Re: My Note to the Blind Trainers Mailing List Regarding the Need for Training Materials For New or inexperienced Users


Here is the ribbons tutorial. It isn't attached because the list doesn't allow attachments. It is below my signature. Also, there are intorductory comments regarding errors and ommisions that are corrected in the introduction.


Here is the transition guide. I start out by discussing errors or omissions in the original material that I didn't know were errors or ommisions at the time. Instead of getting bogged down in it, it would probably be a good idea to read it, then when you read a about a subject I comment on at the beginning in the actual tutorial, you can look back and see the error or omission.

The information and the main concepts are correct.

If properly taught, it can be shown that Windows 7 allows you to do most things in the same way or similarly to XP but you also have new ways of doing some important things that may be better and more efficient or convenient, depending on what you are doing. You can use the start menu search field or you can go to the list of all programs or use shortcuts to open programs. You have more choices in Windows 7 but if you know how, you can still use the old methods if you wish.


Here is a copy of the messages, below my signature. There are one or two inaccuracies or omissions in them. In general, they will be useful and correct. Here are the inaccuracies and omissions I recall.

I said that using search in Control Panel produces better results at times than using the start menu search for items in control panel. That may well not be true but I hadn't worked with the start menu search enough when I wrote the material to realize it. It appeared to me to be the case then that the control panel search produced better results, but on further use and comparison, it may not be at all or in very few cases. So you can use the start menu search and look down in the results until you get to the control panel heading and look below it for control panel results.

Also, I didn't know that there are some split buttons you have to open like a combo box with alt down arrow to see more results. I said that some split buttons can't be opened but those were probably the ones that required alt down arrow to be used.

I also didn't know about the control right and control left arrow commands while in a ribbon to move to the different categories in a ribbon. For example, when you are in the home ribbon, you can use control right arrow to move forward by category and control left arrow to move backward.

I believe you won't just be on a category name, I believe you will be in the first item in the category. If, for example, you use control right arrow in the home ribbon of Windows Live Mail, you will get to a respond category. If you let the screen-reader continue to speak, you will hear, if my memory is correct, something announced like reply. So you are on the category name and in the first item.

And finally, JAWS used to have a bug, and may still, that, when you tab through the items in a ribbon, many of the key sequences to use as short cuts aren't announced, To hear them, use JAWS key tab. You will hear extraneous information, but the key sequence will be announced as the last item, as I recall when it is spoken.

Now, here is the material I wrote about transitioning to Windows 7 from XP.


Just What You Need to Know
A very basic short tutorial for XP users who are moving to Windows 7
Gene Asner


this informal short tutorial is based on messages I wrote to e-mail lists. You will see repetition in the discussion of ribbons which occurs in two separate messages but I've left the repetition in the material because it may help you understand points to see both discussions.

The goal of this informal tutorial is to present what a new Windows 7 user, who is familiar with Windows Xp needs to know to work with Windows 7. Where possible and where I deemed it desirable, I've presented techniques that are most similar to those used in XP. Where not possible or where I deemed it not desirable, I presented or concentrated on other methods. but I gave no unnecessary information and the other methods are easy to use and learn. You will likely learn a lot more about Windows 7 over time but this guide will probably allow you to use Windows 7 with reasonable ease and convenience within a much shorter time than you may have thought possible.
I hope those who read this material will distribute it widely. I would like it to become well known and available for download in many places such as from web sites that present such material for blind computer users.

The tutorial is based on the text of three messages, which I have modified as desirable for this tutorial. To move from one message to the next, use the search command and search for the word message, followed by a space then a number. For example, if you want to move to the third message, search for message 3

Message 1

Regarding working with My Computer and Windows Explorer, You will find lots of items that you can ignore and still work with the list of files and folders as you are used to doing. . As a new user, you don't have to worry about any of them. If you are in a list of files and folders, you will see that tabbing moves you through all sorts of items. but the actual list itself, which you work with in My Computer or Windows Live Mail works the same as in the past. You may want to learn about certain items you can tab to, such as the search feature but for now, in the early use and learning stage, you can keep things simple and just stay in the list. Also, when you work with an open or save as dialog, in XP, you just shift tabbed once to get to the files and folders list. In Windows 7, you must shift tab twice. Once on the list, it works as always.

Windows 7 allows you to open programs and other items using similar methods as in XP but a valuable search field is added to the start menu as another means of finding and opening items.

If you want to use the all programs menu, open the start menu. You are in a search field. Up arrow once to all programs.
right arrow once to open the all programs submenu.
down arrow twice. You are now in the main part of the all programs menu and can move through it using first letter navigation or the up and down arrow keys.

