How to use the VLC media player with the NVDA screen reader

How to play DVD's with VLC media player and also enable audio description

This audio tutorial will briefly cover how to play a DVD with audio description by enabling the audio description track on that DVD. Please note VLC media player will play multi region DVDS. This audio tutorial can be found at

A great little programme that plays DVD's etcetera and works with screen readers, is VLC Media Player. This great little programme can be found at

Some useful shortcut keys for VLC Media player

S stop
N next
P previous
SPACEBAR play / pause
F full screen
B cycle audio track (for example, toggle between audio tracks - audio description and non audio description etcetera)

For a full list of hot keys (also known as shortcut keys) for VLC Media Player, please see their Wiki page at

For more information on what to look for on a DVD, which DVD's have audio description and a written tutorial on using an audio described DVD with the VLC media player on your computer, please visit the following audio description page link.

VLC Media Player Addon

There is a new add on under development for VLC Media Player.
To obtain the add on please go to

Reading the status line in VLC Media player

To read the status line in VLC Media player with NVDA, the status line menu will need to be checked. Press the Alt key until the file menu comes up. Next, arrow right to the View menu; then, arrow down to the status line menu and press the Enter key. This will allow you to read the status line with NVDA. Please note this can not be done in full screen mode. If you press the NVDA key and the End key on your keyboard, and it doesn’t tell you the status line of the movie, this means you are in full screen mode. Press the letter F once, then use the NVDA key and the End key again. It should read out the status line now. Pressing the NVDA key + the End key twice will break the status line up, so it is easier to understand.

Press the letter F again to return it to full screen mode (so you can watch the movie in full screen).

You can also use object navigation in NVDA to locate the status bar. This way, you can review parts of it such as time elapsed, time left etcetera. Please see the section called object navigation in the user manual.

Playing music with VLC Media player from a folder

In most cases people will add folders with music to their playlist. To play music from off your computer in VLC Media player, press the Alt key until you hear NVDA say media Alt + M. Next, arrow down the menu until you hear NVDA say open folder then press the Enter key. An open folder dialogue box will come up. You can use the NVDA key + the letter T to confirm this.

You will have to Shift/Tab a couple of times until you hear NVDA say tree view. Next, you can use your right arrow key to expand the branch and your down or up arrow keys to navigate the tree view. The left arrow key will collapse the branch. You will need to locate where ever your music files are located. This will depend on where you have put them (for example on a Windows 10 machine it might be My PC, Music, and your music may be in folders within this directory).

Keeping your music in folders makes it a lot easier to find the type of music you like. Most people, when they back up their music CDs (IE when they are backed up to their computer), usually the artist name and the album name will be the name of the folder, and the music files will be within the folder. Most people will have their music in an Mp3 or WMA file format.

When you have located your folder with your music in it, navigate the tree view until you find the album you want to play. When you have located the folder or album you want to listen to, you will need to press the Enter key on it. Next, tab until you hear NVDA say the album name, and tab once more and you will hear NVDA say open folder. Press the Enter key. The folder with your music should now start playing for you.

To add more folders with music in them, just repeat the process to find them as mentioned above.

Using the applications key

Another way to play your music with VLC Media Player is to go into Windows Explorer/ File Manager on your computer. Use the Windows key + the letter E to do this. Locate your C: drive. When found, press the Enter key then navigate to where your music is kept; for example C: drive, my full albums or whatever you have called it. Locate the folder with the name of the artist and album you want to listen to. You can now use the applications key on your computer. A context menu will come up. Arrow down, until you hear NVDA say Add to VLC Media Player's playlist. The option just under it will give you the option to play with VLC Media player and not another music player. Just press the Enter key on this menu and it will play it in VLC Media Player.

If you want to keep on adding music to the playlist repeat the process for each album.

If your computer does not have an applications key, while on the music folder, press the Shift key + the F10 key. This will bring up the context menu where you can arrow down to the options as mentioned above.

When your music is playing, if you press the letter N it will tell you the name of the next song and pressing the letter P will tell you the name of the previous song. Pressing the spacebar will pause/play the song. The letter S will stop the song being played.

Saving your playlist in VLC media player

When you have put together your play list it can be saved with VLC Media player. To save your play list press the Alt key until you hear NVDA say Media Alt + M. Next, arrow down until you hear NVDA say save play list to file, then press the Enter key. A save dialogue will come up and NVDA will default to the file name section. Give your play list a name then tab until you hear NVDA say save as type. It will give you 4 options to choose from. These are: XSPF playlist (*.xspf), M3U playlist (*.m3u), M3U8 playlist (*.m3u8), HTML playlist (*.html).

Next, tab until you hear where you want to save this play list (the name of its location). Then, Shift/Tab back until you hear NVDA say save, then press the Enter key and the playlist will be saved to that location. It would be a good idea to save the playlist where all of your music/albums are so it is easier to find.

To play the same play list, locate the one you want, then press the Enter key and your list should come up in VLC Media player.

If you also check under the media/play recent media menu, then press the Enter key, it will come up with the music you have just been playing. You can also arrow down or up this section, or press the Enter key to play a song; or clear it when finished with it.

Setting VLC as your default music / DVD player

Depending on which operating system you have, the easiest way to set VLC Media player as your player for watching DVDs or listening to music is to go into the control panel in Windows. Locate the auto play icon then press the Enter key. When it comes up you will be given various options. There is a check box just under this section that will need to be checked. Use the space bar for this. Make sure the check box under this section is also checked. Choose what to do with each type of media.

You will be given extra sections that you can customize in this section which can easily be tabbed through. One of the sections will be called Music and there will be a combo box. Change this to VLC Media player. If you set the DVD movie to VLC Media player, when you put in a DVD it will come up in VLC Media Player.  Locate the Audio CD section and change this to VLC Media player and the one underneath it called enhanced audio CD as well. Make sure you save your settings by pressing the Enter key on the save button. You can use the Alt key + the F4 key to shut any windows that are open. Now, when you put in either a music CD or DVD, it will come up in VLC Media player.

Playing your music/movies to a Google device


If you have some Google devices around the house (such as a Chromecast, Chromecast audio or Google smart speakers like the Google Mini, Google Home or Max), you can play your music/movies to the appropriate device.

This will be from a Windows computer using VLC Media player 3.