A guide for users of the Jaws screen reader, written by David Bailes. More guides are available on the Jaws Guides page of the VIP Software Guides website.
This is a guide to the standard Open and Save dialogs on Vista, and they are used by programs such as web browsers, email programs, and office programs.
These dialogs include most of the controls in the Windows Explorer window, which is described in the separate Windows Explorer (Vista) guide. Because detailed descriptions of all these controls can be found in that guide, only shorter descriptions of some of these controls are given in this guide.
The structure of both dialogs is similar to the structure of the Windows Explorer window, except that there is no menu bar, and there are additional controls after the Folder view for items such as the file name. Both dialogs contain:
Some Open dialogs enable you to open a single file, but many enable you to open one or more files. Normally, you'll probably only want to open a single file at time, but occasionally it's useful to be able to open a number of files from the same location. An example of this is adding a number of attachments to an email message.
The controls after the Folder view in an Open dialog include the following:
The files to be opened are specified by the location in the Address bar, and the filename or filenames in the File name edit box. The initial focus is the File name edit box, and it's initially empty. You can manually type in a filename, but it's much easier to select one or more files in the Folder view, which automatically puts their filename or filenames in the File name edit box. Once you've selected the file or files in the Folder view, you can press Enter to press the default Open button.
When an Open dialog is opened, there is some default location shown in the address bar, and the Folder view displays the contents of this location. Normally, programs try to be helpful when providing this default location. For example, the location may be the same location which you used for opening the previous file.
After opening the dialog, these are some common ways of proceeding:
The Files of type combo box determines the types of file which are shown in the Folder view. The options can include specific types, groups of types, and “all files”. Normally the default setting of this combo box is fine.
The controls after the Folder view in a Save dialog include the following:
A Save dialog enables you to specify both the filename and the location for the saved file.
The initial focus is the File name edit box, and this normally contains a default filename which is selected. Often you'll want to stick with this default filename. For example, if you download a file from the web, or an email attachment, the file may already have a meaningful name which you don't want to change. However, if you're saving a new document in a word processor, then the default filename may be the first line of the text, and so you'll probably want to change it. Because the text in the edit box is already selected, you can just type in a new name, and this overwrites the existing name.
The default location where the file is saved is shown in the Address bar. Normally, programs try to be helpful when providing a default location. For example, if you save a file using Internet Explorer, then the default location is the location where you saved the last file using that program.
So when you're happy with the file name, these are some common ways of proceeding:
Note that just as in the Open dialog, if you select a file in the Folder view, its file name is automatically placed in the File name edit box. However, in the Save dialog you normally don't want this to happen, unless you want to overwrite an existing file. If you accidentally select a file in the Folder view, and so overwrite the file name in the File name edit box, then you can either go back to the File name edit box and type in the required file name, or cancel the dialog and try again.
The Save as type combo box determines the type of the file that is saved, and the default extension. So if the Save as type is set to Word Document (*.doc), then is the File name edit box contains the word fred, then the name of the saved file will be fred.doc. In addition, only the files of this type are shown in the Folder view.
Normally, there's no need to change the setting of the combo box. If the file already exist, then the combo box is set to the current type of the file. Examples of this include downloading a file from the web, saving an attachment, and saving a file in a word processor which has already been saved. When you're creating a new file, then the program's default file type is used, and this is normally what you want. For example, in Microsoft Word, when you save a document for the first time, then the default type is Word Document.
An example of needing to change the Save as type combo box is if you're sending a document to someone, and they can only read it in a format which is different from the default format of your Word processor. Another example occurs when saving a file from an audio editor, and you need an audio file in a particular format.
If you want to create a new folder for the file you are about to save, then move to the location where you want to create this folder, and then:
An alternative way of creating a new folder is to use the New Folder button on the toolbar.
In the Open and Save dialogs, you'll probably need to navigate to a location where you want to open or save a file. The dialogs provide the same ways of navigating to a location as those provided by Windows Explorer: Folder view, Address bar, Favorite Links, and the tree view. However, as in the case of Windows Explorer, you don't have to learn how to use all these ways to be able to use the dialogs.
The next three sections describe how to move to some common locations. If necessary, you can then use the Folder view to move to sub folders of these locations.
If you know which drive letter it normally has, then:
Alternatively, if you don't know the drive letter, then:
The Folder view list view contains the files, folders, disks, etc which are in the location shown in the address bar. When you move to the Folder view, the focus is the first item, and it's unselected. If you need to select it, then press Spacebar.
As noted above, in both the Open and Save dialogs if you select a file in the Folder view, then it's file name is automatically placed in the File name edit box.
In the Folder view, you can move either down or up the location hierarchy:
If you want to change the view of the Folder view, then you can't use the View menu, as you would in Windows Explorer, since there's no menu bar. Also the menu of the View split button in the toolbar isn't accessible for users of screen readers. However you can change the view using the Folder view's context menu:
The Address bar both shows the current location, and enables you to change it.
The address bar has two different modes: a series of split buttons, and an edit combo box. When you move to the address bar, its initial mode depends on the keystroke used to move to it:
The Address bar section of the separate Windows Explorer guide describes both modes of the address bar in detail. However, for this guide it's assumed that you'll normally move to the Address bar using Alt + D and use the edit combo box mode if you want to change the location.
The edit combo box shows the current location, and its position in a location hierarchy using backslashes to separate its parts. You can move to a new location by typing the appropriate text, as described below, and then pressing Enter. The focus then normally moves to the Folder view, but sometimes the Address bar remains the focus.
You can type all manner of things into the Address bar, but these are probably the most common:
The Favorite Links list provides a fast way of moving to your favorite locations. The default list of links is: Desktop, Recent Places, Computer, Documents, Pictures, Music, Recently Changed, Searches, Public.
The Favorite Links list is located after the Organize button, and before the Collapse/Expand folders button. When you move to the list, the first item is selected, and Jaws reads the name of this item. Unfortunately, Jaws doesn't say that it's the Favorite Links list.
There are a couple of ways to select and open a link in the list:
If there's not enough screen space for all the links, then the last item is a More button, which Jaws reads as Show hidden items. Pressing Enter opens a context menu containing the hidden items. Note that if the Tree view beneath the Favorite links is shown, then there's very little room for the Favorite links. Hiding the Tree view using the Collapse folders button may free up enough space so that all the Favorite links can be shown, so removing the need for a Show hidden items link.
You can also add your own locations to this list, and this is particularly useful for locations which are deep down in the location hierarchy. Adding a link to to a location is described in the Favorite Links section of the separate Windows Explorer (Vista) guide. The added link, appears in the Favorite links in both Windows Explorer, and the Open and Save dialogs.