Purdue’s Web Accessibility Committee at http://www.purdue.edu/webaccessibility , has put out some information on creating Microsoft Word documents that are more accessible and useable by people who have disabilities. Obviously, it is very important for users of assistive technology, in this instance, users of JAWS screenreader, to be able to take advantage of the improved navigation offered by a well-constructed accessible Microsoft Word document. Traditionally very few Microsoft Word documents have had these features and many JAWS screenreader users never found any benefit in learning about the key sequences that could make navigating Word documents more efficient.
The key, pun intended, to making navigating Word documents easy is JAWS key + z . In most cases JAWS key is the Insert key on the number pad. The JAWS key + z key stroke puts JAWS into Quick Keys mode, when JAWS is running with Microsoft Word. In Quick Keys mode the navigation keys are the same as they are in Internet Explorer or Firefox. For example, h moves to the next heading. E moves to the next edit box etc. Pressing JAWS key + z a second time toggles Quick Keys mode off and returns to the standard editing mode in Microsoft Word.
Hopefully more and more Microsoft Word documents will be written to be accessible and useable to people who have disabilities and JAWS screenreader users will find the Quick Keys mode a valuable way to quickly navigate Word documents.