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Updated: 2 hours 15 min ago

In-Process 16th July 2021

July 16, 2021 - 10:02

The big news this week is the release of NVDA 2021.1. You’ve waited long enough, so let’s get into it:

NVDA 2021.1

NVDA 2021.1 is now available for all users. NVDA 2021.1 includes optional experimental support for UIA in Excel and Chromium browsers. There are fixes for several languages, and for accessing links in Braille. There are updates to Unicode CLDR, mathematical symbols, and LibLouis. As well as many bug fixes and improvements, including in Office, Visual Studio, and several languages. The full list of updates is in the NVDA 2021.1 Release Announcement.

It is important to note that NVDA 2021.1 breaks compatibility with existing add-ons. The good news is that most add-ons have already been updated! Unless you have the Add-on Updater add-on, you will need to update add-ons manually.

You can find most add-ons on the NVDA Community Add-ons Site. There is a page on the site listing the current status of each add-on.

A couple other third party add-ons worth noting:

NVDARemote NVDARemote has been updated and is available from the NVDARemote site. Note that there are two versions on the page, one for NVDA 2019.3 and later, and one for 2019.2 and earlier. The 2019.3 and later version has been updated to NVDA Remote 2.4. This version is compatible with NVDA 2021.1, as well as back to NVDA 2019.3

Code Factory’s Eloquence and Vocalizer

For all our Eloquence users, Code Factory’s Eloquence & Vocalizer Add-on has been updated. They also have two versions listed, the first one is compatible with NVDA 2021.1.

Code Factory also have a SAPI 5 version of Eloquence and Vocalizer. This works with any version of NVDA, including NVDA 2021.1.

Tiflotecnia Vocalizer

Tiflotecnia have also updated their Vocalizer for NVDA. You can find more information on the Tiflotecnia Vocalizer page.

To find out whether your favourite add-on has been updated, the community has a handy list of the Compatibility status of Add-ons.

UI Automation

One new experimental feature in NVDA 2021.1 is a bit of a mouthful. “Includes optional experimental support for UI Automation A in Excel and Chromium browsers”. This is not yet complete, so we don’t recommend it for most users yet. UI Automation is a term not everyone will be familiar with, so you may well be asking: Just what is it?

According to Microsoft, “UI Automation provides programmatic access to most user interface (UI) elements on the desktop, enabling assistive technology products such as screen readers to provide information about the UI to end users and to manipulate the UI by means other than standard input”.

Basically, UI Automation, or UIA, is one way NVDA uses to get information from programs. So, when you use control+right arrow to move right by one word, UIA tells NVDA what text exists so it knows where to go. If you press NVDA+f to read the formatting, UIA exposes the formatting to NVDA. There are other methods of finding out information about a program. MSAA and IA2 are other commonly used frameworks. Microsoft is moving away from MSAA / IA2 towards UIA.

Previously, NVDA has provided an option (in Advanced settings) to use UIA to access Microsoft Word documents. Because of the way Outlook works, this also includes email message bodies in Outlook. In NVDA 2021.1 we’ve added options to use UI Automation in more places. These include using UIA in Excel, and Chromium based browsers.

It’s important to note that UIA support is experimental, and not complete. Both NV Access and Microsoft have further work to do here. We look forward to improving it in future versions. For those who do try it, your feedback will be important in informing that work. The best way to provide feedback on NVDA’s UIA support is to file an NVDA Issue on GitHub.

In some cases, using UIA can give more information about a document than IA2 or other methods NVDA uses to find out about documents. This can mean, in some instances, even just for basic spreadsheets, the performance increase with using UIA may positively outweigh any missing features so far. In other cases, there may not be as much information available, and some missing features may be crucial to the task at hand. Choosing a method to use is a little like picking whether to listen to something on the radio or watch it on TV. If you use the radio, you can’t adjust the volume with the TV remote. You can’t take the best parts of each – you have to use all the features of one at a time.

NVDA does not use UIA by default, but the options are available in NVDA’s advanced settings. In some cases it can be worth trying them if something is not working in Word (or Excel). If you are unsure, ask in the NVDA user group or email us. We won’t turn these features on by default until we are satisfied that the experience is better for the majority of users most of the time.

