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Empowering lives through non-visual access to technology
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In-Process 30th April 2021

Ven, 30/04/2021 - 07:21

Work is steadily progressing towards NVDA 2021.1. In the meantime, this week we’ve got an interview with Blind Tech Guys and some more customisation tips for you:

Blind Tech Guys

This week, Mick and Quentin sat down with the crew from Blind Tech Guys to talk all things NVDA, NV Access and even AI. If you missed it on Monday, there’s plenty of ways to catch up:

If you’re not familiar with the Blind Tech Guys yet, they’re well worth checking out. The group comprise some big names in the blindness community. Nimer Jaber, Marco Curralejo and Kirt Manwaring are very well known and respected. Their podcast is well worth keeping up on. Find out more at:

Intopia Assitive Technology Survey

Around the world there are big and small surveys of the technologies used by people who are blind or have low vision. The largest of these is conducted by WebAIM in the US, for example.

There is usually very low representation from Australia and New Zealand. The Intopia Australian and New Zealand Assistive Technology Survey is specifically aimed at those users. The survey is open until the 5th of May, 2021.

Microsoft Ability Summit

One last reminder also this week for the Microsoft Ability Summit. It’s on next week 4th – 5th May, and you can find all the details on the Microsoft Ability Summit page.

NVDA User Guide

We’re very proud of our training material, and I do like to tell people about it when the opportunity arises. It’s definitely not the only resource available though. NVDA also comes with a User Guide and a Quick Reference Guide, both of which are included with NVDA itself. These are available in all languages NVDA is available in. You can access them by:

  1. Press NVDA+n (Remember, your NVDA key is either INSERT or CAPS LOCK)
  2. Press H for help
  3. Make a selection from the menu
  4. We mentioned the User Guide and Commands Quick Reference in the Help menu. The menu contains a number of other items including what is new in the latest release, and the ability to check for updates.

    The English version of the User Guide is also available online.

    The User Guide is a good reference for those who are familiar with NVDA, wanting to check a keystroke. The user guide presents the information in a logical order. However, it is not designed to teach the screenreader from scratch. The Basic Training for NVDA training material is more in-depth. It covers not only NVDA commands, but also using the PC with NVDA. As well as getting around Windows, it includes instructions on editing text, browsing the web, and working with multiple programs. Complex NVDA features such as using the Review Cursor, Object Navigation and Configuration Profiles are covered. Additional modules cover in-depth how to to use all the features of Microsoft Word, Excel, Outlook and PowerPoint. Each topic includes an explanation which assumes no knowledge beyond that already covered. There are accompanying activities which walk step by step through each keystroke. There are also review activities which provide less instruction. These are a great way to test your skills, prompting review if needed. The training material isn’t free, but it is very affordably priced. Feedback we receive is that many users have found it an invaluable tool in learning NVDA. The modules available include:

    The training material modules can be purchased individually. You can purchase all five modules, along with Telephone Support, in the NVDA Productivity Bundle.

    Symbol Pronunciation

    Last time, we looked at NVDA’s Speech Dictionaries, this week, let’s get a bit more granular in customising NVDA’s speech. Where the speech dictionary allows you to define how specific words or phrases are read, symbol pronunciation works for individual symbols. NVDA calls the symbol at the end of a sentence “dot”. Some people prefer “full stop” or “period”. Whichever you prefer, let’s have a look at using Symbol Pronunciation to change it.

    The “Punctuation / Symbol Pronunciation” setting is in the Preferences menu. First of all, you will want to you know your NVDA modifier key. It is used for most NVDA functions and is either INSERT or CAPS LOCK.

    To open the Punctuation / Symbol Pronunciation dialog:

    1. Press NVDA+n to open the NVDA menu
    2. Press P for Preferences
    3. Press P for “Punctuation/Symbol Pronunciation”

    NVDA Symbol Pronunciation dialog

    The dialog opens and the focus starts in the symbols list. In the symbols list, you can use navigation keys (such as arrows) or press the symbol to change (if it can be typed). The first symbol happens to be the sentence-ending “dot”. Press it again and it will move to the “dot” which is used when it is not the end of a sentence. Some symbols appear several times in this list, especially those which can be used at the end of a sentence.

