[BlindMath] data analysis question

Sarah Jevnikar sarah.jevnikar at gmail.com
Wed Apr 4 19:43:47 UTC 2018

Hi Zhen,
Excel might be the most user-friendly means to start, though R or similar
programs might be more robust ultimately.

By naming a region of cells, any user can automatically have their column
and row titles read to them just by navigating a sheet. This works
independently of a screen reader. I can send you specific instructions if
that would help.

Excel uses mainly standard keyboard commands. Tab or the arrow keys move
between cells. Control-c copies, control-v pastes, control-x cuts. Control-g
allows you to move to a specific cell. Control page up and down moves
between sheets. To edit the contents of a current cell, use f2. The = sign
will tell Excel you'd like to start typing a formula, which can include cell
coordinates, numbers, and other data.

JAWS has a command (control+shift+d) that will list all the cells with data
in a sheet.

I appreciate Excel looks intimidating at first, but it is fairly
straightforward. I'd be happy to jump on a Skype call if you need a
step-by-step walk-through, but I think it might be an idea to figure out
exactly what you'd like to do with the program and then we can go from


-----Original Message-----
From: BlindMath [mailto:blindmath-bounces at nfbnet.org] On Behalf Of Steve
Jacobson via BlindMath
Sent: April 4, 2018 1:08 PM
To: 'Blind Math list for those interested in mathematics'
Cc: Steve Jacobson
Subject: Re: [BlindMath] data analysis question


I don't know if you have received other answers, but there are things you
can do with Excel and with JAWS that can make some of this easier.  First,
though, I would say that it is well worth taking time to get familiar with
some of the less obvious parts of Excel so you can make the best use of it.
Learning about some of its functions and how to enter formulas would be a
good start.  

There are JAWS commands that can allow you to have row and column titles
repeated as you navigate by cell.  I used a similar function with
Window-Eyes and have seen the JAWS keys to do this but don't have experience
with this.  In addition, you can tell Excel to freeze certain rows and
columns so they always remain on the screen.  This means that you could keep
row labels and column headings on the screen as you move around the
spreadsheet.  You may actually find that this is too much information,
though, although I think there is an option to just have a key to press to
read the row or column label when you want that information.  

There are excel options to sort and filter data which can help if you get
good at doing that.  Sorting on a particular column can quickly show the
smallest or largest.  Temporarily creating cells that can receive results
from a function in a formula can be useful as well.  Even knowing the
minimum, maximum, average, and standard deviation of a given column of data
can give you a pretty quick picture of the data.

I have not done the kinds of work you are describing, but I've had to use
Excel to deal with data on the job and know I've only scratched the surface.
There are likely others here who could provide more details.  In addition,
if you get data in Excel, it is possible that you could export it into a
statistical package like R to do certain kinds of analysis that might be
done there more easily.  I have no experience with that.

Best regards,

Steve Jacobson

-----Original Message-----
From: BlindMath [mailto:blindmath-bounces at nfbnet.org] On Behalf Of zhen
holmes via BlindMath
Sent: Wednesday, March 28, 2018 11:53 AM
To: nfb-science at nfbnet.org
Cc: zhen holmes <zhen.m.holmes at gmail.com>; blindmath at nfbnet.org
Subject: [BlindMath] data analysis question

Hi there, 
I was wondering about how to best access and manipulate data. Here's  the
story. I have the opportunity to work on a really ml research project
involving presolar grains and aminoacid abundances. It would involve mining
data from papers, creating tables, and making new plots. My question is how
best to accomplish this. Some people I have spoken to recommend excel, but
I've heard its not very screen reader friendly in terms of reading data.
When you are in a table, without being able  to know what row and collum you
are in, it would seem to me that the numbers would very easily lose their
meaning. Even so, if that is a good option, is there a good list of jaws
commands for excell? I haven't been able to find one. Another suggestions
was to utilize a reader to get a better overview of the numbers and to start
making extrapolations and to find internal assumptions on my own. Obviously
that doesn't solve all the plotting problems, but it is something and would
u simultaneously solve the problem that pre 2002 papers aren't accessable to
begin with. At any rate, any suggestions would be welcomed. For the record,
I will be posting this to both the math and science lists. 
thanks and best, 
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