The following 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.
Also, please look at the bottom of this page for links to other
Before 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 visit http://www.nvaccess.org/
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!
If you would like to know when there is a
release of NVDA (or just to keep up to date with what is
happening with the project from time to time), you can join
the NVDA announcement email list. It can be found on the
NVaccess website at http://www.nvaccess.org/news/
When you are there, jump down by headings (by pressing the
letter H) to a heading called News by email, and sign your
self up to keep up to date with what is happening.
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
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.
- To start 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.
- To turn 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
Commonly used keys when using a screen
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
F1 to F12
(usually at the top of the keyboard going from left to right).
key (usually on
the left hand side of a keyboard above the Caps Lock key).
key (used to
capitalise letters, or as a modifier key with NVDA and found
above the left Shift key).
key (if used
once will capitalise one letter or will be used with other
NVDA or Windows commands).
key (used in some
Windows commands as well as shortcut keys, and found on the
bottom left and right of the keyboard).
key (used with
some Windows shortcuts and when pressed brings up the Start
key (used to bring
up a file menu found in most applications).
(used to tick
and untick boxes, and put spaces between words etc).
key (which can
be used as a modifier key for NVDA, or to insert text into a
key (used to
delete out items).
keys (used with Ctrl
to get you to the top of the page, and also to the bottom of
Left, Right, Up and Down
(used to move you around Windows and other
with the NVDA key to do different tasks).
automatically and saving configurations
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.
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 happens.
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.
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
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 quickly.
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
Navigating to and from the Desktop and
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 again.
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 down to the 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.
Checking to see
if your browser 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. 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.
shortcut combination keys within programmes
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.
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 that 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
SHIFT+DELETE Delete selected
item permanently without placing the item in the Recycle Bin.
CTRL while dragging an item Copy selected
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
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
ALT+TAB Switch between open
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
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
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.
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
How to get the full list of
To quickly find all of the shortcuts that are commonly used for your
Windows operating system, please follow the instructions below.
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 help.
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 the accessories
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).
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).
Insert and the number 2 will turn speak typed characters on
Insert and the number 3 will turn speak typed words on and
Insert and the number 4 will turn speak command keys on and
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
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
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
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.
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 keys.
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
unchecked, press the spacebar
to 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
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.
NVDA supports Internet Explorer, Sea Monkey and Flock, although
Mozilla Firefox is recommended. There may be other browsers
as well. 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
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 trademe.co.nz).
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.
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.
NVDA uses 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 listed
•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
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
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
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
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 2.
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.
How to 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
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 page through
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).
navigating of tables
When within a table, use the following to navigate quickly:
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
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).
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
audible progress updates
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
Bringing up the
elements list so you can quickly find elements such as
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 results.
If the elements list is not up, press Insert and F7
again to bring 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
How to copy and
paste information into an application, or onto a USB stick
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
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
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.
between applications that are open on your computer
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.
with NVDA so you can revisit information
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
keypad and 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
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
Current character = numeric
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: email@example.com
Postal address: Box 14 Inglewood, Taranaki, New Zealand.
Manager/Toy Maker/Curator Richard Jordan
information about keys used for reviewing text
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)
Move to previous line in
review (Moves the review cursor to the previous line of text)
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)
Move to next line in review.
(Move the review cursor to the next line of text)
Move to bottom line in
review. (Moves the review cursor to the bottom line of text)
Move to previous word in
review. (Moves the review cursor to the previous word in the text)
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).
Move to next word in review.
(Move the review cursor to the next word in the text)
Move to start of line in
review. (Moves the review cursor to the start of the current line in
Move to previous character
in review. (Moves the review cursor to the previous character on the
current line in the text)
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
Move to next character in
review. (Move the review cursor to the next character on the current
line of text)
Move to end of line in
review. (Moves the review cursor to the end of the current line of
Say all with review. (Reads
from the current position of the review cursor, moving it as it
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
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
Report text formatting.
