In-Process Archive

  1. In-Process 13th June 2018

    UPDATE: NVDA 2018.2 is now available! Keep reading!

    Well, what a busy few weeks we’ve had recently!

    The highlight for me was the annual NVDACon. I find NVDACon such a special event. Because it is set up and run entirely by users, it highlights what a wonderful community you all are!

    If you missed NVDACon, fear not! The sessions were recorded and will be available on the NVDACon website very shortly. Be sure to check the NVDACon website and follow NVDACon on twitter to find out when the recordings are online.

    Mick and Reef spent a week in San Francisco working on the future of Braille Mathematics. Many leading individuals and companies came together during a very productive week. More will come out from that over the next few weeks and months.

    Of course, the other big thing happening at the moment is that NVDA 2018.2 IS NOW OUT! Check out the NVDA 2018.2 release announcement for the full announcement and links to download.

    Highlights of this release include Support for tables in Kindle for PC, support for HumanWare BrailleNote Touch and BI14 Braille displays, Improvements to both Onecore and Sapi5 speech synthesizers, improvements in Microsoft Outlook and much more.

    Something else to try out is a new combined settings dialog. In earlier versions of NVDA, many individual settings dialogs were available from the NVDA Preferences menu. In NVDA 2018.2, many of these are now pages in one single “Settings” dialog. Direct shortcut keys to get to a section, for instance, NVDA+control+k to get to keyboard settings, still work. These shortcuts open the settings dialog, to the relevant page, with the focus on the first item, as before. One minor change is that there is only one “Speech” page, with the Synthesizer as the first button on this page. That button opens the traditional Synthesizer dialog to choose the synthesizer. You can still press NVDA+control+s to open the Synthesizer dialog, or NVDA+control+v to open the Speech (previously “Voice”) settings. The advantage of the new dialog is that you can adjust settings across different categories all from the one dialog.

    You can download NVDA 2018.2 now to try out all the new features.

    You can also read the full NVDA 2018.2 what’s new to find out about every change and update.

    That’s all today, Have fun, and let us know your thoughts on NVDA 2018.2!

  2. NVDACon online conference, June 1 – 3 2018

    Hi everyone,

    Next weekend, June 1 – 3 2018, is the 5th annual NVDACon. It’s an online conference you can attend from the comfort of your own home. The theme this year is “Future-proofing NVDA”. There are sessions to suit regular users, as well as those interested in the more technical aspects of add-on development. It is free and open to everyone to attend. NVDACon is a great chance to meet other users, add-on developers and members of the NV Access team.

    There’s no cost and no RSVP needed, all you need is the TeamTalk software. TeamTalk is a free program which works a bit like Skype, you can have voice conversations, or, as with the NVDACon sessions, simply join and listen to the presenter speaking. There is also a text chat feature, which you can use, for instance, to indicate that you have a question during a presentation without interrupting the speaker.

    TeamTalk 5 Classic is the latest version and it works well with NVDA. See the Official TeamTalk 5 Classic page for how to download the program, the NVDA add-on and how to set it up. See also the NVDACon How to join us page for more detailed steps for joining particular conference areas.

    Sessions are generally recorded and available to listen to after the conference at https://www.nvdacon.org/ One big advantage of participating during NVDACon is that you can ask questions and participate in the conversation following each session.

    The full schedule for NVDACon 2018 will be up on the NVDACon website in the next few days. You can also join the conversation on the NVDA user’s email list.

    Note: NV Access is very proud to support the organising committee, in small ways, such as this post, but otherwise, everything for NVDACon is organised entirely by users, for users!

  3. In-Process 15th May 2018

    Welcome to another edition of In-Process. A special shout-out to all the mums out there celebrating Mother’s Day around this time. Many countries celebrated Mother’s Day on Sunday (the second Sunday in May). Some celebrate in March, or at other times, such as our friends in Paraguay, who celebrate today, May 15th.

    NVDA 2018.2

    We’re getting close to NVDA 2018.2 now. We are in translation freeze, which means translators have until the end of next week to update translations for 2018.2. We can then expect to see a release candidate by the end of the month. One of the big new features in 2018.2 is the single settings dialog we’ve already covered. There are plenty of other exciting developments included. Three areas I’ll mention today are table support, speech and Braille:

    Tables

    There have been some great improvements to experience with tables. Row and column spans are reported in both speech and Braille. Reading and navigation is possible in tables in Kindle PC now. Table navigation commands are now also supported in Google Docs (with Braille mode).