For all the new features, fixes and changes in NVDA 2021.1, please see the NVDA 2021.1 What’s New document.

Thanks to Intopia

We would like to take this opportunity to thank one of our generous sponsors, Intopia. Intopia’s tagline is “We help organisations be more inclusive and accessible”. That philosophy fits in well with our own NV Access mission. Our aim is to lower the economic and social barriers associated with accessing Information Technology for people who are Blind or Vision Impaired. To aid lowering the barrier for those who are blind or vision impaired, we very much appreciate all our sponsors and donors. As you download NVDA 2021.1, we’d encourage you to consider becoming a monthly donor yourself. Of course only if your financial situation allows it. You can find out more on our Donation page.

If you are a new user to NVDA, you might instead consider purchasing our training material. It’s a great time, as the Basic Training for NVDA (electronic text) is still 50% off.

That’s all for this week, do join in the conversation in the NVDA users email group and let everyone know your favourite new feature in NVDA 2021.1.

Categories: partners

NVDA 2021.1 Released

July 12, 2021 - 11:46

NV Access is pleased to announce that version 2021.1 of NVDA, the free screen reader for Microsoft Windows, is now available for download. We encourage all users to upgrade to this version.

NVDA 2021.1 includes optional experimental support for UIA in Excel and Chromium browsers. There are fixes for several languages, and for accessing links in Braille. There are updates to Unicode CLDR, mathematical symbols, and LibLouis. As well as many bug fixes and improvements, including in Office, Visual Studio, and several languages.

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 2021.1

To find out what’s new in this release, please visit What’s new in NVDA 2021.1

Note:

  • If upgrading from Beta3 or Beta4, 2021.1 update must be installed manually.
  • This release breaks compatibility with existing add-ons.
  • This release also drops support for Adobe Flash.

Close-up photograph of NVDA logo in notification area.

Categories: partners

NVDA 2021.1rc2 available for testing

July 5, 2021 - 14:16

Release Candidate 2 (RC2) of NVDA 2021.1 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 2021.1 release.

Changes from RC1:
  • Updates to translations.
Highlights

NVDA 2021.1 includes optional experimental support for UIA in Excel and Chromium browsers. There are fixes for several languages, and for accessing links in Braille. There are updates to Unicode CLDR, mathematical symbols, and LibLouis. As well as many bug fixes and improvements, including in Office, Visual Studio, and several languages.

Note:

  • If upgrading from Beta3 or Beta4, the RC1 update must be installed manually.
  • This release breaks compatibility with existing add-ons.
  • This release also drops support for Adobe Flash.
Links
Categories: partners

NVDA 2021.1rc1 available for testing

July 2, 2021 - 16:20

The Release Candidate (RC) of NVDA 2021.1 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 2021.1 release.

Highlights

NVDA 2021.1 includes optional experimental support for UIA in Excel and Chromium browsers. There are fixes for several languages, and for accessing links in Braille. There are updates to Unicode CLDR, mathematical symbols, and LibLouis. As well as many bug fixes and improvements, including in Office, Visual Studio, and several languages.

Note:

  • If upgrading from Beta3 or Beta4, the RC1 update must be installed manually.
  • This release breaks compatibility with existing add-ons.
  • This release also drops support for Adobe Flash.
Links
Categories: partners

In-Process 1st July 2021

July 1, 2021 - 08:14

Welcome to July! We’re halfway through 2021 already, how time flies! This week, we’ve got news on NVDA 2021.1 Release Candidate, Windows 11 and our Basic Training Sale. Plus, a tip on using Web Apps which have their own keystrokes with NVDA.

BREAKING NEWS: NVDA 2021.1 Release Candidate is now available. This post has been updated with information on the RC build now.

NVDA 2021.1 Release Candidate

We are still moving towards the next version of NVDA. We’re now up to the Release Candidate of NVDA 2021.1. There have been a few updates since Beta 3 which we covered last In-Process. There’s a fix for the Seika Braille driver and updates to translations. Also, we’ve fixed the bug which prevented users from updating from Beta 3 and Beta 4. If you are still using Beta 3 or Beta 4, you will need to download the new beta from the NVDA 2021.1 RC1 Release Announcement. But otherwise, everything should now work smoothly.

