If you are fairly new to a
computer running the Windows operating system and the NVDA
screen reader, it is advisable to learn some of the basics for
both programmes. This may be learning the shortcuts for
these programmes, how to navigate them and so on. If you have
been used to having some degree of eyesight and clicking with a
mouse, navigating Windows using the NVDA screen reader with your
keyboard alone, is a lot different to navigating with a mouse.
and phone support for NVDA from the NV Access online shop
Are you aware that NV Access
have put together an online Shop where you can buy training material for the NVDA screen reader?
You can also get phone support.
Please stay tuned for more training material as
it becomes available.
For more information please visit the NV Access
Online Shop at the following link https://www.nvaccess.org/shop/
To find an NVDA certified expert near you,
please visit the following link https://certification.nvaccess.org/.
The certification page contains the official list of NVDA
certified individuals from around the world, who have sat and
successfully passed the NVDA expert exam.
Have you got a good grasp on the NVDA screen
reader? Have you got what it takes to sit the NVDA expert exam?
You can test your knowledge for free. If you pass the exam in
the required time frame, then you can purchase an official
certificate and be acknowledged on the above webpage under the
list of worldwide NVDA experts.
about NVDA progress via the nvaccess In Process blog
To find out what is happening within the NVDA
project, visit In-Process - the new NV Access blog, where you
can be informed of happenings within the organisation, staff and
of course, NVDA. http://www.nvaccess.org/category/in-process/
Click on any of the links in the table below, to visit other
NVDA related webpages that may be of interest to you.
If you are unsure what a screen reader is,
please click on the following link to listen to a promotional
video on the NVDA screen reader https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ks7AwV_uxO0&feature=youtu.be
Please feel free to pass this information onto others that you
think may be interested or who may want to find out more.
Advantages of the NVDA
No limit on the amount of copies that
you can have on your computers
A variety of voices to choose from.
E-speak voices are default,but can also run SAPI 4 and
SAPI 5 voices
The ability to go portable on a USB
stick or CD if you need to use your screen reader on
It allows for website accessibility
testing by both screen reader users and website developers
Does not time out
Does not need to be activated
NVDA works equally well for both 32-bit
and 64-bit Windows operating systems
No need to install any other drivers,
like Video Interceptors
No restarting needed after installation
Donations of any size small or big are always welcome to cover
costs and help keep the project evolving.
setting up NVDA
If you are downloading and setting up NVDA for
the first time, you will need to ensure that your system meets the
following minimum requirements. NVDA will work on all Windows
platforms from Windows XP home (both the 32 bit and 64 bit
versions), right up to Windows 10, but not the Windows RT version
as of yet. This also includes Windows slates (otherwise known as
tablets). Most modern computers are able to run NVDA without any
problems at all and it uses around 50MB of hard disk space once
installed. Please note support for Windows XP and Vista has now
stopped. The latest version of NVDA that you can use with XP and
Vista is 2017.3 Please see the following link for more
If you haven't got a copy of the free NVDA screen reader, you can
obtain a copy of it from the download section of the following
Look for the latest version number when downloading to make sure
you have the most up to date copy.
Setting up NVDA:
After the file has been downloaded to your computer, when you
first click on the file, it will come up with a security warning.
Tab to the run button and press the enter key. A talking installer
will guide you through the process. The next screen that comes up
will have an agreement form in it, which you can read and agree
to. You can use your up arrow and down arrow keys to read this
document. Tab to the check box and tick it. With a screen reader
this is usually the spacebar. Tab again and then there will be 3
options. One will be to install a copy of NVDA to your computer, 2
will be to make a portable copy of NVDA to a USB stick and 3 will
be to run NVDA as a temporary copy. To install a copy of NVDA to
your computer choose the 1st option and follow the directions
until it is fully installed. You should hear an ascending musical
tune (which sounds like a piano), and then NVDA should be ready to
If you would like to know quickly what some of
the other keys do (with the modifier key - which is the insert
key), press the insert and the
number 1 key on the main keyboard. (This is not the
number one on the numeric keypad, but the one above the letter q).
This will turn on the Input help
mode, where you can practise some of the combination keys
available. Here, you can try different keys along
with the Insert key to see what that function does. If there is no
key assigned to that key, it will not say anything.
Try using the Insert key while pressing another to see what that
key may do. This can be on the main keyboard, the F1 to F12
keys plus the numeric keyboard as well. Once you have learned some
of the functions, press the Insert key and the number 1 key to
turn the input help mode off again. Using this feature will
help you to learn the functions assigned to those keys quite
Some commonly used NVDA
screen reader keys and combinations
If this is the first time you have installed a
copy of NVDA, once it has been installed, you will need to know
the following things. These will be: to start a copy of NVDA if it
isn't running, how to get into the preferences menu where you can
make changes and also how to turn off the screen reader itseIf.
If you press the windows key a menu will come up. If you then use
the up arrow key it will speak the first item on that menu.
Arrow up and down, left or right
to see what is there. You will need to be familiar with
your tab key and the enter key for this, when
installing for the first time.
NVDA (if it is not running) press the Alt plus the Ctrl and the letter N keys all at the same time.
To get into the preferences menu (where you can make changes
to the screen reader) press the insert key and the letter N to bring it up.
Here, you will be able to change
the settings to your liking in NVDA (for example
adjusting the speed of the voice that you are using, or
changing the voice to another one). Here also, you will be
able to find the user manual
and quick reference guide
under the help section. These two documents are invaluable and
well worth reading when learning how to navigate with NVDA.
off NVDA use the Insert
key plus the letter Q
at the same time.
NVDA modifier keys, and
changing the keyboard layout
A modifier key modifies another key, so that it
can perform another task. NVDA can use any, or all, of the
following as its modifier keys: the Insert key, the extended
Insert key or the Caps Lock key. These are also referred to as the
NVDA key. To select one (or all) of the NVDA modifier keys you
wish to use, press the Ctrl
key, Insert key, and the
Letter K. This should
bring up the keyboard settings dialogue box. Tab down to the
one you would like to use as a modifier key. Here also, if
you have a desktop or laptop, you can change your settings for
your particular keyboard layout under keyboard layout. Make sure you Tab down to the ok
button to save your changes every time. This tutorial will only
cover the desktop version.
If an NVDA modifier
key has not been chosen
In some cases you might have received a computer
with NVDA on it. It might have come from a Trust or a friend.
Unless you have sighted assistance you may not be aware of the
keyboard layout and which key was set as the modifier key to get
into the preferences of NVDA. In most cases, whoever installs NVDA
to your computer will be given some options when setting NVDA up.
This will be the type of keyboard layout desktop or laptop,
setting the Caps Lock key as a modifier key and the option to
start NVDA when Windows starts. If they have set NVDA to run on
startup but not checked the Caps Lock key as the modifier key, and
you do not know where the Insert or extended Insert key/s are on
your keyboard you can do the following:
Press the Windows key + the letter B while on the desktop. This
will take you down to the notification area on the taskbar. Use
either the left or right arrow keys to find the NVDA icon. If you
can not find it, it may be hidden. Locate the hidden icons button
and press the Enter key on it, then navigate until you find the
NVDA icon. Press the Spacebar on it and a context menu will
appear. Next, arrow down to preferences, then right to settings,
then press the Enter key. Now you are in the settings of NVDA.
Arrow down the list and locate the keyboard section, then tab
until you hear select NVDA modifier keys. It is a combo box. Here,
you can check all options if you want to, or just the one like
Caps Lock key. Just before this selection is where you can pick
either desktop or laptop layout. After choosing your modifier
keys, tab to the apply button, press the Spacebar, then tab to the
ok button, then press the Spacebar. Now you are set to use the
Caps Lock key if chosen. If you also want to learn your keyboard
layout quickly, turn on input help. Then press any letters on the
keyboard to see where they are. The shortcut to do this is NVDA
key + number 1 on the main qwerty keyboard. Press it again and it
will turn it off. Do not worry while it is on you can not do any
damage learning your keyboard layout. You might also want to
enable all three modifier keys in case you have to use a new
keyboard that you are not familiar with.
show exit options when exiting NVDA
This is a new feature that has been integrated
into NVDA. When the NVDA key and the letter Q have been used to
quit NVDA - it will give you 3 options before NVDA is turned
off. These will be to quit NVDA, restart NVDA or to disable all
add-ons in NVDA. Pick the option you want (by arrowing up or
down the combo box), then tab to the ok button and that action
will be performed.
This feature can be turned on or off through
the general settings section in NVDA...Show exit options when
exiting NVDA. To show the feature each time you want to close
NVDA, simply leave it checked, or just uncheck this option so
this feature is not shown when you exit NVDA.
If the disable NVDA addons option is chosen,
all add ons in NVDA will be disabled. To re-enable all of your
add ons again, simply restart NVDA.
Starting NVDA automatically and
If you would like NVDA to start automatically when you
log onto Windows, press the Ctrl
key, Insert key and the
letter G at the same
time. This will bring up the General settings dialogue box. Tab
down to a box called "automatically start NVDA after I log onto
Windows". Once ticked, the next time you start Windows -
NVDA will automatically start for you! Make sure to also tick the
"save configuration on exit"
box while you are in there. To tick or untick a box, simply press
the spacebar. This will make sure that when you change your
settings, they will be saved for you each time. The option to
start automatically is only available on the installer version. To
save configurations, press
the Ctrl key, Insert key and the letter C. When changing your
configurations and you forget to Tab down to the OK button, you
can press the Insert key + Ctrl key + C, and this will save
it for you. You should hear NVDA say configuration saved.
How do I
make NVDA start at the Windows Logon screen?
Press the NVDA key + the letter N
to bring up the NVDA menu. When this appears, arrow down
to the preferences menu... then right arrow (to
the general settings menu)... and press the Enter
key (to open that section). When this next section appears... tab
down (to activate the Use NVDA on the Windows logon
screen checkbox) and check it with the spacebar...
then tab down to the OK button and press the Enter
key. Make sure you save your settings for this to take effect.
Restarting NVDA if
it stops responding
NVDA has a
neat little restart feature. The restart feature is only in the
installer version and not present in the portable version. It is
used mostly if you get into trouble (for example, if you come
across buggy voices or your programme blows up). What will
happen in these cases, is that NVDA will lose speech all
together. In previous versions, the computer would have to be
shut down and restarted. This would've been the same for most
screen readers apart from voiceover used by Apple. Now, if you
do come across one of these situations, press the Alt and Ctrl
and the letter N and NVDA in most cases will restart without you
having to restart the computer. Try pressing these key
combinations all together a couple of times and see what
Checking the time and date with NVDA
To check the time
with NVDA, press the Insert
and F12 key. To hear the
day and date, press the Insert key and the F12 key twice.
