tutorials cover the NVDA screen reader basics, general
navigation in Windows - using Windows shortcut keys, and
examples of where you would use NVDA commands in commonly used
computer programmes. You will need to be very familiar
with your keyboard.
Please learn where all of your keys are, so as to be able to
locate them quickly.
Training material 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/
NVDA expert certification
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.
out about NVDA progress via the nvaccess In Process
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,
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
listening to/or reading the following tutorials,
please make sure you get your copy of NVDA
Before looking at the
following tutorials, make sure you have downloaded a copy of
the NVDA screen reader. To get the latest copy, please
and go to the downloads link. Download the programme and set
it up. Down the track, if you feel you have benefited from
NVDA, then donations (no matter how big or small) are always
welcome to keep the project free for everyone.
within the settings section of NVDA to bring up the most
From NVDA 2020.4 pressing the F1 key
inside NVDA dialogues will now open the help file to the
most relevant section. This means that if you are going
through the different sections of NVDA (and inside of a
dialogue if you are unsure about what that setting does)
when you press the F1 key it will bring up your browser to
the most relevant section and tell you what that setting
Some commonly used NVDA
screen reader keys and combinations
This tutorial is aimed at newcomers to the NVDA
screen reader, and its functions using a desktop computer. When
you have first downloaded
NVDA from http://www.nvaccess.org/
and clicked on it to set it up...it
will talk you through the setup process, and once installed will
start NVDA. It will make a sound wave sound and be loaded shortly
after. 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 press the insert and the letter N key to bring it
up. Here, you will be able to change your settings to your liking in NVDA.
Here, you will also 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 Q key at
the same time.
NVDA can have either the insert key, the extended insert key, or
the caps lock key as the NVDA modifier key. A modifier key
modifies another key so it can perform another task. For this
tutorial, we will be using the
insert key as the modifier key (which can be used with
other keys to do various tasks). Usually, on a 101 keyboard,
this key will be in a block of 6 keys, above the arrow keys.
Normally, if I press the letter q on its own, the letter q is
typed or heard. Using the insert key (as a modifier key) at the
same time as the q key - performs a specific function. So, when I
press the insert key and
the Q key at the same
time, NVDA will turn off.
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.
your synthesizer and voice settings with NVDA
A couple of things you might want to change in
NVDA (after it has been installed) are your synthesizer
preferences and the voice that you hear.
To change your synthesizer settings in NVDA
To change your
synthesizer settings in NVDA press the NVDA key + the letter N. Next, arrow to the
synthesizer settings section. Press the Enter key and the next
section that comes up will give you the following options:
synthesizer, output device and audio ducking mode.
When NVDA lands on the synthesizer combo box, it
will tell you what synthesizer you are on (for example E speak,
Sapi 4 or Sapi 5 etcetera). Use your down or up arrow keys to
change to another synthesizer. When you have chosen one, tab down
to the ok button, then press the Enter key. To get to this section
quickly with NVDA press the Ctrl key + NVDA key + the letter S.
The new audio ducking feature in NVDA 2016.1
From NVDA 2016.1, there has been a new feature
put into NVDA. This feature can be found under the synthesizer
settings section in NVDA. To
quickly get to this menu, press the Ctrl key + NVDA key + the
When this menu is first opened, NVDA will land on
the supported synthesizers section. You can use your up or down
arrow keys to change to another synthesizer. The same can be done
for the other combo boxes below.
The next time you tab it will land you on the
output section where you can output the audio to a headphone or
speakers etc. The next time you tab, NVDA will land on the audio
ducking mode section. It is a matter of changing the settings to
how you would like to hear it.
Audio Ducking Mode
On Windows 8 and above, this option allows you to
choose if NVDA should lower the volume of other applications while
NVDA is speaking, or all the time while NVDA is running.
• No Ducking: NVDA will not lower the volume of
• Duck when outputting speech and sounds: NVDA
will only lower the volume of other audio when NVDA is speaking or
playing sounds. (This may not work for all synthesizers)
• Always duck: NVDA will keep the volume of other
audio lower the whole time NVDA is running
There is a shortcut to toggle between these modes
(which is) the NVDA key + Shift + D.
Please note: this feature is
available for the installer version only.
To change your voice (or variant) with NVDA
While NVDA is running, you can quickly get to the
voice settings menu by pressing the Ctrl key + NVDA key + the
letter V. When this menu appears with the settings menu, NVDA will
land on the voice combo box and may say something like English.Tab down once and you
will hear NVDA say voice (or variant). This is a combo box, so the
up or down arrow keys can be used to change to another voice; for
example from Max etcetera to Gene if you are using the E speak
This will depend on the synthesizer chosen as to
what voices may be available.
Tab again after you have chosen your new voice
and NVDA will land on the Rate slider.The default is 30.You can use the right
arrow key to increase the speed of NVDA or use the left arrow key
to slow down the speed of NVDA. The next time you tab it will land
you on the rate boost check box. Do not check this box otherwise
the speaking speed of NVDA will be 3 times faster compared to what
you hear now. If you accidentally do check this box, just uncheck
it to slow it back down again. This can be done with the space
While you are in this section you can also check
out some of the other settings that are available.
There is a shortcut key you can use to go quickly
between certain synth settings. Press the NVDA key, Ctrl key and
use the left and right arrows to take you through these settings.
They were: volume, rate, pitch etcetera. Once you have found the
one you want, for example rate (while still holding down the NVDA
key and the Ctrl key) use the up arrow key to speed up the voice,
or the down arrow key to slow it down.
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 under keyboard layout. Make sure you
Tab down to the ok button to save your changes everytime. This
tutorial will only cover the desktop version.
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 wordprocessing 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.
Browsing the internet
NVDA supports Internet Explorer and Sea Monkey,
although Mozilla Firefox is recommended. There may be other
browsers as well. Please visit the following link to my nvda road
tested programmes webpage to discover a variety of browsers that
may work with NVDA. http://accessibilitycentral.net/nvda_road_tested_programs.html
The browser is used to browse what is available and view what is
in front of you on the internet. In most cases, you could be
viewing a website or pages within that site. In this session, we
will use Internet Explorer as it comes with the Windows operating
system. Other browsers can be used to get the same results.
If you are already on the desktop, press the letter I which will hopefully get you to
Internet Explorer if it is there; if not, you will have to go through your programme menus
to find it. Once you have found
it and opened it, it
will usually open up to a webpage. This may be the
default homepage that came with the browser, or a homepage that
you have set it to (some site that you regularly visit for example
There are two modes that NVDA
uses. One is the browse
mode where you can use the quick navigation keys to browse around a site. The
other is focus mode where
you can focus your attention on
entering your details into an online form. While filling
in the form it may go between browse mode and focus mode if you
are arrowing down the page. This is so it is able to both read out
field names, and allow you to interact with the form.
mode in NVDA
If you want to, you can now disable browse mode
by default by disabling the new "Enable browse mode on page load"
option in NVDA's browse mode settings.
The shortcut to get to this section quickly is the NVDA key + Ctrl
key + the letter B. You might want to do this on some
webpages or documents where it goes in and out of browse
mode. Note that when this option is disabled, you can still
enable browse mode manually by pressing NVDA + spacebar.
Refreshing the buffer in NVDA
should webpages or documents not load properly
In some cases, you may be surfing the web and a
page may not load correctly. If you press the Insert key plus the F5 key at the same time, this
will reload the buffer in NVDA so that all of the information
shows correctly. It can also be the same for documents that have
not loaded properly.
automatic check for updates feature
NVDA has an automatically check for updates to
NVDA feature. It will check for a new update every day unless this
feature is turned off. When there is a new update of NVDA, it will
alert you that a new release is available. It will ask you if you
want to download it, so that you can upgrade to the latest version
of NVDA at that time. When this happens with the installer
version, NVDA will download the updates and install over itself to
update you to the latest version of NVDA. Just follow the
directions on screen to enable the upgrade to the latest version.