You can still create short cuts, send short cuts to the desktop and assign shortcut keys as you can in earlier versions of windows.
But before deciding to what extent you want to do those things, you should understand and try working with the search field in the start menu.

Once you press the Windows key, you are placed in the search field. type something you are looking for. You can often type just one word of something or perhaps even just three or four letters. You will have to experiment. If you want to find Internet Explorer, just typing inter may well be sufficient. You will be placed on the first result. You don't have to down arrow to it. Your screen-reader should automatically read the first result. If it doesn't, use read current line to have it read. You can press enter to open whatever result you are on. If you hear Internet Explorer announced after typing inter just press enter and the program will open. If you down arrow through the results and find one you want to open, press enter. If you want to close the search field and list and start over, press escape twice. You will be placed on the start button. Then open the start menu again.

when using the search field, experiment to see what gives you the best results. Don't assume typing the first word is the best method to move to something quickly. If the computer has
Windows Live Mail for example, you can probably cause Windows Live Mail to appear as the first
result by just typing the word mail. If you think about it, using the word Windows in the search field is far too broad a term and the word live may also apply to many programs that may be on your computer in the Windows Live category of programs. Mail makes the most sense to use in this context and you will find that out if you experiment with different words in the search field even if you haven't gone through the thought process I just outlined.

You don't have to worry about the run dialog being any more difficult to use. To open it, you hold the Windows key and type r, then release both keys. If you just press the Windows key
and release it, you are in the search field I described earlier and typing
r will do nothing except, perhaps show items that begin with the letter r. Once you open and try using it, you will find that the run dialog works just as it works in earlier versions of windows.

If you are a new Windows 7 user, you may find the easiest way to open the shut down dialog is to press the Windows key, then press escape. You will land on the start button and you can then use alt f4 to bring up the shut
down dialog.
Or, if you use Windows key m to move to the desktop, alt f4 will also
bring up the shut down dialog. On my computer, Windows key m doesn't
always take you to the desktop. Rather often, it places you on the start
button. Issuing the same command again places you on the desktop.
There are other ways to shut down, restart, and do the other things you do in the shut down dialog but this is most similar to the Windows XP dialog and, as a new Windows 7 user, you may find this the most convenient method to use for now. You may or may not want to switch later as you learn different ways of doing things in Windows 7. the other main way isn't any more difficult, just a little different.
When you bring up the shut down dialog, you are placed on shutdown. If that is what you want to occur, press enter. If you want some other acction to occur, move to the item and press enter. Shortly, I'll describe another method of shutting down Windows.

One thing you will see as you look around are split buttons. A split button often allows you to see more options than just the default action. Let's take an example.
Let's say you come across a split button that says shut down Windows. You won't find it in the shut down dialog I showed you how to open but you will find it if you learn the other main way to shut down windows in Windows 7. If you press enter on that button, Windows will shut down. That is the default action. Split buttons often show more options if you either right arrow while on the button or down arrow. As an example, if you are on the shut down split button, you can right arrow and a list of options will open. the items in the list include sleep, hibernate, restart, and others. You up or down arrow through the list or use the short cut commands you hear announced as you move through the list. the letter shortcuts often take actions without pressing enter so be careful when using them, just as you are in menus.

So, let's review. You find a split button that says shut down. If you press enter, the computer will shut down. If you right arrow, other options may be displayed. Or if you down arrow, other options may be displayed. A split button won't work with both methods. One method, either right arrowing or down arrowing will do so if it can be done with the button. Try both methods if you don't know which one might work. If you are on a tool bar which extends across the screen from left to right, down arrowing will open additional options. If you think about this, it makes sense. If you are in a menu, down arrowing will move you to the next item in the menu. So you right arrow on the split button to cause it to display more options. In a tool bar that extends across the screen from left to right, right arrowing will move you to the next item in the tool bar. So you down arrow when on the split button to cause it to display more options. But some tool bars run up and down the screen, as menus do. And at times, you may not be sure which way a structure extends on screen. So, as I said, if you are not sure or don't know, try both methods of causing the split button to display more options. Often, one of them will work. If you open the options a split button offers and don't want to work with them, arrow in the opposite direction to move out of them. For example, if you right arrowed to open more options, left arrow.

Let's find the shutdown split button in the start menu.
Open the start menu.
Right arrow once.
You are now on the shutdown split button. If you press enter Windows will shut down. If you right arrow, you will be in a number of items you can up or down arrow through such as restart, hibernate, etc. To close the options you are now in without taking any action, left arrow.

