Using the JAWS Scripts For Skype for Windows
Doug Lee
Last Revised June, 2020

This Guide provides tips for using Skype for Windows with JAWS For Windows and these scripts. When the scripts are installed and Skype is open and focused, this document can be opened via a double press of JAWSKey+F1 (or Insert+F1).

These scripts and this documentation apply to Skype for Windows, an Electron app. As of June 29, 2020, there are two ways to obtain Skype for Windows:

Skype and these scripts work identically in both cases. This newly unified Electron Skype app, formerly in this document called Skype 8, is now simply called Skype or Skype for Windows.

Table of Contents

System Requirements For JAWS Users

These scripts require JAWS 17.0 or greater. (JAWS versions prior to 17.0 do not support web site specific scripts, and skype runs inside a Google Chrome window.) The current scripts are most carefully tested under JAWS 2020.

Note: As of August, 2019, running these scripts under JAWS versions older than the JAWS 2019 August update will require the companion Script Load Manager (slman) scripts to manage Electron app script loading for your JAWS version.

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 computer.
  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 computer who will be using JAWS with these scripts.
  3. Download and run, or run directly, the installer for these scripts; and follow the on-screen directions. Be sure to install the scripts in the currently running JAWS version if a JAWS version list is presented.
  4. To verify successful installation, type Insert+Q while skype is in focus. 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. If you are using an old JAWS version, it may be necessary to install or reinstall the Script Load Manager (slman) scripts to manage Electron app script loading for your JAWS version.

Key Sequences

These scripts incorporate commands that consist of sequences of keystrokes, all beginning with a common prefix, or "command keystroke." This approach allows many script commands without the risk of conflicting with application keystrokes. See the "Multi-Key Command Sequences" section of the "Common Script Elements" document for further details, including how to explore the available script commands (similar to exploring a menu system), and how to change the Command key if necessary.

By default, the Command keystroke for these scripts is [. This document may refer to this keystroke as [ or Command; so, for example, [ Tab and Command Tab both refer to typing the prefix key, then separately the Tab key. Some sequences may consist of more than two keystrokes, or "levels"; for example, [ d r would refer to typing [, then d, then finally r.

Using skype With JAWS and the Scripts

This section and its subsections provide tips for using skype with JAWS and these scripts.

Native skype Keyboard Shortcuts

skype provides several keyboard shortcuts. These work with or without JAWS or these scripts. Microsoft maintains a list of the native shortcuts on the "What are hotkeys and how do I use them in Skype?" page, which also lists hotkeys for other Skype versions on Windows and other operating systems. Be sure to select the correct tab for this Skype version. Tabs are located under the hotkey table near the bottom of the page. As of this writing (June 29, 2020), the correct tab is called "Skype for Windows Desktop and Windows 10 (version 15)."

JAWS Script Commands and Features

As of September, 2018, and in coordination with JAWS 2018 and 2019 Skype scripts released by Freedom Scientific, some commands have duplicate keystrokes and/or sequences so that users of the built-in Skype scripts will not need to learn different ways of accessing the same features. In the below list, Insert refers to the Insert key. The Capslock key will also work in place of Insert when the Laptop keyboard layout is in effect.

The scripts provide the following commands:

The scripts also provide the following features:

Useful Tips

When a call arrives in skype, signaled by the incoming call sound, focus Skype and then Tab to see caller information and buttons for handling the call. This is made much easier by assigning a global Windows shortcut keystroke to launch the Skype window. To do this:

Use Alt+1 to focus the conversation list. Sometimes, such as after a Search via Ctrl+Shift+S, it may take two invocations of Alt+1 to focus the Conversations list. This is native Skype behavior.

Press Enter on a conversation in the Conversations list to display the conversation and place focus in the input edit box for it. In the event focus does not land in the input box, use the scripted [ E sequence to move focus there.

Use Alt+2 to pop open the contact list. Since the contact list is searched by the "Search Skype" box (quickly reachable with Ctrl+Shift+S), it may rarely be necessary to open the contact list directly.

A fast way to start a new conversation:

Warning: The Ctrl+Shift+P and Ctrl+Shift+K hotkeys for making voice and video calls will call the displayed contact, not the contact whose entry is focused in the conversation list if that is a different contact. To be sure you are calling the correct contact while navigating the conversation list, press Space or Enter before making a call.

