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Empowering lives through non-visual access to technology
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In-Process 3rd May 2019

Ven, 03/05/2019 - 15:40

It’s May already! Both the NV Access team and the community have been hard at work and busy lately, so let’s have a look at what’s making news:

Microsoft Outlook with NVDA

Hot off the press this morning is the Microsoft Outlook with NVDA training material. Available in eBook, the price is the same $30 AUD as the other modules. That (as at the 3rd May 2019) converts to $20 USD and less in Euros, so it’s very good value.

Cover image for Microsoft Outlook with NVDA eBook edition.

Microsoft Outlook with NVDA is the fourth module for learning to use the free NVDA screen reader. Suitable for new and existing users of Microsoft Outlook wishing to improve skills. For Microsoft Outlook 2010 through to the latest Office 365 with NVDA. This module assumes the user has finished Basic Training for NVDA, or has the same knowledge.

Topics covered include:

  • Getting started with Outlook
  • Using email
  • The calendar
  • Contacts
  • Organising
  • Tasks
  • Notes
  • Journal
  • Searching
  • Archiving
  • Exporting
  • RSS feeds
  • Other features
  • Outlook options

Available now from the NV Access shop.

NVDACon

Preparations for this year’s NVDACon are continuing. The organising committee would love your input to help make this year’s NVDACon better than ever. First things first, they’d like your help choosing the date(s). Please complete this short survey to give your input.

Feedback

It’s great to hear from users about their experience with NVDA. Here’s a message we got from Jordan in the UK: “I am a visually impaired musician from the UK. I recently got a new Lenovo laptop and I want to Thank you for making NVDA free. Because of this, I was able to make good use of my new device without worrying about paying for an expensive screen reader. I hope you continue to make this brilliant piece of software free because I really can’t live without it. My life has changed thanks to NVDA. I would definitely recommend it to friends, and I hope to see more new interesting features added to NVDA in the future.”

Thank you, Jordan! Rest assured we are continuing to improve NVDA and it will continue to be free for anyone to use! If you’d like to get in touch, whether to share your success with NVDA or request a new feature, we’d love to hear from you. You can email, tweet, message us on Facebook, or join in with the community in the NVDA Users email list.

Interview with an NVDA user

Another of our users has been in the news this week. Sadam Ahmed conducted an interview with Vision Australia Radio’s Peter Greco. You can hear the interview on “Vision Extra”.

Sadam’s interview came after a blog post he wrote titled: “Why I’ve moved away from a paid screen reader after almost 18 years, An essay.” The blog post is a fantastic read, and completely independent and unbiased. We are very pleased to hear about the successes of users and proud to play a small part in helping people reach their goals.

For those enjoying Cinco de Mayo, the UK bank holiday, St Florian’s Day (International Firefighter’s day), or anything else you might be celebrating, have fun! We’ll look forward to bringing you more NVDA news and information next time around!

In-Process 18th April

Gio, 18/04/2019 - 15:22

Last time I wrote, we were excited to announce the release of NVDA 2019.1. This time, we’ve stepped it up again!

NVDA 2019.1.1

NVDA 2019.1.1 is now available. This minor release addresses several bugs found in the original NVDA 2019.1 version. These fixes include:

  • NVDA no longer causes Excel 2007 to crash or refuses to report if a cell has a formula. (#9431)
  • Google Chrome no longer crashes when interacting with certain listboxes. (#9364)
  • An issue has been fixed which prevented copying a users configuration to the system configuration profile. (#9448)
Read the original release announcement.

Please visit the Download page to pickup the new version. NVDA 2019.1.1 came out a couple of days ago, so if you have NVDA set to check for updates, it should have found it by now. As with any update, once installed, please reboot your computer. Sometimes things misbehave immediately after updating NVDA, or other software. These are almost always rectified by restarting the computer.

The NVDA log

When reporting an error or a problem with NVDA, we often ask you to provide a copy of NVDA’s log. I thought I’d cover where to find the NVDA log, and what it contains.

The NVDA log is a record of actions performed by NVDA. Importantly, the log records any errors NVDA encounters along the way. This can be useful in determining what NVDA was doing, and why something didn’t work as expected.

