How to navigate the Google Chrome browser with the NVDA screen reader

The following is an overview of navigating the Google Chrome browser with the NVDA screen reader.

If you would like to try out a copy of the Google Chrome browser with NVDA you can go to the following website to obtain it at

After you have downloaded the setup file and pressed Enter on it, it will download the browser for you. Once setup on your computer, it will put a shortcut both on your desktop and also under the all app/programs section on your computer. Then it is a matter of finding the Google Chrome browser shortcut and pressing the Enter key on it to open it.

After the browser has been opened

One of the very first things you will notice is when you press the Alt key, or the Alt + F key, you will notice the menus do not go from left to right. In Google Chrome the menus go down. Use the down arrow key to navigate the menus there. You will also hear NVDA say if there are sub menus. When you hear there is a sub menu you can then use the right arrow key to open it and the down arrow key to see what is there. The left arrow key will take you back to the main menu. The Enter key will action the menu item selected (for example settings).

Some useful shortcut keys

New window Ctrl + N

New incognito window Ctrl + Shift + N

Bookmark this page Ctrl + D

Bookmark manager Ctrl + Shift + O

Downloads Ctrl + J

Settings Alt key + F then S

Print Ctrl + P

Cast Alt + F then C

Exit Ctrl + Shift + Q

Browsing the internet

You can use the Ctrl key + L to get to the location bar where you can type in a web address.

All the single letter navigation keys that NVDA uses are available. This will depend on each page you go to. You can also use the elements list in NVDA to get to certain links, headings and landmarks quicker. Use the NVDA key + the F7 key for this.

You can also use the Alt + left arrow key to go back a page. This is only after you have been into the page first. Press the Enter key on any link to take you into that page. Also, if you have gone back a page, you can use the Alt key + right arrow key to take you back into that page again. This is only if you have been to the page first.

Setting a home page in Google Chrome

To have a certain page come up every time that you go into Google Chrome (such as a certain newspaper you may wish to read online), press the Alt key until the menu comes up or use the Alt key + F to bring up the menu. Arrow down to the settings menu, then press the Enter key. A new page will come up like a webpage where you can use single letter navigation keys to navigate it; for example H for headings, B for buttons and so on. Only certain single letter navigation keys are supported.

You can use the letter H to jump down to a heading called “on startup”. From here you can arrow down until you hear NVDA say radio button, Open a specific page or set of pages.

Press the Spacebar to check the radio button.

Just underneath the radio button will be a link called set pages. Press the Enter key on it, then it will give you the option to put in your homepage address (for example

Next, it will ask you (once it is entered) if you want to use the current page. Press the spacebar on this button, then tab to the ok button. Now, when you reopen Google Chrome, it should have your homepage set.


Under the appearance heading you can put a home button onto the navigation menu. Locate the Show Home button and make sure the check box is checked.  

You can keep on arrowing down the page until you hear NVDA say heading search. 

Your choice of search engine

Under this section you will hear NVDA say set which search engine is used when searching from the omnibox (otherwise known as a location bar).

There is a combo box there where you can change your search engine. Use the Alt key + down arrow key to open it. Arrow to the new search engine, then press the Enter key. Now you have a new search engine.

There is also a button to manage your search engines. Press the Enter key on it and it will give you more options such as adding new search engines etcetera.

Show advanced settings

The advanced settings link is down the bottom of the settings page. When you have found it press the Enter key on this link. This will take you to another page where there are more settings.

Under the show advanced settings section there will be different headings you can jump down to; for example Privacy, Passwords and forms, Web content, Network, Languages, Downloads, HTTPS/SSL, Google Cloud Print, Accessibility, System and Reset settings.


Under the Privacy heading is where you can tell Google Chrome to forget your history etcetera. Locate the Clear browsing data settings button, then press the Enter key. You will now be given quite a few options. Use the Spacebar to check and uncheck these boxes.

The very first box is a combo box and you can tell Google Chrome to forget your history from one hour ago to the beginning of time if you want to.

You can arrow down the list and either check or uncheck what you want forgotten. There is a button to clear browsing data. Press the Spacebar to clear the data.

Below the Downloads heading, the default is usually set to save files to the Downloads folder.  You can tell Google Chrome to save the files you have downloaded to another location (for example the Desktop). This can easily be changed.  There is a button called change. Pressing the Enter key on it will let you change it from the Downloads folder to another that you specify.

Just underneath it is a check box called Ask where to save each file before downloading. Make sure this check box is checked if you want it to alert you every time with what to do. It will give you the options either to open the file, or save it to a different location each time. If you go to save it, it will come up with a Save As dialog box, where you can tab around to address (or tree view) and change it to the new location where you wish to save it.