Today I want to showcase another great feature of JAWS called PlaceMarkers. If you think of a physical Place marker in a book that lets you go back to an important page, it will help you visualize what the JAWS version of PlaceMarkers can do for you in Word documents, PDF documents, and on the Web. It can even help you quickly select text.
What Can I Do with PlaceMarkers?
In a nutshell, PlaceMarkers enable you to instantly navigate back to a place that you define within a Word document, PDF document, or within a web page. When you are in one of these documents or web pages and you find a place that you want to be able to jump back to, you can create what is called a temporary PlaceMarker to set that location. Then you can zip back to it with another hot key. Let’s try this on the JAWS downloads page.
Once the JAWS downloads page is loaded in your browser of choice, navigate to the What Is New In JAWS link. Do not press enter on it. Instead, we are going to set a temporary PlaceMarker by pressing CONTROL+WINDOWS+K. You should hear JAWS say: “temporary PlaceMarker set”. Now, wherever you move on that page, you can jump back to that location by pressing the letter K.
Note that if you are doing this in a Word document, you will hear, “marking place”, and the hot key to return is WINDOWS+ALT+K.
These temp PlaceMarkers will stay set even if you close JAWS or the browser.
You can also use temp PlaceMarkers to select text. All you need to do is to drop a temp PlaceMarker with CONTROL+WINDOWS+K, move to where you want to end your selection, and press JAWSKEY+SPACE followed by the letter M. JAWS will say, “selecting between marked place and current position”. Now you can copy that text to the clipboard if you wish.
The limitation with temporary PlaceMarkers is that you can only have one per page or document. However, you can do so much more here if you use permanent PlaceMarkers.
Creating Permanent PlaceMarkers
If you want to have more than one PlaceMarker for a website, you can create a permanent PlaceMarker. To do this, press CONTROL+SHIFT+K. If you do this on the web, you will be placed in the PlaceMarker List dialog. At this point you can add a permanent PlaceMarker by pressing ENTER, or tabbing to the Add button, or by pressing ALT+A. However you choose to get there, you will be in the Add PlaceMarkers dialog, in the Name edit box. For this example, I am still using the JAWS downloads page that I linked to above. For this permanent PlaceMarker, I navigated to the Contact Us heading. So, in my case, the permanent PlaceMarker already has the name of “contact us”. If you tab you will get to a check box called Define For All Pages On Current Domain. If this is checked, the PlaceMarker will work for all pages within the Freedom Scientific website. If you do not check this box, the PlaceMarker will only work for the current web address.
Tabbing again, you will have another check box called Anchor To Text. If you check this option, JAWS will refer to this text when locating the PlaceMarker on the page, rather than the physical location. It is a good idea to check this box so that the PlaceMarker will continue to work even after the website and/or the page are updated. When these updates occur, things can sometimes be moved around. By checking this box, JAWS will use that text to find the PlaceMarker even if it’s not in the same location due to a page update.
If you do check that box, tabbing once more will take you to an edit box called Anchor Text. This box will have the text that JAWS believes to be associated with the PlaceMarker. You can change this if you think there is too much text; standard editing commands will work here.
When you are done, tab to the OK button.
Congratulations! You just created a permanent PlaceMarker.
If you go back into the PlaceMarkers list with CONTROL+SHIFT+K, then tab, you will first have an add button that we covered before. If you tab again, you will find a remove all button. Warning Using this button will allow you to delete all PlaceMarkers on a given web page.
Once you arrow to a PlaceMarker from the list, you can tab to either the Rename or Remove button.
You also have a Display radio button that allows you to show PlaceMarkers for everything, the domain, or for only the current URL (i.e., the address of the current web page).
Let’s Wrap This Up
I love this feature in JAWS. I think if more people used it wisely, it could really help them navigate more efficiently. Here are a few examples of how this can be useful:
Many websites have comment areas. After reading an article, it may be interesting to see what others have said or recommended. A PlaceMarker can make this easier. Here’s another. If you use some kind of customer web database, you can setup PlaceMarkers to jump to various areas that you need to access quickly. This could be someone’s account info, a phone number, a save button, a search box, and the list could go on.
Hopefully, as you think about this feature, you will find uses not covered here.
Casey Mathews is the founder of WebFriendlyHelp.com, a company designed to help people get the most out of their technology. He has worked in the Access Technology field since the mid 1990’s. He holds an MCP certification (Microsoft Certified Professional) as well as a BS in Information Technology from the University of Phoenix. He has also received the Florida division of Blind Services Access Technology endorsement. Casey has worked at Lighthouse Central Florida since 2007 where he has introduced new software and training/support ideas from Serotek, the NVDA (Non Visual Desktop Access) screen reader, and of course apple iDevices. Casey was also instrumental in the founding of a Guide Dogs for the Blind technology chapter in 2011. Casey enjoys testing new technology and software and is highly committed to remaining informed of developments in technology.
The idea behind my personalized access technology solution is that people have different needs and learning styles. Some want to learn as much as possible so they can be ready for anything. If that’s you, great! However, just as important is the next person who may simply want the minimum to get the job done, then call later when something else crops up. We all have different limits, and sometimes less is more. Some learn by example, some learn better by taking a few pointers and trying to figure things out for themselves, and some just want it fixed so they can go on about their day. You may be:
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This first free chat usually takes anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour. You are highly encouraged to ask questions. The more input and direction I have from you, the better I can tailor my services to fit your needs.
What to expect
After the first free chat, when we connect, you can expect someone who is professional and deeply cares about your specific situation. At a minimum, I want to make your tech trouble go away. I would also love to help you learn to use your technology better if that’s what you want or need. I can connect to your computer and begin making your tech life easier today!
Below is a partial list of services that I can provide to you as a member of WFH.
• New PC/iPhone setup: Did you just get a new PC or iPhone and are not sure what to do with it? Maybe you have the software and apps but are not sure how to customize them for yourself. I can help.
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That list is only a quick sampling of services I can provide for you. Everyone will of course be unique and may therefore require things that are not on this list. Hopefully this short list gives you an idea of how I can help. Young or old, newbie or experienced, I will tame your tech for you!
I can hear people asking me, “What is this going to cost?” So you have a few options. The recommended option involves a subscription where you will be charged a set amount either on a quarterly or yearly basis. You can cancel at any time.
The first option is to pay $80 per quarter or every 90 days (three months). This could be an option if you think you may not need a lot of tech services long-term. This option saves you $10 per quarter or $40 per year.
Most of my customers go with the second option. This charges you a subscription at a cost of $300 per year. The great thing about the membership is you never have to worry if you can get help from me, and you also save $60 each year.
The last option you have is to pay per month. This option is good if you don’t want to pay for a quarterly or annual membership. This option charges you $30 per month. A dollar a day keeps access tech trouble away!
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