    Alternatively, you can press SHIFT+TAB to move to the “Filter by” edit box. Here you can type either a symbol or text from the replacement text. So, “Dot” would also find the same symbol as typing the symbol “.” In this case.

    Once the symbol to be edited is found, press TAB to move to the “Replacement” text edit. Next, type the text to be read instead. In the case of the dot, you might type “Full stop” or “Period”. For the dot when not ending a sentence, “point” might be preferred.

    Level is the symbol level at which the selected symbol is read while navigating by word or longer, or using Say All. Symbols are always reported when using left or right arrow.

    “Send actual symbol to synthesizer” determines whether the symbol or only the replacement text is processed. This can make a difference especially with symbols like the dot at the end of a sentence, as most synthesizers will also take a sentence-ending dot as a cue to pause momentarily. If the sentence ending dot is not sent to the synthesizer, NVDA may not pause between sentences.

    The Symbol pronunciation dialog includes many symbols, characters and emojis. Have you changed any? Let us know! Last time, when covering the speech dictionary, Derek let us know that he once changed “OK” to “Cancel” and vice-versa. He then forgot and wondered why things weren’t working as they should. Please, don’t try that at home!

    That’s all for this first third of the year! We’ll be back in May with more news, tips and tricks. Until then, keep chatting in the NVDA and Chat groups.

In-Process 16th April 2021

Ven, 16/04/2021 - 08:03

This week, we’ve got a couple of events from others to share, and a couple of tips and tricks for you to use:

Intopia Australia and New Zealand AT survey

Intopia have launched a survey for Australian and New Zealand assistive technology users. You can read their full Intopia Australia and New Zealand AT Survey blog post.

Microsoft Screenreader survey

Microsoft are also running a survey. As linked on the Microsoft Accessibility Twitter account, they are running a short survey for screen reader users.

Microsoft Ability Summit 2021

Still with Microsoft, the Microsoft Ability Summit is getting closer. The summit is “a two-day, free digital event experience that brings together people with disabilities, allies, and accessibility professionals to Imagine, Build, Include, and Empower the future of disability inclusion and accessibility.” It is online, on the mornings (Pacific time) of the 5th and 6th of May. Find out all the details and register on the Microsoft Ability Summit page.

NVDA’s Speech Dictionaries

NVDA is careful not to make assumptions about text. It can be difficult to determine whether “Dr.” should be “doctor” or “drive”, or whether “St.” should be “Saint” or “Street”. Some synthesizers and voices do make assumptions, and these are not always correct. If you have encountered one which is frustrating you, there are several things you can do.

The first suggestion is to write to the manufacturer of the synthesizer. It is important to let them know about the issue, as they may not be aware of your use case.

Next, you can also work around it with NVDA’s speech dictionary. NVDA has three speech dictionaries:

  • “Default” is the usual one, used across the board
  • “Voice” is only used for the current voice
  • “Temporary” is only used until NVDA is restarted

To get into the dictionary, you will need to know your NVDA key. It is either INSERT, or CAPS LOCK.

Recently, a user found an issue where the Microsoft David OneCore voice reads the text “Re1” as “One Rupee”. This is correct when talking about the Indian currency. This phrase is also used in Chess where the automatic conversion is less desirable.

To edit the dictionary:

  1. Press NVDA+n to open the NVDA menu
  2. Press P for Preferences
  3. Press D for dictionaries
  4. Press ENTER to edit the default dictionary
  5. Press ALT+A to add a rule
  6. Type the “Pattern”, that is, the text to match, in this case “Re1” (without quotes)
  7. Press TAB to move to “Replacement”
  8. Type text to be read instead of the pattern. “R E 1” with a space between each character should read as “Are Ee One”
  9. Press ENTER to close or tab to other options

Other options on this screen are:

  • “Comment”, A line to explain the reasoning for the rule
  • “Case sensitive”, if the pattern is “Re1”, then the rule ignores “RE1” (all uppercase) or “re1” (all lowercase)
  • “Type” is set to anywhere by default. “Whole word” would only match whole words. Left set to anywhere, “re1” would also match “care1”, for instance. “Regular expression” is a way of matching more complex patterns. If you entered the pattern Re[0-9] and set “Type” to regular expression for instance, it would match “Re1”, “Re5”, “Re8″, etc.”