In NVDA’s general settings dialog, there is an option for “Logging level”. Press NVDA+control+g to open the General settings, and then TAB or press alt+o to jump to logging level. This is a combo box that lets you choose how much NVDA will log as it’s running. Generally, users should not need to touch this as not too much is logged. However, if you wish to provide information in a bug report, or enable or disable logging altogether, then it may be a useful option.

The available logging levels are:

  • Disabled: Apart from a brief startup message, NVDA will not log anything while it runs.
  • Info: NVDA will log basic information such as startup messages and information useful for developers.
  • Debug warning: Warning messages that are not caused by severe errors will be logged.
  • Input/output: Input from keyboard and braille displays, as well as speech and braille output will be logged. If you are concerned about privacy, do not set logging level to this option.
  • Debug: In addition to info, warning, and input/output messages, additional debug messages will be logged. Just like input/output, if you are concerned about privacy, you should not set logging level to this option.

The log files are kept in the system’s %temp% (the word “temp” with a percent sign directly before and after) directory. To get to it:

  1. Press WINDOWS+R to open the Run dialog
  2. Type %temp% and press ENTER

The log file for the currently (or most recently) running version is called: nvda.log The log file for the previous time NVDA ran is called: nvda-old.log If NVDA itself has crashed, there will be a file called: nvda_crash.dmp

Mac version of NVDA

We often get asked about a Mac version of NVDA, or a version for smart phones. NVDA only works on Windows-based PCs. The iPhone / iPad, and Apple Mac computers are all locked down. This is to prevent malicious software accessing information. It also has the side-effect that a third-party screen-reader cannot work on them. If you have one of those devices, you are limited to using VoiceOver which comes built-in on Apple devices.

It would be possible to write a screen reader for Android. There are several third-party screen readers already available for that operating system. Screen readers often need to use operating system specific ways to get information. This makes them hard to “port” from one system to another. Because of this, we would need to rewrite NVDA almost entirely to work on a new operating system. This is also the reason there is no Linux version of NVDA.

The best use of our resources is to make NVDA for PC, the best it can be, and assist as many PC users with it as we can. We will of course, continue to watch advances in technology. Do keep sending us your questions! You can always email us. Good Friday and Easter Monday are public holidays in Australia. If you need an urgent answer, consider asking instead in the NVDA user group.

That’s all for this time. Have a wonderful Easter everyone!

NVDA 2019.1.1 Update Available for Download

Lun, 15/04/2019 - 11:56

NV access wishes to announce the availability of NVDA 2019.1.1. This minor release addresses several bugs found in the original NVDA 2019.1 version. These fixes include:

  • NVDA no longer causes Excel 2007 to crash or refuses to report if a cell has a formular. (#9431)
  • Google Chrome no longer crashes when interacting with certain listboxes. (#9364)
  • An issue has been fixed which prevented copying a users configuration to the system configuration profile. (#9448)

To download NVDA, please visit our Download page.

NVDA 2019.1.1rc1 available for testing

Lun, 08/04/2019 - 07:09

NV Access will soon be releasing NVDA 2019.1.1 which addresses several major issues found in 2019.1.

This point release fixes the following bugs:

  • NVDA no longer causes Excel 2007 to crash or refuses to report if a cell has a formular. (#9431)
  • Google Chrome no longer crashes when interacting with certain listboxes. (#9364)
  • An issue has been fixed which prevented copying a users configuration to the system configuration profile. (#9448)

Release Candidate 1 of NVDA 2019.1.1 is available for download and testing right now, and we welcome feedback over the next few days before we make the official 2019.1.1 release.

Specifically, we want to hear about our support for Microsoft Excel. NVDA 2019.1 made dramatic performance improvements, however it broke support for Excel 2007. We would specifically like to hear from those using Excel 2007 to find out if NVDA 2019.1.1rc1 is in deed again working with this version of Excel. Our own testing confirms this, but wider testing on various Windows versions is always very useful. Similarly, if you use newer versions of Excel including 2010, 2013 or 2016/365: Does the Excel support still function as it did in NVDA 2019.1? Please let us know straight away if you experience a difference between 2019.1 and this RC.

Please report any differences in Excel support in 2019.1.1rc1 compared to 2019.1 on PR #9456 on Github.