    Speech

    On Windows 10, NVDA now uses the Windows OneCore Voices as the default synthesizer. NVDA still comes with eSpeak, and this is still the default on earlier versions of Windows. Those on Windows 10 who would like to use eSpeak can do so by changing synthesizer. Note this change is only for new installations and won’t affect existing users.

    If the selected OneCore voice is uninstalled, the OneCore synth driver will no longer fail to load. Changing OneCore voices is also faster.

    Newer Microsoft SAPI 5 voices no longer lag at the end of speech, making it more efficient to navigate with these voices.

    Braille



    • Support for the Braillenote Touch, Brailliant BI 14 and HandyTech displays

    • You can now toggle control, shift, alt, windows and NVDA from your braille keyboard and combine these modifiers with braille input (e.g. press control+s)

    • New translation tables for Lithuanian 8 dot, Ukranian, Mongolian Grade 2

    • Ability to report formatting under a specific Braille cell

    • Updated LibLouis Braille translator to 3.5.0

    • French (Canada) Braille tables have been removed in favour of French (unified)

    • Contracted Braille input tables now fall back to uncontracted mode in non-editable cases

    • Fixed malformed output for several Braille tables, including capital signs in Danish 8-dot

    Certification

    This week we welcome our first NVDA Certified Expert from India. As one of our largest user bases, we are very pleased to see India represented on the list of Certified Experts. Not only is accreditation a great addition to your resume, but the ever-growing list of Certified Experts is a fantastic resource to those looking for help. Services provided by Experts vary and may include on-site support, add-in development, or in-person training.

    Windows 10 Insider update

    Windows 10 insiders this week discovered an issue in the latest insider build. Affected users report problems installing or updating programs, including NVDA. After allowing the program to run at the UAC prompt, the install never completes. Those affected may wish to revert to the previous insider build or wait it out until Microsoft release a new build.

    We appreciate our insider users and their patience with such issues when they crop up. It was Windows 10 insiders who first noticed the OneCore voices issue earlier this year. Although necessitating the release of NVDA 2018.1.1, it meant that the issue only affected a limited number of NVDA users. The fix was deployed long before most users received the main April 2018 Windows update which is currently rolling out.

    That’s all for this week, have a fantastic fortnight until the next In-Process!

  4. In-Process 26th April 2018

    Welcome to this last edition of In-Process for April. Can you believe we are almost a third of the way through 2018 already?

    Tek Talk

    A special welcome this time around to all the listeners of Tek Talk. Quentin was invited to speak to the program this week about all things NVDA and NV Access. Thank you to Robert Acosta from Accessible World for the opportunity to join you this week. The presentation was very popular, with some very insightful questions at the end. Be sure to visit the Tek Talk page to listen to the episode or to find out more about Tek Talk.

    Robert Acosta sent the links mentioned in the presentation to subscribers. For anyone else interested, here are the links to everything mentioned:

    NV Access & NVDA:

    Ways to contact us:

    Contribute to the community:

    Sight City

    Mick is busy over in Frankfurt at Sight City. Mick and Babbage are presenting again at 2pm and 3pm on Thursday and Friday. Any individuals or organisations in Germany this week are most welcome to attend. It is a great opportunity to learn more about the great work both Babbage and NV Access are doing at the moment!

    New features in snapshot builds

    Meanwhile, back in the office, there has been lots happening. Particularly, there are plenty of exciting new additions in recent Snapshot builds. Last time on In-Process we covered the new settings dialog. Here are some other recent changes worth checking out:


    • Notifications from Windows 10 apps such as Calculator and the Windows Store

    • New Braille Translation tables for Lithuanian 8 dot, Ukrainian and Mongolian grade 2

    • Formatting information for the text under a specific Braille cell

    • It is possible to postpone installing detected NVDA updates

    • You can now toggle control, shift, alt, windows and NVDA from your braille keyboard. These modifiers can be combined with braille input (e.g. press control+s)

    • Restored support for Handy Tech Braillino and Modular (with old firmware) displays

    To try these features out now, you will want to download one of our Snapshot builds. The “Next” builds have the very latest cutting-edge code. As a result, occasionally some things may not work exactly as planned. New features “incubate” in Next for at least a fortnight. All going well, these features then graduate to “Master” builds. As a result of this extra testing, “Master” builds should be more robust. Everything in “Master” is intended for the next stable release of NVDA, so should be a little more robust.

