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.
If you are a new NVDA screen reader user, (or even if you are
new to Windows) please visit the Finding your way with NVDA page
first! This page is nearing completion but should answer a lot
of your basic questions. Please stay tuned for more coming soon!
Click on any of the links in the table below, to visit other
NVDA related webpages that may be of interest to you.
NVDA related webpages
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...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.
The new show exit options
when exiting NVDA
This is a new feature that has been integrated into NVDA. When
the NVDA key and the letter Q have been used to quit NVDA - it
will give you 3 options before NVDA is turned off. These will be
to quit NVDA, restart NVDA or to disable all add-ons in NVDA. Pick
the option you want (by arrowing up or down the combo box), then
tab to the ok button and that action will be performed.
This feature can be turned on or off through the general settings
section in NVDA...Show exit options when exiting NVDA. To show the
feature each time you want to close NVDA, simply leave it checked,
or just uncheck this option so this feature is not shown when you
If the disable NVDA addons option is chosen, all add ons in NVDA
will be disabled. To re-enable all of your add ons again, simply
To listen to an audio tutorial on the show exit options when
exiting NVDA, please go to https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/64177841/the%20new%20show%20exit%20options%20when%20exiting%20nvda.MP3
NVDA modifier keys, and
changing the keyboard layout
A modifier key modifies another key, so that it can perform another
task. NVDA can use any, or all, of the following as its modifier
keys: the Insert key, the extended Insert key or the Caps Lock key.
These are also referred to as the NVDA key. To select one (or all)
of the NVDA modifier keys you wish to use, press the Ctrl key, Insert key, and the Letter K. This should bring up the
keyboard settings dialogue box. Tab down to the one you would
like to use as a modifier key. Here also, if you have a
desktop or laptop, you can change your settings under keyboard layout. Make sure you
Tab down to the ok button to save your changes everytime. This
tutorial will only cover the desktop version.
How to find more information on
different topics for Windows
To quickly find all of the shortcuts that are commonly used for your
Windows operating system, please follow the 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.
For any programme that has a help menu, pressing the F1 key will
bring up the help topics for that programme. For example, by
pressing F1 in Word, or by searching under the help menu in Word,
you may be able to discover how to change fonts.
Also, to discover the version number of a programme that you are
using, look under the help... about section to see which version of
that software that you have.
NVDA supports Internet Explorer and Sea Monkey, although Mozilla
Firefox is recommended. There may be other browsers as well.
Please visit the following link to my nvda road tested programmes
webpage to discover a variety of browsers that may work with NVDA. http://homepages.slingshot.co.nz/~hurrikenny/nvda_road_tested_programs.html#Browser_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.
NVDA's automatic check for
NVDA has an automatically check for updates to NVDA feature. It will
check for a new update every day unless this feature is turned off.
When there is a new update of NVDA, it will alert you that a new
release is available. It will ask you if you want to download it, so
that you can upgrade to the latest version of NVDA at that time.
When this happens with the installer version, NVDA will download the
updates and install over itself to update you to the latest version
of NVDA. Just follow the directions on screen to enable the upgrade
to the latest version. If the portable version of NVDA alerts you
about a new release, it will download a whole new copy of
NVDA. (For example 2014.2 and so on). The file will have
to be located and clicked on, and the directions followed again (to
make a portable copy of whatever media it was on - for example USB
stick, hard drive or CD). You can install over the current version
of your portable version, but this may cause problems down the
track, so doing a new one every time is recommended.
There are 4 updates to the NVDA screen reader every year, so you
know problems when found will get fixed rather quickly.
The automatically check for updates feature can be disabled. When
this is done, it will not alert you of any updates to the NVDA
screen reader. This may be in the case of a library network that may
only upgrade their image (or software) once a year to the latest
software at that time.
When this feature is disabled, there is no way of knowing accurately
how many people are using NVDA on any given day. (These user
statistiscs would also be affected by those running a computer
without internet access). For the average home user it is a good
idea to leave it on. These figures may assist when the project is
looking for funding, and funders in turn may be looking at how many
people could potentially benefit from such a programme.