In-Process 29th March

Ven, 29/03/2019 - 10:39

I was going to beat around the bush and tease you for a few paragraphs, but I couldn’t wait – The big news this week is the release of NVDA 2019.1!

NVDA 2019.1

If you need to download it immediately and can’t bear my waffling any further, you can go right to the release announcement which also has the link to download.

Highlights of this release include performance improvements when accessing both Microsoft word and Excel, stability and security improvements such as support for add-ons with version compatibility information, and many other bug fixes.

Not only are there performance improvements in Excel, but you no longer need to disable “Allow editing directly in cells” in Excel’s advanced options.

We’ve also taken out the large chunk of silence between sentences when using the Windows OneCore Voices on Windows 10, so reading with OneCore should feel snappier too!

There are new braille tables for Afrikaans, Arabic 8 dot computer braille, Arabic grade 2 and Spanish grade 2.

We’ve added an option to NVDA’s mouse settings to make NVDA handle situations where the mouse is controlled by another application. This allows NVDA to track the mouse when a system is controlled remotely using TeamViewer or other software. It also allows NVDA to work with non-standard mice, for instance, computer joysticks. Also for mouse users, reporting of text under the mouse has been improved within Microsoft Edge and other UIA applications.

Several features requested by corporate users are the ability to disable logging entirely, and the ability to specify whether silent installations of NVDA set NVDA to start at Windows logon or not. These are both available in 2019.1.

In specific applications, there has been work done for LibreOffice / Open Office, Firefox and Chrome. The presence of formulae in LibreOffice and Apache OpenOffice spreadsheets is now reported. In Firefox and Chrome, browse mode now reports the selected item in list boxes and trees.

When moving by character in plain text controls (such as Notepad) or browse mode, 32 bit emoji characters consisting of two UTF-16 code points will now read properly.

Optimal program settings

NVDA has always tried to work with most programs “out of the box”. We’ve tried to avoid situations where you need to set particular options in a program for it to work. Having said that, there are times when it is unavoidable, or when a program works, but setting some options may improve the experience. For some months now, we have been aware of an issue where the only way to read information when editing text in cells in Excel was to have “allow editing directly in cells” disabled in Excel. In 2019.1 this has been fixed so you can have that setting enabled or disabled as you choose and it should work regardless. Another bug fix in 2019.1 is that responsiveness in Microsoft Word when navigating by line, paragraph or table cell may be significantly improved in some documents. In the “What’s new”, this bullet point is accompanied by “A reminder that for best performance, set Microsoft Word to Draft view with alt+w, e after opening a document.” While you can read and edit documents in Word in any view, using Draft view may improve performance, particularly on older or lower-spec machines.

Someone else wrote to me this week about a problem with reading emails in Outlook when the email preview was enabled. Email preview in Outlook is a visual feature which lets you see the text of the currently selected message without fully opening it. Although there was a bug in that particular case, turning off visual features like message preview, can improve performance if you aren’t using them.

Here are some tips I found for tweaking visual effects for better performance in Windows 10 from Windows Central.

And here’s how to adjust the same settings in Windows 7 from Gizmo’s Freeware.

Here’s another one from PC World.

And here are some tips from Microsoft for Speeding up Office by turning off animations.

That’s all for this week. Enjoy 2019.1, let us know how you’re going with it. If you’ve got any other tips or tricks you’d like to see here, please do let us know.

NVDA 2019.1 Now Available

Lun, 25/03/2019 - 22:44

NV Access is pleased to announce that version 2019.1 of NVDA, the free screen reader for Microsoft Windows, has now been released.

Highlights of this release include performance improvements when accessing both Microsoft word and Excel, stability and security improvements such as support for add-ons with version compatibility information, and many other bug fixes.

Although we recommend always reading the full list of changes (linked below), it is worth noting several important changes in regards to add-ons and other custom code:

NVDA will no longer automatically load custom appModules, globalPlugins and braille and synth drivers from the NVDA user configuration directory. This code should be instead packaged as an add-on with correct version information, ensuring that incompatible code is not run with current versions of NVDA. For developers who need to test code as it is being developed, enable NVDA’s developer scratchpad directory in the Advanced category of NVDA settings, and place your code in the ‘scratchpad’ directory found in the NVDA user configuration directory when this option is enabled.