NVDA Satisfaction Survey 2021: Last chance

We’ve had a great response to the NVDA Satisfaction Survey 2021. But it must close soon. If you haven’t yet had your say, it’s only short and won’t take long. We encourage you to please complete The NVDA Satisfaction Survey 2021 in the next couple of days.

Basic Training still on sale

We’ve also had a great reaction to the sale on Basic Training for NVDA. It’s never been this low before and a lot of people are jumping on board! Basic Training is the premier training module to learn NVDA. Now is the cheapest time ever seen to improve your skills, but This Sale can’t last.

Windows 11

This week, Microsoft announced the next version of Windows: Windows 11. Joseph Lee put together some early impressions of the first insiders preview build of Windows 11 in a thread on the User Group.

Given how much of a refresh of the user interface Windows 11 is, it’s not surprising there are some differences. Getting to the list of “all apps” from the start menu, for instance, is a little different to Windows 10, but still works. The arrangement of settings has changed as well but still works. Windows+x shortcut keys don’t currently work, and Microsoft is aware of that issue. Joseph has updated his Windows App Essentials NVDA add-on (formerly Windows 10 App Essentials), to work around a couple of other issues. No doubt there will be lots more tips, tricks, and commentary from all sides as Windows 11 gets closer. Remember, Microsoft have only announced Windows 11, you can’t buy it in shops yet.

So, broadly, NVDA does work with this first build of Windows 11. There are a couple of issues, both accessible and general use. That is to be expected from most insider builds. Just like the beta releases of NVDA, Microsoft releases insider builds of Windows. These are intended for keen users to test and report back on any issues found. Like alpha and beta builds of NVDA, Windows Insider builds are early pre-releases. They are “Beta” software, and not recommended for most users, or on your main PC.

Have you tried the Windows 11 insider preview build? If you try it, please do jump into the NVDA Chat Group and share your findings.

Single letter navigation

One of the fixes we noted last time, introduced in NVDA 2021.1 Beta 3, was that J and K now work again in the Twitter app. In Twitter, both in the app and on the web, these keys jump between the next and the previous tweet. The Twitter app essentially acts like a web page. But there is a catch – covered in the Single Letter Navigation section of the NVDA User Guide. On the web, in browse mode (as NVDA will be until in the edit field to type a new tweet), NVDA is looking for K to move to the next link. Increasingly, complex web pages offer their own keystrokes to access features. Google Docs does this, as do Gmail, Twitter, and Facebook. Press NVDA+shift+spacebar to toggle NVDA’s single letter navigation on or off. Turning single letter navigation off lets you use a website or web app’s keyboard shortcuts.

That’s all for this week. We encourage everyone to try the NVDA 2021.1 Release Candidate and let us know how you find it! If you are tech savvy and interested, feel free to try the Windows 11 Insider Build. If you do, feel free to join the conversation in the NVDA Chat Group.

Categories: partners

NVDA 2021.1beta5 Available for Testing

June 24, 2021 - 11:01

Beta5 of NVDA 2021.1 is now available for download and testing. For anyone who is interested in trying out what the next version of NVDA has to offer before it is officially released, we welcome you to download the beta and provide feedback.

Note: If upgrading from Beta3 or Beta4, the Beta5 update must be installed manually.