To disable the automatically check for updates feature while NVDA is
running, press the Insert key + Ctrl + G to bring up the general
settings dialogue box. When it comes up, Tab down to the check box
that says automatically check for updates, and uncheck the box with
the space bar. Then, Tab down to the ok button and press the Enter
key. You will not be alerted from then on about any updates to NVDA.
If you would like to check for an update to NVDA without enabling
that feature again, this can also be done under the Help section and
check for updates menu. Just follow the directions to download a new
copy of NVDA when it comes out.
Checking out the what's new section in
If you would like to know what has been done in each release of
NVDA, then you will need to check out this section. It can be
located under the help section. Look for the what's new menu and
press the Enter key. When the browser opens, it will give you a
whole list of things (for example amendments, new features, bug
fixes, changes and so on). This is done for each version of NVDA, so
be sure to check out this section each time to see what has been
changed or is new in the latest release!
Some options for
tailoring your browser to suit your needs
The following paragraphs relate to becoming familiar with, and
customizing your browser (whether you are using Mozilla Firefox or
Internet Explorer). Doing this will speed up and enhance your
online browsing experiences.
Locating your navigation
To quickly jump to the navigation toolbar in your browser (where you
can type a web address, or do a search for something on the
internet), you can use the Ctrl key and the letter L. This applies
for both Internet Explorer and Mozilla firefox. In some cases, the
F6 key can be used to get you to that same navigation toolbar. Other
browsers may give the navigation toolbar a different name (for
example address or search toolbar).
The Webvisum add on for the
Mozilla Firefox browser
Have you ever wished that links (or certain aspects of a webpage)
were labelled correctly? or even come across a captcha that you
couldn't get past? The Webvisum add on for the Mozilla Firefox
browser helps you enjoy the web more.
Some of the benefits of using Webvisum are as follows:
•Users are able to tag objects.
•Instant CAPTCHA image solving.
•Built in helper functions.
•Enhanced for screen reader users.
•High contrast page viewing, link and focus highlighting for vision
To grab a copy of the Webvisum add on (or to find out more) please
go to http://www.webvisum.com/
To quickly get to your
search engine in Mozilla Firefox
From time to time you may want to change your default search engine.
If you already have some search engines in Mozilla Firefox, you can
quickly jump to the search engines combo box. Press the Ctrl key and
the letter K. This will place you in the combo box. Then, it is a
matter of opening up the combo box and arrowing down or up for your
new search engine. When you tab out of it, the new search engine
will be in its place (for example from Bing to Google or another
How to bookmark a website
When you are surfing the internet there may be websites of interest
that you might want to bookmark and read at a later date. In most
cases this will usually be a webpage off the site you are looking
at. The process is the same for both.
Adding a website or webpage to your favourites in Internet
Press the Alt key so the file menu comes up. When this has happened,
arrow right to the Favourites menu. Next, arrow down to add to
Favourites, then press the Enter key. The very first section will be
the name of the website or webpage you are on. It will also give you
the option to keep your favourites tidy or in certain sections. Tab
down to the add button, and press the Enter key and this website or
webpage will be added to your favourites.
Adding a bookmark to Mozilla Firefox
Press the Alt key until the file menu comes up. Once it has
appeared, arrow right to the Bookmarks menu, then down to Bookmark
this page, then press the Enter key. The next section that comes up
will give you different options.
The very first option will be the name of the website or the web
page. The following sections will let you put them into folders and
so on. Tab down to the done button, press the Enter key and
this page will be added to your bookmarks.
The process is virtually the same in other browsers. There is
usually a shortcut key that can be used to quicken up the process of
bookmarking your website or web pages.
Altering the homepage in your browser
In Internet Explorer
Press the Alt key until the file menu comes up. When it is up, arrow
right to the tools menu, then down to the internet options menu,
then press the Enter key. The next screen that comes up will give
you various options. Locate the General tab. Tab until you hear home
page tabs. There will be an edit area where you can enter in your
new homepage address if there is not one there already (for example
Next, tab down to the apply button then press the Enter key to apply
the settings. Tab again until you hear it say ok button, then press
the Enter key. You will need to close the browser and reopen it
again (or press the F5 key to refresh your browsers current page).