    Excel problem


    One issue we have encountered recently is with Editing text in Excel. This has generated some helpful discussion and testing by users of GitHub, and the NVDA e-mail group. For some Excel users, when pressing F2 to edit a cell, NVDA announces “Unknown”. It then won’t read any text in that cell. This seems to have started after a recent update from Microsoft. The workaround that seems to fix the issue for most users, is to uncheck “Allow editing directly in cells”. Not everyone is experiencing this, but if you are, you can change this setting by doing the following:


    1. Have Excel open.

    2. Press “alt+f” to open the file menu then press “t” for the options.

    3. Press “control+tab” until the focus is on the “Advanced” options page.

    4. Press “alt+e” to toggle the “Allow editing directly in cells” option. Ensure that this is unchecked.

    5. Press “enter” to save the changes. Editing cell contents should now work again.


    Note that in turning this setting off, does change things slightly for visual users:

    • With editing directly in cells enabled, when F2 is pressed, the caret appears in the cell itself. Text which would flow out of the cell flows to the right, then to lines below. Cells covered by this text are hidden while this happens. Text in the edited cell is coloured to highlight cell references and parenthesis.

    • With editing directly in cells disabled, when F2 is pressed, the caret appears in the formula bar above the worksheet. Colouring of formula elements is also done in the formula bar rather than the cell while editing. Only text which fits in the cell is visible in the cell while the formula is being edited.

    That’s all for this time. We’ll be back in a couple of weeks with more information about the upcoming NVDACon, as well as all the happenings between now and then!

  5. In-Process 11th April 2018

    Welcome to another In-Process! The NV Access team are all well rested from CSUN. We’ve caught up on correspondence from while we were away, so thank you for your patience!

    Sight City and Babbage


    Just as Mick gets back into the swing of things back home, he will be packing again. This time for Frankfurt, Germany, to the Sight City conference.

    Mick will be attending Sight City with our good friends from Babbage. Mick and Babbage will run several seminars at Sight City. The seminars will outline how distributors can integrate NVDA into their business models. They will also demonstrate using NVDA with Citrix and remote desktop connections. If you are in Frankfurt between April 25 and 27, it is sure to be a great exhibition. Sight City is free to attend, and there is a pick-up service for vision-impaired visitors from the train station and the airport to the exhibition grounds.

    Many of our end users outside the Netherlands may not be familiar with who Babbage are. Babbage has been a fantastic supporter of NV Access and the NVDA project over the past year. Leonard de Ruijter, is a prolific contributor of both code and knowledge on GitHub issues. Leonard also represents Babbage on the NVDA Council. The council is an important mechanism to give external companies and stakeholders input into the direction of NVDA. Leonard and Babbage have contributed a lot of valuable input to NVDA and we thank them for their support.

    Multi-Category settings dialog


    One area Leonard has contributed a lot of code to, is NVDA’s new multi-category settings dialog. We are pleased to share this with you in our latest “Next” build. Remember that snapshot builds, particularly Next builds, are pre-release versions. Next builds may not be completely polished and may have bugs. One thing you may not realise, however, is that you can try out snapshot builds without affecting your stable installed copy of NVDA. Here are the steps:

    1. Download the snapshot build you would like to try.

    2. Run the executable and wait for the license agreement to be displayed.

    3. Press tab once and then spacebar to check the “I agree” button to accept the license agreement.

    4. Press alt+c to activate the “Continue running” button (or press tab to this button then enter).

    This will run the snapshot build so you can try out the new settings dialog or any other new features. Be sure to read the “What’s new” item in the help menu which will cover what has changed since the last major release.

    When you are done, simply exit NVDA (or shut down the computer). The next time you start your computer or run NVDA with control+alt+n, it will start your original, installed version.

