Launching & Exiting JAWS / NVDA / Narrator

JAWS, NVDA, and Narrator logos

by JP Corcoran

JAWS (Job Access with Speech), NVDA (NonVisual Desktop Access) and Narrator are three screen reader options for users of Microsoft Windows. You can launch and exit each of these applications using the keyboard shortcuts below.


To launch JAWS with a keyboard shortcut you first need to create a Startup Hotkey:

  1. Press Windows + D to go to the Desktop and then press letter J until you get to the JAWS programme icon.
  2. Press Alt + Enter on it to open properties.
  3. Press Tab to reach the “shortcut key” edit box, then type the letter J here.
  4. Press Tab to move to the “OK” button and press Spacebar on it.

Launch: with the above done, press Ctrl + Alt + J to start JAWS.
Exit: the quickest way to exit JAWS is to press Insert + F4. This keystroke can be used anywhere from within Windows. When you perform the command to exit JAWS, you are asked if you are sure you want to quit JAWS. Press Enter to confirm and close JAWS, or Esc to cancel.


Launch: Press Ctrl + Alt + N.
Exit: Press the NVDA key* + Q. You are asked whether you would like to exit NVDA. Tab to OK and press Enter to exit.
* The NVDA key refers to either the Insert key or the Caps lock key on your keyboard, depending on which is set as your modifier key.

Windows Narrator

Launch: press the Windows key + Ctrl + Enter.
Exit: To turn Narrator off, press the Windows key + Ctrl + Enter. Narrator will turn off automatically.