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 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.

To use Convenient OCR, the following layered keystrokes are available:

  • 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, H. Speaks a brief help message describing the commands in the OCR layer.

The following examples illustrate just some of the uses of this feature.

  • You insert a DVD movie into your computer which brings up a menu allowing you to select from various DVD features. You press INSERT+SPACEBAR, O, W and after a few seconds, JAWS will alert you that OCR is complete. At this point, the JAWS cursor will be active and you can navigate around the screen using the ARROW keys and read the text of the menu. When you hear the option you want, press NUMPAD SLASH to perform a left-mouse-click, or INSERT+NUMPAD PLUS to route PC to JAWS to activate the option. Prior to JAWS 13, this menu would have been completely inaccessible.

Note: Depending on the type of screen the DVD displays and the quality of the text, the Convenient OCR may not always work. Some DVD screens will be recognized better than others.

  • You open a PDF in Adobe Reader which turns out to be inaccessible. Press INSERT+SPACEBAR, O, W to have JAWS recognize the text currently visible on the screen which you can then navigate with the JAWS cursor. Before performing OCR in Acrobat Reader, press CTRL+1 to set the zoom level to Actual Size. While this will cause less of the image to be displayed on the screen, this will result in higher accuracy during recognition.
  • You try to install or use an application whose interface is not accessible, such as Acronis® True Image™ Home 2011 or 2012. If no text is readily available when pressing TAB or when using the JAWS Cursor, you can try Convenient OCR. Start with the PC Cursor and press INSERT+SPACEBAR, O, W to recognize the text of the welcome screen graphic. You can then use the JAWS Cursor and NUMPAD SLASH (left mouse button) to move to and choose what are possible buttons and links.

If you are not getting clear recognition results or you find that text is running together, refer to FAQ 63556 for ways to optimize performance.

Note that to correctly recognize text in other languages, you can configure the primary and secondary OCR language. The Convenient OCR settings are in the main tree view in Settings Center. When you expand this item, you have Primary Recognition Language and Secondary Recognition Language settings. Use the SPACEBAR to cycle through the available languages until you hear the one you want, or press F6 to move to the combo box and select a language.

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.


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