    NVDA 2018.1.1


    There has been some confusion over the release of NVDA 2018.1.1. NVDA 2018.1.1 was released to fix one specific issue for Windows 10 users. For this reason, we set the download so that users on older operating systems running 2018.1 would not be prompted to update. This was because the new version didn’t change anything on those earlier systems. So if you are running 2018.1 on Windows 7 or 8, you are not missing anything. If you would still like the update, you can download it from the NVDA download page. Users on Windows 10 Spring Creators Update do need NVDA 2018.1.1 (or a newer Snapshot) to use Windows OneCore voices.

    Update to Eloquence

    The Eloquence synthesizer has long been a popular one with screen reader users. Code Factory’s bundle of Eloquence with Vocalizer for NVDA has made it a popular add-on. Recently, Code Factory released an update to this add-on. One of the important features in this version is a fix for an audio problem with Eloquence which affected some users. Anyone using Code Factory’s Voices for NVDA package is encouraged to update. You can download the latest version of the add-on from the Code Factory page.

    Access to equal information, a real-world example


    We always enjoy hearing from our users around the world. Today, I want to share a heartwarming message we received recently. It illustrates the importance that everyday access to technology for all users makes. An author wanted to share his autobiography with a blind friend but was unsure what format to send. He was amazed that the friend was able to read his original PDF version, including the image captions. Without even considering accessibility, the author and editor had simply followed standard guidelines. This had resulted in the file being formatted as a “tagged” PDF. This illustrates how important it is to embed accessibility in guidelines and procedures. It also demonstrates the need not only for universal access to technology but access to the same technology as everyone else. The author didn’t need to convert the text into a special format, and the NVDA user didn’t need any new software. Thanks to Margaret and Eric for sharing their story!

    That’s all for this week. If you have anything you’d like to share with us, please don’t hesitate to reach out on Twitter, Facebook, the E-Mail list, or e-mail.

  6. In-Process 29th March 2018

    Wow, March has been such a busy time, I just realised how long it has been since the last In-Process. I do apologise & hope you didn’t miss me too much!

    This past week, the NV Access team have been busy at the CSUN Adaptive Technology conference in San Diego California. During the week we had some very productive meetings with others in the industry. I’m sure many great things will come from it over the coming year.

    The NV Access team (Quentin, Mick and Reef) at CSUN 2018.

    The NV Access team (Quentin, Mick and Reef) at CSUN 2018.

    At the conference, NV Access delivered two very well received presentations. “Introducing the new NV Access and redesigned NVDA” covered recent developments. The new promotional video, the updated branding, and all the latest NVDA features were all covered. “Choosing and using NVDA” benefitted those new to screen readers and those supporting users. It covered tips such as downloading, setting up and customising voices, as well as how to work with magnification and where to find our VPAT. The slides from these presentations are available for those wishing to download them.

    Introducing the new NV Access and redesigned NVDA

    And

    Choosing and using NVDA

    The team have been very busy, and not only is 2018.1 now out, but we have a follow-up point release: 2018.1.1. In Windows 10’s March update, Microsoft have made a change to the bitrate of the OneCore voices. The new bitrate made them sound very odd in NVDA. Unfortunately, Microsoft made this change at the very last minute, in the final insider build before the public version. We were not expecting it when we released NVDA 2018.1. As users will likely receive the Windows update before NVDA 2018.2 we felt a mid-cycle release was necessary. Read the NVDA 2018.1.1 release notes and download the update.

    Finally this week I thought I’d share the full release notes from 2018.1 / 2018.1.1 but before I do, I thought you might like to prepare with this team selfie, looking combat-ready in the belly of a SH-3 Sea King helicopter. On our last day in San Diego we visited USS Midway aircraft carrier. This particular helicopter recovered the crews of five of the Apollo space missions.

    NV Access in a helicopter

    NV Access team (Reef, Mick, Quentin) in a helicopter on board USS Midway.

    Now, without any further ado, here are all the details from the “what’s new” file for NVDA 2018.1 / 2018.1.1:

    2018.1.1



    This is a special release of NVDA which addresses a bug in the Onecore Windows Speech synthesizer driver, which was causing it to speak with a higher pitch and speed in Windows 10 Redstone 4 (1803). (#8082)


    2018.1



    Highlights of this release include support for charts in Microsoft word and PowerPoint, support for new braille displays including Eurobraille and the Optelec protocol converter, improved support for Hims and Optelec braille displays, performance improvements for Mozilla Firefox 58 and higher, and much more.


