Accessibility Agony Aunt #1

Olly Anthony

For our first Accessibility Agony Aunt, we answer questions about JAWS crashing and how to effectively navigate the ribbon menu in Microsoft Outlook.

Letter 1


I keep having issues at work where my JAWS crashes. Whenever this happens, I have to manually restart JAWS which I find quite difficult without sighted assistance and sometimes I just have to reset the computer. I was wondering if there was a keystroke to do this?



Hi Rick,

Having to restart JAWS manually can be tricky. There is no inbuilt keystroke to start JAWS; however, you can set a shortcut key yourself quite easily to do this by doing the following:

  1. Go to your desktop and navigate to the JAWS icon.
  2. Press the Applications Key or Shift+F10 to open the context menu.
  3. Arrow Down to Properties (Arrowing Up is actually quicker here as the menu loops) and press Enter to open the Properties window.
  4. Tab through the fields until you get to the Shortcut Key field. When in this field, press the key combination you want to use to start JAWS (we normally suggest Control+Alt+J as this doesn’t conflict with any other standard keystrokes).
  5. Press Enter to save the changes. At this point, you may get a message that you require admin privileges to continue. Press Enter on the continue button and if you have the required permissions, the new shortcut key will be added and you can press it to start JAWS the next time it crashes.

You can set up a shortcut key in the same way for anything you have on the desktop. You just have to be careful that the keystroke you choose doesn’t conflict with an existing keystroke (and remember some keystrokes can be global and others can be application specific).

Letter 2

AT Agony Aunt, please help me!

My work have done something to the ribbon menus in Outlook and now the keystrokes I used to use to accept meeting invites don’t work. How can I accept invites now?


Hi there Katie,

Unfortunately, without taking a look at your machine, I can’t tell you what the new keystrokes would be, but don’t worry, there is actually a really useful bit of functionality in Microsoft Office 365 which allows you to search to functions from the ribbon menus (among other things). The really useful thing about this is that you only have to remember one keystroke to find anything in the ribbon menus and not long strings of keystrokes for different actions.

In the meeting invite, press Alt+Q to move to the Microsoft Search field. Here you can type a key word or phrase to search for the function, so to accept a meeting, type ‘accept’. Arrow down through the search results until you find Accept and press Enter. Voila!

This is a great feature which can be used in Outlook, Word, Excel and other MS Office applications in order to do anything you need from the ribbon menus.

Enjoy your meetings!