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.

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


NVDA tutorials

NVDA screen
reader





How to install additional
NVDA components

















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.

Announcement email list

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.


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 exit NVDA.

If the disable NVDA addons option is chosen, all add ons in NVDA will be disabled. To re-enable all of your add ons again, simply restart NVDA.

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.

Browsing the internet

NVDA supports Internet Explorer and Sea Monkey, although Mozilla Firefox is recommended.   There may be other browsers as well. Please visit the following link to my nvda road tested programmes webpage to discover a variety of browsers that may work with NVDA. http://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 updates feature

NVDA has an automatically check for updates to NVDA feature. It will check for a new update every day unless this feature is turned off. When there is a new update of NVDA, it will alert you that a new release is available. It will ask you if you want to download it, so that you can upgrade to the latest version of NVDA at that time. When this happens with the installer version, NVDA will download the updates and install over itself to update you to the latest version of NVDA. Just follow the directions on screen to enable the upgrade to the latest version. If the portable version of NVDA alerts you about a new release, it will download a whole new copy of NVDA.   (For example 2014.2 and so on). The file will have to be located and clicked on, and the directions followed again (to make a portable copy of whatever media it was on - for example USB stick, hard drive or CD). You can install over the current version of your portable version, but this may cause problems down the track, so doing a new one every time is recommended.

There are 4 updates to the NVDA screen reader every year, so you know problems when found will get fixed rather quickly.

The automatically check for updates feature can be disabled. When this is done, it will not alert you of any updates to the NVDA screen reader. This may be in the case of a library network that may only upgrade their image (or software) once a year to the latest software at that time.

When this feature is disabled, there is no way of knowing accurately how many people are using NVDA on any given day. (These user statistiscs would also be affected by those running a computer without internet access). For the average home user it is a good idea to leave it on. These figures may assist when the project is looking for funding, and funders in turn may be looking at how many people could potentially benefit from such a 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 NVDA

If you would like to know what has been done in each release of NVDA, then you will need to check out this section. It can be located under the help section. Look for the what's new menu and press the Enter key. When the browser opens, it will give you a whole list of things (for example amendments, new features, bug fixes, changes and so on). This is done for each version of NVDA, so be sure to check out this section each time to see what has been changed or is new in the latest release!

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 toolbar quickly

To quickly jump to the navigation toolbar in your browser (where you can type a web address, or do a search for something on the internet), you can use the Ctrl key and the letter L. 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 impaired users.

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 search engine).

How to bookmark a website or webpage

When you are surfing the internet there may be websites of interest that you might want to bookmark and read at a later date. In most cases this will usually be a webpage off the site you are looking at. The process is the same for both.

Adding a website or webpage to your favourites in Internet Explorer
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 http://www.stuff.co.nz ).

Next, tab down to the apply button then press the Enter key to apply the settings. Tab again until you hear it say ok button, then press the Enter key. You will need to close the browser and reopen it again (or press the F5 key to refresh your browsers current page). Once reopened, the new homepage should be set to your selected webpage.

In Mozilla Firefox
To add a new home page to Mozilla Firefox, press the Alt key until you hear file menu. When it comes up, arrow right to the Tools menu, then down to the options menu, then press the Enter key. The next screen that comes up will give you various options. NVDA should default to the General tab. If this is so, tab until you hear when Fire Fox starts combo box home page. Make sure this is set to home page in this combo box. Tab again, then enter in your new homepage  (for example http://www.stuff.co.nz ). Next, tab down to the ok button and then press the Enter key. You will have to close the browser then reopen it for the new homepage to take affect. Pressing the F5 key to refresh the page will also do the same thing.

Single letter navigation

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.

