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Convenient OCR

Frequently, you will encounter images that contain textual information. These can include a PDF file, the setup screen of an application, or the menu of selections for a DVD movie. While these images contain text that is readable by a sighted person, JAWS is unable to read the text as it is part of the image.

The Convenient OCR (Optical Character Recognition) feature in JAWS 13 and later enables you to access any image on the screen that includes text. With just a few simple keystrokes, JAWS will recognize the image in a matter of seconds and activate the JAWS cursor so you can navigate the resulting text. The recognized text will be in the same location as the actual image on the screen. In order to differentiate the recognized text from other text that may be in the window, JAWS will use a different voice when it encounters the recognized text. When you activate the PC cursor, or switch to another application or dialog box, the text is removed and you will need to perform the OCR again.

With PDF documents it is important to note that the text will only be recognised for the current page on focus which means that if your document is more than one page, you will need to navigate to the page you want to read and then perform the keystroke to read the information on that page. In JAWS 16 and later, the recognition of PDF documents has been enhanced to recognise the entire document.

To use Convenient OCR, the following layered keystrokes have been added:

  • INSERT+SPACEBAR, O, W. Recognizes the current application window that has focus.
  • INSERT+SPACEBAR, O, S. Recognizes the entire screen.
  • INSERT+SPACEBAR, O, C. Recognizes the currently selected control, such as a graphical button.
  • INSERT+SPACEBAR, O, Q. Cancels recognition while it is in progress.
  • INSERT+SPACEBAR, O, QUESTION MARK. Speaks a brief help message describing the commands in the OCR layer.

When you install JAWS from the program disc, the OCR components are automatically installed. If you download JAWS from the Web site and have an active Internet connection when you begin the installation, the OCR components will be downloaded during the install. If you do not have an active Internet connection when you install JAWS from the Web download, a message is displayed at the end of the installation stating that some components were not installed. To use the OCR feature, establish an Internet connection and run the installation again so the OCR components are downloaded.

Customising the Convenient OCR Voice

You can change the OCR voice using the following steps,

  1. Press INSERT+F2 to bring up a list of JAWS Managers.
  2. Press the letter S till you reach Settings Centre and then press ENTER. When Settings Centre opens, press CTRL+SHIFT+D to open the Default Configuration file.
  3. Press the TAB key to move into the tree view, Press the letter V to navigate to Voice Aliases and press the RIGHT ARROW to expand it, then DOWN ARROW to Customize Voice Aliases and press the SPACEBAR to open a dialog box
  4. Press F6 to move to the Voice Aliases page, and choose the Voice Aliases button by pressing the SPACEBAR to open the dialog box.
  5. Select OCR Voice from the list of voice aliases by pressing the letter O, press the TAB key to move to the modify button and then press the SPACEBAR to customize the settings for this alias.
  6. Press the TAB key to move to the Voice Aliase Person field and use the arrow keys to select an alternative voice
  7. Use the TAB key to move around to other fields and make the necessary changes, select the OK button when done.
  8. As your focus moves back to the Voice Aliases dialog, TAB to the OK button and press the SPACEBAR to close this dialog.
  9. Your focus is placed in the Settings Centre dialog, press ALT+F4 to close the window and select the Yes button when prompted to save the changes.