Migrating from other screen readers to the NVDA
are coming from the Jaws screen reader or the Window Eyes
screen reader to NVDA, you may find the following list of
comparable hot keys useful.
Some reasons you might want to migrate to the NVDA
can have as many copies of NVDA as you like, plus it will not
time out after a period of time.
upgrades to the next version are free and to every version after
that (unlike some where you purchase the initial commercial
screen reader package and then have to purchase the subsequent
will work on computers, laptops and both 32 and 64 bit operating
systems of Windows (starting from XP home right up to Windows
10). NVDA will also run on tablets running the x86 version of
Windows, but will not work on tablets running Windows RT.Please see the system
requirements in the help section of the user manual for more
has been translated into over 48 languages so far besides
English. Please see the section called Internationalization in
the user manual for more information.
NVDA comes with the E speak synthesiser. If you
want more synth packages, you can add them to NVDA (either for
free or they can be bought). These can be both Sapi 4 and Sapi 5
and phone support for NVDA from the NV Access online shop
Are you aware that NV Access
have put together an online Shop where you can buy training material for the NVDA screen reader?
You can also get phone support.
Please stay tuned for more training material as
it becomes available.
For more information please visit the NV Access
Online Shop at the following link https://www.nvaccess.org/shop/
Find out about NVDA
progress via the nvaccess In Process blog
To find out what is happening within the NVDA
project, visit “In-Process” - the new NV Access blog, where you
can be informed of happenings within the organisation, staff and
of course, NVDA. http://www.nvaccess.org/category/in-process/
Click on any of the links in
the table below, to visit other NVDA related webpages that may
be of interest to you.
obtain a copy of the NVDA screen reader, you will need to go to
the following website http://www.nvaccess.org Go to
the download section to grab your copy of NVDA.
the file has been clicked/entered on, NVDA will come up with a
musical tune then start talking. You must agree to the
documentation, then it will give you 3 options. In most cases,
the first option will be to install NVDA to your computer. The
other 2 options are to make a portable copy of NVDA on a USB
stick; and also to run as a temporary copy.
you have a desktop computer or a laptop, you can set your
keyboard to use either the desktop keyboard layout or the laptop
keyboard layout. You can also make other changes in this
To quickly get to the keyboard settings in NVDA,
press the Ctrl key + NVDA key + the letter K. Here in this
section you can select a keyboard layout, select a modifier key,
speak typed characters, speak typed words and so on.
note, where I refer to the NVDA key this is a modifier key which
can be the Insert key, the extended Insert key or the Caps Lock
key. You would use one of these keys to do a task. For example,
the Insert key + the letter N will get you into the preferences
section of NVDA where you can find the user manual and so on.
You can use the arrow keys to navigate the different menus.
Some shortcuts to get
you started with NVDA
you have installed NVDA to your computer, use the Ctrl + Alt +
letter N keys to start your copy of NVDA.
get into the preferences menu of NVDA (where you can make
changes or view the user manual), use the NVDA key + letter N.
To quit your copy of NVDA, use the NVDA key +
Windows shortcut keys
make your life a lot easier, it is wise to learn some of the
Windows shortcut keys. This might be to copy and paste text,
jump to the Windows notification area and much more. For
shortcuts that can be used with Windows and some other useful
programs, please go to the following link (which is linked to a
Dropbox account) at https://www.dropbox.com/s/r0hc0ejv9whgsgs/Useful%20shortcuts.zip?dl=0
Learning some basic
would be a good idea to read the following sections in the user
manual called Basic NVDA commands and Reporting System
Information. It would also be a good idea to read the sections
on Navigating with the System Focus and Navigating with the
Changing your synthesiser and voice
settings in NVDA
When NVDA is running you can change the synthesiser
that you are using. Press the Ctrl key +NVDA key + the letter S.
Then, it is a matter of using the down or up arrow keys to
navigate the other synthesisers there. Once a synthesiser has
been selected, tab down to the OK button to make your selection.