Commonly used keys when using
a screen reader
The main keys that are commonly used with a
screen reader to do different tasks (both with NVDA and in
Windows) are listed below. Please note the Ctrl and Shift keys are
at the bottom left and right of the main keyboard block. Escape key F1 to F12 keys (usually
at the top of the keyboard going from left to right). Tab key (usually on the
left hand side of a keyboard above the Caps Lock key). Caps Lock key (used to
capitalise letters, or as a modifier key with NVDA and found above
the left Shift key). Shift key (if used once
will capitalise one letter or will be used with other NVDA or
Windows commands). Ctrl key (used in some
Windows commands as well as shortcut keys, and found on the bottom
left and right of the keyboard). Windows key (used with
some Windows shortcuts and when pressed brings up the Start menu). Alt key (used to bring up
a file menu found in most applications). Spacebar (used to tick and
untick boxes, and put spaces between words etc). Insert key (which can be
used as a modifier key for NVDA, or to insert text into a
document). Delete key (used to delete
out items). Home and End keys (used with Ctrl to
get you to the top of the page, and also to the bottom of the
page). Left, Right, Up and Down arrow
keys (used to move you around Windows and other
applications). Numeric keypad (used with
the NVDA key to do different tasks).
Use your left, right, up and down arrow keys to
navigate your computer. Using your arrow keys on the desktop will
let you go to the icon/shortcut in whichever direction key you
press. These icon/shortcuts will be spoken out to you while NVDA
is running. This will be the same for menus, characters in a
document and so on.
When the enter key is pushed (for example when
on the internet), it will confirm that action. For example if
pushed while on a link it may take you to another page or website,
or you can press Enter on a button to confirm an action.
Windows Application key
This key is used quite often with the NVDA
screen reader for a variety of tasks. The application key is
located between the Alt and Ctrl keys to the right of your Space
Bar. It has an image of a mouse pointer on a menu. Pressing this
key will display the selected item's shortcut window. This is the
same menu that is displayed by right-clicking. Depending on the
program that you are in, you may get a variety of options
appearing in the menu. For example, if you are in a word
processing document you may hear "app pane menu" with options such
as cut, copy, paste, etcetera; however if you are on the desktop
you may hear "app context menu" with options such as view, sort
by, refresh and so on. Another example is that within a word
processing document if not clicked on a word then you might hear
the word formatting menu, compared to selecting a misspelt word
you might hear the spell checker menu instead.
When you are surfing the net and come across a
combo box, you will hear it being spoken out (for example combo
box). To open the combo box (where you can make a selection from
the list when focused on it) press the Alt key and the down arrow
key. This will open the combo box. Use your up and down
arrow keys to make a selection. Use the Alt key and the up arrow
key to close the combo box.
To focus on the combo box with NVDA, you can press the spacebar
key to do this, or use the Insert key and the spacebar combination
to toggle it between browse mode and focus mode (so that NVDA can
focus on the combo box). To quickly jump to a combo box on a web
page (if there are any), press the letter C while in browse
mode. This will take you to the first combo box on that
page. If a combo box is collapsed, you should hear this spoken
When you come across check boxes on a web page,
these can be checked and unchecked with the spacebar. You should
hear whether a check box is checked or unchecked when focused on
it. Press the space bar and you will hear it being spoken out (it
will say checked or unchecked). Press the spacebar to check (and
again to uncheck) the check box while focussed on the check box
itself. Some forms on the internet will have multiple check boxes
on them. You are able to check more than one check box if there
are multiple choices you are looking for (for example the Lord of
the Rings series which can be books, DVD's, videos etcetera).
These may be found in a catalogue online search form that a
library may use.
When you come across a button on a web page, to
activate the button, press the Enter key or the spacebar. To
quickly jump to a button on a web page, (while in browse mode)
press the letter B. This will take you to the first button on that
Links on a web page
To activate any link on a web page simply press
the Enter key. This will either jump you down the page to a
certain area, take you to another webpage on the website, or take
you to another website altogether. Pressing the letter K for links
in NVDA will jump you from one link to the next. This would be
useful in a list box.
When you come across these on a web page,
(usually found in a multiple choice selection) press the space bar
to select your choice. You can only have one choice highlighted at
a time. Pressing the spacebar will not unhighlight the radio
button. You must pick another radio button to do this. For
example, changing the radio button selection from Mrs to Miss.
These can also be found on banking websites (in your account
section) and on other websites that require you to make a
selection. These will be spoken out as well. They will say radio
button checked or unchecked.
mode in NVDA
When you are in browse mode in NVDA, this is
where you can use single letter navigation keys to move quickly
around a website. For example H for headings, L for lists and so
on. For more information on browse mode, please see the user
manual and read the section about browse mode. Please also see the
section in the user manual called single letter navigation for a
full list of the keys that can be used while surfing the internet.
When you come across an edit area in a web page,
this is where you are able to type your information.
You must be in focus mode otherwise you could be bounced away from
that area. In other words you could still be in the browse mode
selection which is usually used for quick navigation of a
website. For example when you are using the single letter
navigation keys that are provided in NVDA.
To toggle between these 2 modes, press the Insert key and the
spacebar. You will hear 2 different sounds, (or the words focus
mode and browse mode be spoken out). If you would rather hear the
words focus mode and browse mode be spoken out you need to do the
Depending on whether or not you are in focus mode (where you can
type into an edit area), you will need to go into the browse mode
settings within NVDA. To bring up the browse mode settings menu,
press the Insert key + the Ctrl key + the letter B. When the menu
appears, tab down to the check box (which refers to audio
indication of focus and browse mode) and untick it. This will
change it from the sounds you hear when going in to and out of
these 2 modes so that you can hear the words focus mode and browse
mode being spoken out to you. This makes it a lot easier to know
which mode you are in.
To have NVDA go automatically between these 2 modes (say
when filling out a form), back in the browse mode settings part
of NVDA, make sure the 2 boxes above audio indication of browse
mode and focus mode are ticked. This should make it a lot easier
to go between the 2 modes when arrowing down a form on a
webpage. NVDA will automatically toggle between these 2 modes
when you are filling out a form. For example, focus mode where
you are able to type and browse mode where the single letter
navigation keys can be used.
Tables are used to display information. These
can be found on webpages and in documents. They can come in
various sizes, for example 4 columns and 2 rows. In a table, where
there are columns and rows, columns will go up and down a table,
and rows will go from left to right.
Tables will usually consist of text and at times will have links
in them as well. They may also have headers. For example Bus
departs New Plymouth and arrives at .... When a screen reader user
comes across a table, the screen reader will read from the top
left of the table to the top right of the table (that is across a
row). When it has come to the end of that row, it will go back to
the first column but this time it will be in the second row and go
from left of the second row to the right of that second row. For
the example that was used above for a table, it would read the 4
columns first which is the first row, then go to the second row
underneath the first row.
With a screen reader the person can simply arrow down the table to
get the information that is presented there. If there are links in
that same table they can also use the tab key or the letter K to
jump from link to link. Please see single letter navigation in the
user manual for quick navigation keys that can be used on the
internet. Depending on how the table is laid out, they can use the
following keys to navigate that same table.
navigating of tables
When within a table, use the following to
Moves the system caret to the previous column (staying in the same
Moves the system caret to the next column (staying in the same
Moves the system caret to the previous row (staying in the same
Move to next row
of headers and cell co-ordinates in tables
To hear table row/column header information or
table cell co-ordinates when navigating a table, press the Ctrl
key, the Insert key and the letter D at the same time. This will
bring up the document formatting dialogue. Tab down to the 2
boxes that say table row/column headers and table cell
co-ordinates and tick them both. Next time you go into a
table, these will be spoken. (For example it might read out the
name of the header, or it may say row 1, column 1).
When you go into some applications in certain
parts of that programme you may hear the words tree view being
spoken out. For example, the input gestures menu in NVDA. While in
the tree view mode, you can use the up and down arrow keys to
navigate the tree from top to bottom.
As you arrow down or up the tree you will hear different branches
being spoken out to you. For example braille collapsed, browse
mode collapsed, configuration collapsed and so on until you hit
the bottom of the tree. Any of the branches which are
collapsed when you arrow to them, can simply be opened with the
right arrow key. To collapse that same branch simply use the left
You will hear the word expanded. This means the branch is
open. When that branch has been expanded, you will hear the words
seven items being spoken out. This means there are seven
items on that branch that you can interact with. Use your arrow
keys to navigate the branch. In some cases the tab key will be
needed to tab you into the place where you can make changes or
read information on that topic (for example help files).
This will vary from application to application (that is which
steps you may have to undertake).
key and the Shift/tab key
In some applications (or forms on the internet),
pressing the tab key will take you from one field to the next. For
example, in an application form to join a club; when the tab key
is pushed, it will take you from the first name field to the
surname field. If you keep on tabbing, it will take you further
down the form to other fields. If the shift key is used together
along with the tab key, this will take you back up through the
fields, you have just tabbed down from.
The same idea will work in applications that allow you to tab from
field to field, such as dialogue boxes and so on.
In an application these are usually found in the
settings part of a programme. When you go into the settings of a
programme the tabs are usually at the top of that page. In most
cases they will go from the left part of that screen to the right
of that screen.
Each tab will have its own section. For example in Mozilla
Firefox, they are called General, Tabs, Content, Applications and
Use the left and right arrow keys to go from one tab to another
once found. If you want to look down one of those sections
mentioned above simply just use the tab key and it will move you
through the sections in that dialogue.
with a Window
There are two types of windows within the
system: Application and Document. An application window is the
window containing the
actual program you are currently working with (e.g., Excel, Word)
- which may consist of one or more document windows. A document
window is a sub-window of an application and contains the current
file you are working on. For example, when working with a word
processing application, you may have two or more different
documents open simultaneously - each in its own window.
Application windows also contain a menu while document windows do
not. In addition, document windows cannot be placed outside of
their respective application window. To work with Windows, you
should be able to control an individual window and know the
various parts. Most windows allow you to change their size and
Each window can be one of three sizes:
1. Minimized - This temporarily puts aside the current window and
includes it in the Task Bar (located at the bottom of the
The program has not been cancelled but merely set aside. You can
return to where you left off by switching to it using Alt Tab.
2. Maximized The current window is enlarged to take up the full
screen. The window cannot be moved or resized while maximized.
This gives you "maximum" working area and is useful when working
within applications, such as word processors.
3. Restored - This is the size of a window before being either
maximized or minimized. This is the only time that the size of a
window can be changed.
