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Reading and Accessing Adobe PDF's with JAWS

By Mikal Hensarling, ACS/Adaptive Tech Support

JAWS 7.0 (newly arrived on campus) gives one the ability to read Adobe PDF's with this screen-reading software. This is a major step forward in online accessibility and should be especially helpful to our UNT students with vision issues who are taking WebCT courses and also checking out other information and forms on the UNT website. Below is a tutorial - based on documentation by Freedom Scientific - about reading PDF's with JAWS 7.0 and also checking PDFs for disability compliance issues.

Document Presentation Mode

Document Presentation Mode allows you to read tables by row, just as they are presented on the screen. This mode is useful with HTML pages and PDFs alike. With this feature, you can change how JAWS structures HTML pages and other virtual documents (such as PDF documents) in the virtual buffer. If you select "Simple Layout," each cell in the table is displayed on a separate line. This is the default layout, and the behavior should be familiar to users of JAWS 6.20 and earlier. If you select "Screen Layout," pages are rendered in the virtual buffer in a way that is more similar to what a sighted user sees on the screen. All items in a single table row are displayed on the same line, and each column is separated by a vertical bar. This helps you better understand the overall table design as well as the relationship between table cells in each row.

To switch to Screen Layout mode temporarily, press INSERT+V. Alternatively, you can change this option for the current Web site by pressing INSERT+SHIFT+V. Select "Document Presentation" and press the SPACEBAR to choose "Screen Layout." You can permanently change this setting on the Misc tab of the HTML Options dialog in Configuration Manager.

This new feature is especially useful for copying and pasting table information from virtual documents. Because all text in the row appears on the same line, you can easily select all the text in every cell in a row with SHIFT+DOWN ARROW. Alternatively, you can press F8 to select the entire table (if you are at the beginning). When you copy and paste the row(s) or table into another document, the text of each cell is separated by a vertical bar to preserve readability. You can even use the enhanced functionality of FSClipboard to copy non-contiguous rows or rows from different tables and then paste them all into another document.


The Accessibility Setup Assistant

When you first start Adobe Reader 7 and JAWS or MAGic are running, an Accessibility Setup Assistant dialog box opens and walks you through some simple steps to optimize Adobe Reader for your adaptive software. If you miss this dialog the first time you start Adobe Reader 7 you can open it from the Help menu.

NOTE: All of the options found in the Accessibility Setup Assistant are also found individually in the Adobe Reader 7 Preferences dialog.

You can access the Preferences dialog from the Edit menu or by pressing CTRL+K.

Accessibility Quick Check for PDF Files

To do a quick check of a document's accessibility, go to the Document menu and choose Accessibility Quick Check. A dialog box opens giving you a summary of how the document is set up.

    Accessibility Quick Check Examples

        This document appears to contain no text. It may be a scanned image.

        This document is not structured so the reading order may not be correct.

Try different reading orders using the Reading Preferences panel

Forms Mode in PDF Documents with JAWS

JAWS uses the virtual cursor when reading PDF documents, just as it does when you are reading Web pages or HTML documents. When you encounter a PDF form, press the TAB key to move from field to field. Pressing ENTER while in an edit field turns on Forms Mode and you are able to type in information as needed. To get out of Forms Mode, press the NUM PAD PLUS key.
 

For more information visit Freedom Scientific at JAWS pdf training or JAWS 7.0

For more extensive documentation read the Guide to Adobe Reader for Users with Disabilities

 


Please note that information published in Benchmarks Online is likely to degrade over time, especially links to various Websites. To make sure you have the most current information on a specific topic, it may be best to search the UNT Website - http://www.unt.edu . You can also search Benchmarks Online - http://www.unt.edu/benchmarks/archives/back.htm as well as consult the UNT Helpdesk - http://www.unt.edu/helpdesk/ Questions and comments should be directed to
benchmarks@unt.edu

 

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