Change your voice
settings in NVDA
may be cases where you want to adjust the speed of the voice
being used, the pitch, punctuation / symbol or change the voice
being used itself, and so on. To quickly get to the voice
settings dialogue box in NVDA, use the Ctrl key + NVDA key + the
letter V. When the dialogue box appears, you can tab down to
make adjustments. Adjustments could include using the arrow keys
on the slider to speed up or slow down the voice; the Spacebar
to check or uncheck a check box; or the Alt key + down arrow key
to open a Combo box and arrow keys to make your choice.
you change the synthesiser to another one, you must go into the
voice settings after this has been done to change the voice
used, speed up or slow down the voice etc. This is more for new
users of the NVDA screen reader.
has been changed, tab to the ok button, then press the Enter
Extra voices for NVDA
NVDA comes packaged with the E speak synthesiser.
If you do not like any of the variants/voices that come with
NVDA, you can change to other synthesiser packages if they are
bundled on your computer. Usually there is at least one on a
Windows computer which is Sapi 5.You can also install other
synthesiser packages such as Sapi 4 packages or have a look at
the following webpage for either free or paid packages https://github.com/nvaccess/nvda/wiki/ExtraVoices.
Miscellaneous hot keys
The Key Describer (known as Input help in NVDA)
you are not sure what keys do what in NVDA (when coming from
another screen reader) you can turn on input help. When it is turned on,
you can use any combination of keys to see what function that
key combination performs in NVDA. This will not activate any
keys to perform a function, but will give you a description of
what it does. It can be turned on and off again by using the
NVDA key + 1 on the main qwerty keyboard.
Insert key + 1 on the main qwerty keyboard
Insert key + 1 on the main qwerty keyboard
NVDA, Insert key + 1 on the main qwerty keyboard
Read title bar
Shift + T
Insert + T
NVDA: NVDA key + T
Read status line
Ctrl Insert + S
Insert + Num 3
NVDA: NVDA key + End
Read field data
Ctrl Shift + N
Insert + Tab
NVDA: NVDA key + Tab
Ctrl Shift + D
Insert + Tab
NVDA: NVDA key + Tab
Read active window
Ctrl Shift + W
Insert + B
NVDA: NVDA key + B
Read current time
Insert + F12
NVDA: NVDA key + F12 (doing it twice will give you
The Bypass key
Insert + 3
NVDA: NVDA key + F2
Accessing the system tray in Windows
Insert + F11
NVDA: No shortcut key, however the Windows key + B
will do the same, or you can get an add on called systrayList
Open verbosity settings
Insert + V
is no setting for verbosity settings, but the reporting of
links, tables, headings etcetera, can be turned off under the
document formatting settings in NVDA and some other places.
When you are in a document, you can
use the system caret to review the document. You can use the
left and right arrow keys to navigate letter by letter; or the
Ctrl key + right arrow key to go one word at a time to the
right; or the Ctrl key + left arrow key to go one word at a time
to the left. You can also delete out characters to the right,
and backspace letters to the left.
Reviewing text in NVDA
NVDA, you can leave the system caret at the top of the page (and
without moving it) use the review text command to read the
document character by character, word by word or line by line.
The same commands can be used on a webpage while in browse mode
and menus in Windows. You cannot use the review text commands to
edit a document; but you can to read a document and review text
that the system caret may not be able to get to.The section you will
need to look at in the user guide is called Reviewing Text.
The other 3 places you might find text review
useful are: screen review mode, document review and object
review mode. To go into screen review mode use the NVDA key +
Num 7 (on the numeric keypad). Document review will only show if
it can be used. To go into object navigation mode, use the
Insert key + Num 1 (on the numeric keypad). For more information
on these other modes, please see the NVDA user manual section
called Review modes.
Read from current position down the page
in a word processor (such as Microsoft Word) and on a web page
on the internet, you may want to read from the current position
down the page.
Eyes: Ctrl + Shift +R
Insert + down arrow
NVDA key + down arrow
To stop NVDA from reading the document or webpage,
press the Ctrl key.
Read current line
Ctrl + Num 5
Insert + Num 8
NVDA: NVDA key + up arrow
Spell the current word
Ctrl + Num 6
Insert + Num 5 twice quickly
NVDA: Num 5 twice
Spell the current word phonetically
Ctrl + Num 6 twice quickly
Num 5 twice quickly, then Num 6 to move to the right, and Num 4
to move to the left by letter
NVDA: Num 5 (press 3 times)
Read by sentence
Ctrl Shift + page up or down
Alt + down arrow
NVDA: Down arrow
Read character formatting
Insert + F
NVDA key + F
Pressing this key combo twice will bring up a
little browse window, where you can use the arrow keys to review
Read misspelled word in context
Alt + S
JAWS: Insert + C
Supported browsers for
The elements list will only work with supported
browsers that work with NVDA.