NVDA can interact with most sliders in
programmes if the author has made the slider accessible to the
screen reader. To interact with a slider the left and right arrow
keys are usually used. In some cases it may be the up or down
arrow keys as well. When you arrow to the left or right (the
information - for example the percentage 0 to 100 - should be read
out to you). You should also hear the word slider being spoken,
along with a pecentage of where it is on the slider. If you press
the Ctrl key + the Insert key + the letter V this will bring up
the voice settings menu in NVDA. Tab down until you hear the word
rate. Use the left and right arrow keys to adjust the speed you
want NVDA to speak. Next tab down to ok.
Another place where you can practice on the sliders is in the
speakers section in windows. Tab around the desktop until you hear
notification chevron button. Locate your speakers with the arrow
keys and once found press the Enter key. This will bring up the
speakers section. NVDA should automatically land you on a slider
where you are able to lower and higher the volume.
These are found in various programmes throughout
Windows. These will give you more than one option. Your left,
right, up and down arrow keys can be used on these split buttons.
You will hear these split buttons being spoken out. For an example
of a split button in Windows 7, press the Windows key and the
Windows start menu will come up. NVDA will end up in the search
box. Use the left arrow key until you hear shut down being spoken
out to you. In this case, you will hear the words shut down split
button sub menu being spoken out. If you then arrow to the right,
you will hear the word hibernate being spoken out. This is now on
a sub menu. You can use
the up and down arrow keys to give you other options. For example
sleep, restart, lock this computer, switch user and so on.
Pressing the Enter key on the shut down split button will shut
down the computer for you. If this is done on any of the others,
it will perform another function depending on which one you
choose. When you come across a split button, these will be spoken
out to you by NVDA in whatever programme they may be present in.
an operating system?
An operating system manages the computer's
memory, processes, and all of its software and hardware. It also
allows you to communicate with the computer without knowing how to
speak the computer's language. Without an operating system, a
computer cannot operate. Your computer's operating system (OS)
coordinates many different computer programs that may be running
at the same time. They all need to access your computer's central
processing unit (CPU), memory, and storage. The operating system
ensures that these all work efficiently together. For example, if
you wish to print out a document, your operating system will allow
you to enter text in a word processing program using a keyboard
(displaying it on the monitor at the same time), save that text to
wherever you may save it on your computer, then tell your printer
to print it once you click on print. Basically, the operating
system helps all the devices and software communicate with each
of operating systems
Operating systems usually come preloaded on any
computer you buy. Most people use the operating system that comes
with their computer, but it is possible to upgrade or even change
operating systems. The three most common operating systems
for personal computers are Microsoft Windows, Apple Mac OS X, and
Linux. Operating systems can also be found on modern mobile phones
(such as smart phones).
What is a
A peripheral is a "device that is used to put
information into or get information out of the computer".
There are three different types of peripherals:
Input, used to interact with, or send data to the computer (mouse,
Output, which provides output to the user from the computer
(monitors, printers, etcetera.)
Storage, which stores data processed by the computer (hard drives,
flash drives, etcetera.)
the difference between an input and output device?
An input device sends information to a computer
system for processing, and an output device reproduces or displays
the results of that processing. Depending on the interaction, a
device can be both; referred to as an input/output or I/O device.
An input device, such as a computer keyboard or mouse, can send
information to the computer (input), but it cannot receive or
reproduce information, therefore it is an input only device.
An output device, such as computer speakers can receive
information from the computer (output) therefore it is an output
Some devices are both input and output. Devices such as a CD-RW,
USB flash drive or printer/scanner can be considered both as they
can both send information to a computer (input), and receive
information from a computer (output). Another example of a device
that is both input and output is a touch screen monitor as you can
both see text on it (output) and touch the screen to give it
devices attached to your computer, and assess whether they are
input devices, output devices or both.
the difference between computer hardware and computer
Hardware on a computer is something you can
physically touch with your hand. This would include your computer
tower and peripherals that are plugged into that computer; for
example printers, scanners, a mouse, your modem and so on.
Software is something that is not able to be touched with your
hand. Programs such as Microsoft Word (a word processing program),
Mozilla Thunderbird (an email client) and Mozilla Firefox (a web
browser) are considered software. These are a set of instructions
that someone has written in code, and the end result becomes a
program. Even though you can interact with the program (using
hardware such as a keyboard or mouse), the actual program itself
which follows these instructions is still classified as software
as you cannot physically touch it. Another example of software is
a driver. A driver is an instruction that is specific to your
device and your operating system (so that it knows how to interact
with it). For example, a driver that you need for your printer and
operating system, may be different to a friends driver for their
printer and their operating system. A driver helps your operating
system talk to your device. Without the correct driver your device
may not operate.
What is a
A program is software that performs a specific
Microsoft Word for example is a word processing program that
allows users to process words in order to create and write
documents; and Mozilla Firefox is a browser that allows you to
browse the internet. Without programs, a computer would still work
with the operating system, but you would be extremely limited in
terms of what you could do. If you only had an operating system
and no browser, then even with a modem attached you would still
not be able to surf the internet. Programs give the user extra
functionality (such as being able to play a DVD on your computer
using VLC media player, being able to edit photos in Picasa or
play music in Winamp). There are a variety of programs that you
can install onto your computer to do a variety of tasks, just like
there are a variety of applications (also known as apps) that you
can install onto your phone to do a variety of tasks also!
To see what is in an active
To see what is in an active window (such as the
desktop), press the Insert
key and the letter B.
This will read out what is on the desktop, or in other
applications. This is also useful for dialog boxes. Press
the Ctrl key to stop the
Navigating around your
computer with NVDA
Now we have NVDA up and running on your
computer, you will hear it talking. In most cases with a
screen reader, to navigate around the computer and move around the
screen, you will use your tab
key, shift tab, arrow keys and your enter key on your keyboard.
Try navigating your computer with the screen reader enabled.
As you navigate around the computer you can use your arrow
keys. To go into any of the menus from the start menu, press the enter key. To
navigate any of the menus use
the up, down, left and right arrow keys on your keyboard.
Other keys may be used like the Alt key within a programme (to get
into the menus) along with other keys to do different tasks. (For example in Notepad, you can press
Alt and it will bring up the file menu up the top. You
can arrow up and down to see what options are on that first menu,
or arrow right and left to see what options are on menus to the
left and right of it). You will hear NVDA talk as you navigate the
Focussing NVDA and
locating other programmes on Windows startup
When Windows starts, NVDA may either end up on
the desktop, down on the taskbar, or in the case of Windows 7, the
Start Menu. If you would like to start from the Start menu, the
best way to get focus with NVDA (once it is loaded) is to press the windows key, then press the escape key to hide
it again. This will give you a starting point. From
here, if you want to navigate to the desktop, press the Tab key a couple of times until
you get to the desktop.
If you use Shift plus Tab it will do it in reverse. As you
Tab or Shift Tab, you will hear different parts of the desktop
(for example start menu, desktop, running applications etc). If
you wish to go to a programme on your start menu, use the up and down, left and right
arrow keys to go to the programme you want and press enter to go
into it. Alt and F4 will get you back out of a programme.
Familiarise yourself with the different parts of the desktop and
where things are. The start button is usually on the bottom left
and the clock is usually down on the bottom right of the taskbar.
The desktop itself is where all your different icons are (for
example My Computer, Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox etc).
Icons located across the taskbar may be different depending on
which programmes you have on your computer.
Navigating to and from the
Desktop and notification area
To get quickly to the main desktop, press the Windows key and the letter D to take you straight to this
area. Doing this again will take you back to the start
menu. This is a Windows shortcut key. If you want to
jump back to the desktop again do the same combination again, and
you should end up back on the desktop. To quickly jump down to the
notification area (which
is next to the clock on the bottom right hand side), press the Windows key and the letter B to get you there. This
is also a Windows command. While you are in this area, you
can use your arrow keys to see which programmes might be loaded at
that time. To get back to
the desktop, press the Windows
key and the letter D
Getting to your
running applications area quickly in Windows
Some people may not be aware of the following
shortcuts that can be used on the desktop.
To jump quickly to your running applications area use the Windows
key + the letter T. You can then use the arrow keys to see what is
there. Using the Windows key and a number from 1 to 9 will take
you quickly to one of the running applications.
Alt tabbing between
open windows on the taskbar
If you want to go between 2 open Windows use the
Alt key + the Tab key. You will go between the 2 open
windows you have open. Do it more than once and it will go between
the 2 of them. If you have more than 2 Windows open, to go between
them all, hold down the Alt key then hit the Tab key a few times.
You will notice it will go between all Windows open. Adding the
Shift key into the combination will open the Windows in reverse.
The NVDA screen reader should announce the name of the
application/s as you go between the open windows.
changes on the taskbar in Windows
When NVDA is focused on the start button, press
the Insert key along with the divide key on the numeric keypad to
route the mouse to the start button. Once this has been done, you
will need to right click the mouse. Use the multiply key on the
numeric keypad to perform this action. Next, arrow down to
properties, then press the Enter key. The next screen that comes
up will let you make changes to the taskbar, the start menu and
the toolbars sections in those programmes. The 3 tabs mentioned
above will be spoken when you are on them. You can use the left
and right arrow keys while on the tab to go to the tab next to it.
For example, from the Taskbar tab to the Start Menu tab, or from
the Start Menu tab to the Toolbars tab. When you have located a
section you want to make changes to, (for example the Taskbar tab)
it is a matter of pressing the tab key to go through the list of
options for each section. For example, you can select whether to
lock or auto-hide the task bar, or choose where to have your
taskbar (bottom, left, right or top of the screen).
unselecting files in File Explorer
When you go into a folder in file explorer you
might only want to copy certain files out of that folder. They
might not be together or in a group. To copy only certain files
out of the folder if there are heaps of them you will need to do
It would be easier to go to the top of the folder so you can see
all the files below. Now, hold down the Ctrl key, then use the
Spacebar to select or unselect hightlighted files. Each time you
press the Spacebar on an unselected file it will then become
selected. Work your way down the files you want and select them
with the Spacebar while still holding the Ctrl key. You should
hear whether it is selected or unselected. As you arrow down the
list of files, to confirm which ones you selected while still
holding down the Ctrl key, go to the top of the folder then arrow
down the list. If it only says the name of the song it is selected
but if it says the name of the song and unselected then you know
it is not. Usually the status bar can be read with the NVDA key +
End key but not at present.
Searching for a
file or programme on a computer (running Windows 7)
One of the most useful features is the search
dialogue box. It helps you find files, folders or programmes
quickly on your computer.
To use this search feature in Windows seven, press the Windows key
and the start menu will come up by default. In the search box, you
can usually type up the first few letters (or maybe the first
word) of what you are looking for on the computer. It will then do
a search for the file, folder or programme you are looking for.
