Using the JAWS Scripts For Skype UWP
Last Revised November, 2017

This Guide provides tips for using Skype UWP, also called Skype for Windows 10, with JAWS For Windows and these scripts. When the scripts are installed and Skype UWP is open and focused, this document can be opened via a double press of JAWSKey+F1 (or Insert+F1).

Note that Skype UWP provides many keyboard shortcuts that do not require scripts. These scripts simplify some tasks and provide a few shortcuts not provided by Skype UWP itself.

Table of Contents

System Requirements For JAWS Users

For correct operation with Skype UWP, these scripts require JAWS 18.0 or greater. (JAWS versions prior to 18.0 do not support scripting Universal Windows Platform (UWP) applications.

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. Run 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 Ins+Q while Skype UWP 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.

Configuring Skype UWP For Use With JAWS

The following steps can improve Skype's functionality with JAWS and these scripts. These items are optional and subject to personal preference.

Warning: It may be necessary to repeat any of these configuration steps after updating to another Skype UWP version. (This circumstance occurred once during script development in October, 2017, but should not normally occur.)

Using Skype UWP With JAWS and the Scripts

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

Skype UWP Screen Descriptions

Skype UWP is structured differently than Skype for Windows Desktop:

The conversation list is a central element of the Skype UWP window and is always shown unless covered by a popup. There is a contact list, but it pops up over the main window when requested.

There will usually be one conversation on screen at a given time. If no conversations have been displayed since Skype launched, a Home section is shown instead. This section is not an HTML section as was the case in the classic Desktop client, but Tab will reach controls within it.

Native Skype UWP Keyboard Shortcuts

Skype UWP provides the following keyboard shortcuts. These work with or without JAWS or these scripts. Much of this information also appears on Microsoft's "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. See also the Microsoft Keyboard shortcuts in Windows page for shortcuts provided by Windows but relevant to Skype UWP. Most notable among these is Windows+V, which cycles focus among notifications and thus allows access to caller ID and answer buttons for an incoming Skype call.

Category Keystroke Function Comments
Configuration Ctrl+, Opens the Settings screen. Changes made in this screen take effect immediately and are not canceled by Esc, so Esc is an efficient way to close this screen when finished. If this keystroke does not work, make sure a popup is not open on top of the main window.
  Ctrl+I Open your profile. This keystroke opens your profile window, from which you can do any of the following:
  • Update your profile fields.
  • Upload a picture.
  • Update your mood text.
  • Switch in and out of Do Not Disturb mode.
  • Choose whether to allow others to see your online status.
  • Manage your Skype account (credit, subscriptions, etc.).
  • Open the Settings screen (the same screen opened with Ctrl+,).
  • Send feedback to Skype developers about the application via a separate app.
  • View Skype online help.
  • Sign out of Skype.
Navigation Alt+1 Switch to the Conversation list. Depending on Skype UWP version and other factors, this command may also focus the first conversation in the list, though without also making that conversation display. Pressing Enter on a list entry will display the conversation and focus the input edit box for it. Pressing Space, on the other hand, will display the conversation but leave focus on its list entry. (These specific behaviors may vary slightly among Skype UWP versions.)
  Alt+2 Opens the contact window with the Contacts tab active. The contact window displays over the main window and can be closed with Esc. The contact window actually contains two tabs, of which "Contacts" is the first. The other tab is "Bots."
  Alt+3 Open the contact window with the Bots tab displayed. The Bots tab in the contact window shows a number of computerized services available in Skype.
Conversation and Call Management Ctrl+F Focus the "Search Skype" edit box. Use this box to find contacts, conversations, and Skype users to add to your contact list. This search facility can even locate specific chat messages by key words or phrases.
  Ctrl+Shift+P and Ctrl+Shift+K Make a voice or video call, respectively. These commands normally operate on the displayed conversation. If a search results window is open over the main window, you can use these commands to call a contact directly from the search results list.
  Ctrl+E while in the Skype UWP window Hang up the active call. This shortcut only works when focus is somewhere within the Skype UWP window.
  Ctrl+Shift+H while in the Skype UWP window Toggle the active call between held and active. This shortcut only works when focus is somewhere within the Skype UWP window.
  Up while in the chat input edit box Edit the previously sent chat message. A chat message can be altered for a period of time after it is first sent.
  Ctrl+N New chat Starts a new conversation by displaying a contact list in which you can check wanted participants, apply a search to narrow the list or find individuals, etc.
  Ctrl+F4 Hide the displayed conversation. This shortcut hides the displayed conversation, not the one associated with the focused conversation list entry if different. Hiding a conversation removes it from the conversation list.
  Ctrl+D Show the dialpad. The dialpad allows you to type a number to call directly. Note that this dialpad is different from the dialpad available while in a call for dialing access codes etc.
  Ctrl+Shift+A Add Participants (Add People) This keystroke is equivalent to clicking "Add Participants" in a conversation. It allows you to add people to an existing conversation.
  Ctrl+P Show profile for displayed conversation Shows the profile for the contact in the displayed conversation, or a profile screen for the conversation if it contains multiple contacts. A checkbox is included that allows you to turn on or off notifications for the conversation.
  Ctrl+Shift+F Send file Opens a window allowing you to send a file to the displayed conversation.
Miscellaneous Ctrl+H Help Opens in the default browser a web page offering help for Skype UWP.
  Ctrl+O Open the Feedback Hub This keystroke opens a separate application that lets you send feedback to the Skype developer team.
  Ctrl+Shift+U Home page and mark unread Opens the Skype UWP home section that is first shown when Skype launches. This section replaces any displayed conversation. Also marks the last message in the currently shown conversation as Unread. Note that Microsoft only documents the second of these functions; see the "Hotkeys in Skype for Windows 10" section of the Microsoft "What are hotkeys and how do I use them in Skype?" page.

