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What's New in JAWS, ZoomText, and Fusion 2022 Public Beta

Thank you for participating in the JAWS, ZoomText, and Fusion 2022 public beta testing. This page provides all the necessary details that you need to know and at the end of the page, you will find links to download JAWS, ZoomText, or Fusion 2022 Beta now. Please take a few moments to review this information and take advantage of the beta report form link to provide Freedom Scientific your feedback during the public beta.

Quick Notes About the Public Beta

Thank you for your help during the public beta period. Please note that this is beta software, and its accuracy and reliability are not guaranteed. You should not rely exclusively on the beta software for any reason.

  • To install additional product languages other than English, select Options from the dialog box that displays after beginning the setup.
  • Please note that while the final release of JAWS, ZoomText, and Fusion 2022 will be a Software Maintenance Agreement (SMA) upgrade, this public beta version will run for anyone with a license that provides access to JAWS or Fusion 2021.
  • If you do not have JAWS or Fusion 2021 authorization, you can still install the public beta version and run it using 40-Minute Demo mode.
  • This public beta version will expire later this year. To use JAWS, ZoomText, or Fusion without interruption, you must continue to update to later versions of the public beta and then to the final release.
  • You do not have to remove earlier versions of the software to install the 2022 public beta. Your previous versions will continue to function when you have 2022 installed, just as each new major version release of the software has in the past.

Technical Support During the Public Beta

While in public beta, general technical support of JAWS, ZoomText, or Fusion 2022 is not available using our direct support phone lines or email. However, you may use normal support lines in order to resolve any problems you experience related to installation or authorization using the Public Beta. For all other issues you may discover, we ask that you send feedback directly to Freedom Scientific using the Beta Report Form web page. Please bookmark the report page in your web browser so that you can easily locate it if you need technical assistance. Also, please submit one problem per report.

If reporting issues with Microsoft Office, please include the full version number. For example, 16.0.10730.20102. To locate this information, press ALT+F, D, A from within Office.

New Features Added in JAWS, ZoomText, and Fusion 2022

Automatic Settings Import from Previous Releases

When upgrading to a new version of JAWS, any custom settings from a previous release are now automatically imported. This includes features such as speech and braille display settings, custom scripts, dictionary entries, labeled graphics, and any custom settings you created for applications. Unlike previous releases, the migration process is now silent (no messages or dialog boxes appear) and begins the first time you start the new version. Custom settings older than the two previous versions will not be imported. If the import is successful, you will only be prompted to configure JAWS startup options.

New Option to Restore Factory Settings

Use the Restore to factory settings item, located in the Options menu of the main JAWS application window, to clear all custom settings that were imported from a previous release or manually configured. Once all settings are removed, JAWS restarts as if it was a brand new installation.

Sound Splitter

Earlier in JAWS and Fusion 2021, we introduced a way for users to lower the volume of JAWS speech independently of system audio to help make it easier to hear audio from other applications. Version 2022 takes this a step further by now allowing those using stereo headsets or speakers to route all JAWS or Fusion speech to one ear while routing audio from the current application to the other ear. This helps make it easier to continue getting work done with JAWS while following along during a Zoom or Teams meeting, a Skype call, or a YouTube video.

To split audio:

  1. Make sure focus is in the application that will be playing audio, such as Teams.
  2. Press INSERT+SPACEBAR followed by V to activate the Volume layer.
  3. Press B for Balance, and then do one of the following:
    • Press LEFT ARROW to route JAWS Speech to the left and audio from the current application to the right.
    • Press RIGHT ARROW to route JAWS speech to the right and audio from the current application to the left.
    • Press UP ARROW to restore both JAWS speech and application audio to both channels.

Note: Before attempting to split your audio, make sure your headset or speakers are properly oriented. For instance, if you route JAWS speech to the left and instead hear it in your right ear, your headset is most likely reversed.

Once you split your JAWS speech and application audio, it remains in effect until you restart JAWS, or use the command to restore the audio balance. Additionally, once you split the sound in the current application, the split continues even if you move to other applications. For example, if you are attending a meeting in Teams, you can continue hearing JAWS in one ear as you look up information on a web page in Chrome or write down some notes in Word while listening to your meeting in the other ear.

You can also wake up the Voice Assistant and say “Sound Left,” “Sound Right,” or “Sound Balanced.” Make sure your microphone is not muted before speaking these commands. You also may not want to use these commands in apps like Teams or Zoom as other meeting participants will hear you.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: I use a stereo Bluetooth headset that includes a microphone for participating in Teams and Zoom calls. Can I split the audio in this situation?

Answer: No, splitting the audio will not work in a call when using a Bluetooth headset. This is not a JAWS issue. When connecting to a call in Teams or Zoom, it switches from a headphone device to a headset device. By design, the headset device works as a mono device, so sound splitting does not work. If you want to split your audio during a call, we recommend using a wired headset.

Q: Can I split my audio if I'm using a stereo Bluetooth headset to just listen to music?

