Interaction quick reference

This section describes the usage of some of the core controls. This list does not feature every control that can be in the interface. The list focuses on the controls that react differently from default expected behavior in JAWS.


In Accessible Grid Mode, grids can be used with the regular JAWS shortcuts for tables. To navigate to the next grid on the form, press T.

Inside a grid, you can move the focus from cell to cell with the Arrow buttons.

On an editable field inside a grid, press Enter to change the focus from the cell to the editable internal component.

When not in edit mode, you can use the Spacebar to select or clear the selection check box at the beginning of a row.

If the focus is on a non-editable cell or on the first cell in a row, you can press Enter to drill into a record. The first cell in a row is the cell where the selection check box and drill icon are present.


Toolbars can contain push buttons and menu buttons.

To browse the buttons, use the virtual cursor.

To activate a button, press the Spacebar.

Buttons that have a menu are announced as 'collapsed'. Disabled buttons are announced as 'unavailable'.

Drop-down menu

Entering a drop-down menu forces JAWS into application mode.

To select a menu option, use the up and down arrows.

On a submenu item, to open and enter its submenu, press the right arrow.

Within submenus, to move one level up, or to close the top-level menu, press the left arrow. Alternatively, press Esc to close the menu.

To activate menu items, press the Spacebar.

Sometimes you can select multiple menu options on a drop-down menu simultaneously. In this case, each menu item has a check box attached to it. This check box is announced when you move through the menu. In this case, usually the first option in such a menu is a '(de-)select all' check box.

Drop-down list box

Drop-down list boxes have a menu with one or multiple selectable options. If you use the virtual cursor, a drop-down list box is announced as a group 'combo-box' containing a label and a 'browse button'.

To open the drop-down control, press Enter when the virtual cursor is on the 'browse button'. The drop-down selection list is opened.

To make a selection, use the up and down arrows. Press Enter to confirm the selection and close the menu. After the list is opened, you can specify a search term to filter the list entries from the drop-down menu.

You can continue browsing the form using the virtual cursor.

Drill-down buttons

Some controls in forms can be followed by a drill-down button. This is a push button that you can activate with the Spacebar. This either opens a session that is related to that control, or performs an action that is related to the control.

Dashboard buttons

Dashboard buttons occur in some forms that also contain a grid. When you select one of the grid records, some of the dashboard buttons become available. You can use these buttons to open a session that is related to the selected record. Dashboard buttons are displayed in the JAWS ‘links’ dialog box (Insert+F7). A dashboard button is ‘checked’ if the corresponding session already contains data.

Lookup fields

A lookup field consists of an edit field and a lookup button contained in a group element. , You can specify a (partial) term in the edit field and then click the lookup button; a session opens in a dialog box with a selection of items that is based on the specified search term.

Date/time input field

Date and time input fields work similar to regular edit fields. Before the field itself is entered with the virtual cursor, the format of the date or time is announced. For example, dd/mm/yy or hh:mm:ss.

If you move the virtual cursor into the date or time input field, you can type a new date or time. Alternatively, use the up and down arrows to change these segments:

  • The day, month, or year segment of the date
  • The hour, minute, or second segment of the time

To move between segments, use the left and right arrows.

Pop-up messages and dialog boxes

When a message or dialog box is displayed, the virtual cursor follows the application focus to the default button of the message or dialog box.