Use Braille Viewer to Encourage Braille Literacy

by Elizabeth Whitaker

Braille Viewer provides onscreen textual representation of the output received on a refreshable braille display. This JAWS and Fusion feature is a helpful tool for sighted teachers, parents, script writers, and testers  who do not read braille or who have limited to no access to a braille display.

Braille Viewer also enables teachers to help students improve braille skills both in The classroom and through remote learning. As a student reads text on a braille display, that information is shown on the computer screen of the student’s computer, which can be viewed through screen sharing by a teacher when a video conferencing platform is used.

How Braille Viewer Works

The Braille Viewer represents the number of cells on the particular display in use. For example, if a Focus 80 Blue is connected, 80 cells are represented on the screen. If a braille display is not connected, Braille Viewer will represent 40 cells of refreshable braille.

By default, the Braille Viewer window appears at the top of the screen, though you can position it at the bottom instead. Customize the background and foreground colors, font, and point size of displayed text.

When enabled, The Braille Viewer window resizes application windows so information in running applications will not be covered. When Braille Viewer is disabled, all application windows return to full size.

Braille Viewer features include:

  • Support for displaying contracted braille
  • Option to display text output combined with visually matching braille dot patterns

Enable Braille Viewer

To enable Braille Viewer:

  1. Press INSERT+J to navigate to the JAWS window.
  2. Press ALT+U to access the Utilities menu, then V to access the Braille and Text Viewer submenu.
  3. Press ENTER on Enable Braille Viewer to toggle it on.
  4. Follow the same steps to toggle Braille Viewer off.

Alternatively, use the Braille Viewer layered command, which changed in the most recent JAWS and Fusion update. Instead of pressing INSERT+SPACEBAR, V, then B, press INSERT+SPACEBAR, B, then B to toggle Braille Viewer on/off.

Use computer navigation commands when Braille Viewer is enabled and the Braille and Text Viewer layer is active. Press INSERT+SPACEBAR, B to activate this layer. These commands include:

  • Pan left: LEFT ARROW
  • Pan right: RIGHT ARROW
  • Prior line: UP ARROW
  • Next line: DOWN ARROW

The Braille and Text Viewer layer will remain active until you press ESC or another key that is not a command within this layer.

Visit our Braille Training page for information on product features, user guides, and answers to frequently asked questions.