If the portable version of NVDA alerts you about a new release, it
will download a whole new copy of NVDA. (For example
2014.2 and so on). The file will have to be located and clicked
on, and the directions followed again (to make a portable copy of
whatever media it was on - for example USB stick, hard drive or
CD). You can install over the current version of your portable
version, but this may cause problems down the track, so doing a
new one every time is recommended.
There are 4 updates to the NVDA screen reader every year, so you
know problems when found will get fixed rather quickly.
The automatically check for updates feature can be disabled. When
this is done, it will not alert you of any updates to the NVDA
screen reader. This may be in the case of a library network that
may only upgrade their image (or software) once a year to the
latest software at that time.
When this feature is disabled, there is no way of knowing
accurately how many people are using NVDA on any given day. (These
user statistiscs would also be affected by those running a
computer without internet access). For the average home user it is
a good idea to leave it on. These figures may assist when the
project is looking for funding, and funders in turn may be looking
at how many people could potentially benefit from such a
To disable the automatically check for updates feature while NVDA
is running, press the Insert key + Ctrl + G to bring up the
general settings dialogue box. When it comes up, Tab down to the
check box that says automatically check for updates, and uncheck
the box with the space bar. Then, Tab down to the ok button and
press the Enter key. You will not be alerted from then on about
any updates to NVDA.
If you would like to check for an update to NVDA without enabling
that feature again, this can also be done under the Help section
and check for updates menu. Just follow the directions to download
a new copy of NVDA when it comes out.
Checking out the
what's new section in NVDA
If you would like to know what has been done in
each release of NVDA, then you will need to check out this
section. It can be located under the help section. Look for the
what's new menu and press the Enter key. When the browser opens,
it will give you a whole list of things (for example amendments,
new features, bug fixes, changes and so on). This is done for each
version of NVDA, so be sure to check out this section each time to
see what has been changed or is new in the latest release!
options for tailoring your browser to suit your needs
The following paragraphs relate to becoming
familiar with, and customizing your browser (whether you are
using Mozilla Firefox or Internet Explorer). Doing this will
speed up and enhance your online browsing experiences.
your navigation toolbar quickly
To quickly jump to the navigation toolbar in
your browser (where you can type a web address, or do a search for
something on the internet), you can use the Ctrl key and the
letter L. Also to quickly navigate to your navigation bar, you can
use the ALT key and the letter D. This will also put you into the
same location (for example http://www.trademe.co.nz). This applies
for both Internet Explorer and Mozilla Firefox. In some cases, the
F6 key can be used to get you to that same navigation toolbar.
Other browsers may give the navigation toolbar a different name
(for example address or search toolbar).
quickly get to your search engine in Mozilla Firefox
From time to time you may want to change your
default search engine. If you already have some search engines in
Mozilla Firefox, you can quickly jump to the search engines combo
box. Press the Ctrl key and the letter K. This will place you in
the combo box. Then, it is a matter of opening up the combo box
and arrowing down or up for your new search engine. When you tab
out of it, the new search engine will be in its place (for example
from Bing to Google or another search engine).
bookmark a website or webpage
When you are surfing the internet there may be
websites of interest that you might want to bookmark and read at a
later date. In most cases this will usually be a webpage off the
site you are looking at. The process is the same for both.
Adding a website or webpage to your favourites in Internet
Press the Alt key so the file menu comes up. When this has
happened, arrow right to the Favourites menu. Next, arrow down to
add to Favourites, then press the Enter key. The very first
section will be the name of the website or webpage you are on. It
will also give you the option to keep your favourites tidy or in
certain sections. Tab down to the add button, and press the Enter
key and this website or webpage will be added to your favourites.
Adding a bookmark to Mozilla Firefox
Press the Alt key until the file menu comes up. Once it has
appeared, arrow right to the Bookmarks menu, then down to Bookmark
this page, then press the Enter key. The next section that comes
up will give you different options.
The very first option will be the name of the website or the web
page. The following sections will let you put them into folders
and so on. Tab down to the done button, press the Enter key
and this page will be added to your bookmarks.
The process is virtually the same in other browsers. There is
usually a shortcut key that can be used to quicken up the process
of bookmarking your website or web pages.
homepage in your browser
In Internet Explorer
Press the Alt key until the file menu comes up. When it is up,
arrow right to the tools menu, then down to the internet options
menu, then press the Enter key. The next screen that comes up will
give you various options. Locate the General tab. Tab until you
hear home page tabs. There will be an edit area where you can
enter in your new homepage address if there is not one there
already (for example http://www.stuff.co.nz ).
Next, tab down to the apply button then press the Enter key to
apply the settings. Tab again until you hear it say ok button,
then press the Enter key. You will need to close the browser and
reopen it again (or press the F5 key to refresh your browsers
current page). Once reopened, the new homepage should be set to
your selected webpage.
In Mozilla Firefox
To add a new home page to Mozilla Firefox, press the Alt key until
you hear file menu. When it comes up, arrow right to the Tools
menu, then down to the options menu, then press the Enter key. The
next screen that comes up will give you various options. NVDA
should default to the General tab. If this is so, tab until you
hear when Fire Fox starts combo box home page. Make sure this is
set to home page in this combo box. Tab again, then enter in your
new homepage (for example http://www.stuff.co.nz ). Next,
tab down to the ok button and then press the Enter key. You will
have to close the browser then reopen it for the new homepage to
take affect. Pressing the F5 key to refresh the page will also do
the same thing.
Single letter navigation
single letter navigation keys (also known as quick
navigation keys) to move around a website quickly. To
quickly jump to certain areas within a document (while in browse
mode), press the appropriate
letter to get to that field. To go back one, press the Shift key at
the same time as that letter. For example, pressing the
letter h will take you to the next available heading, and pressing
Shift + h will take you back to the previous heading. The keys are
•i: list item
•n: nonLinked text
•f: form field
•u: unvisited link
•v: visited link
•e: edit field
•c: combo box
•r: radio button
•q: block quote
•d: ARIA landmark
From NVDA 2020.4 “Tab headers are now considered
form fields with the quick navigation key using the letter F key”.
To test out the feature, please go to the following web page at https://www.w3.org/TR/wai-aria-practices-1.1/examples/tabs/tabs-1/tabs.html
Tab headers change the information presented on a section of a
page, depending on the header selected. On that sample page, look
for the “Nils Frahm”, “Agnes Obel” and “Joke” form fields.
Press the letter F and it will land on each tab field. Pick any
one, then either press the Spacebar or Enter key to select it.
Then, use the say all command to read the contents of each tab
Pressing e and Shift + e in browse mode, allows you to navigate to
edit fields. These now include editable combo boxes (for example
the search box in the latest version of Google Search).
If you have broadband (or even dialup) to surf the internet, and
you would like to try out some of these quick navigation keys, you
could go to the following website to try them out. The
website is http://www.trademe.co.nz
Once you are there, to confirm
that you have arrived at the correct website, press the Insert and t keys to tell you the title of the web page. You
should hear NVDA confirm that you are at the correct site.
This website is made up of lists,
tables, headings and so on. Usually, when a page is
loaded, NVDA will start reading out the web page to you. To
stop it, press the Ctrl key on your
keyboard. To go to the top
of the webpage, press the Ctrl
and Home keys to get you
there. Try some of the quick navigation keys to see what they
do. If you press the letter h, it will take you through all of the headings on that page.