    New Features



    • It is now possible to interact with charts in Microsoft Word and Microsoft PowerPoint, similar to the existing support for charts in Microsoft Excel. (#7046)

      • In Microsoft Word: When in browse mode, cursor to an embedded chart and press enter to interact with it.
      • In Microsoft PowerPoint when editing a slide: tab to a chart object, and press enter or space to interact with the chart.
      • To stop interacting with a chart, press escape.

    • New language: Kyrgyz.
    • Added support for VitalSource Bookshelf. (#7155)
    • Added support for the Optelec protocol converter, a device that allows one to use Braille Voyager and Satellite displays using the ALVA BC6 communication protocol. (#6731)
    • It is now possible to use braille input with an ALVA 640 Comfort braille display. (#7733)

      • NVDA’s braille input functionality can be used with these as well as other BC6 displays with firmware 3.0.0 and above.

    • Early support for Google Sheets with Braille mode enabled. (#7935)
    • Support for Eurobraille Esys, Esytime and Iris braille displays. (#7488)

    Changes



    • The HIMS Braille Sense/Braille EDGE/Smart Beetle and Hims Sync Braille display drivers have been replaced by one driver. The new driver will automatically be activated for former syncBraille driver users. (#7459)

      • Some keys , notably scroll keys, have been reassigned to follow the conventions used by Hims products. Consult the user guide for more details.

    • When typing with the on-screen keyboard via touch interaction, by default you now need to double tap each key the same way you would activate any other control. (#7309)

      • To use the existing “touch typing” mode where simply lifting your finger off the key is enough to activate it, Enable this option in the new Touch Interaction settings dialog found in the Preferences menu.

    • It is no longer necessary to explicitly tether braille to focus or review, as this will happen automatically by default. (#2385)

      • Note that automatic tethering to review will only occur when using a review cursor or object navigation command. Scrolling will not activate this new behavior.

    Bug Fixes



    • Browseable messages such as showing current formatting when pressing NVDA+f twice quickly no longer fails when NVDA is installed on a path with non-ASCII characters. (#7474)
    • Focus is now once again restored correctly when returning to Spotify from another application. (#7689)
    • In Windows 10 Fall Creaters Update, NVDA no longer fails to update when Controlled Folder Access is enabled from Windows Defender Security Center. (#7696)
    • Detection of scroll keys on Hims Smart Beetle displays is no longer unreliable. (#6086)
    • A slight performance improvement when rendering large amounts of content in Mozilla Firefox 58 and later. (#7719)
    • In Microsoft Outlook, reading emails containing tables no longer causes errors. (#6827)
    • Braille display gestures that emulate system keyboard key modifiers can now also be combined with other emulated system keyboard keys if one or more of the involved gestures are model specific. (#7783)
    • In Mozilla Firefox, browse mode now works correctly in pop-ups created by extensions such as LastPass and bitwarden. (#7809)
    • NVDA no longer sometimes freezes on every focus change if Firefox or Chrome have stopped responding such as due to a freeze or crash. (#7818)
    • In twitter clients such as Chicken Nugget, NVDA will no longer ignore the last 20 characters of 280 character tweets when reading them. (#7828)
    • NVDA now uses the correct language when announcing symbols when text is selected. (#7687)
    • In recent versions of Office 365, it is again possible to navigate Excel charts using the arrow keys. (#7046)
    • In speech and braille output, control states will now always be reported in the same order, regardless whether they are positive or negative. (#7076)
    • In apps such as Windows 10 Mail, NVDA will no longer fail to announce deleted characters when pressing backspace. (#7456)
    • All keys on the Hims Braille Sense Polaris displays are now working as expected. (#7865)
    • NVDA no longer fails to start on Windows 7 complaining about an internal api-ms dll, when a particular version of the Visual Studio 2017 redistributables have been installed by another application. (#7975)

    Changes for developers



    • Added a hidden boolean flag to the braille section in the configuration: “outputPass1Only”. (#7301, #7693, #7702)

      • This flag defaults to true. If false, liblouis multi pass rules will be used for braille output.

