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Free user guide
You can access the User Guide at any time under “Help” in the NVDA menu. Press either INSERT and the “N” key, or CAPS LOCK and the “N” key to open the NVDA menu. Alternatively, click on the NVDA icon in the task bar.View user Guide
Start with “Basic Training for NVDA”, available in electronic text, human-read audio or Braille. Move on to our Microsoft Office with NVDA modules, or bundle everything along with telephone support in the “NVDA Productivity Bundle”. Suitable for new or existing users wishing to improve proficiency.Explore Training Modules
There are a number of community-run email lists where NVDA users can answer each other’s questions. There are lists for various locations and languages available.Find Out More
Purchase NVDA Telephone Support and get the help you need when you need it via the phone. Our experts can answer questions, walk you through completing a task or even resolve an issue for you by remotely accessing your computer.Find Out More
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Why should I use NVDA over other programs?
NVDA is free, which is a big difference from other screen readers. You never have to worry about software maintenance agreements or ongoing fees. You can use NVDA on any number of computers and transfer to a new PC with ease. NVDA does not need an internet connection, and can be setup on a PC without admin access. All this also means you can put all that money towards something else.
In the end, if you have paid for another program and are happy using it, great. Feel free to download NVDA for when your other screen reader doesn’t work with a particular program or web page.
I don’t like the default voice; can I change it?
Definitely! NVDA uses the Windows OneCore syntehsizer by default on Windows 10. Windows OneCore is a very natural-sounding voice which many users like. For Windows 7 and 8, the eSpeak NG synthesizer is used by default. eSpeak NG is responsive, available in many languages, and free to distribute. There are other, more human sounding, or more responsive voices available, to suit any preference. The popular Eloquence, Vocalizer, InfoVox and Acapela voices are all available. See https://github.com/nvaccess/nvda/wiki/ExtraVoices for more information.
How can NV Access afford to give NVDA away for free?
NV Access was formed by users, for users. The purpose of NV Access is to lower the economic and social barriers associated with accessing Information Technology for people who are Blind or Vision Impaired.
NV Access receives income from several sources:
- Corporate partnerships. We work with IT industry leaders, sharing our expertise in accessibility. This helps to make the programs you use every day more accessible. Would you like us to work with your organisation? Contact us for more information: https://www.nvaccess.org/contact/
- Private donations and corporate sponsorships. NV Access is a registered charity in Australia. As a charity, we are able to accept tax-deductable donations. Donate here: https://www.nvaccess.org/donate/
- The NV Access shop. Training, phone support and NVDA Certified Expert listing benefit end users and help NV Access. The NV Access shop is here: http://www.nvaccess.org/shop/
Is there a Mac, iOS, Android or Linux version?
No. NVDA only works on PCs running the Microsoft Windows operating system. Windows 7 and later are supported.
Screen readers tend to work at a very low level, in order to get the information needed to present to users. This means, we would need to learn how to obtain the same information and then rewrite most of the code in order to make a version of NVDA for another operating system.
In addition, Apple’s Mac and iOS (used on iPhones and iPads) are locked down more than Windows. This is done to prevent malware from accessing sensitive information, but has the side effect of also making it impossible for a third-party screen reader to work. If you are using a Mac or iOS device, you will need to use the built-in VoiceOver screen reader.
Android and Linux are not as tightly locked down, and it would be possible to write a third-party Screenreader for those platforms. At this stage, however, we feel that our efforts are best directed to continuing to improve the screen reading experience on Microsoft Windows, so that is the platform we are concentrating on.
Help! I am not sure how to do something with NVDA, what do I do next?
The first stop is often the User Guide, which is under “Help” in the NVDA menu. Press NVDA+n to open the menu, then press h for help, then ENTER as the User Guide is the first option. Note that the NVDA key will be either INSERT or CAPS LOCK depending on your setup.