Also, add-ons can now specify a minimum required NVDA version, and the last tested NVDA version, in their manifest. If this version of NVDA is outside of the specified range, NVDA will refuse to install or enable that particular add-on. This version of NVDA will however still allow installing and loading of add-ons that do not yet contain Minimum and Last Tested NVDA version information at all, but upgrading to future versions of NVDA (E.g. 2019.2) may automatically cause these older add-ons to be disabled.

Please consider helping NV Access to continue our important work by becoming a monthly donor when downloading NVDA.

To download NVDA, please visit our Download page.

To find out what’s new in this release, please read What’s new in NVDA 2019.1.

NVDA 2019.1RC1 Released

Mer, 20/03/2019 - 02:11

Release Candidate 1 of NVDA 2019.1 is now available for download and testing. For anyone who is interested in trying out what NVDA 2019.1 has to offer before it is officially released, we welcome you to download the RC and provide feedback. This is a release candidate, meaning that unless any critical bugs are found, this will be identical to the final 2019.1 release.

Changes from Beta1:

  • Updated translations

Highlights of this release include performance improvements when accessing both Microsoft word and Excel, stability and security improvements such as support for add-ons with version compatibility information, and many other bug fixes.

Although we recommend always reading the full list of changes (linked below), it is worth noting several important changes in regards to add-ons and other custom code:

NVDA will no longer automatically load custom appModules, globalPlugins and braille and synth drivers from the NVDA user configuration directory. This code should be instead packaged as an add-on with correct version information, ensuring that incompatible code is not run with current versions of NVDA. For developers who need to test code as it is being developed, enable NVDA’s developer scratchpad directory in the Advanced category of NVDA settings, and place your code in the ‘scratchpad’ directory found in the NVDA user configuration directory when this option is enabled.

Also, add-ons can now specify a minimum required NVDA version, and the last tested NVDA version, in their manifest. If this version of NVDA is outside of the specified range, NVDA will refuse to install or enable that particular add-on. This version of NVDA will however still allow installing and loading of add-ons that do not yet contain Minimum and Last Tested NVDA version information at all, but upgrading to future versions of NVDA (E.g. 2019.2) may automatically cause these older add-ons to be disabled.

In-Process 15th March 2019

Ven, 15/03/2019 - 21:15

Hello from sunny Anaheim! This week, the NV Access team travelled to Los Angeles, California for the 34th annual CSUN AT conference. Firstly then, a big welcome to everyone reading for the first time who attended our session on Wednesday. While this issue covers a lot of information and reiterates much that was covered in the session, there is a special treat to celebrate CSUN which everyone can enjoy. Read on for information about the conference, NVDA, what we’re up to AND a discount in the shop!

CSUN 2019

CSUN is one of the largest assistive technology conferences in the world. Sponsored by the University of California, Northridge, individuals and organisations from all over the world attend to share news and network. As well as having the opportunity to present a session to participants, the conference is a great opportunity for NV Access to meet face-to-face with organisations we partner with. This year, the theme of our CSUN presentation was “NVDA Updates, New Features and the 2019 Outlook”. Maybe not the wackiest title, but the session was well attended, with the room being a lock-out as we started. We had a full room and the questions which were asked at the end were insightful and relevant.

During the conference, we were fortunate to be able to share a meal with some of the NVDA contributors who make NVDA the amazing success it is. Thank you to all those who came. In this photo, from left to right are, Ethan, Jamie Teh, Dereck, Bram, Reef, Takuya, Quentin, Mick, James Boreham and Mr Masafumi.

NV Access contributors dinner at CSUN 2019

For our new readers, I wanted to cover some of the key points, and share the links we mentioned so they are all in one place.

NV Access

The staff of NV Access consists of Mick Curran (Executive Director and founder), James Boreham (General Manager), Reef Turner (Developer) and Quentin Christensen (Training & Support Manager). NV Access is a non-profit organization which is a registered charity in Australia. We have a board of directors and have existed since 2007.

NVDA

NVDA is free, open source, lightweight and runs on any Windows PC from Windows 7 through to the latest Windows 10 versions. The full list of all the new features coming up in NVDA 2019.1 can be found on the What’s New in NVDA 2019.1 page.

You can download the latest stable version (2018.4.1) of NVDA from our Download page.