To get back to the top again, press the Ctrl and Home keys.
This time we will try it with lists.
the letter L to cycle
through available lists. Press the letter l, and it will take you
through the list of items
you are currently looking at. There may be more than one list. If
you would like to see what is in each list, use either the up and down arrow keys, Tab key or the letter k for navigating by links.
When you get to the last of your list and tables etc, if there are
no more, it will announce that there are none (for example no more
tables or no more lists).
If there is a combo box
(or combo boxes) on the website, press c for combo box
and it should take you there. To open it, press the space bar to focus it, then
press the down arrow or up arrow
keys to see what is there. When you find what you
are looking for, press Enter
to close the combo box, and Tab
to the Search button and press enter. If you would
just like to close it, press
Enter without Tabbing to the Search button.
When you come across an edit
field (depending on how your settings are set), you can
either press the Insert
and spacebar for it to change from browse mode to focus
mode, or you can set this in your preferences so it does
it for you automatically. Once in focus mode, you will be
able to type what you are looking for. If you want to
quickly get out of focus
mode, press the Escape
In a lot of cases when navigating
tables (such as in banking websites), most people will
use the up and down arrow keys
to see what is there. The tables you are looking at may be
of various sizes. For example, a table may have 5 columns
and 3 rows. Columns will go down
the table, while rows will go across. So, if you
use the arrow keys from the start of the table and use the arrow
down key, it should say column 1 row 1, and go across the row
until it gets to the second row, then it should say column 1 row
NVDA's browse mode, focus mode and elements list with
In Microsoft Office packages 2007 and onwards,
there is a new feature that NVDA can use in Microsoft Word. It
allows you to use browse mode in Microsoft Word. In short, it will
let you use browse mode in an editable document. When a word
document has been typed up and formatted correctly, NVDA can
either interact with the document using focus mode (for example
delete words or make changes within the document); or it can be
changed from focus mode to the browse mode. If the editable
document has been done correctly, while in browse mode it will let
you jump down the pages with supported single letter navigation
keys (for example, H for headings, K for links, T for tables and
To change to browse mode from focus mode simply use the Insert key
and the spacebar. When it changes to browse mode the single letter
navigation keys can be used. If the single letter navigation keys
are not supported, you will hear this spoken out (for example
these keys are not supported).
When you go back into the editable mode, you will hear NVDA say it
has gone into focus mode. This is where you can make changes in
the document that need to be done. To go back to browse mode,
simply use the Insert key and the spacebar again.
NVDA also allows you to bring up the elements list while in browse
mode using the Insert + F7 keys. If there are links, headings or
annotations on that page, then these will be listed if formatted
correctly. Once you have pressed Insert + F7 you will hear
elements list dialogue. It will default to a tree view list of
links. It will list all links in that document if any. You can
also then shift tab once which will take you to type. Then either
arrow up and down to get to headings or annotations or links. Once
you have selected which item you wish to look at, you can tab and
it will put you into the tree view list for that item (for example
headings) if any are available. Simply press the Enter key on the
one that you want and it will take you straight to that section.
Single letter navigation and the elements list will only work in
browse mode, and only in supported documents (for example a doc
In Microsoft Excel, you can now
use the Elements List (NVDA + F7) to allow listing of charts,
comments and formulas. To use support for reading charts in
Microsoft Excel, select the chart using the Elements List
(NVDA + F7) and then use the arrow keys to move between the
mistakes in a document
There are a couple of ways to correct words that
are misspelled in a document.
One way is to use the spell checker in that program if it has one.
If the program does, it is usually the F7 key that is used. When
this key is pressed it will bring up the spell checker. Always
start from the top of the document - otherwise not all mistakes
will be picked up.
When the spell checker appears, you can tab through the different
parts of the spell checker. To go back to the previous tabbed
position, simply use the tab and shift + tab keys to move through
the different sections in the spell checker. If there is no
spell checker in that program you will just hear NVDA say F7.
Examples of some of
the Microsoft Word spell checker options
When the spell checker is invoked in the program
it will go to the first mistake on the page. NVDA will spell
out the word that has been highlighted. It will then give you some
options. For example: Suggestion This will give you a list of words that it
thinks the word may be. In this list you can arrow up and down to
see what the words could be.
If you are unsure of the word or how it is spelt, you can (while
still focused on the word) use the review text cursor. This is
found on the numeric keypad. Use the number 1 on the numeric
keypad to get the previous letter, the number 2 to get the current
letter, and the number 3 to get the next letter. If the
number 2 key is pressed twice for the current letter, it will tell
you what the letter is in the phonetic alphabet (for example you
will hear "hotel" when the letter h is pressed). This feature is
helpful to see how the word is spelled. To repeat the whole word,
press the number 5 on the numeric keypad. Pressing the number 5 on
the numeric keypad twice will spell the word out. Ignore This will let you ignore the instance of that word. Ignore all This will let you ignore all instances of that
same word. Add to dictionary This will let you add the word to your
dictionary if you know it is correct. Change This will let you change the word. Change all This will let you change the same word for all
instances of the same word. Auto correct This will try to fix the word for you. Check grammar This can be turned on and off. Options This will let you tailor what is reported. Cancel This lets you cancel what you are doing.
In Microsoft Word, when the spell checker is invoked, and it comes
to the first spelling mistake, you can use the Insert key and the
letter B. This will read out information on the active window and
it will also read out the current line where the spelling mistake
is. This way may not work in other spell checkers such as in
Mozilla Thunderbird and in some other programs.
The other way to fix mistakes in a document is to do the
following. Some people will read documents one line at a time to
see if there are any mistakes on the line that is being read out.
If a mistake is found, they may choose to edit the mistake using
the Ctrl key and the left or right arrow keys to get to the
mistake. The Ctrl and right arrow key will go through the sentence
a word at a time. The Ctrl key and the left arrow key will be used
to go back through the sentence a word at a time, or until they
have found the word that is misspelled. Editing the spelling can
be done by adding in a letter or two by typing in the letter or
letters in the correct spot in the word; or simply just deleting
out the extra letters with the delete key.
The way a person edits their spelling will vary from person to
person (depending on what they do).
spelling using the applications key
The easiest way to check your spelling is to use
your applications key while your cursor is focused on the spelling
mistake. The applications key (if your computer keyboard has an
applications key) is usually located on the bottom right part of
the qwerty keyboard (down near the Alt and Ctrl keys). Visually,
it looks like an arrow pointing to a row of lines). When
this key is pushed, it will invoke the spell checker. If you are
already on the mistake, it will give you some suggestions for the
word) as mentioned above. These may vary from spell checker
to spell checker.
spelling error reporting for NVDA users
Please note: The reporting of spelling errors
can be turned on so you can hear where they are in a document if
it is not on. If the reporting of spelling errors is not ticked,
you will not hear when there are spelling errors in the document.
This will also depend if the document supports this feature.
If this feature is not on, it can be turned on under the document
formatting section in NVDA. You will need to check the box that
says report spelling errors.
Proof reading one
sentence at a time (in Microsoft Word) using NVDA once
you have finished with your spell checker
Once you have finished spell checking, you can
also proof read your document by moving forward and backward one
sentence at a time. Use Alt + down arrow to go forward, or Alt +
up arrow to go back up.
file from off the Internet
When you become more familiar with the internet,
it is possible that at some stage (sooner or later), you will want
to download a file from off the internet. This could be a picture
or music file, an application file and so on. The easiest way, is
to tell the browser where you want to save the file on your
computer. This way, you don't lose the file if this is your first
where a file is saved to (in Mozilla Firefox)
To specify where you want to save a file to in
Mozilla Firefox, you will need to look under the following
sections. For example, tools, options, general, and under the
downloads section, tick the check box that says "always ask me
where to save files"; and specify a place where you want to save
them. For example, the desktop so you don't lose it on your
computer. You can always copy and paste the file to another area
at a later date. Specifying where you want your files saved may
differ in other browsers.
ways to download a file (using NVDA)
There are a couple of ways to get to the file
you want to download from off the internet.