Changes from Beta4:
  • Fix automatic updates.
  • Fix Seika Notetaker Driver.
Changes from Beta3:
  • In the event of a crash NVDA will restart automatically.
  • Updates to translations.
Changes from Beta2:
  • Fix for a rare issue causing NVDA to fail to restart after update.
  • Fix for Twitter app navigation with J/K keys.
  • Fix focus changes in Microsoft Word 365 Online not announced when using Edge with UIA.
  • Updates to translations
Changes from Beta1:
  • In the new Chromium based Microsoft Edge, text fields such as the address bar are now announced when empty.
  • Espeak now supports Cantonese and Mandarin again.
  • Espeak has been reverted to an older version to resolve issues with corruption after speaking certain characters.
  • Updated Unicode Common Locale Data Repository (CLDR) to 39.0
  • Fix for previously supported Seika braille displays, adds support for the Seika Notetaker braille display from Nippon Telesoft.
  • Updates to translations
Highlights

NVDA 2021.1 includes optional experimental support for UIA in Excel and Chromium browsers. There are fixes for several languages, and for accessing links in Braille. There are updates to Unicode CLDR, mathematical symbols, and LibLouis. As well as many bug fixes and improvements, including in Office, Visual Studio, and several languages.

Note:

  • This release breaks compatibility with existing add-ons.
  • This release also drops support for Adobe Flash.
Links
Categories: partners

NVDA 2021.1beta4 Available for Testing

June 23, 2021 - 14:46

Please note: NVDA 2021.1 Beta 5 is now available and should be downloaded instead.

Beta4 of NVDA 2021.1 is now available for download and testing. For anyone who is interested in trying out what the next version of NVDA has to offer before it is officially released, we welcome you to download the beta and provide feedback.

Changes from Beta3:
  • In the event of a crash NVDA will restart automatically.
  • Updates to translations
Changes from Beta2:
  • Fix for a rare issue causing NVDA to fail to restart after update.
  • Fix for Twitter app navigation with J/K keys.
  • Fix focus changes in Microsoft Word 365 Online not announced when using Edge with UIA.
  • Updates to translations
Changes from Beta1:
  • In the new Chromium based Microsoft Edge, text fields such as the address bar are now announced when empty.
  • Espeak now supports Cantonese and Mandarin again.
  • Espeak has been reverted to an older version to resolve issues with corruption after speaking certain characters.
  • Updated Unicode Common Locale Data Repository (CLDR) to 39.0
  • Fix for previously supported Seika braille displays, adds support for the Seika Notetaker braille display from Nippon Telesoft.
  • Updates to translations
Highlights

NVDA 2021.1 includes optional experimental support for UIA in Excel and Chromium browsers. There are fixes for several languages, and for accessing links in Braille. There are updates to Unicode CLDR, mathematical symbols, and LibLouis. As well as many bug fixes and improvements, including in Office, Visual Studio, and several languages.

Note:

  • This release breaks compatibility with existing add-ons.
  • This release also drops support for Adobe Flash.
Links

WARNING: Due to an issue identified in Beta 3 and Beta 4, it is not possible to update from these versions for NVDA 2021.1 Beta 5 and newer from within NVDA. To update to Beta 5, please download and install the beta from the Beta 5 release announcement.

Categories: partners

In-process 17th June 2021

June 17, 2021 - 15:52

There are several exciting things to report this week – a new beta (two, in fact!), and new training material, with a discount! Plus our annual NVDA Satisfaction Survey is on again.

NVDA 2021.1 Beta 3

NVDA 2021.1 Beta 3 is now available for download and testing. As with Beta 1 reported in May, this is a pre-release version of NVDA. So, for many users, we recommend keeping NVDA 2020.4 installed and trying out a portable version of the beta. So, what’s new in this beta?

Changes from Beta2:

  • Fix for a rare issue causing NVDA to fail to restart after update
  • Fix for Twitter app navigation with J/K keys
  • Fix focus changes in Microsoft Word 365 Online not announced when using Edge with UIA
  • Updates to translations
  • Changes from Beta1:

  • In the new Chromium based Microsoft Edge, text fields such as the address bar are now announced when empty
  • eSpeak-NG now supports Cantonese and Mandarin again
  • eSpeak-NG has been reverted to an older version to resolve issues with corruption after speaking certain characters
  • Updated Unicode Common Locale Data Repository (CLDR) to 39.0
  • Fix for previously supported Seika braille displays, adds support for the Seika Notetaker braille display from Nippon Telesoft
  • Updates to translations

For full details on everything new, please check out the NVDA 2021.1 Beta 3 release announcement.