Once reopened, the new homepage should be set to your selected
In Mozilla Firefox
To add a new home page to Mozilla Firefox, press the Alt key until
you hear file menu. When it comes up, arrow right to the Tools menu,
then down to the options menu, then press the Enter key. The next
screen that comes up will give you various options. NVDA should
default to the General tab. If this is so, tab until you hear when
Fire Fox starts combo box home page. Make sure this is set to home
page in this combo box. Tab again, then enter in your new
homepage (for example http://www.stuff.co.nz ). Next, tab down
to the ok button and then press the Enter key. You will have to
close the browser then reopen it for the new homepage to take
affect. Pressing the F5 key to refresh the page will also do the
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.
Saving a file from off the
When you become more familiar with the internet, it is possible that
at some stage (sooner or later), you will want to download a file
from off the internet. This could be a picture or music file, an
application file and so on. The easiest way, is to tell the browser
where you want to save the file on your computer. This way, you
don't lose the file if this is your first time downloading.
Specifying where a file is
saved to (in Mozilla Firefox)
To specify where you want to save a file to in Mozilla Firefox, you
will need to look under the following sections. For example, tools,
options, general, and under the downloads section, tick the check
box that says "always ask me where to save files"; and specify a
place where you want to save them. For example, the desktop so
you don't lose it on your computer. You can always copy and paste
the file to another area at a later date. Specifying where you want
your files saved may differ in other browsers.
Three ways to download a
file (using NVDA)
There are a couple of ways to get to the file you want to download
from off the internet.
Save a file by using the download
The first is - there may be a download link, and when you press the
Enter key on that link, a little dialogue type box will come
up. This will give you the option to either: open the file or
save it. Either arrow down, or tab to the save button and press the
Enter key. If a place is not specified in the browser, it will
download it to the downloads folder (depending on your operating
system) on your computer. You will need to become familiar with
where your download folder is in case you close the browser, or you
wish to install the download later on.
Save a file by routing the mouse to
the download link
The next way, if pressing Enter on some websites (as above) doesn't
work, is to route the mouse to the downloads link of that file.
Locate the link which points to the file, then press the Insert key
+ the divide key (which is found on the numeric keypad) to route the
mouse to that link. Once this has been done, you will then need to
right click the mouse. This is simulated by NVDA. You will need to
use the multiply key (on the numeric keypad) again for this. A
context menu will come up, then it is a matter of arrowing down the
menu until you hear one called "save link as". Press the Enter key
to save the file. Again, if not specified it will go to the
Save a file by using the context
The last way is to use the context menu on the keyboard. This is
usually found on the right side of the qwerty keyboard (between the
Alt key and the Ctrl key). Not all keyboards will have this
context key. Once NVDA has been focused on the download link, if the
context menu key is used, it will come up with the same option to
save your link as mentioned in the previous paragraph.
Whichever way you choose to download your file, to check on the
progress of your download within Mozilla Firefox, you can either go
to the Tools menu (by pressing Alt...(the letter T for) tools...
(and the letter D for) downloads. Or, simply bring it up with the
shortcut combination Ctrl + J. You can then tab around the download
manager screen to see what your downloads are up to.
The wording may vary in different browsers. For example, in Mozilla
Firefox it will be "save link as" compared to "save target as" in
To listen to an audio tutorial on the three different ways to
download a file please go to the following link https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/64177841/how%20to%20download%20a%20file%20with%20NVDA.MP3
To view the files you are currently
downloading using download manager
To view your current downloads in Internet Explorer or Mozilla
Firefox, you can use the Ctrl key and the letter J. This will give
you a list of things you are downloading from off the internet. You
can use the Tab keys and the arrow keys to navigate around the
download manager. If you are using NVDA and have it set to announce
percentages, then it will tell you the progress of your download.
Opening a PDF document
There are many documents and manuals that are in PDF format. PDF
stands for portable document format and will have an extension of
.pdf for example Uniden SSE25 user manual.pdf
The easiest way to open one of these files is to download the file
to your computer where it can be opened with a programme that opens
PDF documents. For example Adobe reader - which is a free PDF
viewer. There are a lot of other PDF viewer programmes out there if
you choose to use another one. Click here if you wish to try out
Adobe Reader https://get.adobe.com/reader/
Some PDF programmes/viewers will open the PDF document from your
desktop, whereas others may open them in your browser.
