JAWS Braille Viewer

Person using braille display.

Written By Cody Laplante

Cody M. Laplante is a certified Teacher of Students with Visual Impairments located in the capital region of the United States. With a Master’s Degree and Graduate Certificate in Assistive Technology, Cody founded eye.t to provide live and asynchronous training options to children, adults, professionals and parents to ensure that all people with visual impairments can have access to a computer.

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Published on

April 10, 2023

So you are ready to teach your student to use a braille display with JAWS. Good for you! For all screen reader users, a braille display provides that extra level of access that can help out in tons of situations.

But you have two problems:
Problem 1: How do you know what your learner’s braille display says while they are using it?
I know. It’s a good question isn’t it. And it might not be something that you think about until you are in a lesson with your learner and you realize. “Hmm I have no idea what your display says right now”.

How do you assist your learner when they get stuck? Do you lift up their fingers and peek underneath? Do you just guess what their display says?
Problem 2: How do you test a process before teaching it to your learner if you only have one display?

So let’s just say that you have gotten really good at guessing what your learner’s display says. They’ve learned how to use it and now they might just need you to teach them those more advanced skills. Okay so how do YOU learn those advanced skills without a braille display?

Do you ask your agency to buy you ANOTHER braille display?

Hmmm that might now work.

Oh I know! You can just borrow a braille display from one of the dozens of people you know that own one.

Wait… you probably don’t know anyone who owns a braille display. And even if you did, they probably need it for themselves… drat.
The Solution
Luckily, most screen readers have built in a solution for these problems… It is called the Braille Viewer.

The Braille Viewer is a window that shows what is on the braille display both in braille and in print (or what WOULD be on the braille display if there was one connected.

As a teacher, I keep my braille viewer enabled at all times, just to make sure I have a good understanding of what the braille would look like for each skill I am teaching, whether my learner has a display in front of them or not.
How to Enable the Braille Viewer in JAWS
Remember, if you’d like to see a video of this particular process, click the link below to view this week’s Tech Tip Tuesday video.
Switch You Program Focus to JAWS (Alt + Tab)
If you are running JAWS in the system tray, skip this step.
Open the Utilities Menu: Alt + U (Check out our Tech Tip Tuesday Video on the Menus with Alt Pattern)
If you are running JAWS in the system tray: Insert + U
Scroll to “Braille and Text Viewer” (arrow keys)
Scroll to Braille Viewer (arrow keys)

And now your braille viewer should be enabled.

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