Answer: Yes. If you are playing audio from another source such as a YouTube video, the sound splitter works as expected even if you are using a Bluetooth headset. You will only experience issues with splitting audio when connecting to a Teams or Zoom call using a Bluetooth headset as it changes from a stereo headphone device to a mono headset device.

Q: Does the sound splitter work with external speakers?

Answer: Yes, JAWS speech and application audio will split as expected if you are using your computer's internal speakers, or you have external speakers connected.

Q: While on a Teams call using my USB headset, I moved over to Notepad to write down some information and decided to split my audio so I could hear JAWS better. After performing the keystrokes, JAWS was routed to one ear, but the audio from teams is still in both ears. Why did this not work?

Answer: In Public Beta 1, you must always make sure you are focused in the application where you want to split the audio. For instance, if you are on a call in Teams and you move over to Notepad to write down some information and you decide to split the audio so you can hear JAWS better, JAWS speech will move to one speaker, but the audio from Teams will continue to be heard in both speakers. For Public Beta 2, we are working on making it possible to split audio while focused in any application. For now, we suggest splitting the audio as soon as you launch the application, whether it is Teams or Zoom, and then join your call or meeting.

Q: I currently have JAWS configured to use a different sound device instead of the Windows default sound card. Will I still be able to split the audio?

Answer: At this time, this feature only works for the default sound device. If you attempt to split audio and nothing happens, you may need to use the Sound Cards option under the JAWS Utilities menu to set JAWS to use the Windows default sound card. We hope to resolve this for Public Beta 2.

Voice Assistant Improvements

  • The default wake word for JAWS is now “Hey Sharky,” while the default wake word for ZoomText is now “Hey Zoomy.”
  • When running Fusion, you can now say either "Hey Sharky" or "Hey Zoomy" and the voice assistant knows which features are for JAWS or ZoomText and will do the appropriate action depending on what you asked. Previously, Fusion users could only access ZoomText features using the voice assistant.
  • After selecting text with JAWS or Fusion, you can now say “Hey Sharky, Read Selection” to read the selected content, or “Hey Sharky, Append” to append the selected text to the clipboard.
  • Selecting the Settings option from the Voice Assistant submenu in the JAWS Utilities menu now opens a dedicated Voice Assistant Settings dialog box instead of taking you to Settings Center.

Faster Braille Language Switching for Multi-lingual Users

For users who speak multiple languages as well as students who are learning another language, JAWS has supported manual and automatic speech synthesizer language switching for years. For braille display users needing to switch between languages regularly, the process was not as straight forward., You had to open Settings Center, and select a specific language and translation options each time you wanted to read or enter text using a different language.

To help make this easier for multi-lingual braille users, JAWS and Fusion 2022 introduces braille profiles. A braille profile consists of a translator mode and associated braille tables for input and output in a specific language. This now allows you to switch the braille language on-the-fly from the main keyboard, braille display, or using automatic language switching in documents or web pages, as we do with speech. You can also link the braille input language to the keyboard input language so when you press ALT+SHIFT on your computer's keyboard to switch the language used for typing, the Braille input language switches with it.

To configure profile options, a new Language Profiles dialog box has been added to Settings Center under the Braille > General > Translation group. For users who only use one language, there is no need to use this dialog box as you can still set your input and output translation settings as you always have in the main Translation group or the Startup Wizard.

Setting Up Preferred Profiles

To choose your preferred profiles that you can quickly switch between using a keystroke, do the following:

  1. Press INSERT+6 on the number row to open Settings Center.
  2. To apply changes to all applications, press CTRL+SHIFT+D to load the JAWS default settings.
  3. Type “profiles” without the quotes into the search edit field.
  4. Press DOWN ARROW to move to Language Profiles in the search results in the tree view and press SPACEBAR to open the dialog box. You are placed in a list of profiles that correspond to all braille languages installed with JAWS.
  5. Press SPACEBAR on each profile that you want to select as a preferred profile.
  6. Select OK to close the dialog box and once more to close Settings Center.

After setting up preferred profiles, you can then use the CTRL+SHIFT+WINDOWS+L keystroke, or DOTS 2-3-4-5-7 CHORD on a Focus braille display, to quickly switch between profiles if you need to read or type text in different languages.

You can also set a primary language profile which is always used when JAWS starts. By default, the primary profile always matches the JAWS language. For instance, English – United States is always used when running the English version of JAWS. To change the primary profile, open the Language Profiles dialog box, choose the language profile you want from the list, and then select the Set Primary button.