Add-on updates

NVDA 2021.1 is incompatible with older add-ons. Once we knew this, we took the opportunity to incorporate several breaking changes. These include a refactoring of parts of the code (updating and rewriting), and an update to wxPython 4.1.1. wxPython is the toolkit which provides the interactive elements of NVDA. That is, the buttons, settings dialog windows and the checkboxes in them, for instance.

As with NVDA 2019.3, the add-ons community has jumped on the challenge. Everyone is keen to ensure a smooth transition with timely add-on updates. There is a page detailing all the main add-ons and their status at: https://addons.nvda-project.org/addons/nvdacompat.en.html

At the time of writing, I’m pleased to advise that 50 out of 88 Add-ons, or 57%, have been updated to be compatible with NVDA 2021.1. We anticipate this number to keep growing as the release draws nearer.

We know many users enjoy popular synthesizers from Code Factory, Tiflotecnia and Acapela. I’m happy to confirm they are all aware of the changes and keen to look after their customers. Updates are being worked on for Eloquence, Vocalizer or Acapella voices.

If you use other add-ons not listed on the main site, please check with your vendor or developer directly. Also, do feel free to encourage them to list their add-ons on the official site. This central repository will make it much easier for other users to find. Instructions for requesting a review of your add-on are available on the main page at: https://addons.nvda-project.org/index.en.html

Survey

NV Access is pleased to invite you to participate in the NVDA Satisfaction Survey 2021. As in previous years, this is a simple, three-question survey. The survey is open to NVDA users and testers around the world. We encourage everyone to complete the NVDA Satisfaction Survey 2021. The survey will be open until the 2nd of July 2021. Please do participate, and share with our thanks!

Training material updates

Basic Training for NVDA

This week we are pleased to share with you not one but two updates to our training material. The first is an update to Basic Training for NVDA. Basic Training is our flagship module. It is the key way many NVDA users become proficient with the screen reader.

This update brings many NVDA commands into line with the latest NVDA updates. It also introduces several features not previously available in official training material. We are happy to bring users a new topic on using OCR. We’ve also introduced a glossary of terms at the end to help users refer back to information later on.

Basic Training for NVDA also turned 5 this year. It was back in April 2016 we released this first module in our series to great acclaim. To celebrate, we’re pleased to offer Basic Training for NVDA at 50% off for a limited time. Please note: This offer is for the electronic text version while we work on updating the other formats. This is a great deal for both new users and those who have purchased earlier versions of the module. The electronic text version contains the material in four formats so there’s something for everyone. The formats included are: A Microsoft Word document, a HTML Web page, an ePub eBook, and Kindle KFX.

Microsoft PowerPoint with NVDA

Microsoft PowerPoint with NVDA is designed to work through all the features to create and run presentations using PowerPoint. Concepts range from getting started with PowerPoint to advanced skills such as setting slide timings, adding live captions and presenting online.

The update to the PowerPoint module was only a couple of minor corrections. Those who have purchased it previously can download the update for free by going to Your NV Access Account Downloads Page and downloading the material again.

If you haven’t previously purchased any of our training material but would like to build up your skills, now is a great time! If you don’t use Microsoft Office, then Basic Training for NVDA is on sale right now. If you’d like to build your skills using NVDA, as well as Microsoft Office, the NVDA Productivity Bundle contains Basic Training for NVDA, our four Microsoft Office modules (including the updated PowerPoint material) and telephone support. The NVDA Productivity Bundle comes at a discount off buying the items separately, so is a great investment in your knowledge.

Generous Donation

Recently we received a very generous donation from Maria. Maria sent us a note explaining why she found NVDA so useful and decided to donate:

Hi guys, thanks. Thank you so much for making such a great screen reader for free. NVDA really helps me when I use my own Windows laptop or my work laptop, and I know how much it must help a lot of other people around the world. Until a few years ago I didn’t have bucks so I know how prohibitively expensive other screen readers are, and how hard it is to get funding for them. Please keep up the great work!

Thank you so much Maria! Donations such as yours help us to continue our work, providing NVDA for free to anyone around the world who can make use of it! Kind words such as yours make us enthusiastic to keep improving and distributing NVDA it as long as it is useful to people like you!