In a conversation history list, there may be an entry like "Conversation read up to this point by one person." Pressing Tab on this entry will focus a button with the same name. Pressing Enter (not Space) on this button will bring up one or more buttons indicating who has read the conversation up to this point. Arrows will move among buttons when more than one are present. Pressing Enter on any button in this set will bring up the corresponding person's profile. Press Esc to close the set of buttons and return to the conversation history list. Focus may actually land on the "Conversation has been read..." button, but arrows will again move through history entries.

Known Issues

Issues shown in this section may be fixed in future script and/or application revisions but are not addressed as of this writing.

There is not the usual system in these scripts for navigating among chat messages. Historically this has been done with Alt with numbers to read recent messages, and Alt with arrows, Home, End, and Numpad5 to read sequentially while keeping track of a current position. The implementation of skype's chat message list does not afford this type of navigation.

Opening this document from within skype by typing Insert+F1 twice in quick succession may leave the JAWS virtual cursor inactive. Use Insert+Z to turn the virtual cursor back on if this occurs.

Arrowing through a chat participant list while constructing a group chat may occasionally become slow. Alt+Tab out of and back into Skype if this occurs. This solution should work under JAWS 2019 but possibly not under any older JAWS version. The cause of this issue is not known.

Under JAWS versions older than 2019, leaving and returning to Skype via Alt+Tab or other means may, depending on the active screen, cause the scripts to unload and to be replaced with the scripts for Google Chrome. Much effort has gone into mittigating this situation, but it still occurs due to differences in how various JAWS versions load scripts for Electron applications. The following tricks may help:

Braille support is not complete.

Revision History

This is the revision history of these scripts, most recent revision first:

Revision 178, released August 12, 2020, tested against application version 8.63.0.76

Revision 174, released June 30, 2020, tested against application version 8.61.0.100

Important: If you did not install revision 173, released on June 29, follow the instructions at the top of the next section.

This revision fixes the following issues found in revision 173:

This revision also adds two parameters to the Options section of skype.jcf to duplicate the behavior of the default JAWS Skype scripts, though the options should already have taken effect in revision 173 because they exist in the shared instance of that file:

MSAAMode=3
LanguageDetection=0

Revision 173, released June 29, 2020, tested against application version 8.61.0.100

Important: To install these scripts, please follow the following procedure:

  1. If you have installed scripts for Skype for Windows 10 (Skype UWP), run the uninstaller for these or remove them manually.
  2. Do the same for any scripts for Skype 8 for Windows Desktop, though this installer should catch those automatically.
  3. Install these scripts, allowing the installer to run the uninstaller for existing Skype 8 for Windows Desktop scripts if they are found.
  4. Restart JAWS after the installation of these scripts is complete.

Notes for script translators:

Changes in this revision:

Revision 162, released April 26, 2020, tested against application version 8.59.0.77

Revision 149, released April 13, 2020, tested against application version 8.58.0.93

Revision 137, December 16, 2019, tested against Skype 8.55.0.135

Revision 130, August 30, 2019, tested against Skype 8.51.0.92

Revision 128, August 23, 2019, tested against Skype 8.51.0.86

Revision 123, July 24, 2019, tested against Skype 8.50

Revision 121, July 10, 2019, tested against Skype 8.48 and 8.49

Revision 113, April 18, 2019, tested against Skype 8.43

Revision 102, February 12, 2019, tested against Skype 8.38

Revision 86, February 6, 2019, tested against Skype 8.38

Revision 73, November 29, 2018, tested against Skype 8.32 through 8.34

Revision 60, August 31, 2018, tested against Skype 8.28

Revision 59, August 22, 2018, tested against Skype 8.28

Updates to improve support for the August update to JAWS 2018, and a few general improvements:

* These additions are adapted from the Skype 8 scripts that shipped with the August update to JAWS 2018.

Revision 47, August 14, 2018, tested against Skype 8.27 and 8.28

Revision 45, July 23, 2018, tested against Skype 8.25

Revision 39, July 17, 2018, tested against Skype 8.25

Skype 8 users should upgrade to Skype 8.25 if not already done before downloading this script update. Changes:

Revision 28, April 20, 2018, tested against Skype 8.19

Revision 21, February 26, 2018, tested against several Skype Electron versions up through 8.16

Fixed Insert+T's ability to name conversations in many cases.

Revision 20, February 25, 2018, tested against several Skype Electron versions up through 8.16

This is the first release of these scripts.