Update: the following bug was addressed in the May release of JAWS 2021. If you are using the May 2021 update or later you can select text with Jarte without resorting to the workaround documented in this post. Many thanks to Freedom Scientific for taking this issue seriously and for choosing to address it.
In almost all applications moving the cursor or caret using your arrow keys causes JAWS (or any screen reader) to speak the character, word or line as you use the appropriate cursor movement commands, such as right arrow for next character, control+right arrow for next word, etc. This works nearly 100% of the time. However, I recently noticed that JAWS wasn’t speaking as I was moving the cursor in Jarte, a Wordpad-like word processor that I often use. This was baffling until I found the fix. (Note: in the interest of full transparency I may have enabled the setting that I’m about to discuss as a default. Therefore, the problem that I encountered may not actually have been a JAWS issue but may have been something that I personally enabled.)
If you encounter this problem in Jarte or in any program where cursor navigation isn’t speaking try toggling enhanced edit support. Here’s how you can locate this feature.
1. Press insert+F2 for the list of JAWS managers and press enter on Settings Center. As a quick shortcut pressing insert+6 will open Settings Center. This is the 6 on the row of numbers and not on the number pad. If you are asked to create a new configuration press enter to accept.
2. In the search edit field type “edit” without the quotes.
3. Navigate with the down arrow key through the list of results and look for “enhanced edit support.” While this should be enabled for Word it should be disabled for Jarte. Pressing the space key toggles this setting from being not checked (turned off) to being checked (enabled.)
4. Press enter twice, which will close Settings Center and save your changes.