Creating PowerPoint with JAWS: Commands

As educators, we are very familiar with creating and using PowerPoint Presentations. There are numerous posts on Paths to Technology about simple content for slide shows that can be used to teach how to create a slide show to young students. Even though the lesson content in these posts can be used with any device and any type of slide presentation, many of these posts for younger students focus on VoiceOver commands for an iPad. What if your student is using JAWS and a PC? Here is a quick list of JAWS commands used to create PowerPoint Presentations!

JAWS Commands

While in normal view for editing a PowerPoint

  • Control + N: Creates a new presentation
  • Control + M: Insert a new slide which will have the default format or sometimes the same format as the previous slide
  • Control + D: Make a copy of the selected slide
  • Tab: Move between the placeholders on the slide
  • Enter: Start edit mode on the selected placeholder
  • Escape: Exit edit mode for the placeholder
  • Page Up or Page Down: Move between slides

General JAWS Commands

  • Control + S: Save the slide
  • Control + O: Open a presentation
  • Control + W: Close a presentation
  • Control + P: Print a presentation
  • Alt + F4: Quit PowerPoint
  • Control + K: Insert a hyperlink
  • F7 key: Check spelling

While in the Presentation mode

  • F5 key: Launch the slide show mode
  • Spacebar: Advance a slide
  • Backspace: Go back a slide
  • Escape: Exit a slide show mode and return to the normal view for editing

Note: Share these JAWS commands with the classroom teacher, so that she can offer assistance to the student as needed to complete a classroom assignment. The classroom teacher does not need to know JAWS, but if the student becomes stuck, she can quickly confirm the correct command. Preferably, the student will independently refer to the JAWS commands list. However, having the list handy may be helpful in keeping the student working during class.

Teaching Hints

When teaching how to create a PowerPoint Presentation, start with easy content, as the focus is on learning the tech, i.e. learning the screen layout and the JAWS commands. 

For students who are focusing on writing the content, the student can create a word document with the content. Use Heading 1 to mark the text that will become the title of each new slide. Use Heading 2 to be the main bullet points of the slide and Heading 3 to be subpoints. Students can easily navigate the word document to move text around or to make changes. Many students find this system is easier to write the content and then migrate the content into the PowerPoint Presentation. Other students, especially if they are comfortable with the PowerPoint app, may prefer to enter content directly into the placeholders within the PowerPoint presentation.

Students need to be familiar with the layout of the screen. Creating a tactile graphic of the screen is very helpful to develop a robust mental map! Once the student has reviewed the tactile graphic, then use F6 to move through the PowerPoint panes and toolbars. 

Order of Panes:

  • Original View: Slide view. Your cursor will be placed in the first placeholder where you can start typing. Press Control Tab to move to the next placeholder and beginning typing. (Depending on the slide, the next placeholder might be bullet points.)
  • Second View: Task Pane. Moves the focus to the Task Pane on the right side of the screen, which provides the options such as Layout, Design Templates, Animations, etc.
  • Third View: Notes area. This is where students can write his/her speaker notes. This is below the slide and when in presentation mode, is only seen by the speaker.
  • Fourth View: Thumbnail Slides. The Thumbnail Slides are an outline slide view pane located on the left side of the screen. To toggle between Slide Mode and Thumbnail mode, press Control Shift Tab.

Pressing F6 again, will toggle through these panes again.

Aligning to National Tech Standards Scope and Sequence

When should my student learn how to create presentations? According to the National Tech Standards Scope and Sequence:

  • Introduced in first grade, Reinforced in second and Mastered in third: Create, edit and format text on a slide.
  • Introduced in second grade, Reinforced in third, and Mastered in fourth: Create a series of slides and organize them to present research or convey an idea.
  • Introduced in third grade, Reinforces in fourth grade and Mastered in fifth: Copy and paste or import graphics; change their size and position on a slide.