NVDA tutorials

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 tutorials.

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.nvda-project.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!

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.nvda-project.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.

  • 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 reader

The main keys that are commonly used with a screen reader to do different tasks (both with NVDA and in Windows) are listed below. Please note the Ctrl and Shift keys are at the bottom left and right of the main keyboard block.
Escape key
F1 to F12 keys (usually at the top of the keyboard going from left to right).
Tab key (usually on the left hand side of a keyboard above the Caps Lock key).
Caps Lock key (used to capitalise letters, or as a modifier key with NVDA and found above the left Shift key).
Shift key (if used once will capitalise one letter or will be used with other NVDA or Windows commands).
Ctrl key (used in some Windows commands as well as shortcut keys, and found on the bottom left and right of the keyboard).
Windows key (used with some Windows shortcuts and when pressed brings up the Start menu).
Alt key (used to bring up a file menu found in most applications).
Spacebar (used to tick and untick boxes, and put spaces between words etc).
Insert key (which can be used as a modifier key for NVDA, or to insert text into a document).
Delete key (used to delete out items).
Home and End keys (used with Ctrl to get you to the top of the page, and also to the bottom of the page).
Left, Right, Up and Down arrow keys (used to move you around Windows and other applications).
Numeric keypad (used with the NVDA key to do different tasks).

Starting NVDA 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 different menus.

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.

Focussing NVDA and locating other programmes on Windows startup

When Windows starts, NVDA may either end up on the desktop, down on the taskbar, or in the case of Windows 7, the Start Menu. If you would like to start from the Start menu, the best way to get focus with NVDA (once it is loaded) is to press the windows key, then press the escape key to hide it again.  This will give you a starting point.  From here, if you want to navigate to the desktop, press the Tab key a couple of times until you get to the desktop.  If you use Shift plus Tab it will do it in reverse.  As you Tab or Shift Tab, you will hear different parts of the desktop (for example start menu, desktop, running applications etc). If you wish to go to a programme on your start menu, use the up and down, left and right arrow keys to go to the programme you want and press enter to go into it. Alt and F4 will get you back out of a programme. Familiarise yourself with the different parts of the desktop and where things are. The start button is usually on the bottom left and the clock is usually down on the bottom right of the taskbar. The desktop itself is where all your different icons are (for example My Computer, Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox etc). Icons located across the taskbar may be different depending on which programmes you have on your computer.

Navigating to and from the Desktop and notification area

To get quickly to the main desktop, press the Windows key and the letter D to take you straight to this area.  Doing this again will take you back to the start menu.  This is a Windows shortcut key.  If you want to jump back to the desktop again do the same combination again, and you should end up back on the desktop. To quickly jump down to the notification area (which is next to the clock on the bottom right hand side), press the Windows key and the letter B to get you there.  This is also a Windows command.  While you are in this area, you can use your arrow keys to see which programmes might be loaded at that time.  To get back to the desktop, press the Windows key and the letter D again.

Locating a programme on your Desktop quickly, and then closing it

On your desktop, you may have a lot of icons.  Usually  these icons or shortcuts will take you into a programme that is located on your hard drive. You can press the letter an icon begins with to go quickly to that programme. On most desktops, there will be an icon called Internet Explorer.  This is usually on the main part of the desktop.  If there are say 20 icons on your desktop, and you wanted to get to Internet Explorer quickly, you could press the letter I until you get to it.  If there is more than one item on the desktop starting with the letter I, then it will cycle between them. If there is no programme starting with the letter I, it will not do anything. Try some other letters to see what other programmes are there.  The other way, is to use your arrow keys to find the different icons that are there.  This is a much slower process.  If you would like to go into any of the programmes, locate the icon or shortcut to the programme you are after, then press the enter key to open it up.  In this case, we will use Internet Explorer.  The programme will be opened for you to view what is on the inside and use.  There will usually be a menu, right up the very top going from left to right.  Above the menu will be a title bar which will say the name of the application (for example Internet Explorer). This will obviously change with each application or webpage that you open. Usually, on the left hand side (in most programmes) there will be a file menu, across to the right are a variety of other menus, and on the far right there is usually a help menu.  In Internet Explorer, below this will be navigation buttons, along with a location bar (where you can type a web address), with other various icons to the left and right of the location bar. Below this will be the main window where you browse the internet.  This means whatever webpage you are looking at, will come up in this area. To close Internet Explorer you can press the Alt key to bring up the file menu, then arrow 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.