Save a file by
using the download link
The first is - there may be a download link, and
when you press the Enter key on that link, a little dialogue type
box will come up. This will give you the option to either:
open the file or save it. Either arrow down, or tab to the save
button and press the Enter key. If a place is not specified in the
browser, it will download it to the downloads folder (depending on
your operating system) on your computer. You will need to become
familiar with where your download folder is in case you close the
browser, or you wish to install the download later on.
Save a file by
routing the mouse to the download link
The next way, if pressing Enter on some websites
(as above) doesn't work, is to route the mouse to the downloads
link of that file. Locate the link which points to the file, then
press the Insert key + the divide key (which is found on the
numeric keypad) to route the mouse to that link. Once this has
been done, you will then need to right click the mouse. This is
simulated by NVDA. You will need to use the multiply key (on the
numeric keypad) again for this. A context menu will come up, then
it is a matter of arrowing down the menu until you hear one called
"save link as". Press the Enter key to save the file. Again, if
not specified it will go to the downloads section.
Save a file by
using the context menu
The last way is to use the context menu on the
keyboard. This is usually found on the right side of the qwerty
keyboard (between the Alt key and the Ctrl key). Not all
keyboards will have this context key. Once NVDA has been focused
on the download link, if the context menu key is used, it will
come up with the same option to save your link as mentioned in the
Whichever way you choose to download your file, to check on the
progress of your download within Mozilla Firefox, you can either
go to the Tools menu (by pressing Alt...(the letter T for)
tools... (and the letter D for) downloads. Or, simply bring it up
with the shortcut combination Ctrl + J. You can then tab around
the download manager screen to see what your downloads are up to.
The wording may vary in different browsers. For example, in
Mozilla Firefox it will be "save link as" compared to "save target
as" in Internet Explorer.
To view the files
you are currently downloading using download manager
To view your current downloads in Internet
Explorer or Mozilla Firefox, you can use the Ctrl key and the
letter J. This will give you a list of things you are downloading
from off the internet. You can use the Tab keys and the arrow keys
to navigate around the download manager. If you are using NVDA and
have it set to announce percentages, then it will tell you the
progress of your download.
There are many documents and manuals that are in
PDF format. PDF stands for portable document format and will have
an extension of .pdf for example Uniden SSE25 user manual.pdf
The easiest way to open one of these files is to download the file
to your computer where it can be opened with a programme that
opens PDF documents. For example Adobe reader - which is a free
PDF viewer. There are a lot of other PDF viewer programmes out
there if you choose to use another one. Click here if you wish to
try out Adobe Reader https://get.adobe.com/reader/
Some PDF programmes/viewers will open the PDF document from your
desktop, whereas others may open them in your browser.
If you don't have a PDF viewer programme on your computer then you
will not be able to open any of these files. Once one of these PDF
documents have downloaded to your computer, it is a matter of
locating the file and clicking on it. This should bring it up in
your PDF viewer. In the case of a screen reader user press the
Enter key to open it, and follow the directions of the pdf viewer
to read it - such as the reading order and so on.
Once the document has been opened, to read it with NVDA, you can
use the Insert key and the down arrow key. This will invoke the
"say all" command in NVDA.
If no PDF viewer is found, Windows may ask you which programme to
try and open the PDF with. For example, wordpad. There are a lot
of free PDF viewers out there you can use, but not necessarily all
are screen reader friendly. Adobe reader is screen reader friendly
and can easily be navigated by a screen reader (such as NVDA).
Bringing up the elements list so you can quickly
find elements such as contact us
When you are on a webpage (such as http://www.nvaccess.org/ or
any other website, press the Insert
and F7 keys and it should
bring up the elements list.
The elements list will default to the links list. There
might be a whole heap of links there. If you would like to
find the Contact us section quickly, type in the first couple of letters to find
it. It will narrow down the list very quickly until it finds
the contact us link. You may
have to arrow up or down just to check. Once it has
found it, press the enter
key to go straight to that area. Try this a couple of times
on different links you may want to find (for example downloads).
Repeat the process a few times until you are happy with your
If the elements list is not up, press Insert and F7again tobring it up. This time I
will get you to Tab around until
you hear one called type. If you arrow up and down here, you
will hear links, headings and
landmarks. Change it down to headings and Tab around until you hear what
headings are there. Try typing a couple of letters for a heading you
know is there, and the list will be narrowed down again
for you. Press enter
to go to that heading. The same can be repeated for landmarks as
well. If you would like to, try it on this page and see what
results you get.
Embedded objects are objects within a webpage
that you can interact with - if
they have been made accessible. Pages can include rich
content (using technologies such as Adobe Flash and Sun Java).
Where these are encountered in browse mode, NVDA will announce
"embedded object". You can press
enter on these objects to interact with them. If it is
accessible, you can then tab
around it and interact with it like any other
application. A key command is provided to return to the original page containing the
embedded object: NVDA+control+space
moves the focus out of the current embedded object and back into
the document that contains it. To interact with accessible flash
videos you will need to get
Adobe flash player.
Once the Adobe flash player has been downloaded and set up, you
can test it out. To test it out, go to the You Tube
for a topic you are interested in. To interact with a flash video
on that page, press the
letter O and it will take you to the first embedded
object. Press enter
and it should start. If the video is accessible, pressing the tab key should
cycle you through the available buttons on the player. If it is
not accessible, it may start automatically and there may be no
buttons to interact with. Alternatively, you could go to a
website called povidi .com and use the Your Tube webpage which is
an accessible You Tube interface. The link for the Your Tube page
is as follows: Your
Enabling audible progress
Sometimes, when you are downloading a file or
burning a CD etcetera, you may want to hear available progress
updates. Progress updates allow you to hear an update of how far
your download has progressed, or how much of your file has been
copied so far (at that point in time). To turn them on and off or
to select the appropriate option, press Insert and the letter U. Press this again to cycle through the various
options. These will be: no progress bar updates, speak progress
bar updates, beep for progress bar updates, and beep and speak
progress bar updates.
If you would also like to hear background
progress updates, press the Insert and the Ctrl and the letter O keys to bring up the object
presentation dialogue. Once it has appeared, Tab down to a box called "hear background progress bar updates"
and tick it by pressing your space
How to find words in webpages
To locate certain words quickly in a web page
with NVDA, the find command is great for this. It helps you
find certain words on the web page very quickly.
To quickly find a certain word on a web page, press the Ctrl and
Insert and the letter F keys to bring up the find dialogue; and
then type your word and press Enter. It will find the first
instance of that word. This is called the find dialogue box.
To find the next instance of that same word, press the Insert and
F3 key to find it.
To find a previous instance of that word, press the Insert and
Shift key and the F3 key to find it.
Exercise locating a word
within a webpage
On this webpage, find the word navigation. To do this, press the Ctrl + Insert + F keys at the
same time. Type in the word
navigation. Press Enter.
Press Insert + F3 to cycle through all the
instances of that word. Try pressing Shift + Insert + F3 to cycle back up the pagethrough the instances of that word. Once you are
comfortable with this, you could try an external website and look
up a topic of interest on that page (for example TVNZ's webpage http://www.tvnz.co.nz and type
in the word weather).
functionality in the search feature (now with case
sensitive as well as whole word only searches)
In the browse mode "Find" dialogue, (when you
press Insert + Ctrl + the letter F), there is now an option to
perform a case sensitive search.