    • A new dictionary (braille.RENAMED_DRIVERS) has been added to allow for smooth transition for users using drivers that have been superseded by others. (#7459)
    • Updated comtypes package to 1.1.3. (#7831)
    • Implemented a generic system in braille.BrailleDisplayDriver to deal with displays which send confirmation/acknowledgement packets. See the handyTech braille display driver as an example. (#7590, #7721)
    • A new “isAppX” variable in the config module can be used to detect if NVDA is running as a Windows Desktop Bridge Store app. (#7851)
    • For document implementations such as NVDAObjects or browseMode that have a textInfo, there is now a new documentBase.documentWithTableNavigation class that can be inherited from to gain standard table navigation scripts. Please refer to this class to see which helper methods must be provided by your implementation for table navigation to work. (#7849)
    • The scons batch file now better handles when Python 3 is also installed, making use of the launcher to specifically launch python 2.7 32 bit. (#7541)
    • hwIo.Hid now takes an additional parameter exclusive, which defaults to True. If set to False, other applications are allowed to communicate with a device while it is connected to NVDA. (#7859)

    Phew, there’s quite a bit there! Happy Easter!

  7. In-Process 23rd February 2018

    Hi everyone,

    Hasn’t February been a busy month so far? So busy, in fact, that I’m a week behind in posting In-Process!

    What has kept us busy? One reason is that last weekend, the staff and board of NV Access all got together in Brisbane to catch up on what has been happening over the past year, and plan where we are going.

    Statistics


    In considering where we are and where we are heading, here are some interesting statistics about NVDA:

    Our Top 10 download countries: India, United States, Brazil, Russian Federation, France, United Kindom, Germany, Poland, Canada, Argentina.

    We are still seeing a major spike in India, and it’s also great to see Canada in the top 10 as well!

    2017.3 was downloaded over 162,000 times with 66% due to updates, thus about 107,000 active users.

    The update server is detecting around 34,000 users per day running NVDA connected to the internet. This doesn’t account for companies and individuals who have disabled update checking, or those without access to the Internet.

    There have been a number of changes to the screen reader market recently, which has seen an increase in demand for NVDA. Our users have once again risen to the challenge, producing the “Switching from Window-Eyes to NVDA” guide, to sit next to the already popular “Switching from Jaws to NVDA” guide.

    In the recent WebAIM screen reader user survey, NVDA more than doubled its percentage of users who use it as their primary screen reader, compared to the previous year’s survey, moving to a clear second position.

    When looking at which screen reader users commonly use, nearly 2/3 of respondents commonly use NVDA.

    There are an estimated 39 million blind people around the world and an estimated 285 million blind and vision impaired people, yet anecdotally only 400,000 screen reader users. That means there is a large number of people yet to be reached. NVDA is no longer just about creating something so that more people can get access to computers. That is still important, however, current and future users are also relying on NVDA to continue to exist until it is not needed. NVDA is filling a bigger gap than ever before.

    NV Access Video


    NV Access has a new video. It is designed not only to showcase NVDA, but also the crucial need around the world that a free and open source screenreader fills. View the video on our YouTube channel.

    NVDACon – call for submissions


    Preparations are underway for this year’s NVDACon. The NVDACon International planning committee would like to invite you to submit topics for the upcoming conference. NVDACon will be held in May or June of 2018. The date and agenda will be released at a future time.
    If you are a business, organization or individual that is passionate about a topic related to accessibility, please submit your topic by March 17th, 2018. If you have any questions or would like to submit a topic, please contact info@nvdacon.org. For more information, please see the NVDACon website.

    NVDA 2018.1rc1


    Finally, because you know I like to keep you in suspense, the first release of NVDA for 2018 is now very close! So close, in fact, that you can download the Release Candidate build right this very minute! The release candidate is a version we release just before a new version. All going well, the final, stable version will be identical to the release candidate. The idea is that more people will try the release candidate than our usual snapshot (beta) builds. If any big problems are found, we can then quickly release a second release candidate with a fix before the final version a week or so later. So without further ado, here is the NVDA 2018.1rc1 (release candidate) announcement.

    That’s all for today. Have a great weekend, and I look forward to giving a full recap of what is new in NVDA 2018.1 next time around.

  8. In-Process 1st February 2018

    Well, the first month of the year is already over, and hopefully, our werewolf followers didn’t get up to too much mischief during last night’s super-blue-blood-moon spectacular!