Speech dictionary entry replacing “meeting” with “nap”

There are ad blockers which replace advertising on the web with other images. I saw a browser add-in which changed any mention of a particular former president with other phrases. What can you do with your Speech Dictionary? What’s your most amusing entry? In the screenshot, I replaced “meeting” with “nap”. I thought it was going well until I was due to catch up with the boss… Join in the conversation in the NVDA Chat group and let us know what you come up with!

NVDA’s find function and YouTube

Using NVDA’s find function is very useful in a range of situations. In NVDA 2020.4, the ability was added to start a “find previous” search with NVDA+shift+f3. A regular (forward) NVDA find is initiated with NVDA+control+f. NVDA’s find can be used in many programs in Browse mode. It is useful in browsers where the native find function may not be accessible.

One instance encountered recently where NVDA’s find is useful was in YouTube. A user asked how to find the comments section in YouTube. YouTube displays the comments under the recommended videos. It starts the comments section with the spot for you to “add a public comment”. Although this acts like an edit field, it’s done in such a way that it isn’t actually a traditional edit field. This means you can’t find it by pressing “e” to move to the next edit field or even “f” to jump to the next form field. These browse mode quick navigation keys are otherwise useful to move around websites. There are still several ways to get to the comments.

One way I’ve found to get to it is:

  1. Press NVDA+control+f to open NVDA’s find function
  2. Type the word comments
  3. Press ENTER to move to the first instance of the word
  4. Press TAB twice to move past “Sort by” and onto the edit field

I have found that sometimes everything hasn’t loaded and it can’t find comments. In this case, press escape to close the error dialog. Next, press CONTROL+END to jump to the bottom of the page, then up arrow. This usually moves to the comments. YouTube seems to load the video and then related / suggested videos first. After that it starts to load the comments, and this can take quite some time. Some users on the NVDA email group reported it taking up to 15 seconds before the comments had loaded. It can depend on your internet speed, how busy YouTube is, and possibly also how many comments there are.

Another method suggested in the user group was to first press CONTROL+END to jump to the very bottom of the page. Next, press SHIFT+2 to jump to the previous heading at level 2.

Would you like more useful keystrokes for YouTube? Well Google (owners of YouTube) have you covered. They have a page of handy YouTube shortcut keys.

That’s all for this week. Ramadan Mubarak to all our Muslim friends, and we’ll be back with more later in April.

In-Process 1st April 2021

Gio, 01/04/2021 - 07:20

Can you believe we’re a third of the way through 2021 already? That’s no April Fool’s day prank, so with the year moving so fast, we better get into this week’s In-Process:

Preparations for NVDA 2021.1

NVDA 2020.4 came out well over a month ago. If you haven’t already got your copy, head over to the Download page and grab it. We’ve covered many of the new and updated features in earlier editions of In-Process. To read more about what’s new, the NVDA 2020.4 Release Announcement has you covered. So, attention now turns to the next version, NVDA 2021.1.

NV Access make regular development snapshot “alpha” builds of NVDA available. While anyone can download these, we don’t recommend them for most users. They are particularly useful for those developing or who like testing. Uncovering bugs in alpha builds also helps us resolve them before we get to beta, RC or stable builds. One of the upcoming changes in NVDA 2021.1 is an update to Python 3.8. This is an important step forward, but will mean updating add-ons. We are still putting the final touches to these changes. We wanted to give you a heads up that this change is coming. You may encounter issues using add-ons with alpha builds for a little while. We will notify add-on authors via the official add-on mailing list once the first beta comes out. When that first beta comes out is when we would like all add-on authors to update their add-ons for 2021.1.

WebAIM survey of Web Accessibility Practitioners

Recently, WebAIM conducted a survey of Web Accessibility Practitioners. Like the survey for screenreader users, this survey had some interesting results. According to the WebAIM survey, NVDA is now the most popular screenreader used for testing. In their last screenreader user survey in 2019, WebAIM reported that NVDA is also the most popular among end users.

Shift or control?

When learning to use a screenreader, one of the first commands people want to know, is how to stop it speaking. Sometimes before getting too far into how to get it to read things.