If you don't have a PDF viewer programme on your computer then you
will not be able to open any of these files. Once one of these PDF
documents have downloaded to your computer, it is a matter of
locating the file and clicking on it. This should bring it up in
your PDF viewer. In the case of a screen reader user press the Enter
key to open it, and follow the directions of the pdf viewer to read
it - such as the reading order and so on.
Once the document has been opened, to read it with NVDA, you can use
the Insert key and the down arrow key. This will invoke the "say
all" command in NVDA.
If no PDF viewer is found, Windows may ask you which programme to
try and open the PDF with. For example, wordpad. There are a lot of
free PDF viewers out there you can use, but not necessarily all are
screen reader friendly. Adobe reader is screen reader friendly and
can easily be navigated by a screen reader (such as NVDA).
To listen to an audio tutorial covering the basics, needed to be
able to download and read a PDF document using NVDA, please go to https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/64177841/downloading%20a%20pdf%20document%20and%20reading%20it%20basic%20instructions.MP3
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
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.
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
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.
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).
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
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
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.
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.
Using the physical mouse
Most screen reader users don't use a mouse. They usually rely on
other ways of getting to certain areas of a programme (for
example object navigation or the new review modes in NVDA).
Being able to move a physical mouse around the screen, will let
you get to parts of the screen a lot easier, rather than using
other ways of getting to the same place. For example clicking on
the close window with a mouse (compared to using object
People who have low vision may want to use a physical mouse to
click on different things on the screen. NVDA may have some
features that may be of interest to you when using a physical
mouse (for example mouse tracking). When mouse tracking is
turned on in NVDA, as the physical mouse is moved around the
screen, NVDA will read what is under the mouse. For example
Computer, Internet Explorer and so on. To turn on mouse tracking
in NVDA, you can use the Insert key and the letter M.
To turn off mouse tracking, just repeat the process. You
will notice the difference between what is spoken when mouse
tracking is enabled, and when mouse tracking is turned off. This
can also be checked under the mouse settings section in NVDA. To
quickly get to the mouse settings section in NVDA, press the
Ctrl key + the Insert key + the letter M. This will bring up the
mouse settings menu for you to make these changes.
When "enable mouse tracking" is turned on under this section, it
will give you the following options:
Text unit resolution The unit of text spoken depends on
which text unit resolution it is set to. Text unit resolution
has 4 options available. If the text unit resolution is set to
"character", it will only read a character. If the text unit
resolution is set to "word" it will read out a word at a time.
Again, if the text unit resolution is set to "sentence" it
will read out a sentence at a time. Lastly, if the text unit
resolution is set to "paragraph", it will read out a paragraph
at a time. This may also depend how a page or web page is set
out as to what is spoken out.
Play audio coordinates
When "play audio coordinates
when mouse moves" is enabled (along with "enable mouse
tracking") will give out audible tones. As you move the mouse
around the screen, you will hear the tones go higher as you go
up the screen, and lower as you go down the page. When you move
the mouse to the left, you will hear these tones more out of the
left speaker, and when the mouse is moved to the right, the
tones will come out of the right speaker. This feature may help
people who rely more on sound to hear where they are moving the
mouse on the screen. This can be enabled under the mouse
settings menu in NVDA. You will need to check the checkbox that
says play audio cordinates when mouse moves.
Brightness controls audio coordinates volume
checkbox "brightness controls audio coordinates volume" is
checked, (along with "enable mouse tracking" and "play audio
coordinates when mouse moves") then the volume of the
audio coordinate beeps is controlled by how bright the screen
colour is under the mouse. For example, if your mouse moves over
black then the volume is low, and if it moves over a lighter
colour such as white, then the volume increases. This setting is
unchecked by default.
Exercise: Try changing the above features such as text unit
resolution, audio co-ordinates, brightness controls volume and
mouse tracking and see if you can hear the difference within the
To listen to an audio tutorial on using the physical mouse and
some of its features, please go to https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/64177841/using%20the%20physical%20mouse%20features.MP3
Exercise for routing the
virtual 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.