Learning 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.

Commonly used Windows shortcut keys

The quickest way to learn how to navigate your computer is to learn the Windows shortcut keys. These may vary from operating system to operating system, but the basics are generally the same. Once you know your shortcut keys, you will find navigating much quicker 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 below:

CTRL+C Copy.
CTRL+V Paste.
CTRL+Z Undo.
DELETE Delete.
SHIFT+DELETE Delete selected item permanently without placing the item in the Recycle Bin.
CTRL while dragging an item Copy selected item.
CTRL+SHIFT while dragging an item Create shortcut to selected item.
F2 Rename selected item.
CTRL+RIGHT ARROW Move the insertion point to the beginning of the next word.
CTRL+LEFT ARROW Move the insertion point to the beginning of the previous word.
CTRL+DOWN ARROW Move the insertion point to the beginning of the next paragraph.
CTRL+UP ARROW Move the insertion point to the beginning of the previous paragraph.
CTRL+SHIFT with any of the arrow keys Highlight a block of text.
SHIFT with any of the arrow keys Select more than one item in a window or on the desktop, or select text within a document.
CTRL+A Select all.
F3 Search for a file or folder.
ALT+ENTER View properties for the selected item.
ALT+F4 Close the active item, or quit the active program.
ALT+Enter Displays the properties of the selected object.
ALT+SPACEBAR Opens the shortcut menu for the active window.
CTRL+F4 Close the active document in programs that allow you to have multiple documents open simultaneously.
ALT+TAB Switch between open items.
ALT+ESC Cycle through items in the order they were opened.
F6 Cycle through screen elements in a window or on the desktop.
F4 Display the Address bar list in My Computer or Windows Explorer.
SHIFT+F10 Display the shortcut menu for the selected item.
ALT+SPACEBAR Display the System menu for the active window.
CTRL+ESC Display the Start menu.
ALT+Underlined letter in a menu name Display the corresponding menu. Underlined letter in a command name on an open menu Carry out the corresponding command.
F10 Activate the menu bar in the active program.
RIGHT ARROW Open the next menu to the right, or open a submenu.
LEFT ARROW Open the next menu to the left, or close a submenu.
F5 Refresh the active window.
BACKSPACE View the folder one level up in My Computer or Windows Explorer.
ESC Cancel the current task.
SHIFT when you insert a CD into the CD-ROM drive Prevent the CD from automatically playing.

Exercise using shortcut key combinations

Use some of the shortcut keys listed above to discover what functions they provide in certain programmes and operating systems. Type something up in Notepad, and then try copying and pasting it.

How to get the full list of Windows shortcuts

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.

Typing and reviewing a document in Notepad

As you type up a document, you may choose to hear it spoken letter by letter, word by word, or both.  Command keys can also be turned on or off (so you know which command keys you have pressed).

Insert and the number 2 will turn speak typed characters on and off.
Insert and the number 3 will turn speak typed words on and off.
Insert and the number 4 will turn speak command keys on and off.
Insert and the letter P will cycle you through the various punctuation symbol levels.  These are: none, some, most and all. The variation in levels of punctuation you hear, will depend on the punctuation level you set it to.

The commands mentioned above, are good for use in a word processing document.

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).

In the main edit area in Notepad, where you are going to type your information type a few lines. (For this example, I will use part of the NZ National Anthem as a practice exercise).

God of nations at thy feet
In the bonds of love we meet
Hear our voices we entreat
God defend our free land
Guard Pacific's triple star
From the shafts of strife and war
Make her praises heard afar
God defend New Zealand

To go to the top of the page, use the Ctrl and Home keys.  (This should take you back to the top, just before the first word God and it should read out the first line). To get back down to the bottom of the page, use the Ctrl and End keys. (This should take you to the end of the word Zealand). We will jump back to the top again so we can review what we have written so far. The arrow keys will be used, along with other keys to review what you have written. Press arrow down, and the screen reader should read out the text line by line. Press arrow up, and it should read out the line above each time you press it.