NVDA has several ways of stopping speech, which each work differently.

  • SHIFT: Press to pause speech immediately. Press SHIFT again to continue reading where it left off.
  • CONTROL: Stop speaking. There is no “Continue” command. Issue a new reading command to start reading again.
  • Speech interrupt: NVDA’s keyboard settings (NVDA+control+k) has two options which can stop speech. “Speech interrupt for typed characters” stops speech when a character is pressed. Speech interrupt for enter key” stops speech when the enter key is pressed. In both cases NVDA also passes the key to the application. Let’s use the example of reading a document in Word. If the letter “d” is pressed, speech will stop, but a “d” will be inserted into the text at the caret. With these options off, the key still goes through to the program, but NVDA continues reading.

Of course, if you’d like to learn all the NVDA commands from scratch, you will find our “Basic Training for NVDA” has all the answers. Available in a range of formats from the NV Access shop. It is also included in the NVDA Productivity Bundle.

Also, if you are a new NVDA user from another screenreader, you might find the Switching from Jaws to NVDA or Switching from Window-Eyes to NVDA guides useful.

That’s all for this week. To those celebrating Easter, Passover or anything else this week, enjoy! We look forward to bringing you more news in April.

Egg with NV Access logo

Contributing to NVDA

Gio, 18/03/2021 - 03:36

Thank you very much for your interest in NV Access. Unfortunately, we are not currently hiring. We appreciate it’s no substitute, but there are ways you can still contribute to NVDA if you wish. Being open source means we can accept input from anyone, anywhere in the world. We have a valued community of motivated volunteer contributors, welcoming of new participants. Some of the ways you can help include:

Future job opportunities will be listed on the NV Access Careers page, so do please check back. We also share vacancies on Twitter and Facebook, and via our In-Process blog.

Thank you once again for your interest in NVDA and in working for NV Access. If there’s anything further we can do to help, please do email us.

In-Process 12th March 2021

Ven, 12/03/2021 - 08:43

This week we continue our look at the new features of NVDA 2020.4, introduce our newest team member and more!

NVDA 2020.4

It’s been a couple of weeks since the release of NVDA 2020.4 and people are enjoying the new features. If you missed reading about them, you can find all the info in The NVDA 2020.4 Release Announcement. That page also includes a link to the full What’s new in NVDA 2020.4.

One of the new features of 2020.4 is a new command line switch. Specifically, we added --copy-portable-config. This parameter allows you to automatically copy the provided configuration to the user account when silently installing NVDA.

Silently installing NVDA is a way of installing it without needing to interact with it to set it up. Who needs to silently install NVDA? Often organisations who want to roll it out to numerous computers across their networks. NVDA has a number of command line options which are useful in various situations. More information is in the Command Line Options section of the User Guide.

There are numerous benefits to making NVDA available in your organisation. Not least of which, it doesn’t cost you anything, and can make any PC useable by any blind user. Not needing to worry about license keys is of course another great upside of using NVDA, plus, it means that users of that network can use the same screenreading software at home without any personal cost.

For those using NVDA in a corporate environment, please see our Corporate and Government page which answers many of the questions we frequently get asked. And of course if there is anything not covered there, please do email us.

Welcome to Sean!

Our little team has grown. NV Access is very pleased to welcome our newest team member: Sean! We asked Sean to share a little about himself:

“Hello! I’m a recent computer science honours graduate with several years of industry experience at both small and large organisations and an interest in the field of computer vision. While studying computer vision subjects in my honours year, I was inspired by a peer who was researching accessibility related computer vision projects. At the same time, I was involved with a student union campaign to improve accessibility on campus, such as providing image descriptions with student union materials. I started to investigate applications where I could make a difference to improve accessibility, with an eventual hope of becoming a researcher into the field. As a result, I became interested in applying for this role at NV Access. In general, I am passionate about open-source software – so it’s exciting for me to be able to work on such a project and collaborate with this community. I’ve spent the past few years programming for a small software firm, and a brief internship at a larger international software company. In my spare time I like cooking and doing outdoors sports such as bouldering and hiking. I currently live in Melbourne, Australia.”

Thanks Sean, and a very warm welcome to the team!