(For example, if you typed the word "word" into the search box, it
would come up with the wordpad programme). If only a couple of
letters were typed into the search box, then it may give a lot
more results. (For example, if "sys" was typed into the search
box, it would come up with the following results: System
information, create a system repair disk, system configuration and
so on). Arrow up or down to the one you want and press the Enter
key. This will take you into the programme you choose. If there
are no results that you are after (when it shows its results),
simply press the Escape key twice and those results will
disappear. It will then take you back to the start button.
EXERCISE using the search function
Try the following: In the search edit box try typing a letter or
word and see what results you are given. Repeat the process if you
do not find what you are looking for (for example in case you have
misspelt a word). Once you have found what you are looking for
in WordPad (by Gene Asner)
much of the complaining about them is not warranted if you
understand how they work and how to use short cut commands
effectively and efficiently. I would strongly recommend
against using the JAWS virtual menus, no matter what the JAWS
training material says about ribbons being difficult to
use. The training material is just plain wrong and using
virtual menus, you will be unnecessarily dependent on one
screen-reader. There are other disadvantages to using them
which I won't go into here.
Try looking at ribbons
and doing what is described below in WordPad. Everyone
with Windows 7 has WordPad on their machine. WordPad
provides a good environment to look at and practice working with
The essence of working
with ribbons is this:
Press Alt to move to
the upper ribbon.
You will probably be
on an item that says home tab. Items on the upper ribbon are
announced as tabs such as home tab, view tab, etcetera.
To see what ribbons
are available, right or left arrow repeatedly to move through
the ribbons. Move in one direction to move through all of
them, just as you would to move through all the menus.
demonstration, just so we are all doing the same thing, move
with the right arrow. When you get back to where you started,
you can keep right arrowing to move through the items again, if
you wish. You can move through all the items as many times
as you want; or you can move with the left arrow whenever you
want to move in the opposite direction.
Stop on view.
Then, start tabbing. You will move through all items (in
what is called the lower ribbon) that are in the view ribbon.
In other words you tab
to see the items in a ribbon once you move to it. Tab
moves you forward through the items, Shift Tab moves you
So Tab and Shift Tab
are used instead of up and down arrow.
Many items in the
lower ribbon are buttons. Use either the Spacebar or Enter
to activate the button. You may find a button that opens a menu
and if you press Enter or the Spacebar, you will then be in a
Each time you move to
an item, you will hear the short cut command to work with that
item, but JAWS has a bug and you often won't. To hear the
short cut, use the command JAWS key tab. If you are using
the default JAWS key, it is either insert.
Try tabbing to an item
in a WordPad ribbon and using the command insert tab. You
will hear some extraneous information. The last thing you
will hear is the short cut sequence. You can repeat the
information by repeating the command as often as you want.
Let's look at an item
which is usually called the application menu. Return to
the main program window in WordPad by closing the ribbons.
You can either press Escape repeatedly, if necessary, or you can
press Alt once. Now, open the ribbons again with Alt.
Start right arrowing
until you get to the application menu.
You will hear
application menu and then something like button drop down
grid. Never mind drop down grid. It's a description
you don't have to worry about. The important things are
that you are on a button and at the application menu.
Press Enter or the Spacebar to activate the button.
Activating the button opens the menu. Start down arrowing.
You will hear all the short cut commands necessary to open an
item or take an action. When you get to the menu item, you
will hear Alt F. When you open the menu and move through
it, you will hear all the letters announced (for example, if you
down arrow to save as, you will hear Alt F, A. That means
that, when you are in the main program window, you open the menu
as you always did, Alt F, then type A. Alt F opens the
menu and then opens save as. Ribbon programs have one menu
and you should look through it. Many important and common
commands and interfaces such as options may be there. By
options, I mean the kind of options interface you used to find
in the tools menu.
Now that we have seen
the menu, let's look at the ribbons structure some more.
To review, and add
more information, as you have seen, you can move to the ribbon
interface with Alt. Then, right and left arrow, just as
you would move from menu to menu.
You can also move to a
ribbon using Alt and a letter. So, Alt H takes you to the
home ribbon. Alt V takes you to the view ribbon,
etcetera. Once you are on the ribbon you want to work
with, tab to move forward through the items in a ribbon.
Shift tab to move back through the items. So Tab and Shift
Tab are used instead of up and down arrow.
Ribbons are divided
into categories which you will hear announced as you tab.
For example, in an e-mail program, a ribbon may have a category
named respond. You may hear this announced as respond tool
bar. As you tab, you will hear commands such as reply and
forward in the respond category. When you hear a category
announced, don't tab until you hear everything spoken. You
will miss the first command in the category if you do. I'm
talking about working with an unfamiliar ribbon.
There are often many
more commands and items in a ribbon than in a menu. So
memorize command sequences for items you know you will use
As I said, there are
different categories in ribbons to help organize items.
You can quickly jump from category to category in a ribbon to
help you see if there is a category you want to look
Move to a ribbon in
WordPad (for example, Alt H for home or Alt V for view).
Then repeatedly issue
the command control right arrow to move forward from category to
category and control left arrow to move back. When you get
to a category you want to hear the items in, start
tabbing. Of course, you can Shift Tab to move back.
Open a ribbon in
WordPad and tab through it, to see how it is organized by moving
Then use Control right
arrow to move by category and Tab to see what is in a
Commands such as
Control O, Control N, Control S, Control R etcetera are mostly
retained in programs that use ribbons, though you won't hear
them announced. If you don't already know them, you'll have to
find them in ways such as by looking at a list of keyboard
commands for the program. Such lists are often available
in the help for the program. If you already know the commands
from having used an older version of the program, most or
perhaps even all of the commands you know will work.
Locating a programme on your Desktop quickly, and
then closing it
On your desktop,
you may have a lot of icons. Usually these icons or
shortcuts will take you into a programme that is located on your
hard drive. You can press the
letter an icon begins with to go quickly to that
programme. On most desktops, there will be an icon called
Internet Explorer. This is usually on the main part of the
desktop. If there are say 20 icons on your desktop, and
you wanted to get to Internet Explorer quickly, you could press
the letter I until you get to it. If there is more than
one item on the desktop starting with the letter I, then it will
cycle between them. If there is no programme starting with the
letter I, it will not do anything. Try some other letters to see
what other programmes are there. The other way, is to use your arrow keys to find the
different icons that are there. This is a much
slower process. If you would like to go into any of the
programmes, locate the icon
or shortcut to the programme you are after, then press the enter key to open
it up. In this case, we will use Internet
Explorer. The programme will be opened for you to view
what is on the inside and use. There will usually be a
menu, right up the very top going from left to right.
Above the menu will be a title bar which will say the name of
the application (for example Internet Explorer). This will
obviously change with each application or webpage that you open.
Usually, on the left hand side (in most programmes) there will
be a file menu, across to the right are a variety of other
menus, and on the far right there is usually a help menu.
In Internet Explorer, below this will be navigation buttons,
along with a location bar (where you can type a web address),
with other various icons to the left and right of the location
bar. Below this will be the main window where you browse the
internet. This means whatever webpage you are looking at,
will come up in this area. To close Internet Explorer you can press the Alt key to bring up the
file menu, then arrow
one that says exit,
then press enter to
close the programme. Another
far quicker way, is to use the Alt and F4 keys simultaneously
to close the programme. Most mouse users will just click
the X on the top right of the browser to close the programme.
In some cases you may want a shortcut on your
desktop, so that it is a lot quicker to find the program you
wish to use. It will generally have a shortcut under the
programs menu that you would navigate to, to use that program.
(For example you may find a shortcut to Internet Explorer or
Computer). This shortcut will need to be sent to the desktop.
How to send a
shortcut to your desktop
A shortcut may be located under the programs
menu which lists all of the programs on your computer. To send
the shortcut you want to the desktop, you will need to locate it
first. For example Computer. Next, press the Shift key and the
F10 key together while on the shortcut. A context menu will come
up. When this appears, arrow down to the Send to menu. When the
sub menu appears, arrow down to the menu called Desktop and
press the Enter key. This will put the shortcut on your Desktop,
so it is a lot easier to find now.
shortcut key (also referred to as a hot key) to your
In some cases, you may want to start a program
with a shortcut key. This means, instead of navigating to the
desktop (where your shortcut is), and pressing the Enter key on
it (to activate it), you can assign a shortcut key to start that
program quickly. For example, you could assign a shortcut key to
either Mozilla Thunderbird or Mozilla Firefox. Navigate to the
shortcut you want to add a shortcut key to. If your keyboard has
an application key (also known as the context menu key) press
this key. A context menu will appear. Arrow up or down until you
get to a menu called Properties, then press the Enter key. The
next screen that comes up will allow you to assign a shortcut
key to that shortcut if it hasn't been taken already. Tab down
until you hear shortcut key. If one has already been assigned,
it will tell you what it is. For example Alt, Ctrl and the
letter it has been assigned. If it says there is none, you can
assign a shortcut key to it. For example, for Mozilla
Thunderbird, you could assign Alt + Ctrl + the letter T for
Thunderbird. Next, tab down to the apply button, then tab to the
OK button and press the Enter key. This new shortcut key should
now be assigned to that shortcut. If for some reason your newly
assigned shortcut key doesn't work, it may be because another
shortcut key is assigned to it, or you didn't apply your
What to expect
under the shortcut properties section
Also under the shortcut section, it will tell
you where the shortcut is pointing to on your computer. For
example target will be "C:\Program Files (x86)\Mozilla
Start in... "C:\Program Files (x86)\Mozilla Thunderbird"
Shortcut key... None (this is where you can assign a shortcut
key combination that you will remember)
Run... which can be changed to minimized, normal window, or
maximized if you want the page to be full screen.
Comment... this is where you can add one. (For example for
Mozilla Thunderbird it might be "to send and receive emails").
Open file location... this will take you straight to the Mozilla
Thunderbird folder on your computer.
Change icon... this will let you change your current icon to
Advanced... when you go to this, it will let you Run as
administrator on that shortcut. This option allows you to run
this shortcut as an administrator, while protecting your
computer from unauthorized activity.
Tabbing will take you through the different sections. Using the
Shift / Tab key will take you back through the shortcut section.
Check out the different sections under the tabs section.
If any changes are made, make sure they are applied.
To create a
shortcut to a file or folder
If you would like to, you can point a shortcut
to a file or folder on your computer. This may be in the case of
a folder you access a lot, or a file to start a program like
NVDA. If you would like it to come from the Desktop, make
sure no other shortcuts are selected. If they are, use the Ctrl
key + the spacebar to unselect them.
Next, either use the Shift key + the F10 key (or the application
key - also known as the context key) to bring up the context
menu. Then, arrow down to the new menu; once the sub menu comes
up, arrow to the shortcut menu and press the Enter key. When the
next screen comes up, tab until you hear the word browse. This
is a button, so you will need to press the Spacebar or Enter key
on this button.