And you can download the beta version of NVDA 2019.1.

Using the latest version

Recently we realized that quite a large percentage of NVDA users were not using the latest version. With free updates, we knew it wasn’t about the cost. Some users mentioned that they though the new features were only for users of Windows 10, or Office 365. Looking through the What’s new for NVDA 2019.1, there are 47 individual points (new features, changes or updates). Of these only 10% of new features apply ONLY to Windows 10 or Office 365 users. Overall, only 18% of the features, changes or updates apply only to Windows 10 or Office 365 users. So there really is something for everyone in each new version of NVDA.

Staying on the latest version not only ensures the best user experience, because each new version keeps up to date with changes not only in Windows and Microsoft Office, but adds fixes and support for new features in other programs such as Firefox, Chrome and LibreOffice. New versions of NVDA also regularly add new language translations, new braille tables and other new features.

If you do have a specific reason for needing to use an older version of NVDA, please do let us know.

Introducing James Boreham

We introduced you to James in the last In-Process, and everyone at CSUN has been very excited to meet him. Not only will James be a vital main contact for many of our partners and other organisations, but having James on board lifts a number of responsibilities from Mick, freeing him to do more development on your favourite screen reader.

Updates to training material and certification

Since the first release of “Basic Training for NVDA” in 2016, the training modules have undergone various updates. As well as introducing new modules for Word, Excel, and shortly Outlook, the material has been updated to reflect updates in NVDA, as well as Windows and Office. The material is still designed to teach the skills needed for proficiency on Windows 7 through 10, as well as Microsoft office 2010 through to 2019 and Office 365. Checkout the NV Access shop for more information on the training material. But do keep reading for information on a special discount!

Along with the training material, the NVDA Expert Certification has undergone an update at the start of this year and we are pleased to offer the “NVDA Certified Expert 2019” certification, either for new aspiring NVDA Certified Experts, or as a renewal for those with the older version. The cost for new participants is still only $100 AUD, which converts to roughly $70 USD. For those renewing, there is a 50% discount. You can find more information and sit the exam at https://certification.nvaccess.org/ Remember, read on for your discount which also applies to the certification!

The exam itself is free to sit. You only need to pay if you pass the exam and are interested in being listed as an NVDA Certified Expert on that page, and receive a uniquely numbered certificate. Listing as an NVDA Certified Expert is a great way to promote your own services to the NVDA community. It is also a great way to demonstrate your expertise to colleagues, customers, employers, and the wider community.

Microsoft Outlook with NVDA

Due for release very shortly, we were pleased to share information about the upcoming Microsoft Outlook with NVDA training module with people at CSUN this week. Microsoft Outlook with NVDA builds on the foundations established in the Basic Training with NVDA module. It is consistent with Microsoft Word for NVDA and Microsoft Excel for NVDA and includes all the features you expect. Each topic covers one feature or aspect of Outlook, and is complemented by a regular activity using the keystrokes and feature introduced. Each topic also includes a “Bonus Activity”. First introduced with the Excel module and later added to the Word and now Outlook modules, Bonus Activities are a way of testing your knowledge of the topic prior to reaching the review activity at the end of the section. Where regular activity explicitly instruct each key to press, bonus and review activities simply ask you to use a feature or complete a task, letting you test your own knowledge prior to moving on.

As expected, the Microsoft outlook with NVDA module covers all the features of Outlook, from basic and advanced use of email, through the calendar using folders, creating rules and searching, tasks, notes, journal, archiving and using Outlook settings. It is due for release very shortly. Stay tuned for the next In-Process or follow us on Twitter or Facebook to be informed as soon as it is available.

Updates and Add-ons

Reef presented on some of the new updates to NVDA, in particular, that add-ons can now specify a minimum supported version which NVDA will check for before allowing them to be installed. We don’t make this change lightly, knowing that it will break some older and now unsupported add-ons. The main reason for the change is to allow add-on manufacturers to ensure compatibility of their add-ons with new versions of NVDA. This aims to prevent sudden and serious crashes, instability or other problems which have occurred with some add-ons in the past. If you’ve ever written to info@nvaccess.org or the User Email List in the past and asked for help with a problem you are having, one of the first replies you may have received, was a request to restart NVDA with add-ons disabled, to check whether the problem persists. Having minimum version information for add-ons will create a more stable experience for everyone.

