How to use the Microsoft Edge browser with the NVDA screen reader

In Windows 10 Microsoft is moving away from the Internet Explorer browser. The last Internet Explorer browser will be version 11. It may get security updates and the browser that Microsoft wants you to use is their new Microsoft Edge browser. The new browser is a metro app which is found on Windows 10 devices and does not have the old menus in it that went from left to right (that were in Internet Explorer).

Please note

At present most single letter navigation keys in NVDA can be used, but may be laggy in between and/or within pages. This will be improved in the Version 1703 (OS Build 15063.138) of Windows 10 and beyond. The speaking of characters in the location bar will then be echoed as well. At present you may also hear the repeating of links. Future updates to NVDA or from Microsoft for Windows 10 should fix these problems.

To bring up your copy of Microsoft Edge in Windows 10 you can do it a couple of different ways. One way is by locating the Edge browser under the running applications section. You can also locate it by typing Microsoft Edge (or even just edge) in the Windows search dialogue box. Alternately you can also find it through the all apps menu.

When you have opened the Microsoft Edge browser

To get to any of the buttons etcetera, you will need to go to the top of the page. Use the Ctrl key + Home key to do this. You will need to use the Shift/Tab keys to get to the buttons. You might have to do this a few times to get to the application buttons. If you can't seem to get to the buttons this way (by going to the top of the page and using the Shift/Tab method) you can jump to the location bar using Ctrl+L (or one of its alternatives) and tab to them.

To access any of these, you will need to use the Tab or Shift/Tab keys (depending on which way you navigate on the page) to access them. You will hear NVDA say button customize, go button, search or enter web address, more toggle, list make a web note button, hub, favourites, reading list, history and downloads toggle button, refresh button, and new tab button.

Under the customize button when pressed

When this section is opened up you can jump down by headings or tab through the different sections here.

Under this section will be a customize heading and information cards section where you can choose your favourite topics.

These are buttons and can be toggled on and off with the Spacebar, and if selected will show in your personalised feed.

There are 3 buttons down the bottom. These are the save button, cancel button and reset to default settings button.

The More toggle button

When the more toggle button is pressed it will come up with the following sections. It will pop up a pop up window which can be tabbed through.  These options will be a new window, new in private window, zoom out, zoom in, cast media to device, find on page, print, F12 developers tools, send feedback, extensions, what’s new and tips, settings, then it will cycle back to new window.

List make a web note button

Under this section when the button is pressed you will get the following. Web notes pen, highlighter, eraser, new note, clip a region, save button, share button and exit button. The above sections can be tabbed through.

The Hub (Favourites, reading list, history, and downloads) button

When this button is pressed it will give you the following options. There are 4 tabs which say favourite tab, reading list tab, history tab and download tab. You can use the left and right arrow keys to go between the tabs, and the Tab key to go into any of these sections.

Under the favourite tab there will be settings link, import favourite button and pin this pane button.

Under the reading list tab there will be pin this pane button.

Under the history tab there will be clear all history link, last hour (etcetera) and pin this pane button.

Under the download tab there will be open folder link, pin this pane button.

Some useful shortcut keys to use

Ctrl + DAdd current site to favourites or reading list

Ctrl + EOpen a search query in the address bar

Ctrl + HOpen history pane

Ctrl + I Open favourites pane

Ctrl + JOpen downloads pane

Ctrl + Lor F4 or Alt + D Select the address bar

Backspace or Alt + Left arrow Go back

Alt + Right arrow Go forward

Esc Stop loading the page

Getting to the location bar quickly

You can use any of the following shortcut keys to jump up there quickly. These are: Ctrl + L or Alt + D or the F4 key.

Select the address bar, press the backspace key to clear the current entry, then type in your web address (for example ). Press the Enter key to take you to that web address.

Setting your homepage

You will need to go to the top of the page with the Ctrl key + Home key. The next step is to use the Shift/Tab key a couple of times until you hear NVDA say more toggle button. Press the Spacebar then Tab down until you hear NVDA say settings, then press the Enter key. When the next screen comes up, tab down until you hear NVDA say new tab page. Open the combo box with the Alt key + down arrow key then tab through the sections until you hear NVDA say a specific page or pages, then press the Enter key.

When the next page comes up, you will need to tab until you hear NVDA say new URL. Here, you enter in your web address that you want to use for your home page, for example  After you have entered the web address, tab to the save button, then press the Enter key. Now, you should have the new homepage that you specified.

Getting to your downloaded files quickly

There is a shortcut to get to this section quickly. You can use the Ctrl key + the letter J. When this section appears, you will hear NVDA say downloads window. If you tab once you will hear NVDA say open folder link. Press the Enter key and you will be where your downloaded files are. 

Shortcuts for the Microsoft Edge browser in Windows 10

Shortcut                                             Action

Ctrl + D                                               Add current site to favourites or reading list

Ctrl + E                                               Open a search query in the address bar

Ctrl + F                                               Find on page

Ctrl + H                                               Open history pane

Ctrl + I                                                 Open favourites pane

Ctrl + J                                                Open downloads pane

Ctrl + K                                               Duplicate tab

Ctrl + L or F4 or Alt + D                    Select the address bar

Ctrl + N                                               Open a new window

Ctrl + P                                               Print the current page

Ctrl + R or F5                                    Refresh the page

Ctrl + T                                               Open a new tab

Ctrl + W                                              Close current tab

Ctrl + Shift + P                                  Open a new InPrivate Browsing window

Ctrl + Shift + R                                  Enter reading view

Ctrl +1, 2, 3,…, 8                               Switch to a specific tab number

Ctrl + 9                                               Switch to the last tab

Ctrl + plus (+)                                    Zoom in (25%)

Ctrl + minus (-)                                  Zoom out (25%)

Ctrl + 0                                               Reset zoom level

Backspace or Alt + Left arrow        Go back

Alt + Right arrow                              Go forward

Esc                                                     Stop loading the page

Ctrl + Tab                                           Switch to the next tab

Ctrl + Shift + Tab                              Open link in a new tab and switch to the tab