Microsoft Ability Summit

The Microsoft Ability Summit is “A two-day, free digital event experience that brings together people with disabilities, allies, and accessibility professionals to Imagine, Build, Include, and Empower the future of disability inclusion and accessibility”.

Wednesday, May 5 from 9:00 AM – 12:30 PM, US Pacific Time

Thursday, May 6 from 9:00 AM – 12:30 PM, US Pacific Time

The 2021 Microsoft Ability Summit will feature:

  • Keynotes from Microsoft executives and notable members of the disability community
  • Expert panels featuring exciting projects and innovations
  • Demos of the latest accessibility features in Office, Windows, Xbox, and more
  • All sessions will be recorded and available post-event so no matter what time zone you are in, you can access the content at a time that works for you!
For more information or to register, please go to:

That’s all for this week. Please do join in the conversation in the NVDA Chat group and share what you like about NVDA 2020.4 (or what could be improved – we can’t fix issues we don’t know about). Until then, stay safe and healthy!

In-Process 26th February 2021

Ven, 26/02/2021 - 13:31

This past week saw the release of NVDA 2020.4. There’s a lot of exciting things in the release, so let’s dive right in!

NVDA 2020.4 Released

Last week, we Released NVDA 2020.4. This release includes new Chinese Input methods, an update to Liblouis, and the elements list (NVDA+f7) now works in focus mode. Context sensitive help is now available when pressing F1 in NVDA dialogs. Improvements to symbol pronunciation rules, speech dictionary, Braille message and skim reading. Bug fixes and improvements to Mail, Outlook, Teams, Visual Studio, Azure Data Studio, Foobar2000. On the web, there are improvements to Google Docs, and greater support for ARIA. Plus many other important bug fixes and improvements.

It should have been offered as an update to most users by now if you have NVDA set to check for updates. If you haven’t yet got your copy, we’re pleased to confirm the price has NOT increased. It is still FREE and available from the download link at the top of the page. You can also read more in the NVDA 2020.4 Release Announcement.

Please note, after updating any software, it is a good idea to restart the computer. Restart by going to the Shutdown dialog, selecting “restart” and pressing ENTER. Updating software can change files which are in use. This can lead to instability and strange behaviour which is resolved by rebooting. This is the first thing to try if you do notice anything odd after updating.

Image of 2020.4 release announcement, tilted on blurred background

NVDA 2020.4 Bug Fixes

I was going to mention some of the new features, but I’ve covered a few of those in the last few editions of In-Process. So instead, let’s have a look at some of the bug fixes. Those things which have been frustrating because they don’t work as they should. I’m sure there are still one or two things we could fix (we wanted to leave something for NVDA 2021.1). So, here are a couple of my favourite bug fixes in 2020.4 (and let’s do it in a list, as there are a few fixes for various list types, not all of which are mentioned here):

  • ‘list’ is no longer announced on every line of a list in Google Docs or other editable content in Google Chrome. There are a few other Google Docs fixes too! Check out the What’s New for more
  • It is again possible to use browse mode when reading emails in Windows 10 Mail 16005.13110 and later
  • When using the SAPI5 Ivona voices from, NVDA is now able to save configuration, switch synthesizers, and no longer will stay silent after restarting
  • It is no longer necessary to press tab or move focus after closing a context menu in MS Edge for browse mode to be functional again. There are also other fixes for Edge users will appreciate
  • A reverse search can now be initiated with ‘find previous’ via NVDA+shift+F3. This is very useful if you know what you want is earlier in the document
  • In Microsoft Teams builds with version numbers like, NVDA no longer fails reading messages in chats or Teams channels due to an incorrectly focused menu. We know how important software such as Teams has become to our users. We’re keen to make sure you can keep in touch with everyone!
  • It is again possible to report formatting information for the focused Excel cell using NVDA+F

And that’s only seven of the THIRTY bug fixes in this release! What is your favourite bug fix? Join in the conversation in the NVDA Chat Subgroup.

Why the name?