(Announces the formatting of the text where the review cursor is
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.
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:
• To select 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 want.
- Open Notepad.
- Type up a few lines of text.
- Do one (or all) of the following:
• 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
• 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
Alternatively, the shortcut key
commands are as follows:
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.
- Cut = Ctrl + X
- Copy = Ctrl + C
- Paste = Ctrl + V
- Delete = Delete key
- Undo = Ctrl + Z
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
homepage. Search 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 Tube webpage.
Explorer to explore your Windows operating system,
programmes, and devices
If NVDA is running and you are on the desktop, go into Windows
explorer by pressing the Windows
key and the letter E.
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 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 or details view. Try both the list view
and the details view to see what
is best for you to use. Pressing Alt and V will also bring up the view
menu. Once you have decided on your 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
The two main views you will use when navigating your computer are
list view and tree view. The tree view is the easiest one to
use. Think of a tree. Imagine the C: is the main trunk with
boughs and branches coming off it. Some of those branches can be
small, and some can be quite large. In tree view, locate the C: drive by arrowing up and down. Once
found, use the right arrow key to
open the branch. This should expand the branch, and give
you a list of the folders/directories you can look at. Arrow up and down to see what is
there. To close the
branch use the left arrow key.
If a branch is not expanded it will say collapsed. When you close a
branch it should also say collapsed. Remember, if you have opened a
branch, you can arrow up and down, and if there are other
folders/directories within these, they can be expanded as well.
There may be folders/directories that may not say expanded, as there
may be nothing in them; or they could be files which are not able to
be expanded. Only
folders/directories can be expanded and collapsed.
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
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 do it.
To close 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.
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.
To see what is in an active window
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 speech.
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 again.
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.
Report current object
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.
Object 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 Lock key).
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
Moves to the object containing the current navigator object
Move to previous object
Moves to the object before the current navigator object
Move to next object
Moves to the object after the current navigator object
Move to first contained object
Moves to the first object contained by the current navigator object
Move to focus object
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
Activate current navigator object
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
Pressed once, moves the System focus to the current navigator
object; pressed twice, moves the system caret to the position of the
Report navigator object dimensions
Announces the current navigator object's dimensions on screen in
percentages (including distance from left and top of screen, and its
width and height)
using object navigation
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 a more detailed explanation of what object navigation is, please
visit the following link: http://community.nvda-project.org/wiki/ObjectNavigation
Left mouse button click
Navigating with the mouse
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.
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
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
Right mouse click
Clicks the right mouse button once.
Right mouse button lock
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
Move mouse to current navigator
Moves the mouse to the location of the current navigator object and
Navigate to the object under the
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 commands.
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.
Exercise for routing the mouse
to an object on your desktop
This exercise 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 following:
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 notification area.
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
keys at the same time
As always, for more indepth information, please consult your NVDA
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.
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
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
test to see if you successfully renamed your punctuation
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.
To add an input
To quickly get to your input gestures menu, press the Ctrl
key + Insert
key + the letter I
for the input
gestures menu. When the section has been loaded, it will give you
14 options. 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
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
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
the Insert key and the letter X as the keys you want to
use. 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 you have added that you now want to use. You can
repeat the process for other keys you may want to change at a
later date in other sections.
To remove an input
To remove the new input gesture you have created (or want to
change 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 you had created before.
For example the Insert key + the letter X that you had previously
used. 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).
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.
Resetting NVDA back to its
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 NVDA menu).
Reporting bugs to the
project for fixing
In most 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 release.
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, 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 your settings.
The NVDA screen reader link below
covers topics such as making portable copies and general
information about the screen reader.
The how to install additional
components link below covers topics such as installing voices
and app modules.
The link below to the Accessible
email client Mozilla Thunderbird tutorial, is done using the
NVDA screen reader, Mozilla Thunderbird 9 and a 101 keyboard.
For technical information for
developers, the NVDA developers guide can be found at