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Free JAWS Scripts for OE Classic.


Thank you for installing the JAWS scripts for OE Classic. This is a very simple, easy-to-use Email client for those who miss the days of Microsoft Outlook Express and who do not wish to be overwhelmed with similar Email clients with an abundance of functionality which will not be used.

When the program is installed and used with the JAWS screen-reader, most of the application is currently inaccessible. This may change over time. The developing company are very aware of screen-reading technology and aspects of it may well become more accessible. The Menu Bar and the Context Menu are both accessible.

The objective of the scripts was to ensure that messages could be read, replied to, and new items created, giving similar functionality to that which is available in other Email clients. That has been achieved to a good standard.

There is still a good deal of work to do, including better handling of rules, the Options dialog (although some work has been done here), and a number of other dialogs.

The scripts are distributed free of charge by Hartgen Consultancy. Because they are made freely available, what follows is a quick start guide concerning the functions of the scripts rather than a tutorial on the use of the program. Technical Support is not available for these scripts. They were developed for personal use. We hope you find them beneficial.


Simply Download the Installer for the scripts and run it. You should be able to install the scripts into JAWS version 14 and above.
They were tested with JAWS versions 14 through to 18.

The Setup Process.

Configuring OE Classic to work with a POP3 Email account is not completely accessible, however most people ought to be able to work through the various screens to include their account information because the process is fairly automatic. You can Tab through the various controls.

The main setup requirement is to configure the view of your Inbox or mail folder.
This is achieved through the "View" menu, ALT+V.

There is one item in this menu, "Columns". Pressing Enter on this item takes you into the columns editor. Here, you can remove columns you do not wish to hear information about, (possibly the size of the message as an example). This dialog is highly accessible and contains a List Box with Buttons to add and remove items.

Most critically, you will find an edit field for specifying the width of the selected column in pixels. Your objective is to ensure that particularly the From and Subject columns have the widest pixel values, certainly several hundred each. JAWS will only read what is visible on screen, so it may take some experimentation before you get this absolutely perfect so as to avoid information being truncated.

How Will the OE Classic Scripts Help?

As you enter OE classic, it is important to remember there are four panes on the screen: the folder list (containing such items as Inbox, Outbox, Deleted Items etc), the Contact list, the Message List and the Preview area. You can press Tab and Shift+Tab to move through these areas.

As of this writing, a bug existed in the program where if focus was moved away from the application and subsequently returned to it, the focus would not be within the messages list. The scripts correct this issue. Similarly, when a message was closed after reading, the folder list would be focused rather than the list of messages. Both of these issues seem to be corrected in the upcoming beta of OE Classic, so this additional script code to remedy this situation will not be required. But it is present for the time being.

There are no special JAWS keystrokes. All shortcut keys which are traditional for Email clients should function, such as ALT+S to send a message, Control+N to create a new message, Control+R to reply, Enter to open a message and Escape to close, etc. The scripts however provide the following improvements:

  • The folder list, contact list and message list are now accessible. This was not the case previously.
  • As you move through the list of messages, JAWS identifies if a message is unread.
  • JAWS reports whether the top or bottom of the list has been reached.
  • When a new message is composed, the fields "To", "CC", "BCC", and "Subject" are correctly identified. Without the scripts, you would just hear the term, "Edit".
  • Suppressing unwanted speech when focusing upon OE Classic, and also the frequent use of the term, "Panel", such as, "Panel Subject".
  • When in the "Options" dialog, pressing Left and Right Arrow on the Tabbed Pages will speak their names.
  • When composing a message, it was not possible to press Escape to close it if you changed your mind. This has been added.
  • "Warning" messages should be spoken automatically, for example if you begin composing a message and press Escape to change your mind.
  • You can not Tab into the Preview area as this causes some focus issues for JAWS. To open a message, press Enter, whereupon it will be displayed using the JAWS Virtual Cursor.
  • When no messages exist in the mail folder, you should hear the term, "No Messages".
  • When deleting a message, and using Windows8.1 or 10, JAWS would not read the next focused message. The scripts determine the operating system being used and will apply the correct logic. Note that there is a slower response between the time a message is deleted to the new message being highlighted, on Windows7 only. This is not related to JAWS.
  • To repeat, JAWS will always try to set focus to the list of messages automatically.
  • All fields in the Address Book should speak an appropriate label as you Tab through the New Contact creation dialog.

Still to do:

  • Work on various dialogs including Import/Export.
  • Automatic speaking when using first letter navigation within the folder or contact list, using Windows8.1 and 10 only.