JAWS hotkey fix for VMWare Fusion and macOS Sierra on a laptop

I needed to have Windows 7 with JAWS on MacBook Airs. However, Windows 7 is nor supported on newer Macs via Bootcamp. When running VMware Fusion, the Caps Lock key was not passing through as the assigned JAWS key and there were issues with VMware Fusion's built in key mapping feature. Here is a workaround that I developed. Note that this should also work in El Capitan and with NVDA.
  1. Download and install the latest version of Karabiner-Elements.
    1. Here’s the direct link for the download: https://pqrs.org/latest/karabiner-elements-latest.dmg
  2. Start Windows in VMware Fusion. In each Windows user account that will use Jaws, you’ll need to do the following to change the JAWS key from Caps Lock to Insert for the Laptop Layout
    1. Start JAWS
    2. Open the JAWS Utilities menus and select Settings Center (Alt+S, E)
    3. Tab to the tree view and navigate to Keyboard. Expand the Keyboard item (right arrow key) then navigate to General, the first item under Keyboard when expanded
    4. Expand the General item (right arrow key) and arrow down to “JAWS Key for Laptop Layout”
    5. Select “Insert.” You can toggle between the three choices with the space bar
    6. Once “Insert (One of Three)” is selected, hit Apply (Alt+A) then OK (Enter)
    7. Shut down Windows but leave VMWare running.
  3. On the Mac, startup Karabiner-Elements
    1. In the Simple Modifications tab, select Add Item
    2. In the From key pop up list, select “right_command”
    3. In the To key pop up list, select “insert” (near the end of the list, in the “Keys in pc keyboard” section)
  4. If VoiceOver is not already running, start it (Command+F5)
  5. Switch back to VMware and open Preference(Command+comma)
  6. Interact with the toolbar and click on Keyboard & Mouse button
    1. In the Key Mappings tab, click on the Add (+) button
    2. While in the From: combo box, tap on the key you want to use as your JAWS key. I recommend the tilde/grave key (~`) above the Tab key)
    3. Use the VoiceOver key combination Control+Option+Down Arrow to navigate to the To: combo box
    4. Press Control+Option+Space to display the list of choices
    5. When VoiceOver says “In list 0 items selected. Insert, text (1 of 24),” tap on the right command key
    6. After VoiceOver says “Insert, text (1 of 24)” again, press Control+Option+Shift+Up Arrow twice so VoiceOver says “Out of combo box”
    7. Now use the VoiceOver key combination Control+Option+Down Arrow to navigate to the Cancel button
    8. Press the Right Arrow key so VoiceOver says “OK, default, button.” You can press either the Return key or Control+Option+Space to finish
    9. Quit VMware Fusion
  7. In Karabiner-Elements, click on the Remove button to delete the key mapping you made in step 3
  8. You will need to repeat steps 3-6 in each of the Mac user accounts on the laptop that will be using JAWS in Windows through VMware Fusion if the Windows Virtual Machine is shared by more than one user, which can be done by saving the Virtual Machine in the Shared Users folder
Let me know how this works for you.

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1 Comment

#1 A little too elaborate?

Maybe this is just me, but I was able to avoid having to deal with the built in fusion mapping entirely, and just used elements to remap the grave accent to the insert key. Changing the Jaws key for laptop layout worked, and I’m able to navigate pretty seamlessly.