To see how this works, you could try the following.
You will need to go into a word processing program like Wordpad.
On the first line, you could type your word in capitals. On the
second line, the same word could have it's first letter as a
capital letter and the rest as lower case (also known as sentence
case). On the third line, the same word could be all in lower case
letters. You could repeat the process down the page in
multiples of three (so that the word is the same on lines 1, 2,
and 3, and the words on lines 4, 5, and 6 are the
same, but different from lines 1, 2, and 3 and so on). For
example, "ACCESSIBILITY" (all in capitals) for line one,
"Accessibility" (capital at the front and lower case following)
for line 2, and "accessibility" (all in lower case) for line
Try searching for the same word with the tick boxes unticked and
see what results you get. Now, try ticking one of the boxes, and
do the same search on those same words and see what results you
get this time.
As an example, if I tick the box "Match whole word only", then it
will only find the word if you type it fully. When this is
unticked, it will locate partial words.
As another example, if the box "Match case" is ticked, then it
will only find the word if the cases match (that is searching for
a match for one of the three options of lower case, upper case or
Now try the same thing using the NVDA user manual (which can be
found by pressing Insert + N... arrow down to the help menu...
then arrow right to user guide).
Screen curtain add on
now in NVDA 2019.3
From NVDA 2019.3 and onwards, the screen curtain
add on will now be integrated into NVDA.
If you want to use this feature so it blacks out your screen (so
no one can see what you are doing) you can assign a gesture to
enable or disable it in NVDA. When NVDA 2019.3 is running, press
the NVDA key + letter N. When the preferences menu comes up,
locate the settings menu, then the input gestures menu, then press
the Enter key. When the next screen comes up, arrow down to the
vision branch, then arrow right until you hear NVDA say Toggles
the state of the screen curtain, (either by making the screen
black or showing the contents of the screen). If pressed to enable
once, the screen curtain is enabled until you restart NVDA. If
pressed three times, it is enabled until you disable it.
Next, tab to the add button, then press the Enter key, and you
will then be given some options. It will then ask you to enter a
gesture (for example Alt key + S). A context menu will come up
asking you either to add it to the desktop layout or all layouts.
Press the Enter key on the option you want, then tab to the ok
button, then press the Enter key.
Your gesture has now been assigned. When you go to enable it with
your shortcut key, it will say temporary screen curtain enabled
until your next restart. If you do it again, it will tell
you the screen curtain has been disabled.
If you also check under NVDA's settings, then check out the vision
branch, there are also some other settings you can adjust (for
example make screen black immediate effect; Always show a warning
when loading Screen Curtain).
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).
NVDA now remembers
the last 20 searches done
From NVDA 2019.2 onwards, NVDA will remember the
last 20 searches done with NVDA. Where you type your search, it is
now a combo box, and is simply a matter of arrowing down to one of
your searches to perform it again. If you restart or exit NVDA
those searches will be lost.
hear what the long description is on a photo, graphic or
drawing using NVDA
If a photo, graphic or drawing has been posted
on a website and you wish to hear what the description says, press
the Insert key with the letter D. If present, this will be read
aloud. Please remember that not everyone labels their images
correctly, so it may not always be present. A good web developer
will label their graphic with a good description giving you an
idea of what the graphic represents.
Quick navigating of tables
When within a table, use the following to
Moves the system caret to the previous
column (staying in the same row)
Moves the system caret to the next
column (staying in the same row)
Moves the system caret to the previous
row (staying in the same column)
Move to next row
Announcement 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
With radio buttons, when
you come across them (by pressing the letter r while in browse
mode), press the spacebar
to highlight the radio button you wish to use. Arrowing down will tell you
what it says (for example when filling in a survey, you may hear
responses like yes, no or unsure).
If you are looking around on a website and hear the word link, this can take you
to another page within that
site, or another website altogether. Some websites
can have hundreds of links on the main page. If you decided
to explore while you were there, and you have gone a couple of
pages in, you could use the Alt
and left arrow keys to take you back a page or two to
the main page. If you would like to go back the other way,
press the Alt and right arrow keys to take you forwards a page. This
will only be available if you have been to other pages.
Alt left arrow and Alt right arrow can be used in supported
programmes. This is another windows shortcut command.
To go to the location bar
(where you can type in a web address or a search query), press the
Ctrl and letter l to get you there. Press backspace to clear the current
webpage, and then type
in a web address (for example http://www.stuff.co.nz),
then press Enter and it should take you to that web site. If
you are just doing a random search, type in what you are looking
for, press enter and your options will come up on the next
page. You can jump down by links and headings to see your
results. There may be thousands of results for you to read
there. Usually, at the bottom of the page, there will be a
table which will let you go to the next page or pages in the list.
Column header and
row header reporting within Microsoft Excel
If you have Microsoft Excel, you will be pleased
to know that automatic reporting of column and row headers is now
supported in NVDA 2012.3 onwards. Press NVDA+Shift+C to set the
row containing column headers, and NVDA+Shift+R to set the column
containing row headers. Press either command twice in quick
succession to clear the setting.
Reviewing text with NVDA so you can revisit
Most webpages will have contact details
somewhere on their site. Once you have located the details you
require, you can arrow up and
down the page to hear the information relayed to
you. Generally, it will read the information out a line at a
time. If you would like your system focus to stay at your
last location (and not move), you could use the review cursor to
go up and down the details. The review cursor only reviews the
text. It is not like the system focus that can interact with
the page. To use the review
cursor, this must be done on the numeric keypadand your numlock must be turned off.
Basically, the system focus will speak out what the system is
currently focussed on. The review cursor allows you to review more
information without losing your place.
The following keys will be used
to do this 7, 8, 9, ... 4, 5, 6, ... 1, 2, 3 on the numeric
keypad. To help you remember these commands, note that
the basic text review commands are organized in a grid of three by
three, with top to bottom being
line, word and character, and left to right being previous,
current and next.
The layout is illustrated as follows: Previous line = numeric 7 Current line = numeric 8 Next line = numeric 9 Previous word = numeric 4 Current word = numeric 5 Next word = numeric 6 Previous character =
numeric 1 Current character =
numeric 2 Next character = numeric 3
As an exercise, I have used the opening hours and contact details
from the Inglewood Fun Ho! Toy Museum website in the paragraph below. These
are for you to try out using the review cursor (once you change
over to it) so that you can see / hear the difference. Using the
review cursor will allow you to review the details. We will use the arrow keys to go to the words
Opening Hours & Contact. You will hear it read out to
you. Now, change over to the
numeric keypad, and try out the review cursor to see what it
does. You could try out the review cursor with the
prices, addresses, and phone numbers that follow. Read the street address and phone
numbers by using the numeric keypad's 7, 8, and 9 keys to go up
and down the lines of information. Try the numeric keypad's 4, 5, and 6
keys to move backwards and forwards word by word. Finally, try the numeric
keypad's 1, 2, and 3 keys to hear the details letter by letter.
The line by line option is good for quickly moving through lines
of information; the word by word option is good for clarifying a
street name or number; and the letter by letter option is good for
when you are wanting to record a phone number.
Opening Hours & Contact
Fun Ho! National Toy Museum
Opening Hours 10.00am - 4.00pm daily
Entry: Adult $6.00 - Child $3.00
25 Rata Street, Inglewood, Taranaki, New Zealand.
Ph: 0064 6 75 67030 Fax: 0064 6 75 67864 E Mail:
Postal address: Box 14 Inglewood, Taranaki, New Zealand.