Configuring Translation Options for a Specific Profile

To configure braille translation input and output settings for a specific language profile, do the following:

  1. Press INSERT+6 on the number row to open Settings Center.
  2. To apply changes to all applications, press CTRL+SHIFT+D to load the JAWS default settings.
  3. Type “profiles” without the quotes into the search edit field.
  4. Press DOWN ARROW to move to Language Profiles in the search results in the tree view and press SPACEBAR to open the dialog box. You are placed in a list of profiles that correspond to all braille languages installed with JAWS.
  5. Select the profile you want to configure translation options for and then choose the Details button to open the Profile Details dialog box. Here, you can:
    • Choose the grade of braille to use when reading and typing contracted braille. The available options depend on the currently selected profile. For instance, Unified English Braille (UEB) Grade 1 or Grade 2 are not available when configuring the Spanish language profile.
    • Choose which translation mode to use. The available choices are to use Computer Braille for both input and output, Computer Braille for input and Contracted Braille for Output, or Contracted Braille for both input and output. You can also quickly toggle between translation modes for the active profile by using DOTS 1-2-4-5-7 CHORD on a Focus braille display.
    • Select which tables to use if Computer Braille is selected for input or output. This enables you to use different languages for reading and typing text if needed.
    • Choose whether or not capital signs are shown on the braille display when viewing Contracted Braille.
    • Choose whether or not the Liblouis computer braille tables are used when reading or typing in Computer Braille.
  6. After making your changes, select OK to close the Profile Details dialog box and continue selecting OK to close the Language Profiles dialog box and Settings Center.

Configuring Braille Language Auto Detection

If you want JAWS to automatically switch to the appropriate braille language when reading or entering text, do the following:

  1. Press INSERT+6 on the number row to open Settings Center.
  2. To apply changes to all applications, press CTRL+SHIFT+D to load the JAWS default settings.
  3. Type “profiles” without the quotes into the search edit field.
  4. Press DOWN ARROW to move to Language Profiles in the search results in the tree view and press SPACEBAR to open the dialog box.
  5. Select the Link braille input language to keyboard language check box to have JAWS use the appropriate braille input language that matches the currently active keyboard language. For example, if you switch the keyboard language to Spanish (ALT+SHIFT), JAWS automatically switches to Spanish braille, so you can continue entering text from your display in the correct language.
  6. Select the Automatic language detection check box to have JAWS use the appropriate braille language that matches the current language of text in a document or web page. For example, if JAWS detects text in a document written in Spanish, JAWS automatically switches to displaying the text in Spanish braille using the translation mode settings configured in the Profile Details dialog box for the Spanish profile.
  7. Select OK to close the dialog box and once more to close Settings Center.

JAWS, ZoomText, and Fusion Discontinues Windows 7 and 8.1 Support

In order to keep pace with continued advancements in Microsoft Windows technology, JAWS, Fusion, and ZoomText 2022 will no longer install and run on versions of Windows earlier than Windows 10. We also continue improving support for Windows 11, scheduled for release in the coming months. Versions of our software will continue to be available for users of older Windows versions from our Previous Downloads web pages.

Improved Performance in Microsoft Office Apps

JAWS 2022 offers a number of general improvements when working in Office 365 applications. In particular, users should notice increased responsiveness when navigating Outlook message lists and working with emails, as well as when editing Word documents.

Docking the Quick Access Bar

By default, the Quick Access Bar is now docked to one of four corners on your screen when you start ZoomText or Fusion. This provides a location for the Quick Access Bar to return to when it loses focus. It also makes it easy to find when viewing a magnified screen.

The bar can be docked in the top right corner, top left corner, lower right corner, or lower left corner of the screen. If you want to change the dock location, do the following:

  1. If the Quick Access Bar is not expanded, click the Show Shortcut Names button to expand the bar.

    Show Shortcut Names button

  2. Click the Customize button and then Preferences.

    Customize button

  3. Select Automatically Dock to Screen Corner and select a screen corner in the Corner list.

Watch for further improvements to the Quick Access Bar in Public Beta 2.

Additional Changes

  • Made numerous performance improvements for ZoomText tracking and navigation in various applications.
  • JAWS 2022 includes updated scripts from Corel for WordPerfect 2021.
  • For those who create JAWS scripts, added comments at the top of default.jss, so users know how to save a modified copy of this file to their user folder.
  • Added a new option to toggle the announcement of text marked as a sugestion in Google Docs. To change this, open Settings Center and locate the Suggested text announcement check box.
  • In the Braille and Text Viewer, changed the default font size to 20. The previous font size of 40 was too large for most users.
  • When moving to a new slide in PowerPoint, JAWS no longer says "no selection" prior to speaking the slide info, which was unnecessary speech. Now, JAWS only announces the slide title and number.
  • Added the ALT+Q command to the Windows Keys Help (INSERT+W) which opens the Quick Search feature in Microsoft Office apps.
  • JAWS now properly reads the title of the current page in Chrome or Edge when using CTRL+TAB to move between open pages.

Download JAWS, ZoomText, or Fusion 2022

Note: You will need an Internet connection during the install.

  1. At the end of this procedure, select the link for the software you want to download and save the setup file to a location on your computer where you can easily find it, for example, your Downloads folder.
  2. Run the executable and follow the instructions to install the software. The setup automatically detects whether you are using 64 or 32-bit and also installs the correct language that matches your operating system language. If this is a new installation, you can install a different language by selecting the Options button on the first setup screen and then choosing the language you want from the list.

Download JAWS

Download Fusion

Download ZoomText

For system administrators, use the Offline Installer for Secure Environments page to download a version of JAWS for installing on computers with restricted Internet access.