Google Summer of Code

NV Access is very excited to announce that we have been accepted as a Google Summer of Code project this year. Google Summer of Code is an exciting initiative which enables students to work on an open source project and get paid for it. This provides experience and exposure for budding developers, as well as helping us solve issues which are important to the community.

Find out more about Google Summer of Code in general, and read our page on the Google Summer of Code site. Interested participants will need to start thinking quickly. The student application period runs from March 25th through to April 9th.

Corporate and Government users

Many of the people we have met this week at CSUN are involved in deploying NVDA for corporate and government use. The NV Access website has a Corporate and Government page with much of the information commonly requested by these users. Information includes our WCAG compliance, our VPAT statement, license agreement, corporate support and the information we collect (very little, and you can disable that if you choose).

NV Access is also involved and open to, participating in government initiatives. One big project recently has been the rollout of the National Disability Insurance Scheme in Australia. Participants in that scheme are able to access the full range of products in the NV Access shop and have them paid for under that scheme.

Join the community

NV Access and NVDA have a very large and supportive community. We’d love you to come join in, and there are numerous ways you can do that.

There is a very active email discussion list where users ask questions, get help, share tips and tricks and where information and updates from NV Access and other community members are shared. You can join the email list at https://nvda.groups.io/g/nvda

NVDACon is a yearly online conference of NVDA users, supporters and developers. It’s very exciting, particularly because it is something organized for users, by users. Find out more on the NVDACon website: https://www.nvdacon.org/

Specifically for developers, NVDA has a developer email list, and our Github page.

For translators and potential translators, you can find out more about what is involved and how to participate from our translating page. Specifically, anyone interested in translating is asked to read through the information on that page and join the translators mailing list to advise their intentions, in order to get access to the translation system.

NV Access CSUN shop discount

And now, the part you’ve all been waiting for! To celebrate the great week of networking, information sharing and collaboration which is CSUN, we are very pleased to offer everyone a special discount. Receive 10% discount on all of our electronic items in the NV Access Shop. This includes ebook and audio training material, as well as NVDA Expert Certification. Hurry though, it’s for a very limited time only, until the end of March. Enter the code CSUNATC2019 at checkout to claim your discount.

Contacting NV Access

Finally, if you would like to keep up with NV Access or contact us, we’d love to hear from you. You can email us at info@nvaccess.org. You can follow us on Twitter or Facebook, and subscribe to the In-Process blog using your RSS reader or browser.

It’s been a bumper issue, but we hope you find it beneficial and useful. Don’t forget to head to the NV Access Shop and take advantage of our CSUN promotional code, for a very limited time.

NVDA 2019.1beta1 available for testing

Lun, 04/03/2019 - 02:10

Beta1 of NVDA 2019.1 is now available for download and testing. For anyone who is interested in trying out what NVDA 2019.1 has to offer before it is officially released, we welcome you to download the beta and provide feedback.

Highlights of this release include performance improvements when accessing both Microsoft word and Excel, stability and security improvements such as support for add-ons with version compatibility information, and many other bug fixes.

Although we recommend always reading the full list of changes (linked below), it is worth noting several important changes in regards to add-ons and other custom code:

NVDA will no longer automatically load custom appModules, globalPlugins and braille and synth drivers from the NVDA user configuration directory. This code should be instead packaged as an add-on with correct version information, ensuring that incompatible code is not run with current versions of NVDA. For developers who need to test code as it is being developed, enable NVDA’s developer scratchpad directory in the Advanced category of NVDA settings, and place your code in the ‘scratchpad’ directory found in the NVDA user configuration directory when this option is enabled.

Also, add-ons can now specify a minimum required NVDA version, and the last tested NVDA version, in their manifest. If this version of NVDA is outside of the specified range, NVDA will refuse to install or enable that particular add-on. This version of NVDA will however still allow installing and loading of add-ons that do not yet contain Minimum and Last Tested NVDA version information at all, but upgrading to future versions of NVDA (E.g. 2019.2) may automatically cause these older add-ons to be disabled.

In-Process 1st March 2019

Ven, 01/03/2019 - 07:18

Welcome to March!

