Access Technology Tip: Making it Easier to Participate in Online Meetings

Illustration of people participating in a virtual meeting

In recent years, many of us have participated in online virtual meetings. For individuals who use synthetic speech to access information—such as screen readers or screen magnification software—it can be a challenge to participate in these meetings while listening to the computer speak.

Freedom Scientific has recently introduced a new feature in both JAWS and Zoomtext Fusion that allows users to place the meeting audio in one speaker and have the synthetic speech played in the other speaker. This allows people wearing headphones to tune out the computer speech when they need to focus on the meeting, and vice versa.

To turn on the feature in either JAWS or Zoomtext:

Hold down the Insert key and press Space. A short click will sound, indicating a layered keystroke has been invoked. Now press the letter V for volume, followed by the letter B for balance. At this point, pressing the Left or Right Arrow key will route the speech from JAWS/Fusion to the left or right speaker. Any other sounds from the computer, including meeting audio, will be played from the opposite speaker.

To restore normal sound balance:

Once again press Insert and Space, followed by V and then B. At this point, pressing the Up Arrow key will cause all sounds to be played using both speakers.

For questions, or if you would like to receive instruction on helpful features of commonly used access technology products, please contact the Council at 800-783-5213, or email Access Technology Specialist Jim Denham at

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