To review what you have written, you can do it letter by letter or word by word. To review God defend New Zealand letter by letter, use the left and right arrow keys. This way is usually good for fixing up spelling mistakes etc. If you would like to review it word by word, press the Ctrl and right arrow keys which will allow you to review it moving to the right.  To go back the other way, use the Ctrl and left arrow keys to head back towards the beginning. To read everything that you have typed from the top, press the Insert and down arrow keys.  If you are reviewing your document (having pressed Insert and arrow down) and the phone rings, you can press the Ctrl key to stop the screen reader talking.  After you have answered the call, to continue reading, press the Insert and down arrow keys to start the screen reader again. The shift key can be used as well to stop the talking. When you press it again, it will start talking from where you stopped it (where supported by the synthesiser).

To close the programme quickly, use Alt plus the F4 key.  It may ask you to save your changes, arrow left or right to say no and it will close the programme.

Getting NVDA to read out information that you have selected

While you are in Notepad, select some of the text that you have typed up previously. While holding down your Shift key, use your arrow keys to arrow down to the information that you want to select. This will highlight the text as you arrow down / left or right. To get NVDA to read out what you have selected, press the Insert, Shift and the up arrow 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 Document settings).
If down the track you would like to change your voice settings quickly (without going into the voice settings) try this.  If you press the Ctrl and Insert and the left or right arrows it will cycle you through the voice settings.  If you have found a setting you would like to change (for example the voice variant from Max to another), while still holding down the Ctrl and Insert key, use the up and down arrow keys to change the variants.  You can try this with some of your other voice settings as well to get the idea.

Browsing the internet

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 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 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.

Single letter navigation

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 below:
h: heading
l: list
i: list item
t: table
k: link
n: nonLinked text
f: form field
u: unvisited link
v: visited link
e: edit field
b: button
x: checkbox
c: combo box
r: radio button
q: block quote
s: separator
m: frame
g: graphic
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 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.  Press 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 key.

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 quickly

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 represents.

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 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).

Quick navigating of tables

When within a table, use the following to navigate quickly:

Ctrl+Alt+left arrow
Moves the system caret to the previous column (staying in the same row)

Ctrl+Alt+right arrow
Moves the system caret to the next column (staying in the same row)

Ctrl+Alt+up arrow
Moves the system caret to the previous row (staying in the same column)

Ctrl+Alt+down arrow
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 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 setting.

Enabling 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 bar.

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.nvda-project.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 you get.

How to copy and paste information into an application, or onto a USB stick with NVDA

Sometimes when you are on a website there may be information that you want to copy.  This could be a recipe or information you are researching.  On the webpage, locate the information you want.  Press the Insert key and the F9 key to start marking the information you want.  Use the down arrow key to mark all of the text you want; then, use the Insert and F10 key to copy it to the clipboard.  If it is not a lot of information, you can press the Insert and C key to read out the clipboard (to confirm what you have copied).

Once you have found some information online that you wish to copy and paste, you will need another programme for the information to be copied into. You can use Notepad for this. To minimize the window you are looking at, use the Windows and M key.  This will minimize your browser to the taskbar. Now locate Notepad on your computer and open it upTo paste the information  into Notepad, use the Ctrl and V keys. If done correctly, you should have a copy of your recipe (or whatever information you copied) there now in front of you. This can also be done by locating the same information and whilst holding down the shift and Ctrl keys, arrowing right to the end of the sentence, then arrowing down to highlight all of the information you want. Next, press the Ctrl key and the letter C to copy it to the clipboard, then paste it into that programme with Ctrl and the letter V.  This can be done to other word processing applications as well. Finally, save what you have copied using either Ctrl and S, or by pressing Alt (to access the menus) and arrowing down to Save.  It will ask you where to save it to. Click on browse and change it from wherever it is pointing to, to the desktop. This will make it easier to find for the next step. You could try this with a paragraph off this page by pasting it into your word processing application. 