Regarding ribbons, much of the complaining about them is not warranted if you understand how they work and how to use short cut commands effectively and efficiently. and I would strongly recommend against using the JAWS virtual menus, no matter what the JAWS training material says about ribbons being difficult to use. the training material is just plain wrong and if you use the virtual menus offered as an option in JAWS, you will also not hear any short cut commands announced.

Try looking at ribbons and doing what is described below in wordpad. Everyone with Windows 7 has Wordpad on their machine. Wordpad provides a good environment to look at and practice working with ribbons.

The essence of working with ribbons is this:
Press alt to move to the upper ribbon.
You will probably be on an item that says home tab. Items on the upper ribbon are announced as tabs such as home tab, view tab, etc.
To see what choices are available in the ribbon,
right or left arrow repeatedly to move through the items. Move in one
direction to move through all of them, just as you would to move through all the items in a menu. For this demonstration, just so we are all doing the same thing, move with the right arrow. When you get back to where you started, you can keep right arrowing to move through the items again, if you wish. You can move through all the items as many times as you want. Or you can move with the left arrow whenever you want to move in the opposite direction.

Stop on view. Then start tabbing. You will move through all items in what is called the lower ribbon that are associated with the view item.

Many items in the lower ribbon are buttons. Use either the space bar or enter to activate the button. You may find a button that opens a menu and if you press enter or the space bar, you will then be in a menu.

Each time you move to an item, you will hear the short cut command to work with that item.

Let's look at an item which is usually called the application menu. Return to the main program window in wordpad by closing the ribbons. You can either press escape repeatedly, if necessary, or you can press alt once. Now, open the ribbons again with alt.
Start right arrowing until you get to the application menu.
You will hear application menu and then something like button drop down grid. Never mind drop down grid. It's a description you don't have to worry about. The important things are that you are on a button and at the application menu. Press enter or the space bar to activate the button. Activating the button opens the menu. Start down arrowing. you will hear all the short cut commands necessary to open an item or take an action. When you got to the menu item, you heard alt f. When you open the menu and move through it, you will hear all the letters announced. for example, if you down arrow to save as, you will hear alt f a. that means that, when you are in the main program window, you press and hold alt, type f while holding alt, then release both letters. You have now opened the menu. You then type a to open save as.
Experiment with some of the split buttons you will find in the menu we are working with to get a feel for how they work and what they do. You are in a menu so right arrowing shows the additional options. Left arrow moves you out of the additional options.

Commands such as control o, control n, control s, control r, etc. are mostly retained in programs
that use ribbons, though you won't hear them announced. If you don't already know them, you'll have to find them in ways such as by looking at a list of keyboard commands for the program. Such lists are often available in the help for the program. If you already know the commands from having used an older version of the program, most or perhaps even all of the commands you know will work.

Message 2.

You should change the setting for file extensions so that they are
displayed. You can do this in the same way as in XP. One way to
do this is to open the c drive. You can do so in the following manner:
Open the run dialog. In windows 7, you have to hold down the windows key
when you type r. If you do this, the run dialog will open and it works in
the same way as in Windows xp. In other words, hold the windows key and,
while doing so, type r. Then release both keys. Once the run dialog
opens, type c: and press enter. Note the colon after the c.
Open the menus with alt. Then type t.
You are in the tools menu.
Type o.
You have opened folder options.
shift tab once.
right arrow until you hear view.
Tab until you get to the advanced settings tree.
Down arrow to show extensions for known file types. Uncheck it with the
space bar.
Tab to enter and press the space bar. Close the c drive with alt f4.
You will now see extensions when you look at file types.
You can change what appears on the desktop in the following manner:
Go to the desktop.
Down arrow once to make sure only one item is selected.
Issue the command control space bar.
that unselects the item that was selected and now nothing is selected.
For those who are wondering, pressing f5 as an alternative method for
unselecting everything doesn't work, at least not on my machine when on
the desktop.
Open the context menu.
Up arrow, it's much closer that way, to personalize. Press enter.
Tab many times until you get to change desktop icons and press enter.
You are in a list. Up and down arrow to see the items. If you want an
item to be displayed, check it with the space bar. If you don't want it
displayed, uncheck it if it is already checked. Computer, one of the
items in the list, is the same as My Computer used to be. the name has
been changed by Microsoft to just computer instead of what I considered
the childish name, My Computer, it's like a child saying, My candy. I
have computer set to be showed on the desktop and I also have Control
Panel show on the desktop. You may not want these items displayed but I
find it very convenient. Another easy way to open Control Panel is to use the start menu search field. Open the start menu, and, probably just typing contr will cause Control panel to be shown as the first result. Press enter when you are on the correct result to open Control Panel. Of course, if you don't get good results, you can type more of the phrase control panel.

