use Skype with the NVDA screen reader
Skype is a programme that is used to communicate
with your family and friends. Skype can be used to do an
audio/video call using video from your web cam. Some web cams will
have both audio and video built into them. If there is no mic with
the webcam, a mic must be bought in order to use the audio chat
side of it. These must also be configured to work with Skype.
To use Skype 7 and above, you will need a copy of NVDA 2015.1 and
above. This will allow extra functionality and give you a better
experience with Skype.
If you don't have a copy of Skype already, you can grab a copy
The version of Skype you will need is the desktop version for
Windows. After it has been downloaded to your computer and set up,
when you go to log into it, if you already have one of the
following you can sign in that way. (For example a Skype account,
a Microsoft account or a Facebook account).
If you don't have one, you will need to set up a new Skype
account, so you can use Skype. Make sure you jot down your details
and save them somewhere safe.
You can go into this section and change your
details for your Skype profile. This may be to upload a picture of
yourself, assign certain sounds to Skype, or edit your profile. It
is also a good idea to tweak your Privacy settings in Skype, so
people you don't know can't contact you. Most people will have it
set so that it is only friends and family on their Skype list.
The best view for Skype is the compact view. This will cut out
unnecessary windows that normally don't get used.
When Skype is open, press the Alt key until the Skype menu comes
up, then arrow right to the view menu. Next, arrow down to the
compact view menu, then press the Enter key. This will put Skype
into compact view and cut out unnecessary windows that you may not
Adding a contact
If the person you are trying to add has joined
Skype already, then you can search for them by user name or email
To add a contact, press the Alt key until the Skype menu comes up.
Arrow right to contacts. Arrow down to add contact. Right arrow
until you hear Search Skype directory. Press Enter and you will be
taken to a search edit box. Type in the details for the person
that you are looking for (this may be their Skype name or their
email address). Press Enter. It will search through the Skype
directory and bring up any relevant results. Select the person you
are trying to add. Click on add to contacts. Before you press
Enter to send the request, you can also add in a line of text to
let them know that it is you! If they have set their Skype so that
they have to authorise all "add contact" requests, then as soon as
they accept your request they will be added.
Facebook contacts into Skype
With Skype for Windows desktop, you can also
import contacts from Facebook, so you don’t have to worry about
losing touch with your friends who are not on Skype. To add
contacts from Facebook:
1. Click Contacts...Import Contacts.
2. Enter your Facebook username and password, then click Import.
3. Skype will import your Facebook contacts into your Skype
and video settings in Skype
These settings can be found under the call menu.
Press the Alt key until the Skype menu comes up, then arrow right
to the call menu. Once there, arrow down to the audio settings
menu and press the Enter key. Here it will give you options to
configure your speakers and mic. A mic and speakers must be
present on your computer. A headset with mic built into it can be
used as well so you don't disturb others in the house.
Video conferencing in Skype
A web cam must be present on your computer. You
can buy webcams with both a webcam and mic built into them,
otherwise other alternatives will have to be used. For example a
webcam without a mic, will require a mic to use the audio chat
part of Skype. These settings can also be found under the
To get to the advanced settings in Skype, press
the Alt key until the Skype menu comes up, then arrow right
to the tools menu, then down to the options menu, and press the
Enter key. Under this section it will give you a whole heap of
different options. When the next screen appears it will land you
in a tree view. Use your up and down arrow keys to navigate the
tree. To go into any of the sections use the tab key. You are able
to tab between the different settings in each section. If you keep
on tabbing it will take you back to the start of the tree you were
at on that branch. For example general settings, audio settings
and so on. Shift/tabbing will take you in the opposite direction.
settings in Skype
Under this section you can configure your hot
keys for Skype. This will let you configure your hot keys for the
most frequently used functions in Skype (for example to answer a
call or to hang up a call). These must be enabled before they
work. The "enable keyboard shortcut" check box must be checked
before the other keys can be applied. The next time you tab, it
will give you a list of shortcut keys that you can enable or
disable. Just use the spacebar to check and uncheck these boxes.
If a shortcut key can not be assigned, it will also give you the
option to assign another shortcut key to do that task.
Under the accessibility branch, you can also enable accessible
mode if you are using a screen reader. Make sure you save
your settings after you are happy with your changes.
shortcut keys (also referred to as hotkeys)
Answer call = Alt + PgUp
Answer call with video = Ctrl + Alt + PgUp
Ignore call (unassigned)
Hang up = Alt + PgDn
Decline incoming call = Ctrl + Alt + PgDn
Take a snapshot during video calls (unassigned)
Focus Skype (unassigned)
Search for people on Skype (unassigned)
Mute microphone (unassigned)
Toggle mute (Push-to-talk) (unassigned)
For any of the above Skype functions marked as unassigned, you can
set your own hotkeys.
To make a call
with Skype (Skype to Skype)
You can quickly get to your contacts list by
using a shortcut key. Use the Alt key and the number 1 on the main
qwerty keyboard to do this. This will place NVDA's focus onto your
contacts list, then it is just a matter of finding the person you
want to call.
Use your up and down arrow keys to do this.
If you already have people on your contact list, you will need to
locate it first. Once located, find a person you want to call. The
up and down arrow keys can be used to do this. Once a person has
been picked, you can do either of the following...
1 Route your mouse to the contact you want to
call. Use the NVDA key (for example the Insert key) and the divide
key on the numeric keypad to do this. Once the mouse has been
routed to your contact, you will need to right click the mouse.
The multiply key on the numeric keypad is used for this. Next
arrow down to call, press the Enter key, and it will start calling
the contact for you. This will require a mic so that you can audio
chat to that person.
While the context menu is open, it will give you other options as
well (for example, send an IMS, send a video message and so on).
2 Locate the contact you want to call.
Next, press the applications key. This will bring up the
context menu on the screen. Next, arrow down to call and press the
Enter key. (It will call the contact for you). This menu will give
you other options as well (for example call, send IM, send video
and so on).
So, depending upon which option you choose, it will determine
which device is used.
To call a
landline phone or mobile number with Skype
You can call landline phones, mobiles etc, but
you must have credit in your account to do this.
To call a home phone after you have bought some credit, press the
Alt key until the Skype menu comes up. Next, arrow right to the
call menu, then down to the call phones menu, then press the Enter
key. This section will let you buy Skype credit, get a
subscription, view my account, and so on.
You can tab around this screen to hear the different options
there. For example, select your country, the dial pad and so on.
You can either enter in your numbers using the dial pad, or via
the keyboard by typing them into the edit box. This is found just
before the recent call menu. Once you have put in your number, it
is simply a matter of ringing them by pressing the Call button or
To review text
messages in Skype
When you are in a Skype text chat, you can
review the last 10 messages to that person.
In Skype for Desktop, you can now report and review recent
messages using NVDA + Ctrl + 1 through to NVDA + Ctrl +0. For
example, NVDA + Ctrl +1 for the most recent message, and NVDA +
Ctrl + 0 for the tenth message.
To quickly get to your recent messages list, you can use another
shortcut key. Use the Alt key and the number 2 (on the main qwerty
keyboard) to get quickly to this section. This will give you a
list (or log) of your recent activity while using Skype. In this
section there will be a search box and a link that will take you
to your recent messages list. It is a matter of just pressing the
Enter key and your latest messages will appear from people you
have spoken to recently.
To sign out of
Press the Alt key while in Skype. Next, arrow
down to "sign out" and press the Enter key. You should now be
signed out of Skype.