If you’d like to donate, we would be most grateful. You can find all the information on how to contribute on our Donation page.

That’s all for this week. So, don’t forget, there are two pieces of homework this week!

1) Please do participate in our NVDA Satisfaction Survey 2021, and: 2) Please do try NVDA 2021.1 Beta 3!

Bonus homework: Please let us know how you find the beta or any issues you encounter!

Categories: partners

NVDA 2021.1beta3 Available for Testing

June 17, 2021 - 11:21

Beta3 of NVDA 2021.1 is now available for download and testing. For anyone who is interested in trying out what the next version of NVDA has to offer before it is officially released, we welcome you to download the beta and provide feedback.

Changes from Beta2:
  • Fix for a rare issue causing NVDA to fail to restart after update.
  • Fix for Twitter app navigation with J/K keys.
  • Fix focus changes in Microsoft Word 365 Online not announced when using Edge with UIA.
  • Updates to translations
Changes from Beta1:
  • In the new Chromium based Microsoft Edge, text fields such as the address bar are now announced when empty.
  • Espeak now supports Cantonese and Mandarin again.
  • Espeak has been reverted to an older version to resolve issues with corruption after speaking certain characters.
  • Updated Unicode Common Locale Data Repository (CLDR) to 39.0
  • Fix for previously supported Seika braille displays, adds support for the Seika Notetaker braille display from Nippon Telesoft.
  • Updates to translations
Highlights

NVDA 2021.1 includes optional experimental support for UIA in Excel and Chromium browsers. There are fixes for several languages, and for accessing links in Braille. There are updates to Unicode CLDR, mathematical symbols, and LibLouis. As well as many bug fixes and improvements, including in Office, Visual Studio, and several languages.

Note:

  • This release breaks compatibility with existing add-ons.
  • This release also drops support for Adobe Flash.
Links
Categories: partners

NVDA 2021.1beta2 Available for Testing

June 4, 2021 - 12:53

Beta2 of NVDA 2021.1 is now available for download and testing. For anyone who is interested in trying out what the next version of NVDA has to offer before it is officially released, we welcome you to download the beta and provide feedback.

Changes from Beta1:
  • In the new Chromium based Microsoft Edge, text fields such as the address bar are now announced when empty.
  • Espeak now supports Cantonese and Mandarin again.
  • Espeak has been reverted to an older version to resolve issues with corruption after speaking certain characters.
  • Updated Unicode Common Locale Data Repository (CLDR) to 39.0
  • Fix for previously supported Seika braille displays, adds support for the Seika Notetaker braille display from Nippon Telesoft.
  • Updates to translations
Highlights

NVDA 2021.1 includes optional experimental support for UIA in Excel and Chromium browsers. There are fixes for several languages, and for accessing links in Braille. There are updates to Unicode CLDR, mathematical symbols, and LibLouis. As well as many bug fixes and improvements, including in Office, Visual Studio, and several languages.

Note:

  • This release breaks compatibility with existing add-ons.
  • This release also drops support for Adobe Flash.
Links
Categories: partners

In-Process 28th May 2021

May 28, 2021 - 11:52

As promised, this week we have details of the new NVDA 2021.1 Beta 1. That’s exciting, so let’s dive right in:

NVDA 2021.1 Beta 1 now available for testing

Beta1 of NVDA 2021.1 is now available for download and testing. For anyone who is interested in trying out what the next version of NVDA has to offer before it is officially released, we welcome you to download the beta and provide feedback.

NVDA 2021.1 includes optional experimental support for UIA in Excel and Chromium browsers. There are fixes for several languages, and for accessing links in Braille. There are updates to Unicode CLDR and mathematical symbols, eSpeak-NG and LibLouis.

There are many bug fixes and improvements, including in Office, Visual Studio and several languages.

Note: this is an Add-on API compatibility breaking release. Add-on authors will need to update their add-ons to be compatible with NVDA 2021.1. We had previously asked add-on authors to wait until this beta came out before confirming their add-ons were compatible. Many have already done the work, but please note that as at the time of release, add-ons had not been updated. We anticipate that most add-ons will be updated by the time the final stable build comes out. If you rely on NVDA add-ons (including 3rd party synthesizers), please test the beta as a temporary or portable copy.