Manager/Toy Maker/Curator Richard Jordan
More detailed information about keys used for
When moving the
review cursor, the System caret does not follow along, so you
can review text without losing your editing position.
The following key commands are available for reviewing text:
Move to top line in review
(Moves the review cursor to the top line of the text) shift+numpad 7
Move to previous line in
review (Moves the review cursor to the previous line of text) numpad 7
Report current line in
review. (Announces the current line of text where the review
cursor is positioned. Pressing twice spells the line. Pressing
three times spells the line using character descriptions) numpad 8
Move to next line in
review. (Move the review cursor to the next line of text) numpad 9
Move to bottom line in
review. (Moves the review cursor to the bottom line of text) shift+numpad 9
Move to previous word in
review. (Moves the review cursor to the previous word in the text) numpad 4
Report current word in
review. (Announces the current word in the text where the review
cursor is positioned. Pressing twice spells the word. Pressing
three times spells the word using character descriptions). numpad 5
Move to next word in
review. (Move the review cursor to the next word in the text) numpad 6
Move to start of line in
review. (Moves the review cursor to the start of the current line
in the text) shift+numpad 1
Move to previous character
in review. (Moves the review cursor to the previous character on
the current line in the text) numpad 1
Report current character
in review. (Announces the current character on the line of text
where the review cursor is positioned. Pressing twice reports a
description or example of that character. Pressing three times
reports the numeric value of the character in decimal and
hexadecimal). numpad 2
Move to next character in
review. (Move the review cursor to the next character on the
current line of text) numpad 3
Move to end of line in
review. (Moves the review cursor to the end of the current line of
text) shift+numpad 3
Say all with review.
(Reads from the current position of the review cursor, moving it
as it goes) numpad Plus
Copy from review cursor.
(Starts copying text from the current position of the review
cursor. The actual copy is not performed until you tell NVDA where
to copy to) NVDA+F9
Copy to review cursor.
(Finishes copying from the position of the review cursor, to the
review cursor's current position. After pressing this key, the
text will be copied to the Windows clipboard. and using Ctrl + V
after this command, will paste the information to where you have
the cursor positioned. (For example, copying so you can paste in a
word processing document). NVDA+F10
Report text formatting.
(Announces the formatting of the text where the review cursor is
currently situated) NVDA+F
Note: numpad keys require numlock key to be turned off to work
Please feel free to try using the above commands to review text
(with the NVDA screen reader) on a website of your choice.
Using NVDA with self voicing applications
In some cases, you might want to go into a self
voicing application (such as Talking Typer). If you don't want to
hear the two lots of voices, you have two options. You can press
the Insert key and the letter S until the NVDA voice is turned
off. If you press Insert+S
repeatedly (to toggle between the settings), it will go between speech mode off, speech mode beeps and speech mode talk. While
in speech mode off, you will only hear the other self voicing
application's voice. In parts where it may not self voice, you can
toggle Insert+S again to turn NVDA back onto talk mode quite
quickly. Toggling the speech on and off is also handy if someone
else wants to use your pc and you don't want to turn NVDA off
completely. Once the other person has finished with the computer,
simply press Insert+S until you hear the speech come back on
The other way to use NVDA with self voicing applications is to put
NVDA to sleep. You can toggle between application sleep mode on and application
sleep mode off by pressing
NVDA+Shift+S. Sleep mode
disables all NVDA commands and speech/braille output for the
current application. This is most useful in applications that
provide their own speech or screen reading features.
For this you
will use your modifier key and the numeric keypad. When
navigating with object navigation, please remember to use your
numeric keypad and ensure your Num Lock is turned off.
navigation allows you to navigate
objects within a programme. Some objects may have
different heirarchial levels
which are called parents and
children. Other objects may be on the same level and are
navigated using next and
previous. You could liken the parents and children
object heirarchy to that of a workplace with varying levels of
positions of authority (for example worker, supervisor,
General Manager and CEO); compared to likening an equal status
object to that of a football team where all players are
equal. Object navigation takes a little bit of playing
around with to get used to it. It will allow you to go
between different parts of the programme that you are using
like menus, buttons and so on. For the object navigation key
combinations below, NVDA+ refers to whatever key you have set
as your modifier key (example Insert, extended Insert or Caps
object NVDA+numpad 5
Reports the current navigator object. Pressing twice spells the
information, and pressing 3 times copies this object's name and
value to the clipboard.
Move to containing object NVDA+numpad8
Moves to the object containing the current navigator object
Move to previous object NVDA+numpad 4
Moves to the object before the current navigator object
Move to next object NVDA+numpad 6
Moves to the object after the current navigator object
Move to first contained object NVDA+numpad 2
Moves to the first object contained by the current navigator
Move to focus object NVDA+numpad minus
Moves to the object that currently has the system focus, and also
places the review cursor at the position of the System caret, if
it is showing
Activate current navigator object NVDA+numpad enter
Activates the current navigator object (similar to clicking with
the mouse or pressing space when it has the system focus)
Move System focus or caret to
current review position NVDA+shift+numpad minus
Pressed once, moves the System focus to the current navigator
object; pressed twice, moves the system caret to the position of
the review cursor
Report navigator object
dimensions NVDA+numpad delete
Announces the current navigator object's dimensions on screen in
percentages (including distance from left and top of screen, and
its width and height)
Exercise using object
To see what object navigation is like to use, we
will go into Notepad. Try using some of the commands mentioned and
see what happens. To start off with, using the object
navigation commands, try closing the programme. You can also move
inside of objects as well with these commands; for example, as in
dialog boxes such as those that appear when saving a document. For
an exercise, when Notepad is open, type a couple of sentences,
then change to object navigation with the commands mentioned
above. Try closing Notepad, then when the save dialog comes up,
don't save it and see what happens. You will use the numeric
keypad with your modifier key for this. For example the
Insert key (also referred to as the NVDA key) or modifier key.
For this you
will use your modifier key and the numeric keypad. When
navigating with the mouse, please remember to use your numeric
keypad and ensure your Num Lock is turned off.
button click numpad divide
Clicks the left mouse button once. The common double click can be
performed by pressing this key twice in quick succession
Left mouse button lock shift+numpad divide
Locks the left mouse button down. Press again to release it. To
drag the mouse, press this key to lock the left button down and
then move the mouse either physically or use one of the other
mouse routing commands
Right mouse click numpad multiply
Clicks the right mouse button once.
Right mouse button lock shift+numpad multiply
Locks the right mouse button down. Press again to release it. To
drag the mouse, press this key to lock the right button down and
then move the mouse either physically or use one of the other
mouse routing commands
Move mouse to current navigator
object NVDA+numpad divide
Moves the mouse to the location of the current navigator object
and review cursor
Navigate to the object under the
mouse NVDA+numpad multiply
Set the navigator object to the object located at the position of
Generally, most screen reader users don't use a mouse. What is
usually done by a mouse, can also be done using keyboard
commands. In some cases, the numeric keyboard will be used.
(This is unless you have a netbook with the numeric keyboard
integrated into the main keyboard). These commands will do
the same job as a physical mouse would do when used. The numeric
keypad will be used for both of these with a modifier key (such as
the Insert key or also known as the NVDA key). An example of this
might be object navigation
or navigating with mouse
If you do have a
little vision and would like to use a physical mouse, you
could turn on mouse tracking.
As you move the mouse around the screen, it will read what is
under the mouse pointer. To turn on mouse tracking, press the
Insert key and the
letter M. Press this
again to turn it back off.
the physical mouse features
Most screen reader users don't use a mouse.
