Providing a List of Commonly Used Shortcuts for Blind Students

The Lab Rubric specifies that frequently used keyboard shortcuts should be provided as a separate document and are suitable for printing in Braille.

A complex development environment might have hundreds of keyboard shortcuts. For example, here is the list of keyboard shortcuts for Microsoft Word, 2010. Visit this page and click on the link labelled "+ Show All" near the top of the page to expand the full list. The student must simultaneously search through the shortcut keys while attempting to follow a list of instructions for completing the lab. For example, here are instructions for completing a lab using VBA in Microsoft Word. Trying to follow all of the instructions in this document while simultaneously looking up shortcut keys in a separate Window can be extremely challenging. In addition to the Word keyboard shortcuts, the student must also refer to Windows shortcuts, Windows Explorer shortcuts, and application-specific shortcuts for the program they are writing. This can result in the student needing to switch between several different development environment windows, application windows, and browser windows with shortcut lists for different applications.

This process can be greatly simplified by creating a summary list of commonly used shortcut keys. Such a document will be easier to search through in online form, and can also be printed as a Braille document and read by the student without needing to switch Windows. This makes it much easier for the student to keep context when following the list of instructions. To illustrate this, here are the keyboard shortcuts needed to complete the VBA lab linked above. These shortcuts have also been organized to specify which applications they apply to, and also organized roughly in the order that the student will need to use them.

Windows Explorer

Alt + Up ArrowUp one level
Up and Down ArrowsPrevious and next selected file
ReturnOpen selected file or folder
Shift + F10Right click (brings up context menu)

Microsoft Word

F6Cycle through task panes (including notifications)
Alt + ESelect the "Enable this content" button in the Microsoft Office Security Options dialog.
Alt + F11Open the Visual Basic Developer's Window
AltActivate Word ribbon toolbar
Left and Right ArrowsCycle through tools when the Word ribbon toolbar is active
Alt then F then IOpen Word Options dialog
Up and Down ArrowsPrevious and next options when the Word Options dialog is open
Alt then L then VOpen the Visual Basic Developer's Window
Ctrl + SSave the document
Alt + F4Close the document

Visual Basic Developer's Window

Ctrl + RSelect the Project Explorer pane
Up and Down ArrowsNavigate through project folders when the Project Explorer pane is selected
Right ArrowOpen the currently selected folder when the Project Explorer pane is selected
F7Open the Code Window for the currently selected document in the Project Explorer pane
F5Launch the Lab Form Dialog for the code in the currently selected Code Window
Alt + F4Close the Visual Basic Developer's Window

Lab Form Dialog

Run Lab buttonRun the lab form code
JAWS cursorRead output from program (JAWS)
NVDA + /Read output from the program (NVDA)
Alt + F4Close the lab form dialog
Alt + Print ScreenCopy the topmost window to the clipboard
Accessibility Survival Guide for Instructors, © 2014 by their respective authors, Marc Goodman, Gayathri Iyer, Supada Amornchat, Karen Sorensen, and Susan Watson