Bring up links list
view known as the elements list in NVDA
Insert + F7
NVDA: NVDA key + F7
Window-Eyes browse mode, or JAWS forms mode, or NVDA’S browse
mode and focus modes on and off
Ctrl + Shift + A
Enter to turn on, and Num + to turn off
NVDA key + Spacebar
In the browse mode settings of NVDA, you can also
(instead of hearing sounds when going into focus mode where you
can type, and browse mode where you can use single letter
navigation keys) change it under the browse mode settings in
NVDA. Uncheck the box that says Audio indication of focus and
browse modes. Save your settings with the Ctrl key + NVDA key +
letter C. Now, you should hear NVDA say browse mode (for single
letter navigation), and focus mode (where you can type
information into a form when on a webpage or supported
Find a word on a current web page
Ctrl + Shift + F
Ctrl + F
NVDA: NVDA key + Ctrl + F
Move to next
block of text
Move to next paragraph
and JAWS: P
NVDA: Ctrl key + down arrow key (only in Microsoft
For a full list of
single letter navigation keys in NVDA
For a full list of Single letter navigation keys,
please see the section called Single Letter Navigation in the
Window-Eyes, JAWS, and NVDA: letter B
Window-Eyes, JAWS, and NVDA: letter C
Jaws: Move to Next Landmark (formerly next Mouse Over Element):
JAWS, and NVDA: letter R
Move to the next heading
Window-Eyes, JAWS, and NVDA: the letter H
Move to the next visited link
Window-Eyes, JAWS, and NVDA: the letter V
Move to a form field
Window-Eyes, JAWS, and NVDA: the letter F
Move to the
Window-Eyes, JAWS, and NVDA: the letter T
Navigating tables with
Turn on table mode
Ctrl + Numpad plus
Turn off table mode
Ctrl + Numpad minus
tables with JAWS and NVDA
Ctrl + Alt + left/right arrow
Ctrl + Alt + up/down arrow
Is there something equivalent to
JAWS cursor and other mouse commands in NVDA?
Yes. The screen review allows reading the contents
of the current window. To switch to screen review, press NVDA +
Numpad 7. Once you locate the position where you wish to perform
mouse clicks, route the mouse by pressing NVDA + Numpad slash,
then press Numpad slash for left mouse click or Numpad star for
right mouse click. To switch to object review, press NVDA +
Moving the physical
mouse or using mouse commands
If you are a physical mouse user NVDA can read what
is under the mouse. If mouse tracking is turned off it can be
toggled back on with the NVDA key + letter M. When the physical
mouse is moved around, it will speak what is under the mouse. If
you want to get to the mouse settings dialogue box quickly
(where you can make some changes to do with the mouse) press the
Ctrl + NVDA + letter M key. For more information, please see the
section in the user manual called Navigating with the Mouse.
Making the change
coming from Window-Eyes to the NVDA screen reader
The following tutorial covers
making the change coming from Window-Eyes to the NVDA screen
reader when using a laptop computer. This NVDA tutorial is courtesy of Tony Ballou.
Making the change coming from
Window-Eyes to NVDA with a laptop
If you have decided that you're going to make the
switch from Window-Eyes to NVDA and you're using a laptop, as
with anything you may catch a case of the jitters. Hey, with
something new, who doesn't? Here's a guide that hopefully will
not only rest those jitters, but will have you working with
Let's get things started!
Setting up NVDA
The first thing you will want to do (if you do not
have screen reading software installed on your laptop) is to
start up Narrator. Since there’s no way for me to know what
system everyone has, there are still a couple of ways that will
work no matter what version of Windows you are running. Press
the Windows key to enter the search box and type Narrator, or if
you are more comfortable with using the run dialog box, press
the Windows key and R, and type the word Narrator, then press
To get NVDA, there are 2 places that you can go.