You may get messages or see some blind people advocate changing the view
in Control Panel to small icons so that you can move by first letter
navigation. I'm not telling you not to do so but I am saying that often,
far too often, blind people reject change in computer-related interfaces
without understanding the benefits that may be offered in the new
interface and without giving the new interface a proper try to see if they
like it before rejecting it out of hand. If you leave Control Panel
display set to the default setting, you will find that when you open
Control panel, you are in a search field. Do you want to find device
manager? Just type device in the field and down arrow. You will get to
device manager very quickly. Press enter to open it.
Do you want to get to system? Type system in the search field, down arrow
until you get to it and press enter. Again, you will find system very
quickly in this way. Do you want to change sounds? Type sounds in the
search field and down arrow until you get to change system sounds and
press enter. You are now in the sounds part of the volume dialog and are
in the correct place to work with sound schemes.
If you are looking for something in control panel and aren't sure what it
is called and want to look for it without using the search field, once you
open control panel, start tabbing. You will move from link to link, as
though you were tabbing through a web page. there may be times when using
first letter navigation would be faster. For example, if you know
something you are looking for begins with the letter s but you don't
remember the name well enough to use the search field to find it. but I
would much rather have access to the search field than to first letter
navigation when working with Control panel. You may disagree but don't
just change this setting because blind people say you should do it. I far
too often see blind people recommend the small icons setting so you can
use first letternavigation and I don't ever recall one of them explaining
that you will loose access to the search field if you make this change.

What I'm discussing in this message does not actually fall under the
category of accessibility. Windows is accessible whether you make the
changes and work in the ways I describe or not. but these are changes or
ways of working that may make using Windows more convenient or faster or


Message 3.
First, is Windows Live Mail on your computer? If so, you need to learn
how to work with ribbons.
What I will describe will allow you to work with ribbons in any program
that contains them. I will describe how to work with ribbons and, as part
of the discussion, tell you how to open the accounts dialog in Windows
Live Mail.

I would strongly urge you not to use the JAWS virtual menus if you are
using JAWS 12.x. Virtual menus are off in JAWS by default so if you
haven't turned on the virtual menus, you will be seeing the actual
ribbons. The JAWS training material claims that ribbons are difficult to
use. FS is doing a real disservice to the JAWS using community by
encouraging people not to use ribbons and making claims FS may believe are
true, but are not, about the difficulty in using ribbons.
Here is how to open the accounts dialog to create an e-mail account in Windows Live Mail. Seeing how this is done may help you understand how to work with ribbons in general.
open Windows Live Mail.
Open the ribbons with alt.
You are in the upper ribbon on the home tab.
Start right arrowing.
You will get to accounts after two or three right arrows.
Start tabbing to see what is in accounts. Stop on a button that says e-mail. You can use either enter or the space bar on this button.
If you wish, before you open this item, you can tab through all
the items in this lower ribbon. You will see a news groups button and, I
believe one or two other items. the news groups button is for creating a news groups account.
Once you return to the e-mail button, use
either enter or the space bar. then set up an account as usual.
You will find an application menu available. It is a
menu from which you work with many aspects of the program you used to use
the file menu fore. and indeed, you can open it from the main program
window by holding down the alt key and typing f. One important thing you
will see in this menu is the options dialog that used to be in the tools
menu. Now, in the new version of Windows Live Mail, it's in the
application submenu because this submenu is not a file menu, it's for
working with certain application items and features, ranging from save as
to the options menu.

Accellerator commands often work in programs with ribbons. Commands such
as control o, control s, and, since we are discussing an e-mail program, control r for reply, in short, many or most or perhaps all of the
accellerator commands you used to use in previous versions of the program
usually work.

My recommendation is that, when using ribbons, if you know you are going
to use a command regularly, that you make a point of remembering the short
cut commands announced for getting to that item, that is, if an
accellerator command such as control o, control s, or control r is not available. You won't hear commands such as control o, control s, or control r announced when working with ribbons. You have to know them or find them in other ways such as looking them up in a list of program commands, often available in the help material for the program.


-----Original Message-----
From: Gene via
Sent: Wednesday, June 10, 2020 5:25 AM
Subject: Re: [TechTalk] My Note to the Blind Trainers Mailing List Regarding the Need for Training Materials For New or inexperienced Users

I did a short tutorial many years ago for those moving from Xp to Windows 7.
I don't use Windows 10, at least not yet, so I don't know enough about it to
write one for the transition to Windows 10 but it appears to me that the
principles are more or less the same, that while Windows 10 offers new
features and capabilities, those who are making a transition can still use
Windows 10 very similarly to Windows 7 if they aren't using Windows 10 apps,
if they are using applications. If that is true, preparing a tutorial that
explains how to work with Windows 10 apps but that also demonstrates that
using very similar ways of working can be done if using the applications
people have been using before Windows 10.