This will land you in a tree view. You will need to use your
arrow keys to navigate to the section you want. For example, if
I had a folder on my C:\ drive called NVDA, I would have to
navigate the tree until I got to this folder. For example
Computer... C:\ ... nvda... nvda.exe (which is the file I want
my shortcut to point to), then press the Enter key. Tab to the
ok button and this file will be selected. You will hear (under
the "Type the location of the item" section, where the shortcut
is pointing to. For example C:\nvda\nvda.exe. Tab to the next
button and press the Enter key. It will ask you to give it
a name. Backspace the name it gave it, and assign it a name. For
example, NVDA 2014.4; then press the Enter key and that shortcut
will be made for you now.
If you would rather the shortcut point to a folder when doing
this, stop on the folder name on the tree. For example C:\nvda.
Then, tab to the ok button and follow the directions as
mentioned above to give it a name. Now when you press the Enter
key on that shortcut, whatever it may be named, it will take you
straight to that folder (if you have it going to the NVDA
folder). If it is pointing to the nvda.exe file, then it will
start the program.
to create a folder on the Desktop
There may be times when you want to create a
folder on the Desktop. This could be to store documents in, or
files that you have downloaded from the internet. To create a
folder on the Desktop, you will need to navigate to it first.
Make sure no shortcut is selected. If (when you navigate to the
desktop) it says that there are no shortcuts selected, you can
go on to the next step. If a shortcut is selected, you will need
to unselect it first. Use the Ctrl key + the spacebar to
unselect the shortcut. Doing this again will select the
Once it has been unselected on the desktop, either use the Shift
key + the F10 key (or the applications key - also known as the
context key) to bring up the context menu. Next, arrow down to
New menu; then a submenu will come up. Locate the folder menu,
then press the Enter key. This will make a folder called
new folder. While it is still highlighted, press the backspace
key to clear the current text, then give it a name. For example
my music. Press the Enter key and that folder will be created.
If you would like to create other folders within that folder,
you must go inside the folder to do this. Make sure when you are
creating new folders no other folders are selected. Just repeat
the process again as mentioned above to create new folders
within the my music folder. If a folder is selected when
you create a new folder then this will be inside of that
If the file menu is available, this can also be done using the
file menu. For example, press the Alt key until the file menu
comes up, then arrow down to New. Once the submenu comes up,
arrow to the folder menu, then press the Enter key. While it is
still highlighted, backspace it (so it doesn't say new folder)
and give it a name. Press the Enter key, and the new folder will
To rename a folder or a shortcut at any time when selected, use
the F2 key. Backspace the name of the shortcut or folder and
give it a name. Press the Enter key and that will then be the
new name for that item.
options to consider for computer users with low vision
Below are some basic tips on how to configure
a computer to make it more accessible for users with low vision.
These tips include such information as how to change the display
colors and increase the size of the on-screen text in Windows,
Internet Explorer, and Mozilla Firefox. These tips may or may
not work depending on your eyesight condition and the amount of
vision you have left. There may come a point where you need more
magnification (than what Windows can provide), or even a screen
reader should your sight deteriorate even more. Each persons
needs will be different and these tips are designed to assist
during the transition period of your eyesight condition.
accessibility via the Ease of Access Center
Windows Vista and Windows 7 both have a
feature called the Ease of Access Center, which replaces and
improves the Accessibility Tools found in earlier versions of
Windows. Follow these steps to open the Ease of Access Center:
Press the Windows start key. In the "search programs and
files" edit box, type in "Control Panel" and press Enter. Once
you are in the control panel, open the Ease of Access Center.
(This may also be accessed by pressing the start key...go to all
programs... then accessories...then Ease of Access center) Once
the Center opens, you can activate accessibility tools such as
Magnifier, On Screen keyboard, Narrator, and set up high
contrast. You can change the fonts and colors used by Windows.
Select "Get recommendations to make your computer easier to
use." This will bring up a wizard that will ask you a series of
questions and automatically change the text size and color
settings based on your answers.
In all versions of Windows, the changes made to the text size
using the above steps will affect text created by Windows, which
includes the Start menu, Desktop, Documents, Computer, and the
top title bar for all programs. It will not affect the size of
text in webpages, Word documents, or most other programs. The
changes to the colour scheme however, will carry over to web
browsers and Microsoft Office. Some programs may have their own
colour preferences that will override these settings.
the Accessibility of Web Browsers
There are ways to make sure that nearly every
webpage uses high-contrast colors and larger text. To do so,
follow the steps below for your preferred web browser:
options in Internet Explorer
Go to: Tools...Internet Options... (A new
window should open up). In this new window, choose
"Accessibility". Check the boxes labeled "Ignore font
styles specified on Web pages" and "Ignore font sizes specified
on Web pages." Select "OK" in the dialog box and again in the
Internet Options dialog box. This will return you to the page
you were viewing.
Now, whenever you want to increase or decrease the size of the
text on a webpage, go to: View...text size...(and select the
text size which suits you best).
options in Mozilla Firefox
Go to: Tools...Options. (A new
window should open up). Choose the "Content" tab. Choose a
font (a good clear, easy to see font such as Arial is
recommended), and the size of text you prefer. (Size 14 to 18
may suit most low vision users). Try it out to find out which
font and size best suits you. Locate the "Advanced"
button. In this new dialog box, make sure the box for "Allow
pages to choose their own fonts" is unchecked. Select "OK."
Now, you should be back in the "Content" options tab for
Firefox. Below the "Advanced" button there is a button labeled
"Colours". Here you can adjust the font and background colours
used by Firefox. In the Colours window, choose the colours that
you would prefer, and make sure that the box for "Allow pages to
choose their own colours" is unchecked. Select "OK" to return to
the webpage you were viewing.
The pages should now be using the fonts and colours you
specified. You can increase the size of text on screen any time
by hitting Ctrl +, or by going into View and selecting Zoom.
Alternatively, Ctrl - should decrease the size.
Checking to see if your programme is maximised
While in your browser, if you want to check to
see if it is fully maximized, press
the Alt key and the spacebar to bring up a menu.
This should give you some options to maximize your programme,
minimize your programme or close it. It also gives you the
option to restore it. If these options are greyed out or
unavailable you will not be able to select them. Sometimes, when
you open a programme, it is not fully maximized. Just arrow up to maximize and press enter
and it should do it for you. If this is not an option, then you
will not be able to do it (for example if it was already
maximized, but you were not sure whether it was or not and
attempted to maximize it). We will come back to the browser later
on in the tutorial.
Learning shortcut combination keys within
When navigating the various Internet Explorer
menus (using Alt to open the file
menu, and the arrow
keys to navigate the menus), you may hear of shortcut
keys that can be used to open parts of a programme quickly.
These keys can usually be used in other programmes if supported.
To print for example, press Ctrl and the letter P, and it should
bring up the print menu in Internet Explorer. To become familiar with some of
these shortcut key combinations, listen
to some of these by arrowing
up and down on the menus.
used Windows shortcut keys
The quickest way to learn how to navigate your
computer is to learn the Windows shortcut keys. These may vary
from operating system to operating system, but the basics are
generally the same. Once you know your shortcut keys, you will
find navigating much quicker than using a mouse! Some shortcut
combinations (such as copy and paste) go across programmes and
operating systems. Learning these shortcut keys is invaluable
for screen reader users. Some of the more common ones for
Windows can be found below:
Copy. CTRL+X Cut. CTRL+V Paste. CTRL+Z Undo. DELETE Delete. SHIFT+DELETE Delete
selected item permanently without placing the item in the Recycle
Bin. CTRL while dragging an item Copy selected
item. CTRL+SHIFT while dragging
an item Create shortcut to selected item. F2 Rename selected item. CTRL+RIGHT ARROW Move the
insertion point to the beginning of the next word. CTRL+LEFT ARROW Move the
insertion point to the beginning of the previous word. CTRL+DOWN ARROW Move the
insertion point to the beginning of the next paragraph. CTRL+UP ARROW Move the
insertion point to the beginning of the previous paragraph. CTRL+SHIFT with any of the
arrow keys Highlight a block of text. SHIFT with any of the
arrow keys Select more than one item in a window or on the
desktop, or select text within a document. CTRL+A Select all. F3 Search for a file or
folder. ALT+ENTER View properties
for the selected item. ALT+F4 Close the active
item, or quit the active program. ALT+Enter Displays the
properties of the selected object. ALT+SPACEBAR Opens the
shortcut menu for the active window. CTRL+F4 Close the active
document in programs that allow you to have multiple documents
open simultaneously. ALT+TAB Switch between
open items. ALT+ESC Cycle through
items in the order they were opened. F6 Cycle through screen
elements in a window or on the desktop. F4 Display the Address bar
list in My Computer or Windows Explorer. SHIFT+F10 Display the
shortcut menu for the selected item. ALT+SPACEBAR Display the
System menu for the active window. CTRL+ESC Display the Start
menu. ALT+Underlined letter in a
menu name Display the corresponding menu. Underlined letter in a
command name on an open menu Carry out the corresponding command.
F10 Activate the menu bar
in the active program. RIGHT ARROW Open the next
menu to the right, or open a submenu. LEFT ARROW Open the next
menu to the left, or close a submenu. F5 Refresh the active
window. BACKSPACE View the folder
one level up in My Computer or Windows Explorer. ESC Cancel the current
task. SHIFT when you insert a CD
into the CD-ROM drive Prevent the CD from automatically playing.
Some other shortcuts that you may find useful covering a variety
of programmes such as Internet Explorer versions 9,10 and 11;
Excel, Outlook, Powerpoint and Word (versions 2010 and 2013),
Outlook.com, as well as Windows 7, Windows 8 and Windows 10
keyboard shortcuts can be found at https://www.dropbox.com/s/r0hc0ejv9whgsgs/Useful%20shortcuts.zip?dl=0
using shortcut key combinations
Use some of the shortcut keys listed above to
discover what functions they provide in certain programmes and
operating systems. Type something up in Notepad, and then try
copying and pasting it.
How to find more information
on different topics for Windows
To quickly find all of the shortcuts that are
commonly used for your Windows operating system, please follow the
While on the desktop, press the F1 key. This will bring up a
new screen called Windows Help and Support where you can do a
search for the shortcuts. In the search area, type
shortcuts, then press the enter key. This will bring up a results
screen. Find the results you are after (for example keyboard
shortcuts), then press enter. Here it will bring up a list
of keyboard shortcuts for you to learn. You could always
copy and paste the results into a word processing programme to be
looked at and learnt at a later date. To close the screen, use the
Alt and F4 keys. Windows shortcut keys are well worth learning as
they allow you to navigate and perform functions quickly.