    Here at NV Access, we’ve been busy working on the next version of NVDA, so I thought I’d share a couple of things which are coming up in 2018.1:

    Charts in Microsoft Word

    Pie chart in Word with title “Are you looking forward to NVDA 2018.1? 80% shows “Yes”, 20% shows “Yes, but in orange” and there are unused data points for “Maybe, I mean, yes” and “Mmm, pie”

    Firstly, it is now possible to interact with charts in Microsoft Word and Microsoft PowerPoint, similar to the existing support for charts in Microsoft Excel. The process varies slightly between programs, but broadly, navigate to the chart and press ENTER. When done, press ESCAPE to finish. Also, for recent Office 365 versions of Microsoft Excel, it is again possible to navigate charts using the arrow keys.

    When typing with the on-screen keyboard via touch interaction, by default you now need to double tap each key the same way you would activate any other control. If you prefer the existing “touch typing” mode where simply lifting your finger off the key is enough to activate it, enable this option in the new Touch Interaction settings dialog found in the Preferences menu.

    It is no longer necessary to explicitly tether braille to focus or review, as this will happen automatically by default. Note that automatic tethering to review will only occur when using a review cursor or object navigation command. Scrolling will not activate this new behaviour.

    In Windows 10 Fall Creators Update, NVDA no longer fails to update when Controlled Folder Access is enabled from Windows Defender Security Center.

    A heap of bug fixes, Braille improvements and other tidbits.

    There is also a slight performance improvement when rendering large amounts of content in Mozilla Firefox 58 and later. Mozilla released Firefox 58 recently, which addresses many of the problems they introduced in Firefox 57. Marco Zehe from Mozilla’s accessibility team has more information on Marco’s Accessibility Blog. He details improvements in Firefox 58, current issues and where things are headed with Firefox. It is well worth a read.

    We get queries from time to time from those interested in learning to develop for NVDA, or who just want to know the best environment to use for programming in Python. Python is the main language the majority of NVDA is written in.

    There are many tutorials on the web to help you learn Python. As with many languages, you can either use an IDE (Integrated Development Environment) or write the code in your favourite text editor. Up until recently, most IDEs were largely inaccessible. Most NVDA users who write in Python tend to use their favourite text editor. Notepad++ has been a popular choice, but even regular Notepad which comes with Windows will do the job. In the latest versions of Microsoft Visual Studio, Microsoft have made great progress in the accessibility of the editor, and it is now another option if you are interested in writing in an IDE. The advantage of an IDE is it can make it easier to work on a project by automating some of the tasks for you.

    If you are interested in coding for NVDA, be sure to check out our NVDA Developer Guide and the NVDA developers’ e-mail list.

    On learning to program in Python itself, if you do know of a great tutorial for those interested in learning from scratch, please do let me know and I’ll share it here in a future In-Process.

    Finally, back to the question I know you are really interested in – when is NVDA 2018.1 due out? Well, we’re about to enter translation freeze, after which, no new features will be added to 2018.1. This allows the translators to finish updating their translations in time for the final release of 2018.1. So, about the time the next In-Process comes out, in a fortnight or a few days later, the first Release Candidate for NVDA 2018.1 should be available. The final version of NVDA 2018.1 will be out a week or so after that unless any major issues are found. To help identify any potential issues early, do feel free to grab a copy of the current “Master” build from the Snapshots page, as that is very close to what the release candidate build will be like. Of course, if you do identify any issues, please do report them on our GitHub page. If you are reporting an issue specific to the snapshot build, if you could confirm whether it is specific to the latest build, something new since the last stable build, or something since you’ve updated another program, that would really help us track it down.

    Until next time, enjoy your February!

  9. NVDA In-Process 16 January 2018

    Happy New Year everyone and a warm welcome to 2018!

    Well, it’s been a month since I last wrote. In that time, the NV Access team have been very busy relaxing, spending time with loved ones and eating too much! Well, speaking for myself at least… We hope you have also enjoyed your time since our last post.

    January 2018 calendar

    January 2018 calendar

    So, there isn’t a lot of news this time around. There are a couple of things I wanted to mention briefly:

    Firstly, if you’ve written to us over the Christmas / New Year period, thank you – we love hearing from our users! If we haven’t replied yet, it’s because we only started back at work this week. We will get back to you shortly.