Why did we release NVDA 2020.4 in 2021? Why didn’t we call it NVDA 2021.1? Good questions! The simple answer is that we started the process of releasing this version when it still was last year. We were originally optimistic we might get it out by the end of 2020. In the end we did not want to rush it our right before going on leave over Christmas and New Year. We would much prefer to bring you a stable product, rather than push something out just to meet an arbitrary date. As it happened, we discovered a couple of quite frustrating issues. We felt the minor inconvenience of holding off the release to fix these was the best option. That is how we ended up releasing this in February. We’re confident you will appreciate the stability of the release, more than be confused by the name!

Donation Receipts

Speaking of minor inconveniences, we’ve identified and fixed an issue with our receipt system. Over the last little while, if you made a donation, you might not have received a little thank you note from us. Rest assured the donation still went through normally, and you would have received the usual receipt from PayPal. Normally, we send out a little thank you from us as well, and anyone who donates from now onward should again receive this small token of our appreciation. We are very grateful for each and every Donation, no matter the amount. If you have donated recently and do need something more than the PayPal receipt for tax or other reasons, simply Drop us an Email and let us know.

Again, thank you to all our wonderful supporters, both those who are in a position to donate, and those who support us through word of mouth, bug reports, retweets and shares on social media and all the other little ways that help.

Server update

Last week, before the new version of NVDA came out, we updated our server. There was only a small period of downtime last Thursday. We’re pleased to confirm that the upgrade went well and has enabled us to streamline and update a few things. This should keep things going smoothly into the future, and we’d like to take this opportunity to thank Mitchell for his help with the upgrade!

NVDA on iPhoneGeeks

Moses from iPhoneGeeks has done an iPhoneGeeks Comparison of NVDA and VoiceOver. Although different systems, it’s interesting to compare approaches to screenreaders. It is also always useful to hear how screenreaders are perceived by users on the ground. You can read the iPhoneGeeks Comparison of NVDA and VoiceOver.

And of course iPhoneGeeks covers all kinds of things on using VoiceOver with your iPhone / iPad. We know many of our users will find that useful, so do explore the site while you are there. (And we do appreciate there aren’t many laptops with NVDA you can fit in your pocket and make calls on).

That’s all for this week. Do Share how you find NVDA 2020.4 and we’ll be back with more in a couple of weeks!

NVDA 2020.4 Released

Ven, 19/02/2021 - 05:46

NV Access is pleased to announce that version 2020.4 of NVDA, the free screen reader for Microsoft Windows, is now available for download. We encourage all users to upgrade to this version.

NVDA 2020.4 This release includes new Chinese Input methods, an update to Liblouis and the elements list (NVDA+f7) now works in focus mode. Context sensitive help is now available when pressing F1 in NVDA dialogs. Improvements to symbol pronunciation rules, speech dictionary, Braille message and skim reading. Bug fixes and improvements to Mail, Outlook, Teams, Visual Studio, Azure Data Studio, Foobar2000. On the web, there are improvements to Google Docs, and greater support for ARIA. Plus many other important bug fixes and improvements.

Please note, after updating any software, it is a good idea to restart the computer. Restart by going to the Shutdown dialog, selecting “restart” and pressing ENTER. Updating software can change files which are in use. This can lead to instability and strange behaviour which is resolved by rebooting. This is the first thing to try if you do notice anything odd after updating.

While downloading NVDA, please consider becoming a monthly donor. Contributions like yours help NV Access continue our important work.

We also have a range of training material in the NV Access Shop to help you increase your skills with NVDA. Start with the popular Basic Training for NVDA in electronic text, audio and braille. Save with the NVDA Productivity Bundle. This includes Basic Training, all our Microsoft Office training, and telephone support.

Download NVDA 2020.4

To find out what’s new in this release, please visit What’s new in NVDA 2020.4

Close-up photograph of NVDA logo in notification area.

In-Process 12th February 2021

Ven, 12/02/2021 - 02:17

Today is Lunar New Year and the start of the year of the Ox. For those who write dates dd/mm/yyyy, today is also a palindrome day: 12/02/2021. As well as all that, the NVDA 2020.4 Release Candidate is available to download, what an exciting week!

NVDA 2020.4 RC1

NVDA 2020.4 RC1 is now available. This release candidate is the last step before a new release. We encourage all users to download this RC and provide feedback. Unless any critical bugs are found, this will be identical to the final 2020.4 release.