Make sure there is no other programme open, as it may open up the
help section for that programme. For example, if you have your
word processing programme open and then press F1, the help for the
word processing programme will open up as opposed to the Windows
For any programme that has a help menu, pressing the F1 key will
bring up the help topics for that programme. For example, by
pressing F1 in Word, or by searching under the help menu in Word,
you may be able to discover how to change fonts.
Also, to discover the version number of a programme that you are
using, look under the help... about section to see which version
of that software that you have.
Typing and reviewing a document in Notepad
As you type up a
document, you may choose to hear it spoken letter by letter,
word by word, or both. Command keys can also be turned
on or off (so you know which command keys you have pressed).
and the number 2 will
turn speak typed characters
on and off. Insert
and the number 3 will
turn speak typed words
on and off. Insert
and the number 4 will
turn speak command keys
on and off. Insert
and the letter P will
cycle you through the various punctuation symbol levels. These are:
none, some, most and all. The variation in levels of
punctuation you hear, will depend on the punctuation level you
set it to.
The commands mentioned above, are good for use in a word
We will now go into another programme called
Notepad. If it is not on the desktop, press the Windows key to bring up the
file menu and use the arrow keys
to navigate to this programme. In Windows XP and Windows 7,
it is usually found under
section. In Windows 7, to get there quickly, go to the
search area and type "notepad" and it should open it up for you.
When you get to Notepad and have opened it, you will be presented
with a file menu up the top, icons below this, and your edit area
below that. Try typing up
something, and as you type (depending on how you
have set your screen reader to read) it should read out what you have typed (either
letter by letter or word by word and so on).
In the main edit area in Notepad, where you are going to type your
information type a few lines. (For this example, I will use part
of the NZ National Anthem as a practice exercise).
God of nations at thy feet
In the bonds of love we meet
Hear our voices we entreat
God defend our free land
Guard Pacific's triple star
From the shafts of strife and war
Make her praises heard afar
God defend New Zealand
To go to the top of the page,
use the Ctrl and Home keys.
(This should take you back to the top, just before the first word
God and it should read out the first line). To get back down to
the bottom of the page,
use the Ctrl and End keys.
(This should take you to the end of the word Zealand). We will
jump back to the top again so we can review what we have written
so far. The arrow keys will be used, along with other keys to
review what you have written. Press
arrow down, and the screen reader should read out the text line
by line. Press arrow up, and it should read out the line above
each time you press it.
To review what you have written, you can do it letter by letter or
word by word. To review
God defend New Zealand letter by
letter, use the left
and right arrow keys. This way is usually good for fixing
up spelling mistakes etc. If you would like to review it word by word, press the Ctrl and right arrow keys
which will allow you to review it moving to the right. To go back the other way, use the Ctrl and left arrow keys
to head back towards the beginning. To read everything that you have typed from the
top, press the Insert and down
arrow keys. If you are reviewing your document
(having pressed Insert and arrow down) and the phone rings, you
can press the Ctrl key to stop the screen reader
talking. After you have answered the call, to continue reading, press the
Insert and down arrow keys
to start the screen reader again. The shift key can be used as well to stop the talking. When you
press it again, it will start talking from where you stopped it
(where supported by the synthesiser).
To close the programme
quickly, use Alt plus the F4 key.
It may ask you to save your changes, arrow left or right to say no
and it will close the programme.
Getting NVDA to read out
information that you have selected
While you are in Notepad, select some of the
text that you have typed up previously. While holding down your Shift key, use your arrow keys to arrow down to
the information that you want to select. This will highlight the
text as you arrow down / left or right. To get NVDA to read out
what you have selected, press the Insert, Shift and the up arrow
file (for example in a word processing document)
When you open a word processing document and
begin to type, the work that you do is stored in temporary memory.
If you shut down the computer without saving your work, it will be
gone. There are two ways to save a file from the keyboard. Alt +
F, S. Pressing Alt with the letter F displays the File pull down
menu. From this menu, you can down arrow to Save and press the
Enter key, or you can press the Ctrl key and the letter S.
Control + S.
This command is called a hotkey because it enables you to invoke
the Save feature without opening a menu. It is the fastest way to
save a file using the keyboard.
when the save as dialogue box appears
Save As dialogue box
The first time you save a document, the Save As dialogue box will
appear on the screen. NVDA will automatically default to the file
name box. This is an edit area. You can give your file any name,
just make it easy to remember and relevant to the task at hand.
For example, my address book, my little black book of phone
Save As type
The next box you tab to will be called save as type. This is
usually a combo box and will allow you in most cases to change
from one text format to another. For example RTF format to a Doc
format. This will depend on the application you are using at that
time. This section cannot be edited - only changed from one format
When this button is pressed, the file is saved to the location you
specified. Always check to see where your file is being saved to,
otherwise you will end up with files all over your pc if the
location changes each time.
The cancel button
If this button is pressed it will cancel the operation you are
trying to do. This will make the save as dialogue box disappear.
(where you want to save your file)
This is where you want the file saved. For
example the desktop. This can easily be changed to another
location at any time - also including external hard drives and
removable media. This is a split button which will allow you to
change from one location to another. Use the up and down arrow
keys to change it from one location to another. For example, from
the desktop to your removable media (the E:\ drive). Make sure you
press the Enter key (once you have located the drive) to point it
towards that drive.
If you keep on tabbing around until you hear Desktop tree view,
this means there is a tree view there and the treeview is starting
from the Desktop. Use your left, right, up and down arrow keys to
navigate around your computer. As you expand and collapse your
branches etcetera these will be heard as you navigate the
Once you have located the destination where you want to put the
file (for example the E drive), if you press the Enter key it will
put you into that drive where other files/folders may be. This is
where the file may go, unless you create a folder within that
drive. Make sure if a new folder is made, you backspace it
so that the "new folder" name is gone and rename it to something
relevant. For example shortcuts for Windows.
For a new user of Windows, once you have typed up something (say
in a word processor) and gone to save it, the easiest way for a
new user is when the save as dialogue box comes up and you have
entered your file name to name the file, just shift/tab a couple
of times until you hear the word tree view being spoken out. It is
just a matter of using your arrow keys to navigate to the place
where you want to save the file. For example the E drive.
out some options under the print settings menu
Some people may not be aware of the various
print options available.
Printing a document
In some cases, you may want to print a document.
This may be from a text document or photos (and so on).
Most programs such as web browsers and word processors will have a
print menu in them. This can usually be activated through the File
menu, then arrowing down to Print, then pressing the Enter key.
This will bring up different options for you to either look at or
tab through. A faster way to access this option is to use Ctrl +
P. This can be handy especially if you are not familiar with the
location (for example when learning to use ribbons in Word).
Send to this
Send to this is the first area that NVDA will
default to (in Notepad for example). It will allow you to send
your document to various devices. If there is only one printer in
this section, you may only have the one option. If there is more
than one printer installed or programs you can print to, they can
be found in this section. Just use the up and down arrow keys to
make your selection.
This will also tell you if the device is ready to use or if the
device is offline (which means it is usually turned off or
Print to file
This is perhaps the least commonly used option.
This is a check box which is usually left unticked unless you want
to print a document to file. You would use this function if you
did not have a printer available at the time, and wanted to print
something out later on.
This section allows you to select the
orientation of the paper (for example landscape - which is left to
right, or portrait - which is north to south).
It also allows you to select the size of paper you require (for
example A4) as well as the print quality (for example 600 x 600).
Select printer...find printer
Under the section called select printer, there
is an option to find a new printer. Simply follow the on screen
This section has 2 sections in it. The first
section has radio buttons to select to print All, Selection,
Pages, or Current page.
If the All radio button is selected, it will print all pages from
If Selection is selected, it will print what you currently have
highlighted (or selected).
If Pages is selected, it will allow you to enter a range (for
example 4-8) which will print pages 4 through to 8 only. You can
also print individual page numbers that are not necessarily in
sequence, by doing the following. To print certain pages from a 10
page document, (for example by specifying 1,3,5,7) it will only
print out those pages specified (that is 1,3,5 and 7).
If current page is selected, then it will only print the page that
is currently in view in front of you. The second section allows you to select how many copies
you would like as well as having an option to collate those copies
(for example if collate is selected, then the pages will print out
in order 1,2,3 and then 1,2,3 again, and so on), rather than you
having to sort them all out manually afterwards.
When you next tab, it will give you the option to see how many
copies you want of the page. For example, if it is only a one page
document, when you tab you can specify it to print the same page
more than once. Just type in a number to adjust the amount of
copies you want, and tab to the Print button and press Enter.
This is a button. Simply press the Enter key on
this and it will print out your document.
The shortcut key to print a document is the Ctrl key + P.
Hopefully you have learned something new about printing options.
As with any printer and its software, there may be variations
however the basics are the same.
How to change your settings in NVDA quickly
The easiest way, when first learning how to get
into the settings of NVDA, is when NVDA is running, press the Insert key and the letter N. This will bring up the preferences.
From here you can right arrow
to the General settings
then arrow down to the
rest of the NVDA settings. Depending on which settings you
would like to go into, you can
use either the left, right, up or down arrow keys to get there.
To go into any of the settings press
the enter key. Once you are in one of the settings
(for example the voice settings), you can use the Tab key to Tab to the different settings
in there. If one of the settings you would like to use is
check that box. If you would like to change any of the other
settings with sliders, use your left or right arrow keys.
This can also be done with the up and down arrow keys as
well. If you would like to change your variant (voice) from
say Max to another, once you are in the variants box (which is a
combo box), use the up and down
arrow keys to change voices to one you like. Once
you are happy with that voice use the tab key till you get down to the ok button then press enter
for the menu box to close. There are shortcut keys to get you
straight to the setting you are after quickly. If you use
the Ctrl plus the Insert key plus the letter V, it will bring up the voice settings for you.
Press enter to adjust
your settings and make sure you ok
it at the end. Try this with some of the other menus. (for
example Ctrl plus the Insert key and the letter D will bring up the Document settings).
If down the track you would like to change your voice settings
quickly (without going into the voice settings) try this. If
you press the Ctrl and Insert and the left or right arrows it will cycle you through the voice settings.
If you have found a setting you would like to change (for example
the voice variant from Max to another), while still holding down
the Ctrl and Insert key, use the up and down arrow keys to
change the variants. You can try this with some of your
other voice settings as well to get the idea.
How to copy and paste information into an
application, or onto a USB stick with NVDA
Sometimes when you are on a website there may be
information that you want to copy. This could be a recipe or
information you are researching. On the webpage, locate the
information you want. Press the Insert key and the F9 key to start
marking the information you want. Use the down arrow key to mark all of the text you want;
then, use the Insert and
F10 key to copy it to the clipboard.
If it is not a lot of information, you can press the Insert and C key to read out the clipboard (to
confirm what you have copied).