This release also drops support for Adobe Flash.

NVDA Beta One (Text in turquoise with NVDA logo between words)

The NVDA Development Cycle

As we move closer to the next stable release, I thought it was worth covering the NVDA development cycle.

  1. At any given time, the current stable version of NVDA is available from NV Access. The current stable release is the version we recommend for most users.
  2. A couple of times a week, we release “Alpha” builds. These are early, pre-release builds intended to test new features and fixes. Stability is not guaranteed with these builds. They are only recommended for developers. Sometimes, we may also ask users to test fixes for reported bugs. These Alpha builds are available on our NVDA Development Snapshots Page.
  3. As new features and fixes are more thoroughly tested, we release a “Beta” build. These should be close to the final build. They should be stable, but we do release them for people to test. It is important that beta users to alert us if anything does not work or is not stable. We encourage wider testing of Beta builds than alpha builds. If testing, please do keep a copy of the previous stable build to get back to if needed. If anyone finds any major issues, we will fix or revert them, and release a new Beta build.
  4. When no serious bugs are found in the beta build, we put out a “Release Candidate” (RC) build. The RC build is the last step before a stable build. Unless there are any major issues, this build is the same as the following stable release. We encourage all users to download and use this RC build. If there are any issues, it is easier to fix them now than to address them after the stable build is out.
  5. Once the RC build is out for a couple of weeks without issues, we release the stable version. We update the link on the NVDA Downloads Page, and we encourage all users to update to this build.
A couple of things to note:
  • If you install a Beta or RC build, it will prompt to update to future beta or release candidate builds in this cycle. When the final stable version comes out, they will prompt to update to that build. When a beta comes out for the next version, you will need to download that manually.
  • New Alpha releases may come out while the beta or release candidate versions are out. These may include fixes and features aimed at the following version of NVDA.
  • This is a simplified list covering the main steps in the process from a user perspective. There are several other steps along the way which aren’t documented here. One of these, for instance, is the “Translation string freeze”. This is a point when we don’t add any new text strings (eg messages, dialog boxes, etc). This gives translators a chance to update languages before the final stable version.
  • Beta (and RC) releases are listed on the NVDA Development Snapshots Page. It is worth following https://twitter.com/NVAccess or Facebook. We publish details of important updates, such as when these builds are available. We will also, as now, cover updates here in the NV Access In-Process Blog.

    NVDA Satisfaction Survey 2021

    NV Access is pleased to invite you to participate in the NVDA Satisfaction Survey 2021. As in previous years, this is a simple, three-question survey. The survey is open to NVDA users and testers around the world. We encourage everyone to complete the NVDA Satisfaction Survey 2021.

    The survey will be open until the 2nd of July 2021. Please do participate, and share with our thanks!

    NV Access Survey mockup image

    That’s all for this week. We look forward to bringing you more on NVDA 2021.1 closer in a couple of weeks. In the meantime, please do test out the beta and let us know what you think!

Categories: partners

NVDA 2021.1beta1 Available for Testing

May 24, 2021 - 16:08

Beta1 of NVDA 2021.1 is now available for download and testing. For anyone who is interested in trying out what the next version of NVDA has to offer before it is officially released, we welcome you to download the beta and provide feedback.

NVDA 2021.1 includes optional experimental support for UIA in Excel and Chromium browsers. There are fixes for several languages, and for accessing links in Braille. There are updates to Unicode CLDR and mathematical symbols, eSpeak-NG and LibLouis.

There are many bug fixes and improvements, including in Office, Visual Studio and several languages.

Note: this is an Add-on API compatibility breaking release. Add-ons will need to be re-tested and have their manifest updated. This release also drops support for Adobe Flash.

Categories: partners

In-Process 30th April 2021

April 30, 2021 - 11:21

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: https://www.blindtechguys.com/

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.

Categories: partners

In-Process 16th April 2021

April 16, 2021 - 12:03

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.

Categories: partners