Saving a file from off the Internet

When you become more familiar with the internet, it is possible that at some stage (sooner or later), you will want to download a file from off the internet. This could be a picture or music file, an application file and so on. The easiest way, is to tell the browser where you want to save the file on your computer. This way, you don't lose the file if this is your first 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 link

The first is - there may be a download link, and when you press the Enter key on that link, a little dialogue type box will come up.  This will give you the option to either: open the file or save it. Either arrow down, or tab to the save button and press the Enter key. If a place is not specified in the browser, it will download it to the downloads folder (depending on your operating system) on your computer. You will need to become familiar with where your download folder is in case you close the browser, or you wish to install the download later on.

Save a file by routing the mouse to the download link

The next way, if pressing Enter on some websites (as above) doesn't work, is to route the mouse to the downloads link of that file. Locate the link which points to the file, then press the Insert key + the divide key (which is found on the numeric keypad) to route the mouse to that link. Once this has been done, you will then need to right click the mouse. This is simulated by NVDA. You will need to use the multiply key (on the numeric keypad) again for this. A context menu will come up, then it is a matter of arrowing down the menu until you hear one called "save link as". Press the Enter key to save the file. Again, if not specified it will go to the downloads section.

Save a file by using the context menu

The last way is to use the context menu on the keyboard. This is usually found on the right side of the qwerty keyboard (between the Alt key and the Ctrl key).  Not all keyboards will have this context key. Once NVDA has been focused on the download link, if the context menu key is used, it will come up with the same option to save your link as mentioned in the 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 Internet Explorer.

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 contact us

When you are on a webpage (such as http://www.nvaccess.org/ or any other website, press the Insert and F7 keys and it should bring up the elements list.  The elements list will default to the links list.  There might be a whole heap of links there.  If you would like to find the Contact us section quickly, type in the first couple of letters to find it.  It will narrow down the list very quickly until it finds the contact us link. You may have to arrow up or down just to check.  Once it has found it, press the enter key to go straight to that area.  Try this a couple of times on different links you may want to find (for example downloads). Repeat the process a few times until you are happy with your 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.

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.

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.

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.

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).

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.

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.

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)
NVDA+F9

Copy to review cursor. (Finishes copying from the position of the review cursor, to the review cursor's current position. After pressing this key, the text will be copied to the Windows clipboard. and using Ctrl + V after this command, will paste the information to where you have the cursor positioned. (For example, copying so you can paste in a word processing document).
NVDA+F10

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


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

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.

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
NVDA+numpad8
Moves to the object containing the current navigator object

Move to previous object
NVDA+numpad 4
Moves to the object before the current navigator object

Move to next object
NVDA+numpad 6
Moves to the object after the current navigator object

Move to first contained object
NVDA+numpad 2
Moves to the first object contained by the current navigator 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://community.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.

Using the physical mouse features

Most screen reader users don't use a mouse. They usually rely on other ways of getting to certain areas of a programme (for example object navigation or the new review modes in NVDA).

Being able to move a physical mouse around the screen, will let you get to parts of the screen a lot easier, rather than using other ways of getting to the same place. For example clicking on the close window with a mouse (compared to using object navigation).

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
If the checkbox "brightness controls audio coordinates volume" is checked, (along with "enable mouse tracking" and "play audio coordinates when  mouse moves") then the volume of the audio coordinate beeps is controlled by how bright the screen colour is under the mouse. For example, if your mouse moves over black then the volume is low, and if it moves over a lighter colour such as white, then the volume increases. This setting is unchecked by default.

Exercise: Try changing the above features such as text unit resolution, audio co-ordinates, brightness controls volume and mouse tracking and see if you can hear the difference within the same document.

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 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.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.

To add an input gesture

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 following.

Locate a section (for example Miscellaneous). Use your arrow keys to go up and down the list and the left and right arrow keys to open and close a branch. Locate the branch where it says quit NVDA. Open the branch with the right arrow key, then arrow down to NVDA Q keyboard all layouts. To add a shortcut key, press the Tab key (it should land on the add button). Press the Enter key. As an example you could put the Insert key and the letter X as the keys you want to use. 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 gesture

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 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.









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