JAWS Scripts For Skype for Business 2015 and Microsoft Lync 2013
Doug Lee
Last Revised August, 2015

This document describes the scripts for Skype for Business 2015 (SfB) and Microsoft Lync 2013 ((Lync). and provides tips for using these applications with JAWS. This document can be opened from within SfB or Lync via a double press of JAWSKey+F1 (or Insert+F1).

This document is laid out for easy navigation using JAWS HTML heading navigation commands: H will move through all headings, 2 through major sections, and 3 and 4 through any subsections or subsubsections.

These scripts were made possible in part by funding and resources provided by SSB BART Group, for which this author is most greatful.

Table of Contents

Supported Software

These scripts are written for Skype for Business 2015 and Microsoft Lync 2013, the actual application name for both being lync.exe. For simplicity, this document will refer to both application versions simply as "SfB."

These scripts work in JAWS 15 and later. They will not work with older JAWS or Communicator/Lync versions. Earlier JAWS versions do not include sufficient support for UI Automation (UIA), which is required for scripting this application.

Note: The official name for this Microsoft product is now Skype for Business, but there was previously a Skype for Business offering by the Skype company. The Skype for Business application now produced by Microsoft is basically Microsoft Lync 2013 with a new name and appearance. These scripts and this document refer exclusively to the Skype for Business (SfB) that is the rebranded Microsoft Lync, and occasionally to the prior version of the application, Microsoft Lync 2013. For scripts and documentation pertaining to Skype and the older Skype for Business packaging thereof, refer to the JAWS Scripts For Skype page.

Script Features In Brief

These scripts provide the following commands beyond those available in SfB itself:

These scripts also provide the following features beyond those provided by SfB itself:

System Requirements For JAWS Users

There are no known system requirements for these scripts beyond those for SfB itself. However, JAWS versions older than 15.0 will not work with these scripts.

Script Installation Instructions

To install these scripts on a new system:

  1. Load JAWS if this has not already been done. This will require administrative privileges on the PC.
  2. Run JAWS as the user for whom the scripts are to be installed. This and the following steps must be performed for each user of the PC who will be using JAWS with these scripts.
  3. Run the script installer and follow its instructions.
  4. To verify successful installation, type Ins+Q from within the application. Part of the JAWS spoken response should be a revision number. If you do not hear a revision number, the scripts are not correctly loaded.

SfB Configuration For Optimal Use With JAWS

The following SfB option settings may improve SfB's usability via JAWS. These items are located in the Tools/Options dialog (Alt+T O). Switch among pages by arrowing through the treeView of page names. All of the following suggestions are optional.

Known Issues and Workarounds

This script set does not implement the normal chat management command set (Alt with numbers, arrows, Home, End, and NumPad5). Lync 2013 and Skype for Business 2015 do not provide a means, even via scripting, to implement this navigation system. These scripts do provide Alt+1 to read the last received message in a chat window.

When a new chat message arrives, JAWS may announce that a menu has activated even though this is not the case. This can apply regardless of which application is in focus. This is an issue within Lync and SfB and is being addressed by Microsoft for future SfB releases. The scripts mittigate this issue by preventing JAWS from acting like a menu is active when a chat message arrives in the currently focused chat window, but the problem remains when focus is elsewhere when a message arrives.

JAWS will say "button" more often than it should. This is because many SfB controls are parented in UIA by controls that call themselves buttons. The scripts silence some but not all of these extra announcements.

Sometimes, pressing Tab from a message in the chat history list will encounter one or more extra tab stops before reaching the chat input box. These may say nothing, "Rich edit control," or the name of a chat participant. It may be more efficient to use Ctrl+Shift+I to jump directly to the chat input box in such cases.

Arrowing among messages in a chat history list can encounter silent spots, where an up or down arrow appears to do nothing. Continue to arrow past such spots. No information is skipped; it just appears as if arrows now and then fail to leave the current item and move to the next one. This is considered a Lync bug.