The first is the NV access website (the link follows) https://www.nvaccess.org Once there, you can get your copy of NVDA from the
Once you've downloaded the file from there, go to
the location where you saved it, and hit Enter on it. When
prompted, allow the program to run and in a few seconds you'll
hear a musical chord. After this the E speak voice will welcome
you to the NVDA installer program. At this point you will want
to shut down Narrator so that only one voice will be speaking.
Follow the prompts until you have successfully
installed NVDA and when the finish button comes up hit it. NVDA
will close out for a second or two then restart with the fully
installed version that you put on your laptop.
If you have a bit of computer savvy, you can get an
automatic installer for NVDA at WWW.ninite.com
Once you have downloaded the file to your hard
drive, go to the location where you saved it, press Enter and
after allowing it to run, sit back, relax, and let ninite do its
thing. Once it's complete, NVDA will be installed and ready to
Changing the synthesizer or
Before I go any further, let me say that laptops
come in various keyboard designs and layouts. Some of them have
numeric keypads and some of them don't. However, with this
section you shouldn't have any trouble with setting things up.
To get into the NVDA menu hit Insert + N. You can
use any one of three modifier keys. The Caps Lock, and both
Insert keys can be used in combination with any letter that NVDA
designates as a shortcut key. (These can be located under the
keyboard settings section).
Changing the synthesizer
Once the menu is up, arrow down to the preferences
submenu. Hit the right arrow to open it, and arrow down twice
until NVDA says synthesizer. Press Enter on it. Once the dialog
box comes up, NVDA should default to the synthesizer combo box.
Down arrow to choose Microsoft Sapi version 5. Then, when it
begins to speak, tab to the OK button and press the Enter key.
Once you have this done, you probably will want to keep the
voice you have selected. To do this, press the NVDA + Control +
C keyboard shortcut. This will save the current configuration,
so that when you restart your system, the voice you selected
will always come on.
Changing the voice
To get into the NVDA menu hit Insert +N. Once the
menu is up, arrow down to the preferences submenu. Hit the right
arrow to open it, and arrow down twice until NVDA says voice
settings. Press the Enter key. When the dialog box comes up it
should default to voice (which is the language of the voice) and
you will need to tab down to Variant. Here you can select the
voice that you prefer.
A word about Keyboard layouts
If you are strictly using a laptop, you will have
to set up NVDA for that. Here’s how:
Press NVDA + N to bring up the NVDA menu. Down
arrow to the preferences sub menu and hit the right arrow once
to open it. Press down arrow until NVDA says keyboard settings,
and press Enter. The keyboard settings dialog box will come up,
and NVDA should say keyboard settings dialog combo box keyboard
layout; desktop collapsed Alt + K. This is the default choice.
Press Alt + down arrow and NVDA says Laptop; then tab to the ok
button and press Enter. Note: if your laptop does not have a
numeric keypad and you are using an external keyboard, you can
work with NVDA using the desktop layout.
Navigating and creating documents using NVDA
If you are familiar with the Windows commands, then
you have pretty much got the game won. Nothing has changed, the
arrows do as they have always done, and when combined with the
Control and Shift keys they are still very much the same.
However, there are some keyboard commands that you should be
aware of in NVDA. Here are some of those:
Alt + Ctrl + N
NVDA + N
Brings up the NVDA menu to allow you to access
preferences, tools, help, etcetera.
NVDA + Q
Input Help Mode
NVDA + 1
Pressing any key in this mode will report the key,
and the description of any NVDA command associated with it.
Pass next key through
NVDA + F2
Tells NVDA to pass the next key press straight
through to the active application, even if it is normally
treated as an NVDA key command.
NVDA + F12
Pressing once reports the current time, pressing
twice reports the date.
Report battery status
NVDA + Shift + B
Reports the battery status that is whether AC power
is in use or the current charge percentage.
Report clipboard text
NVDA + C
Reports the text in the clipboard (if there is
Report current focus
NVDA + Tab
Announces the current object or control that has
the System focus. Pressing twice will spell the information.
NVDA + T
Reports the title of the currently active window.
Pressing twice will spell the information. Pressing three times
will copy it to the clipboard.
Read active window
NVDA + B
Reads all the controls in the currently active
window. (Very useful for working in dialog boxes).
Report Status Bar
NVDA + Shift + End
Reports the status bar if NVDA finds one. It also
moves the navigator object to this location. Pressing twice will
spell the information.
