Dialog Box Guide

A guide for Jaws users, written by Chorlton Workshop for hsbp.


Some common uses of dialog boxes are:

Structure of dialog boxes

Dialog boxes contain the following components:

To read the complete contents of the Dialog box at any time, press INSERT + B.

Overall action buttons

The overall actions buttons are a small group of buttons for choosing the overall action of the dialog. They're normally along the bottom or right hand side of the dialog box.

Default button

One of these buttons is set as the Default button, and is the most likely action for the dialog box. It is indicated visually by a bold outline, and Jaws tells you the name of the button if you press INSERT + E. In general, irrespective of which control has the focus, you can press the default button by simply pressing ENTER — you don't have to move to the button to press it. An exception to this occurs when the focus is on a button other than the default button. In this case, either the button with the focus temporarily becomes the default button, or the default button is undefined. In either case, to press the original default button you can either move to a control which isn't a button and press ENTER, or move to the default button, and then press it.

Cancel button

There is normally a Cancel button, which closes the dialog box without taking any action. Irrespective of which control has the focus, you can always press the Cancel button by pressing ESC. In fact, even if there isn't a Cancel button, you can always close a dialog without taking any action by pressing ESC.


These are some examples of the overall action buttons:


These are now described in the separate Controls guide.