JAWS Script Commands and Features

Skype UWP script commands are key sequences rather than multi-key combinations. This is to avoid collisions between script commands and native application keystrokes. All such key sequences start with a common prefix key, a left bracket ([) by default. Users can change the prefix key if necessary by typing [ followed by JAWSKey+C or Ins+C. The change will survive across script and JAWS updates. In this document, the prefix key will be called Command; thus, by default, Command 1 means type [ followed by 1.

The scripts provide the following commands:

The scripts also provide the following features:

Useful Tips

When a call arrives in Skype UWP, signaled by the incoming call sound, type Windows+V to vocus its notification. JAWS will announce the caller identification information. From there, Tab to the button you wish to use in response (Audio for an audio-only call, Video for an audio/video call, Ignore to ignore the call, etc.).

Use Alt+1 to focus the conversation list. This command may also moved to the first conversation in that list, though without switching to that conversation. This was Alt+2 in the classic Skype for Windows Desktop.

Press Enter on a conversation in the conversation list to display the conversation and place focus in the input edit box for it.

Use Alt+2 to pop open the contact list. This was Alt+1 in the classic Skype for Windows Desktop client. Since the contact list is searched by the "Search Skype" box (quickly reachable with Ctrl+F), it may rarely be necessary to open the contact list directly.

A fast way to start a new conversation:

By default, these scripts alter the behavior of arrows and other navigation keys in some lists. If this script feature is not turned off, arrows, Home, and End will move focus but without changing selection and without altering other parts of the display. Skype UWP's native response to these keys is to select each list item in turn and update the display accordingly. This can be very slow, can cause inadvertent clearing of unread message flags, and in the active call list can send focus out of the list and thus complicate list navigation. At this writing, this feature applies by default to the following lists:

If you choose to disable the above "preserve list selection" feature in Quick Settings, you can still move through the affected lists without altering selection by using Ctrl+Down and Ctrl+Up rather than just Down and Up by themselves. This will move focus among list elements without changing selection. To select the focused item, press Space.