You’ve likely noticed the increased amount of community feedback we’re asking for lately, particularly on Twitter and in the NVDA user email group. We’re keen to keep improving NVDA as a product not only that WE think is good, but one that YOU, the users, think is great. One thing which has come through loud and clear from you has been the need for improved responsiveness from NVDA, particularly in Microsoft Office. In acknowledgement of that feedback, we’ve put a lot of effort into responsiveness for NVDA 2019.1. While we’ve still got more work to go, we think you’ll be pleased with the results so far. This is one of the reasons that NVDA 2019.1 has been delayed slightly from previous years. We apologise for that, but as you know, we’d rather release a quality product a little later than usual, than an unfinished one early. If you would like to try out the new features now, you can download the latest alpha build from our snapshots page.

NVDA 2019.1 The first beta of NVDA 2019.1 will be out in a few days. Do follow us on Twitter, Facebook, or join the NVDA user email group to be informed as soon as it’s out!

Google Summer of Code NV Access are very pleased to be able to announce that we have been accepted as a mentor organisation for Google Summer of Code 2019! Google Summer of Code is a global program focused on bringing more student developers into open source software development. Students work with an open source organization on a 3-month programming project during their break from school. See https://summerofcode.withgoogle.com/ for more details. To see our entry for the Google Summer of Code, go to https://summerofcode.withgoogle.com/organizations/5317267756154880/. This is a great opportunity for students to get to work with open source projects like NVDA. For us, it’s a fantastic chance to share our knowledge with young people moving towards the workforce, to build awareness and passion for accessibility in a new generation of software engineers and work together to improve NVDA for everyone.

New General Manager

NV Access are pleased to announce that James Boreham has commenced as General Manager for NV Access. James comes to us with significant experience across the non-profit, social enterprise and commercial sectors. His responsibilities include management of Organisational operations and finances, plus looking for opportunities to ensure the sustainability of NV Access.

James says: “I look forward to working with the NV Access Team, our supporters and partners to drive our continued success and growth, and to maximise our impact and outcomes around the world.”

In the time James has been with us, he has already had a very positive impact, freeing Mick to devote more time to developing and improving NVDA. James has already met a number of stakeholders and partners of NV Access and looks forward to meeting more in the coming weeks and months.

CSUN 2019 The NV Access team is busy preparing to travel to Anaheim, California, for CSUN 2019, one of the largest assistive technology conferences. We will be presenting a session on Wednesday, March 13th at 9am in Grand Ballroom G&H. If you are going to CSUN we’d love to see you at the session. If you’d like to meet James, or catch up with any of the team while we are at CSUN, please do email us. If you haven’t yet registered, there is no on-site registration this year. You need to register online by March 5. Please see the CSUN registration details for details about CSUN registration.

Navigating through text Last time, we looked at some keystrokes for finding out where you are in various programs. This time, let’s have a look at some of the common navigation keys to move the focus:

Pressing the LEFT or RIGHT ARROWS move backwards or forwards through text by one letter, but did you also know you can press CONTROL+LEFT ARROW or CONTROL+RIGHT ARROW to move by one word?

Where UP and DOWN ARROWS move by one line, in many places, CONTROL+UP ARROW and CONTROL+DOWN ARROW move by one paragraph.

You can press HOME or END to move to the start or end of the current line, and you can press CONTROL+HOME or CONTROL+END to move to the start or end of an entire document.

In many places, such as Microsoft Word, PAGE UP and PAGE DOWN don’t actually move the focus by one page, but rather by one screen worth of information. This can be very useful but be aware that the amount of information which fits on a screen will vary between programs, between computers, and will change if the zoom level changes. In Word at least, CONTROL+PAGE UP and CONTROL+PAGE DOWN move by one actual page, however, to make it a bit more confusing, if you have done a search or used Word’s Go-To feature, those keys will now move to the previous or next instance of whatever you last searched for.

If you would like to select text, hold down SHIFT while pressing any of those keys. SHIFT+CONTROL+RIGHT ARROW selects the word (or part word) to the right of the caret. Press CONTROL+HOME, then SHIFT+CONTROL+DOWN ARROW to move to the top of the document, then select the first paragraph. To select all the document at once, press CONTROL+A.

And as a bonus tip – none of those are NVDA specific commands, so anyone at all can use them.