They usually rely on other ways of getting to certain areas of
a programme (for example object navigation or the new review
modes in NVDA).
Being able to move a physical mouse around the screen, will
let you get to parts of the screen a lot easier, rather than
using other ways of getting to the same place. For example
clicking on the close window with a mouse (compared to using
People who have low vision may want to use a physical mouse to
click on different things on the screen. NVDA may have some
features that may be of interest to you when using a physical
mouse (for example mouse tracking). When mouse tracking is
turned on in NVDA, as the physical mouse is moved around the
screen, NVDA will read what is under the mouse. For example
Computer, Internet Explorer and so on. To turn on mouse
tracking in NVDA, you can use the Insert key and the letter M.
To turn off mouse tracking, just repeat the process. You
will notice the difference between what is spoken when mouse
tracking is enabled, and when mouse tracking is turned off.
This can also be checked under the mouse settings section in
NVDA. To quickly get to the mouse settings section in NVDA,
press the Ctrl key + the Insert key + the letter M. This will
bring up the mouse settings menu for you to make these
When "enable mouse tracking" is turned on under this section,
it will give you the following options:
Text unit resolution The unit of text spoken depends
on which text unit resolution it is set to. Text unit
resolution has 4 options available. If the text unit
resolution is set to "character", it will only read a
character. If the text unit resolution is set to "word" it
will read out a word at a time. Again, if the text unit
resolution is set to "sentence" it will read out a sentence
at a time. Lastly, if the text unit resolution is set to
"paragraph", it will read out a paragraph at a time. This
may also depend how a page or web page is set out as to what
is spoken out.
Play audio coordinates When "play audio coordinates
when mouse moves" is enabled (along with "enable mouse
tracking") will give out audible tones. As you move the mouse
around the screen, you will hear the tones go higher as you go
up the screen, and lower as you go down the page. When you
move the mouse to the left, you will hear these tones more out
of the left speaker, and when the mouse is moved to the right,
the tones will come out of the right speaker. This feature may
help people who rely more on sound to hear where they are
moving the mouse on the screen. This can be enabled under the
mouse settings menu in NVDA. You will need to check the
checkbox that says play audio cordinates when mouse moves.
Brightness controls audio coordinates volume If the
checkbox "brightness controls audio coordinates volume" is
checked, (along with "enable mouse tracking" and "play audio
coordinates when mouse moves") then the volume of the
audio coordinate beeps is controlled by how bright the screen
colour is under the mouse. For example, if your mouse moves
over black then the volume is low, and if it moves over a
lighter colour such as white, then the volume increases. This
setting is unchecked by default.
Exercise: Try changing the above features such as text unit
resolution, audio co-ordinates, brightness controls volume and
mouse tracking and see if you can hear the difference within
the same document.
shortcut key to hear what is spoken under the mouse pointer
If you are more of a physical mouse user, you
can hear what is spoken under the mouse pointer. There is now
an option where you can assign a shortcut key to do this.
From NVDA 2019.2 onwards you can now toggle between the
following: mouse text resolution, characters, word, line, and
Before, you had to go into NVDA's mouse settings section to do
You will need to go into NVDA's input gestures menu, locate
the mouse section, then locate the section that refers to the
following: "Toggles how much text will be spoken when the
mouse moves", and assign it a shortcut key. The shortcut has
not been assigned so you will need to add one. Tab to
the add button, then press the Enter key. Assign your shortcut
key (for example Alt + M) then a context menu should come up
either to add it to the desktop layout, or all keyboard
layouts. Pick the layout you would like. Tab to the ok button
to apply your settings. After it has been assigned, you
can then use that shortcut key to toggle between those
sections that are spoken under the mouse.
Exercise for routing the
virtual mouse to an object on your desktop
assumes that you have found your way back to the desktop.
Find a shortcut on your desktop. You could use your browser as
an example. To property the shortcut, please do the
Please ensure your Num Lock key is off. Press the Insert key and the / (divide) key on the numeric
keyboard to route the mouse to the shortcut/icon selected. Bring
up the right click menu by pressing the * (numpad multiply)
key. This should drop down a menu, then arrow down to
property the shortcut/icon. Press enter to hear the information that you have
selected. You will need to make sure that you route the mouse to
the icon/shortcut first so it has focus. If you forget to do
this, it will not look at the same object and may right click
anywhere on that screen. For those who are not familiar with
their divide and multiply keys, the divide key is directly above
the numeric number 8, and the multiply key is directly above the
numeric number 9. These two commands are used with a lot of
programmes and allow you to access a programme's menus quickly.
An example would be accessing an icon and its menus from the
An alternate way to property that same object from the exercise
above, (using the Windows shortcut for it) is to simply arrow to
the shortcut you would like, and press the Alt and Enter keys at the same time.
As always, for more indepth information, please consult your
NVDA user manual.
abbreviations to your dictionary
NVDA has three speech dictionaries that people
can use. They are default, speech and temporary. For more
information please see the section called Speech dictionaries in
the user guide. At times when you are in chat programmes or
other various applications, people may use abbreviations when
communicating on the internet. The most common place you will
see this type of language will be in chat rooms. This is
so they don't have to type out the whole word. For example if
someone is laughing out loud, they may put in the letters L O L.
Instead of just hearing the word L O L, and once you have added
your entry to the default dictionary - every time you come
across that word in a chat, you will then hear laughing out loud
or whatever entry you have added. To add a new entry to your
default dictionary press the insert key and the letter N. This
will bring up your preferences menu where you can make changes
to your NVDA settings. Next, arrow right to general settings,
then arrow down to speech dictionaries. Once there, arrow right
to default, and press enter. You will be given some options
there. You will need to find one called add, then press enter.
You will be given some more options. The first option will be
pattern. This is where you will put the abbreviation in (for
example the letters lol), tab again and the next entry will be
replacement. Type in the words laughing out loud. Once this has
been done, you could just tab to the ok button (unless you wish
to make some more changes while there). Now, the next time you
are in a chat room and it comes across the abbreviation lol, it
will say the words laughing out loud. Just repeat the process
for other abbreviations you wish to add. To get you started you
can visit the following link at http://www.netlingo.com/acronyms.php
Use only the ones that you are familiar with, or have heard and
want to know what they mean.
Exercise to test to see if it worked when you added
your abbreviation to the dictionary
Go into notepad and type a couple of
sentences. Amongst the sentence type in the letters lol then get
NVDA to read it back to you. When it comes across the lol it
should say the words laughing out loud.
Regular expression for
correctly speaking numbers followed by an apostrophe
Replace: \1 feet
your punctuation in NVDA
At times when you use a screen reader, you may
hear punctuation that sounds very Americanised. For example you
may hear the word dot instead of full stop ( which you may not
be used to). This can be changed under the punctuation/symbol
pronunciation menu. To make this change, press the Insert key
and the letter N to get into the preferences. Next, arrow right
to general settings, then down to punctuation/symbol
pronunciation then press the Enter key. Here it will give you a
big list of punctuation/symbols that you can change. It should
land you straight into the symbols list as your first
option. You can arrow up and down the list to see what is
there. Arrow down to one called dot (or whatever one you want to
change). The next time you tab you will hear change symbol
grouping/replacement. Here is where you will change it to what
you want to hear. For example, instead of dot, you could type
full stop. It will give you another option to change how much
you want to hear it (for example none, some, most or all), then
just tab to the ok button. So, the next time you are reading out
a document, instead of hearing dot, you will hear the word full
stop. To change other punctuation/symbols pronunciation just
repeat the process with other punctuation/symbols. For example,
you may wish to change question to question mark. For more
information please see the section called Punctuation/symbol
pronunciation in the user guide.