At a later date, you may want to copy the information to a USB stick.  You could use the copy and paste part of Windows to do this. Locate the file you have saved to the desktop.  Make sure it is highlighted when NVDA speaks the filename that you have saved it as.  Pressing Ctrl and the letter C should copy it to the clipboard. Now plug in your USB stick. An autoplay dialogue should come up.  When it does, press the letter O to open the folder, then press enter.  You should now be able to see what files are on the USB stick.  To paste it, use the Ctrl and V keys.  If you can't see it there, it hasn't been copied properly, so you would repeat the process until it does. The Insert and F9 keys are used to mark the text you want, and the Insert and F10 keys are used to copy it to the clipboard so it can be pasted.

Switching between applications that are open on 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 stickIf 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.

Reviewing text 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 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 informationTry the numeric keypad's 4, 5, and 6 keys to move backwards and forwards word by wordFinally,  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: funhotoys@funho.com
Postal address: Box 14 Inglewood, Taranaki, New Zealand.
Manager/Toy Maker/Curator Richard Jordan

More detailed 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)
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)

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).

Report text formatting. (Announces the formatting of the text where the review cursor is currently situated)

Note: numpad keys require numlock key to be turned off to work properly.

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:
  1. Open Notepad.
  2. Type up a few lines of text.
  3. Do one (or all) of the following:
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.
To cut text so you can move it to another location, select the text (as per the instructions above), press Alt + E to bring up the edit           menu, and then arrow down to cut, and press enter.
To copy text so you can paste it in another location, select the text (as per the instructions above), press Alt + E to bring up the edit        menu, and then arrow down to copy, and press enter.
To paste text that you have cut or copied, click the location where you want to paste the text, press Alt + E to bring up the edit menu,    and then arrow down to paste.
To delete text, select the text you want to delete, press Alt + E to bring up the edit menu, and then arrow down to delete.
To undo your last action, press Alt + E to bring up the edit menu, and then arrow down to undo.

Alternatively, the shortcut key commands are as follows:
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.

Embedded Objects

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.

Using Windows 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 says. 

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 folder. 

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 Files/NVDA/synth Drivers/espeak-data/voices/!v/Tweaky
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.

Checking the time and date with NVDA

To check the time with NVDA, press the Insert and F12 key. To hear the day and date, press the Insert key and the F12 key twice.

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.

Object Navigation

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).

Report current 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
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 object

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 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://www.nvda-project.org/wiki/ObjectNavigation

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.

Left mouse 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 the mouse

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 and Enter keys at the same time

As always, for more indepth information, please consult your NVDA user manual.

Adding 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.web-friend.com/help/lingo/chatslang.html Here is another website which also lists abbreviations and their meanings. 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.

Changing 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 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.

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 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 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.

Other NVDA tutorials

The NVDA screen reader link below covers topics such as making portable copies and general information about the screen reader.
NVDA screen reader

The how to install additional components link below covers topics such as installing voices and app modules.
How to install additional NVDA components

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.
Accessible email client Mozilla Thunderbird

For information on how to install free office suites that will work with NVDA, please visit the following link
How to make Open Office and Libre Office accessible to the NVDA screen reader

The NVDA 2012.3.1 user guide can be found at the following link http://www.nvda-project.org/documentation/userGuide.html

For technical information for developers, the NVDA 2011.3 NVDA developers guide can be found at

Visit my audio tutorials page to listen to more NVDA tutorials. audio%20tutorials.html

For information on using Overdrive (for the epukapuka ebook project in NZ) with the NVDA screen reader

Some useful links for NVDA users (or those wanting to find out more)

NVDA Project home page http://www.nvda-project.org/

Home page of NV access, developer of NVDA http://www.nvaccess.org/

NV Access Twitter feed https://mobile.twitter.com/nvaccess

Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/NVAccess

NV Access Podcasts

NV Access has released some podcasts (about the NVDA screen reader) informing NVDA users about the work that has been done on the screen reader (such as new features available). Please visit http://www.nvaccess.org/blog/category/Podcast for more information or to hear these podcasts.