NVDA 2020.4 RC1 is basically the same as the last beta. It includes new Chinese Input methods, an update to Liblouis and the elements list (NVDA+f7) now works in focus mode. Context sensitive help is now available when pressing F1 in NVDA dialogs. Improvements to symbol pronunciation rules, speech dictionary, Braille message and skim reading. Bug fixes and improvements to Mail, Outlook, Teams, Visual Studio, Azure Data Studio, Foobar2000. On the web, there are improvements to Google Docs, and greater support for ARIA. Plus, many other important bug fixes and improvements.

Download NVDA 2020.4 RC1 from the release announcement page. Do please let us know what you think.

NVDA Elements list in Word

One of the new features in 2020.4 is that the elements list is now available in focus mode. This works in web browsers and other applications which support Browse mode. One issue which has been found is using this feature in Word. This feature only works after pressing NVDA+spacebar to go into Browse mode. After that, the elements list can be opened from browse or focus mode while this document is open. This issue was only found this week, after the release candidate came out. We have decided not to hold back the final release for this issue. We have already worked on a fix, which should be in Alpha builds of NVDA soon, and will be in NVDA 2021.1. This is also a good example of why it is really important for people to test new features and fixes in beta versions. It is much easier to fix things at that point without pushing the release date back.

Survey request

We had a request this week from a student in the Adult Transition program at the Foundation for Blind Children, in Phoenix AZ. Alan Reuss is running a survey asking for a little information from developers. Alan is preparing for training and considering a career working with code. He has asked if we could please pass his details on to anyone who might be able to help him. If you are interested in helping Alan, his email address is

Configuration Profiles

One of the more powerful ways of customising NVDA is with configuration profiles. NVDA can use a completely different group of settings for a particular program. Or a configuration profile can be loaded manually. In-process has previously covered using Configuration Profiles to adjust how “Say all” works. NVDA uses say all when you press NVDA+down arrow or NVDA+a. Likely the most common use of configuration profiles is setting a profile for a program. That is, a set of NVDA options, such as speech rate and punctuation, used every time one program is active. Let’s go through the steps to set that up:

  1. First, open the program you want to set a configuration profile for.
  2. Press NVDA+control+p to open the configuration profiles dialog. Your NVDA key is either INSERT or CAPS LOCK.
  3. Press alt+n to create a new configuration profile.
  4. Ignore the profile name and press TAB to move to the “Use this profile for” set of radio buttons.
  5. Press the right arrow to move to “Current application (name)”. In this case, “name” is the executable name of the current program. Note this may be different to the Window title. For instance, Microsoft Word has the name “winword”.
  6. Press ENTER to create the profile which closes both dialogs and returns focus to the program.
  7. Any NVDA settings you change while this program is active, are now only saved for use with this program.
Any settings changed in other programs are saved in the “Normal configuration” profile.

Settings in NVDA’s general settings category are not saved in configuration profiles. These settings include the log level, using NVDA during sign in, and checking for updates. These settings apply to NVDA overall.

TechVB Interview with NVDA community contributor Joseph Lee

Anyone active in the NVDA community is likely familiar with Joseph Lee. Joseph has been an active NVDA advocate and code contributor for many years. He can often be found helping users on the NVDA users email list. He is also a popular teacher and add-on author. Recently TechVB interviewed Joseph about NVDA, the community, accessibility and much more. You can listen to the TechVB podcast featuring Joseph Lee

That’s all for this week. Please do download NVDA 2020.4 RC1 and let us know what you think. By the time the next In-Process is out we should have a new stable version in the wild!

NVDA 2020.4rc1 available for testing

Lun, 08/02/2021 - 09:35

The Release Candidate (RC) of NVDA 2020.4 is now available for download and testing. We encourage all users to download this RC and provide feedback. Unless any critical bugs are found, this will be identical to the final 2020.4 release.

NVDA 2020.4 This release includes new Chinese Input methods, an update to Liblouis and the elements list (NVDA+f7) now works in focus mode. Context sensitive help is now available when pressing F1 in NVDA dialogs. Improvements to symbol pronunciation rules, speech dictionary, Braille message and skim reading. Bug fixes and improvements to Mail, Outlook, Teams, Visual Studio, Azure Data Studio, Foobar2000. On the web, there are improvements to Google Docs, and greater support for ARIA. Plus many other important bug fixes and improvements.