Once you have found some
information online that you wish to copy and paste, you will need
another programme for the information to be copied into. You can use Notepad for this.
To minimize the window you
are looking at, use the Windows
and M key. This
will minimize your browser to the taskbar. Now locate Notepad on your
computer and open it up.
To paste the
information into Notepad, use the Ctrl and V
keys. If done correctly, you should have a copy of your recipe (or
whatever information you copied) there now in front of you. This can also be done by
locating the same information and whilst holding down the shift and Ctrl keys, arrowing
right to the end of the sentence, then arrowing down to
highlight all of the information you want. Next, press
the Ctrl key and the
letter C to copy it to
the clipboard, then paste it into that programme with Ctrl and the letter V. This can be done to
other word processing applications as well. Finally, save what you have copied
using either Ctrl and S, or by pressing Alt
(to access the menus) and arrowing
down to Save. It will ask you where to save it to.
Click on browse and
change it from wherever it is pointing to, to the desktop. This will make it
easier to find for the next step. You could try this with a
paragraph off this page by pasting it into your word processing
At a later date, you may want to copy
the information to a USB stick. You could use the
copy and paste part of Windows to do this. Locate the file you have saved
to the desktop. Make sure
it is highlighted when NVDA speaks the filename that you
have saved it as. Pressing Ctrl
and the letter C should copy it to the clipboard. Now
plug in your USB stick. An
autoplay dialogue should come up. When it does, press the
letter O to open the folder,
then press enter. You should now be able to see what files
are on the USB stick. To
paste it, use the Ctrl
and V keys. If you
can't see it there, it hasn't been copied properly, so you would
repeat the process until it does. The Insert and F9
keys are used to mark the text
you want, and the Insert
and F10 keys are used to
copy it to the clipboard
so it can be pasted.
Switching between applications that are open on
If you have followed the above steps, and
assuming that you have not closed any of those applications, you may have three applications open
at the same time. These may be your browser (from which you have
copied your information), Notepad
(or whatever word processing application you have pasted that
information into) and your USB
stick. If they
are all still open, you can go between the three of them by
doing the following. Press the Alt key, then quickly hit the Tab key. This should cycle between two
applications that you have minimized. So, if you just do it the once, it should go between the browser and
another application that is open. To check which application it
is, press Insert and the
letter T to hear the title. If you
would like to go between the three applications, just hold down
the Alt key and press the Tab key a couple of times. Each time you hit the Tab key, it
will cycle through the three applications. The Alt and
Tab keys are another Windows command.
How do I cut, copy, paste, or delete text without
using a mouse?
There are two
ways to cut, copy, paste or delete information. One is pressing Alt and E to bring up
the edit menu and then choose the option you would like.
The other way is using the
shortcut key commands. In the exercise below, we will use
Notepad to highlight, cut, copy, paste and delete text.
Using the edit menu:
Type up a few lines of text.
Do one (or all) of the following:
text so you can cut or copy it to another location,
select the text using the Shift key and your arrow keys. Hold the Shift
key down at the beginning of the text that
you want to move, and arrow
across or down to select the rest of the text that you
To cut text so you can
move it to another location, select the text (as per the
instructions above), press Alt +
E to bring up the edit
menu, and then arrow
down to cut, and press enter.
To copy text so you can
paste it in another location, select the text (as per the
instructions above), press Alt +
E to bring up the edit
menu, and then arrow down to
copy, and press enter.
To paste text that you
have cut or copied, click the location where you want to paste the
text, press Alt + E to
bring up the edit menu, and then arrow down to paste.
To delete text, select
the text you want to delete, press Alt + E to bring up the edit menu, and then arrow down to delete.
To undo your last
action, press Alt + E to
bring up the edit menu, and then arrow
down to undo.
Alternatively, the shortcut key
commands are as follows:
Cut = Ctrl + X
Copy = Ctrl + C
Paste = Ctrl + V
Delete = Delete key
Undo = Ctrl + Z
Hopefully now you have tried both ways of
cutting, copying, pasting, deleting and undoing text. Use
whichever way you remember best. Also, the copy, cut, paste and
delete functions can be used for files and folders as well.
the focused area with NVDA
If you are a software developer or a web
developer, and this is your first time using a screen reader (such
as NVDA), learning how a screen reader reads a webpage (or where
it is focused in a programme) can be very different to what you
are used to. It usually baffles a sighted developer. Sighted
developers will usually not like a synthetic voice either, let
alone be able to drive NVDA as a sight impaired person would.
There are features that may help you to see where the NVDA screen
reader is focused at any given time. You could try either one of
the following and see which one works for you. They might even
help other sighted people (such as an adaptive technology
instructor) to locate which part of a screen is being read out at
that particular point in time.
Added screen highlight
functionality to NVDA
By drawing a coloured rectangle, this addon
enables partially sighted users, sighted educators, or developers
to track the location of the NVDA navigator object and the focused
The following colours are used by this addon:
Green thin dashed-dotted line rectangle shows NVDA is in browse
mode, and this is the navigator object.
Red thin rectangle shows NVDA is in browse mode, and this is the
Red thick rectangle shows NVDA is in browse mode, and this is
both the navigator object and the focused object which are
Blue thick dotted line rectangle indicates NVDA is in focus
mode, i.e., key types are passed to the control.
To toggle object tracking, press NVDA + Alt + P. You can assign
other gestures using the Input Gestures.
From NVDA 2019.3 onwards, the focus highlight addon will be
retired, and will be integrated into NVDA 2019.3 Under NVDA's
settings, then vision branch, you can adjust some settings for it
(for example Enable Highlighting, Highlight system focus,
Highlight navigator object, and Highlight browse mode cursor).
The NVDA speech viewer (when enabled) is a
box which appears on your screen as a resizeable/moveable window.
It displays a list of actions in text format as you navigate your
computer. Wherever the highlighted area is being spoken out, this
information will be displayed in the list. This has been
created for those developers who wish to have a visual cue rather
than an audio cue. Both the visual and audio cue can be used at
the same time. If you wish to turn off the audible cues (and
prefer to only see the list of actions) while NVDA is running use
the Insert key + the letter S and toggle it until you hear speech
mode off. The other two options under Insert + S are speech mode
beeps and speech mode talk. To get NVDA to speak again, simply
continue to toggle it until you hear speech mode talk.
To enable the speech viewer window while NVDA is running, press
the Insert key and the letter N... (when the preferences menu
comes up) arrow down to tools... arrow right... then arrow down to
speech viewer. Press Enter and the speech viewer window should be
enabled. To disable it, just repeat the same process and the
window will disappear.
Exploring your Windows operating system,
programmes and devices using Windows Explorer
Windows Explorer is used to
navigate the file structures of your operating system. This is
where you can see the different drives on your computer for
example the C:\ drive, DVD drive or any removable media and so
on. This will also include programmes that you have on your
computer. These will be in folders with files inside of them.
to tell the difference between a 32 bit machine and a
64 bit machine in Windows
Most people are unaware of how many bit
their operating system is (for example whether it is a Windows
32 bit or 64 bit system). The easiest way to find out which
one you have is to do the following... To quickly go into
Windows Explorer on your computer (where you can view the
contents of your operating system), press the Windows key and
the letter E. This will take you directly into Windows
Explorer. Next, press the letter P. If there is only one
folder called programme files, the computer has a 32 bit
operating system. If you then press the letter P again (and
there is another folder called programme files x86), then it
will be a 64 bit operating system. This is for the Windows
operating system only. Where it refers to program files X86
(this is a 32 bit path for 32 bit programmes on a 64 bit
computer). If a 64 bit programme is installed, it will then
put it in the other folder called programme files. If your
computer has both the programme files folder as well as the
programme files x86 folder, then it is a 64 bit system.
Check to see if NVDA is a 32 bit or 64 bit program, using the
instructions in the paragraph above. You will need to go into
both folders to see which one NVDA is in.
Windows Explorer via the Start button
To go into Windows explorer via the start
button, you will need to focus NVDA on the start button first.
Next, you will need to route the mouse to the start button.
Use the Insert key + the divide key (found above the number 8
on the numeric keypad) at the same time to do this. Once the
mouse cursor has been routed to the start button, you will
need to right click the mouse with NVDA. Use the multiply key
to do this. This is found on the numeric keypad as well (above
the number 9).
Arrow up or down to open Windows Explorer and press the Enter
key. The next screen that comes up will give you the following
When Windows Explorer is opened for the
first time, it will default to the Items view list. This
will be spoken out by NVDA. To quickly get to the tree view,
use the shift/tab keys once, and this will put you into the
name - tree view section which is a lot easier to use if this
is your first time using Windows Explorer.
This may give you a list of folders, for example documents,
music, pictures and so on. If you press the Enter key to go
into one of these folders (or any of the folders on your
operating system) in this view, you can also use the left
arrow key along with the Alt key to go back a folder. If you
want to go back into the folder you were in, you can either
press the Enter key again or use the Alt key along with the
right arrow key to do this.
What you hear will depend on the section you are in. This is
referred to as the address. For example, if the address says
documents, then the item view list will be the list of items
within the documents section. As another example, if the
address says desktop, then it will show the items that appear
on your desktop.
When you tab next, it will take you to the address
section. This is a split button and will also say desktop.
This means the library section is referring to the desktop in
that section. You can use the left and right arrow keys to go
between those 2 sections.
The next time you Tab it will take you to a search
section. This is just a matter of putting in what you want to
look for and it will locate it for you within that section.
You should hear the words "search box" being spoken.
When you tab again the next section it lands you on is the command
module section. If the up and down arrow keys are used
on this section, it will bring up a context menu that may
allow you to do the following (copy, cut, paste and so on).
This applies if it is highlighted on a folder or file.
The next time you tab, it will land you on a
tree view. This means you will be able to use the up,
down, left and right arrow keys to navigate the branches in
that section. Depending on how many branches there are on that
tree view - it may say one of 20. This means there are 20
branches on that tree.
You will need to keep on opening branches until you find what
you are after. Sometimes the Enter key and Tab key may be used
when the branch can't be opened any more. In this case there
are usually files in them.
If this is your first time navigating your computer, this is
the easiest way to do it. You can also use the first letter of
the programmes folder name and/or file to get to the
destination much quicker.
Pressing the Tab key again will take you back to the items
location within Windows Explorer and what to look out
for in the two views
When the location is changed in the address
section (with the up and down arrow keys) and the Enter key is
used, this will change what you can see in the following 2
areas (for example name/tree view section and the items view
For example, if the address area is changed to computer split
button and the Enter key is pushed, it will change in the 2
areas mentioned. It should change the tree view to computer,
and in the items view list you should be able to see the
drives on your computer. For example C:\, D:\ and so on.