Also, including a section on working with ribbons would be important. I
wrote a short tutorial explaining working with ribbons and anyone who wishes
may include part or all of it in whatever they are creating. I'll send it
in another message.

I'll also send my Windows 7 tutorial in another message for those who want
to see what I did and apply the same method or framework if they wish.

I think that, if it is correct that Windows 10 can be used in a very similar
manner to earlier versions of Windows, that that is very important for those
making the transition to know, whatever they may want to learn in addition
and over time.

-----Original Message-----
From: john s
Sent: Wednesday, June 10, 2020 4:55 AM
Subject: Re: [TechTalk] My Note to the Blind Trainers Mailing List Regarding
the Need for Training Materials For New or inexperienced Users

Dave, what I would like to see is a tutorial for someone migrating to
Windows Ten.

At 09:02 PM 6/9/2020, David Goldfield, wrote:
One of the mailing lists to which I'm subscribed is for trainers who provide technology training to the visually impaired. Truth be told I haven't done regular formal training in over four years but I do provide training and assistance to friends and I regularly help out on various lists and other forums where I can. Anyway, I posted the following message to that list regarding what I think is a real need for good, comprehensive training products for users who are either new or inexperienced with Windows. There is a surprisingly small amount of such products and I feel that it's time for that to change. Please consider reading the below message and let me know what you honestly think, even if you feel that there really isn't the need for this sort of material. Here is what I posted.

Hello. I am working with a couple of friends who are new or at least inexperienced in using Windows 10 with a screen reader. One user has not used a Windows computer in quite some time and so she would need a tutorial to guide her not only with introducing her to a screen reader but to the Windows operating system itself. In the early days of Windows 3.1 and the Windows 95/98 era there were a few such products in existence. I am honestly amazed at how few of these tutorials are actually available today covering the use of Windows 10 from the perspective of a very new visually impaired user. I realize that there is no shortage of competent trainers but some users may not be able to afford the services of one on one training. However, they might be willing to purchase a prepackaged tutorial. I realize that there are perhaps many challenges to a one size fits all approach and some might very correctly argue that having customized one on one training is ultimately better for the user since the trainer can more easily adapt to the needs and learning style of the user. This is certainly a valid point and one which I would not debate. However, I have fond memories of some very good training materials from some very talented trainers. The "Speaking Of" series from Krista Earl comes to mind and I had the opportunity to meet Krista about four years ago and I wasted no time in telling her that this new generation of computer users needs her talents. Braille tutorials would also be nice and would be very inclusive for those who are deaf-blind. I'd love to produce one myself but I not only detest the sound of my own voice but I'm a bit of a newcomer myself when it comes to audio production.

I guess that I'll finish up with two questions. First, what tutorials are currently available covering Windows 10 from the perspective of a total novice? Second, have any of you considered producing one? I can almost guarantee that you'd find that many people would gladly purchase it. I realize the irony of the catch 22 situation where promoting such a product on the Web might not actually reach the very people being targeted since many of them aren't savvy when it comes to Web navigation. To that objection I offer the following responses for your consideration.

First, if your tutorial or tutorials are thorough many people who are already online might still purchase them if they feel that they will be able to learn even more or to perhaps fill in any missing gaps in their knowledge. For that matter I'd likely purchase it myself if I knew it would be comprehensive even though I've been using Windows competently since the Windows 3.1 days as there are always new things I know I could learn or perhaps more efficient methods of performing certain tasks that I already perform. I acknowledge that I'm good at what I do but I also acknowledge that I don't know everything.

Second, people like me or others in the assistive technology field would surely be happy to promote anyone's product if it's good, presented well and if it's comprehensive and user friendly.

Third, you could always advertise in periodicals such as the Braille Forum or the Braille Monitor which reaches a very wide and diverse audience. You could ask an organization like Computers for the Blind to mention you as a potential resource by including your information along with every computer they sell. In fact, you could create a mini tutorial for free and ask if they'd be willing to distribute it with their computers and the tutorial could mention a more complete package with your company's contact information.

I'd welcome your input on this topic. I think there is a real need for good, comprehensive training materials either in Braille, in an audio format or, ideally, both. I will likely attempt to do this myself but in my case it's likely going to take a bit of time.

David Goldfield,
Blindness Assistive Technology Specialist
JAWS Certified, 2019


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