Advanced JAWS users may also wish to examine the "Fast Conversation List Navigation With the JAWS Touch Cursor (Advanced)" section for another efficient way to navigate the conversation list.

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 with Ctrl+Up and Ctrl+Down, press Space before making a call.

The JAWS touch cursor, enabled by holding down a Shift key while issuing a standard JAWS PCCursor command, may be useful in some situations for determining the context of a field. In Settings screens, for example, try turning on the touch cursor and then using the Left and Right arrow keys to explore neighboring screen elements. Field names sometimes will appear left of the current field in this navigation mode; and for fields that have further descriptive text, it tends to appear to the right in this navigation mode.

When using the Reaction Picker button on a chat message, use Left and Right arrows to move among reaction choices, not Up and Down. In some Skype UWP versions, one press of the Tab key is required after pressing Space on the "Reaction Picker" button in order to reach the first reaction button.

Fast Conversation List Navigation With the JAWS Touch Cursor (Advanced)

This subsection describes a very advanced technique of handling the Skype conversation list and is not recommended for new JAWS users. It is also probably unnecessary except on machines with very large conversation histories.

An example of when the following technique is useful: You launch Skype UWP and, to your surprise, there are 20 conversations with unread messages. They are not, however, all grouped at the top of the list. (This can occur in all Windows Skype clients when calls have arrived from a telephone using a SkypeIn number.) Attempting to navigate the list with arrows is very slow; and even using Ctrl with arrows does not significantly improve performance.

The following procedure will use the JAWS touch cursor to move among conversation list elements without changing selection or focus within the list. First, a bit of background:

JAWS comes with a "touch cursor" that is sometimes useful in navigating Universal Windows Platform (UWP) applications. This cursor can operate in two modes: In the normal mode, Left and Right keys act like "swipe" or "flick" gestures on modern phones, moving through screen elements in a logical sequence that attempts to include all elements available. In the advanced mode, elements are presented in a tree-like structure, where Left and Right keys move among elements at one tree level and Up and Down move among levels. This subsection concentrates on using this advanced mode to work around a sluggishness issue with the Skype UWP conversation list.

To move rapidly through entries in the conversation list, follow this procedure:

  1. Move to the conversation list by typing Alt+1. If necessary, then tap the Home key to move to the first element in the list.
  2. Enable the JAWS touch cursor by holding down a Shift key while issuing the normal PCCursor command. The touch cursor will start on the currently focused element in the conversation list.
  3. Make sure the advanced touch cursor mode is enabled by tapping the * key on the number pad. This key toggles between advanced and normal modes.
  4. Use Left and Right arrow keys to move through the list of conversations. Response to each navigation should be instantaneous in this mode. Any conversations with unread messages will be indicated as you navigate.
  5. To focus and select a conversation, to read or simply to clear unread messages, press Space. Focus will remain on the element you focused, so you can continue navigating to other conversations if you prefer.
  6. Once done with this procedure, turn off the touch cursor by issuing the PCCursor command twice in quick succession.

Known Issues

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

The following are, in this author's opinion, serious shortcomings of all of the following Skype UWP versions: 11.19.0.856, 12.7.0.597, 12.8.0.480: 12.8.0.487:

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. Skype UWP's chat message list does not appear to afford this type of navigation without performance and reliability issues, according to much experimentation during script development.

Some popups and screen inserts have no on-screen names and are thus not readily identifiable by JAWS. Examples include

JAWS should automatically announce the following events as they occur but currently does not do so:

Attempts to announce incoming chats before script release resulted in significant performance issues and announcement of numerous chat messages other than the focused one during a scroll through message history.

In Skype UWP 12.7.0.597 and 12.8.0.480 but not in Skype UWP 11.19.0.856, online presences (Online, Away, Do Not Disturb) are not reported to screen readers. In versions 12.8.0.480 and .487, another indicator sometimes reports "active now" and similar indications however.

JAWS may say "listbox" several times when focus lands on some list controls.