It is possible to operate many features of JSonar using Braille display where, In essence, your Braille display becomes a control surface. The following operations are currently possible:

  • Navigate between tracks or buses.
  • View the type of a current strip (bus, audio, MIDI etc).
  • Select/unselect the current track.
  • View the name of a current strip.
  • View whether the track is empty or contains data.
  • View and toggling the status of mute, solo, arm and input echo buttons for a current strip (where applicable).
  • View the status of an audio engine, e.g. whether the project is playing or recording.
  • Play, stop and record the project.
  • Jump to the Start and End of the project.
  • Navigate the project by measures or markers.
  • View the “now”, “from” and “through” time for the current project.
  • Move to previous and next measure.

Braille display modes

There are two Braille display modes in JSonar: “Strip Display” and “Time Display”, denoted by letters “ST” and “TI” on the very left side of the Braille line.
The “Strip Display” mode displays parameters for the current strip, strip type/name, play/stop/record, start or end of the project, plus and minus for moving between either markers or bars,, and “now”/“from”/­“through” times.
The “Time Display” mode displays the “now” time in both hour/minute/second and measure/beat/tick formats. The time values are updated in real time as the project plays. In this mode you can also move between measures (bars) using previous and next line commands on your Braille display.

To switch between two modes, either:

  • Press the routing button above the first cell on the display; or
  • use the ToggleBrailleMode keystroke on your Braille display, i.e. the same keystroke that changes between “structured mode”, “speech history” and “line mode” by default. Different Braille displays will have a different keystroke assigned for this JAWS function so check your manual for more details.

Explanation of the layout of the Braille strip

In order to efficiently use the space available on the Braille display, we decided to denote all supported parameters with a single letter, as follows:

  • “a” for audio, “m” for midi", b for “bus”.
  • Strip number.
  • – (hyphen sign) for “Track contains data”
  • [empty cell] for “track is empty”
  • “m” for Mute
  • “s” for Solo
  • “r” for Arm
  • “e” for Input Echo
  • “p” for play/pause/stop
  • “r” for record.
  • “s” for start" and “e” for end.
  • + and – (plus and minus sign) for moving to previous and next units (see below).
  • “m” for markers, “b” for bars".
  • “n” for “now time”, “f” for “from time” and “t” for “through” time.

Please note: for controls such as mute, solo, arm etc, lower-case letters represent the “off” status, while upper-case letters, i.e. with dot 7, represent the “on” status.

Performing actions with Braille display

While in “Strip Display” mode: to move between strips (tracks or buses), use up and down keys of your particular Braille display. In the case of Freedom Scientific displays, use whiz wheels to move up or down. You can display the name of a current strip by pressing the routing button right above the strip number. You can also toggle any of the strip parameters above by pressing routing buttons on your Braille display that are located right above the parameter of interest. For example:

  • To select a track, press the routing button right above the track number. Dot 7 will indicate that the track is selected.
  • To toggle mute, solo, arm or input echo parameters for the current strip, press the routing button above letters “m”, “s”, “r” and “e” respectively. JSonar will reflect the change with either uppercase or lowercase letter.
  • To play/stop/record the project, press routing buttons above letters “p” or “r” respectively. As in the previous case, JSonar will reflect the change by switching to uppercase or lowercase letter.
  • To jump to start or end of the project, press routing buttons above letters “s” or “e”.
  • To move to the previous unit, press routing button above the minus sign; to move to the next unit, press routing button above the plus sign.
  • To change the unit of movement, press routing button above the next cell, “m” will indicate “markers” while “b” will indicate “bars”.
  • Similarly, press routing buttons above letters “n”, “f” or “t” to display “now”, “from” and “through” times respectively.

While in “Time Display” mode: to move to previous or next measure, use up and down arrows on your Braille display. The time display will show two time values–first, the Now time in hour/minute/second format and second, the Now time in measure/beat/tick format. The values will change as the project is playing.


When working with large projects, it may be necessary to put Braille display in „sleep mode“ to save more computer power for your plug-ins and multiple tracks. To do this, simply toggle off „Use Braille“ option under „Sonar settings“ in „JAWS Verbosity“ dialog (INSERT+V).