and to the left of the number pad.
  3. Above the arrow keys is a group of 9 keys arranged in three rows and three columns. The first key on the left in the middle row of these keys is called the function (FN) key. This is an important key because the numbered function keys above the number row on a Mac computer can perform two types of functions: hardware functions and keyboard shortcuts. By default, the computers are configured so that the keys perform hardware functions such as adjusting the volume and changing screen brightness. If you want to use a keyboard shortcut that uses one of these numbered function keys, you should hold down the FN key while pressing each of the keyboard shortcut keys.
  4. The keys for adjusting volume are F10, F11 and F12. To locate these keys, first locate the top row of the group of 9 keys that was just discussed. From left to right, these are the F13, F14, and F15 keys. Moving to the left of these keys is a gap, after which is located the Eject key, the F12 key, the F11 key and the F10 key. The F12 key raises the volume, the F11 key lowers the volume, and the F10 key serves as a mute toggle. Because adjusting the volume is a hardware function, you should not press the FN key in conjunction with these keys when performing this task.
  5. If you would like to hear what the other keys do on the keyboard, press Control+Option+k to enter VoiceOver’s keyboard learn mode. Then press any key to hear its function. To turn off keyboard learn mode, press the Escape key in the top left corner.