    Along the same lines, we’re only just starting to catch up on what’s been going on in the NVDA user’s e-mail list and GitHub. If you’ve been active in either of those forums lately, we haven’t forgotten you!

    As we head into a new year, we’d love to hear those feature ideas you’ve had over the holiday period, or reports of bugs you’ve found. Do keep reporting issues on GitHub and discussing them in the user’s e-mail list!

    Finally, while we’ve been on leave, others have been hard at work. There have been updates to many of your favourite add-ons. Companies like Microsoft have sent out updates to Windows and Office. Some of these updates were due to address various issues which have previously been reported. How are you finding them? Join the conversation in the e-mail list.

    That’s about all for this week. Do join me again towards the end of the month as we start to – already – gear up for 2018.1!

  10. In-Process 13th December 2017

    Welcome to the very last In-Process for 2017! Wow, what a year it’s been. 24 issues of In-Process since it started on the 30th January, over 18,000 words, 4 NVDA releases (and hundreds of snapshot builds for those interested in trying pre-release features). We’ve had a lot of great community discussion, participation and fun. We’ve been to NVDACon, joined Joseph Lee’s DevLearning group to learn to write add-ons and represented at various conferences and speaking opportunities. Of course, the best promotion we could hope for is the wonderful advocacy that you, our fantastic community do naturally every day! Thank-you, one and all for all your enthusiasm for NVDA and support of NV Access in 2017!

    The year isn’t over just yet and there are still exciting things going on to share. The most noteworthy this fortnight being the release of NVDA 2017.4. Thank you to everyone who tried “Next” and “Master” snapshots, and more recently the “Release Candidate” builds. You have helped to make NVDA 2017.4 an exciting release to end the year on.

    There are a couple of things to be aware of with NVDA 2017.4. This release now requires Windows 7 with Service Pack 1 or later. Although newer Windows 7 CDs should include SP1, if you are reinstalling from an older CD or image, it may not, and NVDA 2017.4 won’t install until SP1 is installed.

    A number of users have experienced various random things not working correctly just after installing NVDA and before restarting the computer. Often NVDA will run fine straight after installing, but particularly with 2017.4, we recommend restarting the computer after installing.

    This release we have also updated the eSpeak NG synthesizer from 1.49.1 to 1.49.2. While this has fixed some issues with eSpeak NG, some users have reported new issues in various languages. Although issues with eSpeak NG specifically need to be addressed by the eSpeak NG project, do keep reporting them to us as well as it’s good for us to be aware of the issues. You can report issues with eSpeak NG directly to the eSpeak NG project on GitHub.

    The NV Access team are taking time off over Christmas. While we won’t be as closely monitoring e-mail or social media, we want to encourage everyone to be active in the user E-mail group. The group is a great way to chat to other users, get help with problems, share tips and ideas and receive assistance. Join the e-mail group on Groups.io. If you do have something that needs attention from the NV Access team, email us and we will get to it as quickly as possible upon our return mid-January.

    The NVDA Expert (with Microsoft Word) certification has proven quite challenging for users. For those who have sat the exam so far, we’d be happy to get feedback on how you found the exam – is it harder than expected, easier? How does it compare to the original in terms of difficulty? For those who haven’t yet sat the exam, perhaps our Official training materials or becoming one of the first NVDA Expert (with Microsoft Word) certification holders is on your Christmas wish list?

    Remember before completing the NVDA Expert (with Microsoft Word) certification, you need to pass the original NVDA Expert certification.

    To end the year, here are some more statistics for 2017?


    • NVDA 2017.3 was downloaded over 153000 times with 70% of downloads due to automatic updates.

    • NVDA 2017.4 has already been downloaded over 34000 times, with 90% of these downloads due to automatic updates.

    • The top 4 countries using NVDA are India, the United States, Brazil and France. Most notably is India which has had a massive growth of over 8000 active users just in the last quarter.

    And finally, a very big thank you to our wonderful donors!


    • Users from the United Kingdom are the most likely to donate when downloading NVDA.

    • We currently have 170 active monthly donors.

    • You can donate as much or as little as you like, and you can make it a one-off donation, or a regular monthly contribution


    Have a wonderful Christmas and New Year from all of us at NV Access! We look forward to continuing with you on your journey in 2018!

    Merry Christmas 2017

    Merry Christmas 2017