The User Guide is also available online at: https://www.nvaccess.org/files/nvda/documentation/userGuide.html
The users e-mail list is a great place for support and to share ideas. See: https://nvda.groups.io/g/nvda
If you would like to speak to someone directly, telephone support is available. See: https://www.nvaccess.org/product/nvda-telephone-support/
If you’d like to learn more about using NVDA, you might be interested in our official training material. The Basic Training for NVDA module is a great place to start and is available from: https://www.nvaccess.org/shop/ Other modules are available which build on this knowledge. The “NVDA Productivity Bundle” includes all our popular training material AND telephone support and is a great “all-in-one” option available from the NV Access Shop.
I found a bug, how can I report it?
NVDA has a GitHub page at: https://github.com/nvaccess/nvda/issues
GitHub is one of the most popular sites for keeping track of updates to software. GitHub does need you to login with an account, although this only needs an e-mail address, and is free to use. Once you file an issue, you will get an e-mail about any comments or updates to that issue.
If you would like to discuss an issue before filing it, the users e-mail list is the best place. See: https://nvda.groups.io/g/nvda to sign up.
Aside from donating money, how can I support NV Access?
The best ways to support NV Access and the NVDA community are by advocating and joining in.
- Use the software yourself. If you find any issues or things which annoy you. Let us know. See “I found a bug, how can I report it?” above.
- Increase your knowledge. Learn how to use features such as object navigation and the review cursor. Browse the add-ons and other resources. See “Help! I am not sure how to do something with NVDA, what do I do next?” above. See https://addons.nvda-project.org/index.en.html for information about add-ons.
- Become an expert. Demonstrate your knowledge and list yourself as an NVDA Certified Expert. See https://certification.nvaccess.org/
- Join in the user email list. Share tips and answer questions: https://nvda.groups.io/g/nvda
- Join in NVDACon: https://www.nvdacon.org/
- Translate NVDA. If you are familiar with a language NVDA is not currently available in, we would love your help. See: https://github.com/nvaccess/nvda/wiki/Translating for details.
What features are you working on for the next version of NVDA? When will it be out? And can I please beta-test it?
New versions of NVDA drop roughly every three months, so four updates a year. A lot of work goes in behind the scenes before each release. Here’s a quick overview:
- First someone creates an issue on Github for a new feature or bug fix.
- This gets “triaged” and assigned a priority to ensure the most urgent issues can be dealt with first.
- When a new feature is added or a bug fixed, it first goes into an “Alpha” build for testing. A new feature in an Alpha build may not be completely stable and may even cause other unexpected side effects. It is important for a few users to try it on different machines and confirm that it works as expected. A feature is in the Alpha branch for at least a fortnight for testing.
- A month or so before a new release, the next step is to put the feature into a “Beta” build. Beta builds have features which are a little more polished and closer to release. If no major issues are identified then it is considered ready to go in the next stable version. We don’t encourage most users to run Alpha or Beta builds as their only version of NVDA. You can download Alpha or Beta builds from our snapshots page. The snapshots page is at: https://www.nvaccess.org/files/nvda/snapshots/
- Three weeks before a new version comes out, we “freeze” builds. After this point, there can’t be any changes which will affect text strings such as messages. Freezing lets our translators ensure their language is up to date in time for the next release.
- The last step before the release of a new version of NVDA is a “release candidate”. Widely distributed, a release candidate is like a final check to ensure there are no major bugs. The final release, a week or so later, will be identical to the last release candidate.
How can I contribute my technical knowledge to the project?
NVDA is written in Python with a bit of C++ for good measure. If you have some programming knowledge, you might like to write add-ons or to contribute to “core”. Add-ons are like mini-programs which usually perform a specific function. Created by many users, the official list of add-ons is here: http://addons.nvda-project.org/. Core is the main NVDA package that all users of the program have.