To go into any of these folders, just press the Enter key and
it will take you inside the drive to see other folders/files
on that computer, USB stick or removable drive etcetera.
Windows Explorer via the Windows shortcut
The other way to quickly go into Windows
Explorer while on the desktop, is to press the Windows key
+ the letter E together. This will bring up the
Windows Explorer screen.
When this screen comes up it will say computer. This may vary on
other operating systems. You can use the left, right, up, or down
arrow keys to navigate this area. Here it will give you the
options to see other drives etcetera on your computer. For example
C:\, D:\ and so on. If you press the Enter key on the C:\ drive it
will take you into that drive. When this is done, the next screen
that comes up will be the structure of the operating system. This
will consist of folders and files. Each folder may contain other
files or subfolders within it. One of the files in those
folders, usually an exe file will be linked to a shortcut (either
on your desktop or under your programmes menu). For example
NVDA.exe will be linked to a shortcut called NVDA on the desktop.
When this screen is opened, NVDA will default to the Items View
list. Pressing any letter while in this area will quickly move you
to any folders starting with that letter. For example the letter P
for programmes. Each time you press the letter P it will take you
to another folder starting with the letter P. This is the same
idea when you are inside of a folder and there are a lot of files
there. Pressing a letter will take you to all of the files
starting with the letter you pushed. For example the letter N.
When the Enter key is used on a folder (for example programme
files in the operating system under Windows Explorer), it will
show up a list of folders that are under that section on your
computer. Pressing the Enter key will show you a list of
folders/programmes under that section. For example Mozilla
Firefox, Mozilla Thunderbird and so on. Each time you go into a
folder, the Enter key will be used to go inside that folder.
What is the
difference between List view and Details view in Windows
The difference between the 2 views (list view
and details view) is as follows:
List view allows the user to see the files
within a folder as a list of file names.
Details view allows the user to see the
files and folders within a folder in more detail (for example
file name, date modified, file type and file size).
view in Windows Explorer
If you are not quite sure how to navigate the
computer to see what directory/folders are there, it would be a
good idea to change your view to make it easier to navigate
with. If you use either the list view or the details view,
all you will need to do is mostly use your arrow keys to navigate.
To change your view, press the Alt
key to get to the file menu, arrow
right to the View menu, arrow
down to the list view or details view, then press Enter.
This should tick the list view or details view. Try both the list
view and the details view to see
what is best for you to use.
favourite view for all folders while in Windows Explorer
Once you have decided on your favourite view,
you can save it permanently by going to the tools menu, arrowing down to
the folder options menu,
then pressing enter to
open it up. There should be some tabs there and you need to
go to the view tab to
change/save your setting permanently for all folders. Once you
have saved your folder options, you should be taken back to
Windows Explorer. If you are not sure where you have been placed
(when opening the screen), press the shift/tab key to hear what it says.
Creating a new
folder while in Windows Explorer
It may be a good idea while in tree view mode,
to make a directory/folder called NVDA. Here, at a later
date, we can drop a copy of NVDA portable into it. To do this, locate the C: drive (this
should be found at the top of the tree). Once you are there, press
the Alt key to bring up
the file menu, arrow down to new,
right arrow to folder/directory,
then press enter.
It will make up a new folder for you. Locate the folder you
have just made, and once found, press the F2 key to rename that folder to NVDA.
Press enter and now the
folder should be called NVDA. Then, it's a matter of getting the portable version of NVDA
and unzipping the contents into that folder/directory.
Directions can be found on my NVDA screen reader page.
While you are in tree view, try pushing the letter P and see what
it does. If there are any folders/directories starting with
the letter P, it will take you straight to them. Press the
letter P again and then it should take you to the next one
starting with the letter P. Now try another letter and see what it
does. This is useful for quickly finding
folders/directories/files that you are after. If you are
still on the C: drive in tree view, try pressing the letter N
until you get back to the NVDA folder.
pasting files using Windows Explorer
For an exercise, you could look for the Tweaky voice and
copy it to the desktop. To give you a hand in finding the
Tweaky voice, follow the path that will get you there. For Windows 7 users using an
installer version of NVDA, it is as follows: Computer/Local Disk (C:)/Program
Files (X86)/NVDA/synth Drivers/espeak-data/voices/!v/Tweaky
If you are using Windows XP,
then this may be found under C:/Program
Once you open the last folder (which is the !v folder), you will
have to press enter, then
Tab to get into where the
voices are. Once you have located
Tweaky, press Ctrl + C (to copy the file), and then Windows + M to minimise the
window. Next, press the Windows
+ D key (to take you to the desktop), and then press Ctrl + V to paste the file
there. This can be opened up with Notepad at a later date for you
to look at. If you decide down the track that you want to make
your own voice/variant, this will give you a basic guide of how to
all open Windows, press Alt+Tab
until it reads out the first Window, and then use Alt+F4 to close it. Keep doing
this until all Windows are closed.
out more information about your computer
Your arrow keys, Tab key and Shift + Tab key
combinations will be used in this section. There is a section
(under the System Tools section) in Windows which gives you more
information about your computer system. This section will cover
what type of operating system you have, how much ram is present on
your computer and so on.
On a Windows seven computer it can be accessed by doing the
following... Press the Windows key, (and when the Start menu comes
up) go to All Programmes, then Accessories, then System Tools.
Locate the System Information menu, then press the Enter key. The
next screen will put you into a tree view. NVDA will go to the top
of the tree (called System Summary). You can arrow up and down the
tree (with the up arrow and down arrow keys) if you want to look
at other things in this section. If you do look around on the
tree, go back to System Summary. This should be spoken. Next,
press the Tab key. The next section will let you arrow up and down
to see what kind of specifications you have on your computer. (For
example operating system, version and so on). To quickly get to
this section, simply type in the search box on the Windows start
menu the following: system, this should hopefully be the first
result in the list. If not, locate the System Information
result and press the Enter key. This will take you into the System
Information section in Windows.
Now you can start looking up things about your computer.
housekeeping (maintenance) for Windows
The following sections cover
basic housekeeping practices that will need to be done from time
to time, to keep your Windows computer running nicely for you!
use Windows Defender
Most people are unaware that Windows Defender
comes with their operating system. It was introduced into the
Vista operating system and thereafter (for example Windows 7 and
8). Windows Defender can be found under the Control Panel section
Once located, you can send a shortcut to your Desktop. You will
need to route the mouse to this shortcut. Use the Insert key and
the divide key on the numeric keypad to do this. Once the mouse
has been routed to the Windows Defender shortcut, you will need to
right click the mouse so a context menu comes up. This is done
with the multiply key on the numeric keypad (that is the * key).
You will then need to arrow down to "create shortcut menu" and
press the Enter key. This will put a shortcut called Windows
Defender on your desktop. This way (by having a shortcut on your
desktop) it will make it a lot easier to scan for viruses etcetera
on your computer.
Windows Defender may have to be turned on so you will need to
enable it when you first go into the Windows Defender screen (once
the shortcut has been located). When Windows defender has been
enabled (in most cases) you will be using the Tab key to go
between sections. Also, the arrow keys will be used to go between
sections of each page. You may have to experiment with navigating
around the different screens available to you there. The home
button will get you back to the main page.
How to clean up
your computer with Windows Disk Cleanup utility
It is a good idea to have a little bit of a
clean up now and again on a computer. Windows provides its own
disk clean up utility. It is worth going through it now and again
to see what temp files and so on can be removed from your computer
(that are just sitting there and taking up space). The disk
clean up utility can be found under the accessories/system tools
section in Windows. To locate this quickly, you may also enter the
words disk cleanup in the search box under the Start menu in
Windows 7. The tab key and arrow keys will be used in this
programme to move around it. To listen to the audio tutorial
please go to https://www.dropbox.com/s/hop0esvr92jvj3w/how%20to%20clean%20up%20your%20computer%20with%20windows%20disk%20cleanup%20utility.MP3?dl=0
defragment your hard drive and improve your computers
Fragmentation (or the separation of files) can
occur over a period of time making your hard drive do extra work,
that in turn can slow your computer down. Removable storage
devices such as USB drives can also become fragmented. Disk
Defragmenter rearranges the fragmented data making your disks and
drives work more efficiently. Disk Defragmenter (also commonly
referred to as defrag) can be scheduled for action automatically,
or done manually.
You may need to tab or arrow around the screen to get to some of
the different options.
To get to disk defragmenter, system tools can be accessed via the
all programmes menu (for example all programmes, accessories,
system tools, disk defragmenter). This is the same area in which
you can find other tools such as disk cleanup and system
Alternatively you can type into the search box on the startup menu
the name of the programme you want (or at least the first few
letters of the programme). This way it may take you straight to
the programme itself or give you some alternatives that match the
There are times when you have downloaded
programmes off the internet only to find they don't work with your
screen reader, or there are programmes on your computer that you
don't use any more. If these programmes are of no use any more,
you might as well remove them (so you can free up more disk space
on your computer).
To remove a programme from your computer, you will need to go to
the control panel. Next, you will need to locate a section called
programmes and features. Press the Enter key to open it. You will
need to let the list populate with all of the programmes on your
computer. Next, you will need to locate the programme you want to
uninstall from your computer (for example Google chrome). You can
quickly jump down to this programme you want to uninstall by
pressing the letter G. Keep doing this until you have located the
Google chrome programme or whichever programme you want to
uninstall. If this is the case then another letter will be used
(for example press O for Open Office or whatever the programme
name begins with). Next, route your mouse to the programme you
want to uninstall from the list. To do this use the Insert key and
the divide key which can be found on the numeric keypad. You
should hear the name of the programme being spoken out to you.
Next, you will have to right click the mouse. To simulate this
with NVDA you use the multiply key on the numeric keypad (this is
the * above the number 9). A context menu will come up, then arrow
down to uninstall and press the Enter key and simply follow
the directions until it is uninstalled.
Sometimes programmes will leave folders/settings behind on your
computer. To remove these from your computer as well, locate your
computer icon on your desktop and press the Enter key. It will
give you a selection of the drives on your computer. Locate the
C:\ drive and press the Enter key again. When the next screen
comes up, press the letter P to either jump down to programme
files if you are using a 32 bit machine, or programme files x86 if
you are using a 64 bit machine. Locate the folder name if any (for
example Google chrome) then delete it from your computer. Once
done, close this screen with the Alt + F4 keys.
You can also check under the following area as well. Press the
Windows key and the letter R to bring up the Windows Run dialog
box, or alternatively you can press the Windows key and
enter the following into the search box when it comes up instead
to get the same results... Type in the following %appdata% Next,
press the Enter key. It will give you a list of folders and
their settings in this section. Locate the folder (if it is there)
and delete it. If none can be found, then you are right to
go. Close this screen with the Alt key and the F4 key. This is a