Exercise to test to see if you successfully renamed
This exercise is checking to see if the
punctuation you have renamed above works! Locate notepad again
and type up a couple of sentences. Make sure to put in a dot
(also known as full stop by others), then get NVDA to read
it back to you.
If you don't hear the symbols spoken most of the time, you may
have to change your punctuation level to all. The fastest way to
do this is use the Insert key and the letter P together to cycle
through the levels until you hear "symbol level all" and you
should be right then.
add an input gesture
To quickly get to your input gestures menu,
press the letter N key + NVDA key. When the preferences menu
comes up, arrow to settings, then down to the input gestures
menu. When the section has been loaded, it will give you 14
options. This may vary if you have add ons installed as well. In
this section, you will be able to change or redefine shortcut
keys in NVDA. You can not change the default shortcut keys in
NVDA . There is an option to add an extra shortcut key.
This may be useful in a case where keys might conflict with
other keys. Most people will stay with the default shortcut keys
for NVDA. If you would like to redefine a key to be used instead
of the default shortcut key, you will need to do the
Locate a section (for example Miscellaneous). Use your arrow
keys to go up and down the list and the left and right arrow
keys to open and close a branch. Locate the branch where it says
quit NVDA. Open the branch with the right arrow key, then arrow
down to NVDA Q keyboard all layouts. To add a shortcut key,
press the Tab key (it should land on the add button). Press the
Enter key. As an example you could put the Insert key and the
letter X as the keys you want to use. A context menu will come
up and give you the option to add to the Desktop layout for all
lay outs. Arrow to the one you want. Press the Enter key and
that shortcut combination will now be added. Tab to the ok
button and press Enter. Now when you look, you will see
the original default keys used, plus the new one that you have
added that you want to use. You can repeat the process for other
keys that you may wish to change at a later date - in other
remove an input gesture
To remove the new input gesture you have
created (or if you want to change it to a new shortcut key),
locate the section and shortcut you want to remove. For example
Miscellaneous/quits NVDA section. Locate the new input
gesture/shortcut key that you created before (for example the
Insert key + the letter X) that you had used previously. Once
there, Tab to the remove button and press Enter. Tab again to
the ok button and press Enter and now the shortcut key/input
gesture should be removed. You will only be left with the
default input gesture/shortcut key (for example the Insert key +
Q that was there originally).
Filter by input
From NVDA 2015.1 onwards, under the input
gestures menu, there is a new search feature. This will allow
you to search for specific commands that NVDA uses, for example:
how to quit NVDA, or how to find out how much battery power you
have left on your laptop, and so on. It may also be useful if
you can't think of what the command was to do that task.
When you have navigated to the input gestures menu, then pressed
the Enter key, all of the commands that are available to NVDA
can be found here . To quickly find a command in this section,
just use the Shift/Tab key once. This will put you into the
"filter by" section. Next, type in what you want to look for (as
in a command). For example, the word battery, quit, profiles,
sleep etcetera. Next, tab the once, and it will come up with all
results that meet the search criteria.
There may be no results for your search, or there could be a
couple of them. Your search results will depend on what you type
in initially. Use your arrow keys to navigate the list of
returned results in the tree view, until you find the command
you are after. The results will come up with all commands that
meet that criteria. This feature helps you find commands quickly
that you might not use that often.
Reset to factory defaults
button for input gestures
From NVDA 2019.3 onwards, there is a reset to factory defaults
button in the input gestures dialogue box. If you have somehow
messed up your input gestures it can now be set back to factory
defaults (as in to the day NVDA was installed).
When in the dialogue box area, tab around until you hear it
spoken out; then press the Enter key or Spacebar on it. It will
then reset it back to factory defaults.
Filter by search
box for locating punctuation/symbols with NVDA
From NVDA 2019.2 onwards you can now filter
symbols in the punctuation/symbol pronunciation dialogue,
similar to how filtering works in the elements list and input
When you go into this section there are over 3000 symbols
to choose from. There is now a filter by search box. It is a
matter of using the Shift/Tab key until you get to the search
box; type in the symbol you want to look for, and then it will
narrow down the search for you from that list. Then, it is
just a matter of arrowing down the results and picking one of
them that you want to change.
Viewing the log
in NVDA for errors
Under the tools section, there is a view log
menu. This is used to iron out problems with NVDA (when running
other programmes) as they occur. You can see why things are
happening or why there are errors within the programme you are
using. When you scan down the log that has been created, you
will see it has tracked your key presses, and down a bit further
see where NVDA is having problems with that particular
programme. If you are an advanced user, you may save the log and
make a ticket up on the NVDA project website. You will need to
give as much information as you can when making a ticket, so
that the problem can be ironed out. For example, the type of
operating system, browser's name and version if known, or
programme you were using at the time, and how to recreate the
problem, so it can be fixed. The log will have to be attached to
the new ticket to have it looked at. The ticket section can be
found under the documentation link on the website. You can also
press the Insert key and the F1 key to bring up the log viewer.
Use the Alt and F4 key to close it after viewing.
NVDA back to its factory defaults
Once in a blue moon the
NVDA.ini file (the main settings/preference file) may become
corrupted. In most cases, you used to have to uninstall
NVDA and its settings, then reinstall NVDA again. You would
have had to locate the nvda.ini file and delete it out. In the
latest release of NVDA 2012.3, this doesn't have to be done
now. It is now possible to reset NVDA's configuration to
factory defaults - either by pressing NVDA+Ctrl+R three times
quickly, or by choosing Reset to Factory Defaults (from the
Reporting bugs to
the project for fixing
cases, the average user wouldn't normally report bugs to be
fixed in future releases. There are usually a group of
people who will test the code for the screen reader before
you use it. These programmes of code being worked on (before
an official release) are called snapshots. In short, they
are like taking photos of the project once a day, of any
code changes. This is where new features may be put
in, bugs fixed for other programmes or new ideas tried out.
Once in a blue moon some bugs may be found in the stable
If you would like to report any of these bugs (if found),
you will need to do the following. For this example, we will
use buggy voices. If you are lucky enough that it records a
problem without losing speech all together, you can take the
following steps. Press the Insert key and the F1 key.
This will bring up the NVDA log viewer. You will see lines
of code that you will quite possibly not be able to
understand unless you are a developer. After a while, you
may pick some of this up. In the log, it will record what
keys you have pressed, what programme you were using and
where it had problems. This log will have to be saved. Press
the Alt key, (a file menu will drop down), then arrow down
to save as. Save it to your desktop or somewhere easy to
find. You can name the file as well if you want to.
Once this has been done, you will need to go up to the NVDA
project website. Under the developers link (or when you
click on it) you will be taken to another page. Look for the
section that says issue tracker. It will explain how to look
for tickets. These tickets may be for new features, bugs to
be ironed out in other programmes and so on. The bug you
find may already have been reported by someone else.
These tickets can be added to. If it is a new bug that has
been found, a ticket will have to be done. Give as much
information as you can. (For example, the NVDA version, the
programme used when it crashed, what you were doing when it
crashed, the operating system and so on). They need as
much information as you can give them to try and fix the
problem you are having. Follow the directions given under
the issue tracker to make a ticket or to add to one. If you
are not sure (or would like someone else to do it) ask
someone on the lists and in most cases they may do it for
you if you are unsure of what to do.
To help catch some of these problems, the first thing you
will need to do is press the Insert key and the letter N,
and the preferences menu will come up. Arrow down to the
preferences menu, then arrow right to the general settings
menu, then press Enter. The next screen that comes up, tab
down to log in level, and change that to debug. It is a
combo box that is usually set to info. Make sure you save