The official NVDA Development guide is available here: https://www.nvaccess.org/files/nvda/documentation/developerGuide.html
The Add-ons community have extended the guide to include more information specific to add-ons: https://addons.nvda-project.org/devDocs/devDocs.en.html
If you have technical knowledge but don’t want to write code, you may wish to help triage submitted issues. Reef Turner has written an excellent piece on the process NV Access use to triage issues here: https://github.com/nvaccess/nvda/wiki/Triage-process
For those interested in helping triage, a supplementary page has some more information: https://github.com/nvaccess/nvda/wiki/Issue-triage-help
Does NVDA work with my language?
NVDA is currently available in 50 languages and rising! The full list of languages is available here: https://www.nvaccess.org/files/nvda/documentation/userGuide.html#toc4
If you speak a language NVDA isn’t available in, we’d love your help. See https://github.com/nvaccess/nvda/wiki/Translating if you’d like to help translate NVDA into a new language.
By default, NVDA will use the default language Windows is set to on your computer. You can specify that it use a particular language in NVDA’s general settings. Press NVDA+n then P then ENTER to open General settings. Language is the first option. There are also options on this screen to allow NVDA to automatically switch languages.
NVDA uses the eSpeak NG synthesizer by default. The full list of languages eSpeak supports is available here: https://github.com/espeak-ng/espeak-ng/blob/master/docs/languages.md
NVDA supports many other synthesizers which may be available in other languages as well. See https://github.com/nvaccess/nvda/wiki/ExtraVoices for more information on voices.
Do I need to install NVDA?
NVDA can be installed or run as a portable or temporary copy.
First, download NVDA from https://www.nvaccess.org/download/
When the downloaded file is launched, music plays as a temporary copy of NVDA starts. The license agreement screen appears. Activate “Install” to install NVDA to this PC. Select “Create portable copy” instead, to setup NVDA on a memory stick or in any other folder. Choose “Continue running” to keep running the temporary copy of NVDA.
With a portable version of the NVDA, you can save any changes you make to the setup (eg the voice, speed, or other options). There are some things which don’t work in the portable version. See https://www.nvaccess.org/files/nvda/documentation/userGuide.html?#toc10 for full details. The most significant restriction is not being able to interact with secure screens. Secure screens include the logon screen, and the UAC dialog that appears when you install a program.
Can I use NVDA on a shared computer or set it to not start automatically?
If using a shared computer, you may not want NVDA starting automatically. While useful on a user’s own computer, NVDA can be set not to run on the login screen, or after a user logs on. When installing, one of the setup screens has a checkbox to “Use NVDA on the logon screen”. When checked, this option will start NVDA when the computer boots and gets to the logon screen. Aside from speaking or using a connected Braille display, NVDA does not affect the way sighted users interact with the logon screen. The welcome dialog has an option to “Automatically start NVDA after I log on to Windows”. If unchecked, NVDA will not start when this user logs in. Even with this option checked, NVDA won’t start when other users log in to their accounts on this computer, unless they have set that up. Both of these options are also available in the General settings dialog. Press NVDA+control+g to open the dialog. Note that the NVDA key is either INSERT or CAPS LOCK, depending on how it was setup.
Can I use NVDA in a commercial environment?
In short, yes you can! Our full license and other information which might be useful (such as our VPAT and collected information) is available from our corporate page at: https://www.nvaccess.org/corporate-government/
If you are in a position, to make a financial contribution, we would greatly appreciate it, no matter the size. Donations over $2 are tax deductable in Australia. Donations are one way which helps NV Access continue to provide NVDA free of use to those all around the world. If you would like to make a donation to NV Access, you can do so here: https://www.nvaccess.org/donate/ We would also encourage you to consider purchasing training material or telephone support to help your users become as efficient as possible. See our Shop for information on the training and support available as well as convenient bundles.
Would your organisation like to partner with NV Access to help us continue our mission to transform lives around the world? We’d love to have you on board! See our sponsorship page here: https://www.nvaccess.org/support/