In-Process 28th January 2021

Gio, 28/01/2021 - 12:02

We’re near the end of January and getting near release time for NVDA 2020.4. So let’s start there:

NVDA 2020.4

The milestone step this week is the announcement of the translation string freeze. The freeze date is the 4th February. That means, translators have one more week to get their translations up to date to include in 2020.4. After that, we will put out a release candidate. If no major issues are found, the final version will be out soon after that.

In the meantime, we’re still encouraging everyone to download NVDA 2020.4 Beta 4. Please, test the new features and fixes, and let us know as soon as possible if there are any issues.

What’s new in NVDA 2020.4

So what are the new features and fixes? I’m glad you asked! There are lots of new features in NVDA 2020.4. The NVDA 2020.4 Beta 4 release announcement includes a link to the What’s new file. One of the new features mentioned is that “Tab headers are now considered form fields with quick navigation f key”. The example in the issue is the World Wide Web Consortium’s (W3C) sample page. As well as an example, it’s a useful reference on the feature, so here’s a link to the W3C’s tabs page

Tab headers change the information presented on a section of a page, depending on the header selected. On that sample page, look for the “Nils Frahm”, “Agnes Obel” and “Joke” form fields – they’re tab headers and change the paragraph underneath them. I can’t think of too many examples of this I’ve encountered in the wild yet. It’s great to know that when I do find one, I know NVDA will work with it. Have you found sites using these? The NVDA user email group has an NVDA chat subgroup, for conversation. I’d love to hear how you’ve found these tab headers on actual sites in the NVDA chat group!

The W3C is an international group of organisations, staff and the public. The consortium work together to develop web standards. If you’re interested in web development and accessibility, there is a lot of information on the W3C website.

Exploring NVDA with ACB

The American Council for the Blind have a free, weekly Zoom session called “Exploring NVDA”. The session is at 3pm ET, 12pm PT, 10am HT (all US times). From the ACB Weekly Community Events page:

Each week we will go through the ins and outs of NVDA, a free and open source screen reader for windows. as well as NVDA, we will take a deep dive into windows products such as the office suite and windows ecosystem.”

To join the call:

One tap mobile: +13126266799,,87909308783#

Phone: 312-626-6799

Meeting ID: 879 0930 8783

Passcode: 545453

Microsoft FOSS fund award

NV Access are very pleased to have been selected as a recipient of Microsoft’s Free and Open Source Software Fund (FOSS Fund) for 2021. From their site:

The Microsoft FOSS Fund provides a direct way for Microsoft engineers to participate in the nomination and selection process to help communities and projects they are passionate about.

A project of the Microsoft Open Source Programs Office, the FOSS Fund provides $10,000 sponsorships to open source projects as selected by Microsoft employees. To help drive an open contribution culture across Microsoft, employees are eligible to select projects for the fund when they participate in projects that are not governed by Microsoft.

Thank you so much to Microsoft, and especially to all the Microsoft Employees who voted for NVDA!

Another generous donation

While we are thanking people, we’ve got another group to thank. A very large shout out also to ISCB, the the German VI Computer Users Interest Group. They have made a very generous donation, and we are very grateful for their ongoing support of NVDA.

Learn more about ISCB from the ISCB website.

Contributors such as Microsoft and ISCB, as well as all our supporters, make a huge difference. They keep NVDA thriving, growing, and available for free to anyone, anywhere in the world who can use it.

NV Access is a registered not-for-profit charity in Australia. We appreciate every contribution, large and small. While we encourage those who can afford to Donate to us to consider it, please don’t feel any pressure at all to donate. If you would like to know more about the difference NVDA makes around the world, we have a video you may find useful. It highlights some of the users who have benefitted from a free, quality screen reader. Watch Changing Lives: The story behind the free NVDA Screen Reading software on YouTube.

That’s all for this week. Next week is translation freeze, then we’ll put out a release candidate. So, we should be well into the Release Candidate phase by the time In-Process comes out again. In the meantime, please do try out NVDA 2020.4 beta 4 and let us know how you find it.