NVDA + A
Starts reading from the current position of the
system caret, moving it along as it goes.
Read current line
NVDA + l
Reads the line where the system caret is currently
situated. Pressing twice spells the line.
Read current text selection
NVDA + Shift + S
Reads any currently selected text.
These are just a few of the keyboard shortcuts that
are available to you. In the help section of NVDA, you can find
a list of all of the NVDA keyboard shortcuts. Any other
information that you may want to check out is in the user guide
which is also in this menu.
The commands for navigating the internet are
universal, and everything that you could do with your original
screen reader can be done with NVDA. Nearly all of the single
letter navigation keys perform in the same manner with a couple
of exceptions. Again, you can use the command reference and the
NVDA user guide to find out more information on it.
NVDA like Window-Eyes does have a review cursor
which you can use to navigate the screen. If you’re coming from
Window-Eyes, the PC cursor is called the system focus and the
system caret. As for the Window-Eyes cursor, it is a combination
of things, 3 review modes which are: document, object, and
screen. The screen review part of this will probably be the mode
you will be most comfortable with; and object navigation. The
NVDA users guide explains all of this thoroughly. You can also
find information on review and object navigation at the
accessibility central and NVDA Korea-English websites. The web
addresses will be posted in the NVDA resources section later on
in this document.
Screen Review Commands
Move to previous line in review
NVDA + up Arrow
Moves the review cursor to the previous line of
Report current line in review
NVDA + Shift + period
Announces the current line of text where the review
cursor is positioned. Pressing twice spells the line. Pressing
three times spells the line using character descriptions.
Move to next line in review
NVDA + down Arrow
Move the review cursor to the next line of text.
Move to previous word in review
NVDA + Control + left Arrow
Report current word in review
NVDA + Control + period
Announces the current word in the text where the
review cursor is positioned. Pressing twice spells the word.
Pressing three times spells the word using character
Move to next word in review
NVDA + Control + right Arrow
Move the review cursor to the next word in the
Move to previous character in review
NVDA + left Arrow
Moves the review cursor to the previous character
on the current line in the text
Report current character in review
NVDA + period
Announces the current character on the line of text
where the review cursor is positioned. Pressing twice reports a
description or example of that character. Pressing three times
reports the numeric value of the character in decimal and
Move to next character in review
NVDA + right Arrow
Move the review cursor to the next character on the
current line of text.
Observe the layout and patterns of the above
The arrow keys will give the previous and next
characters. Adding the Control key to the arrow keys will give
the previous and next words, and adding the Shift key to the
arrow keys will give the previous and next lines. This same
concept holds true for reading the current character, word and
line. The only difference is that you’re using the period
instead of the arrows.
Those are the main commands for reviewing text.
This next set however should be noted.
Move to top line in review
NVDA + Control + Home
Move to bottom line in review
NVDA + Control + End
Move to start of line in review
NVDA + Home
Move to end of line in review
NVDA + End
Observe the pattern of these shortcuts.
Switch to next review mode
NVDA + Page Up
Switches to the next available review mode.
Switch to previous review mode
NVDA + Page Down
Switches to the previous available review mode.
I believe that if you can grasp these concepts, you
will be well on your way to using NVDA with confidence,
efficiently, and effectively. Good Luck!
Should you need any sort of help with NVDA, there
are loads of places on the internet to find it.
(Note: Though the information on this page is
totally relevant, some of it goes back to earlier versions of
NVDA and may not apply to what you are currently running). Keep
in mind that as things in operating systems and programs change,
things may have to change in NVDA also.) Here is what you'll
For information regarding the NVDA screen reader
If you can't afford the Microsoft office suite
and need something to fill the bill, there are a couple of
programs out there that will do it rather nicely; and they
both support NVDA. They are Open Office and Libre Office. For
information on using these productivity suites with NVDA, go
Sometimes you may need to grab a program and you
are not exactly sure if it will work with NVDA. Here is a list
of programs that are being road tested with NVDA. Keep in mind
that nothing's guaranteed here and other factors such as which
version of the Windows operating system you are working with
If you wish to connect to a community loaded with
NVDA users that will help you answer any queries about NVDA you
may have, look no further than the NVDA users e-mail list. To
get started there, send a message to firstname.lastname@example.org we will be glad to assist.