Next time around, we’ll have a special In-Process edition “Live” from CSUN 2019. As a bonus, I’ll include a photo of the first person who comes up to us and asks!

If this bumper edition hasn’t been enough reading for you, you might consider reading some Sherlock Holmes, to celebrate the publication, on this day in 1890, of the first US edition of Sherlock Holmes (Study in Scarlet).

In-Process 8th February 2019

Ven, 08/02/2019 - 01:42

Welcome to February!

Recently, we passed a milestone I’d been looking forward to. We sent out our 100th NVDA Expert Certificate! The recipient of that certificate, Sylvie Duchateau, has been a longtime NVDA user and supporter of the community. I asked her if she would mind sharing a few thoughts with everyone on In-Process. Here is what she had to say:

I started using NVDA in 2012, because I was curious about this new free screen reader. At the beginning, I used it from time to time, and I was mainly relying on a well-known commercial screen reader. Then, I got used to NVDA and worked with it more frequently, since my computer was crashing every time I used the commercial screen reader.

Two years later, NVDA was so efficient that I no longer needed to use my old screen reader anymore. NVDA became my daily tool, at work but also at home. NVDA is very important to me now, because it is stable and quick, it does not require much space on the computer, and it helps me doing everything I need with a computer.

Today, as I work for Access42, a consulting company specialised in digital and web accessibility, I use NVDA to do my daily computer work, but also to show people how a screen reader works and how to evaluate the accessibility of websites and documents.

I took the certification exam to check if I had fully understood NVDA’s functionalities, and because I think it is important to show how one is comfortable with the program. Moreover, answering the certification questions in a limited time was a challenge I wanted to achieve.

As a member of the NVDA community, I am committed to helping people using NVDA in answering their questions on the English-speaking mailing list and the French-speaking mailing list. I test the functionalities of new coming versions, and I often contribute to the blog of our company Access42 in order to highlight which enhancements have an impact on web browsing and web accessibility.

I also show blind people how to use NVDA for their daily life and I help my colleagues to choose the right settings for the most efficient evaluation.

NVDA has become one of the tools Access42 uses to explain their students what web accessibility is. It is also an evaluation tool that helps us determine if a web component, such as a slider, an autocomplete or a progress bar is accessible and corresponds to what the specification expects.

Thank you, Sylvie, for being a champion of accessibility, and an ambassador of NVDA! If you too would like to do the NVDA Certification, you can find the exam on our NVDA Expert Certification page If you’d like to hone your skills a bit more first, the “Basic Training for NVDA” module is the ideal learning companion. You can get Basic Training for NVDA in Braille, Audio and electronic text.

Someone asked recently about getting location information in Word. I thought it was a good opportunity to share some general information here on finding out where you are with NVDA.

Everyone hopefully knows that you can press NVDA+T to read the title bar of the current window. You can press NVDA+UP ARROW (or in laptop keyboard layout, NVDA+L) to read the current line or item. You can also press NVDA+DOWN ARROW (or NVDA+A for laptop layout) to read from the current point onward.

To report the current item which has focus, press NVDA+TAB. This will give different information depending on where the focus currently is. On the desktop, it will read the selected icon and report what number of how many total icons it is. On a cell in Excel, it will read the cell contents and location, and on a line of text in Word, it will simply advise the program name and that you are in a multi-line edit.

If you press NVDA+numpad delete (or NVDA+delete in laptop layout), NVDA will report the location of the review cursor. In Word, this reports distance from the left and top edges of the page in whatever measurement unit you have Word set to report in (note this also includes the page margin). In Excel, this will report the sheet name and cell coordinates. In many other programs, it will read the distance from the edges of the screen.

Reading the status bar (NVDA+end for desktop layout or NVDA+shift+end for laptop layout) in some programs gives location information. In Word, for instance, it should tell you the section and page. You can also set the status bar in Word to tell you the line and column information. To do that, press F6 to move the focus to the status bar, then press the applications key to open the context menu. Arrow through the options and press space to check or uncheck any items you want (line and column are both in there).

Thanks to a conversation on the NVDA User’s Email List for prompting that, and I hope you found it useful.

That’s all for this week. I hope the weather isn’t too extreme where you are, whether you have snow, floods, fire or anything else! Take care, and I’ll have more soon.