Today is Lunar New Year and the start of the year of the Ox. For those who write dates dd/mm/yyyy, today is also a palindrome day: 12/02/2021. As well as all that, the NVDA 2020.4 Release Candidate is available to download, what an exciting week!
NVDA 2020.4 RC1
NVDA 2020.4 RC1 is now available. This release candidate is the last step before a new release. We encourage all users to download this RC and provide feedback. Unless any critical bugs are found, this will be identical to the final 2020.4 release.
NVDA 2020.4 RC1 is basically the same as the last beta. It includes new Chinese Input methods, an update to Liblouis and the elements list (NVDA+f7) now works in focus mode. Context sensitive help is now available when pressing F1 in NVDA dialogs. Improvements to symbol pronunciation rules, speech dictionary, Braille message and skim reading. Bug fixes and improvements to Mail, Outlook, Teams, Visual Studio, Azure Data Studio, Foobar2000. On the web, there are improvements to Google Docs, and greater support for ARIA. Plus, many other important bug fixes and improvements.
Download NVDA 2020.4 RC1 from the release announcement page. Do please let us know what you think.
NVDA Elements list in Word
One of the new features in 2020.4 is that the elements list is now available in focus mode. This works in web browsers and other applications which support Browse mode. One issue which has been found is using this feature in Word. This feature only works after pressing NVDA+spacebar to go into Browse mode. After that, the elements list can be opened from browse or focus mode while this document is open. This issue was only found this week, after the release candidate came out. We have decided not to hold back the final release for this issue. We have already worked on a fix, which should be in Alpha builds of NVDA soon, and will be in NVDA 2021.1. This is also a good example of why it is really important for people to test new features and fixes in beta versions. It is much easier to fix things at that point without pushing the release date back.
We had a request this week from a student in the Adult Transition program at the Foundation for Blind Children, in Phoenix AZ. Alan Reuss is running a survey asking for a little information from developers. Alan is preparing for training and considering a career working with code. He has asked if we could please pass his details on to anyone who might be able to help him. If you are interested in helping Alan, his email address is firstname.lastname@example.org
One of the more powerful ways of customising NVDA is with configuration profiles. NVDA can use a completely different group of settings for a particular program. Or a configuration profile can be loaded manually. In-process has previously covered using Configuration Profiles to adjust how “Say all” works. NVDA uses say all when you press NVDA+down arrow or NVDA+a. Likely the most common use of configuration profiles is setting a profile for a program. That is, a set of NVDA options, such as speech rate and punctuation, used every time one program is active. Let’s go through the steps to set that up:
- First, open the program you want to set a configuration profile for.
- Press NVDA+control+p to open the configuration profiles dialog. Your NVDA key is either INSERT or CAPS LOCK.
- Press alt+n to create a new configuration profile.
- Ignore the profile name and press TAB to move to the “Use this profile for” set of radio buttons.
- Press the right arrow to move to “Current application (name)”. In this case, “name” is the executable name of the current program. Note this may be different to the Window title. For instance, Microsoft Word has the name “winword”.
- Press ENTER to create the profile which closes both dialogs and returns focus to the program.
- Any NVDA settings you change while this program is active, are now only saved for use with this program.
Settings in NVDA’s general settings category are not saved in configuration profiles. These settings include the log level, using NVDA during sign in, and checking for updates. These settings apply to NVDA overall.
TechVB Interview with NVDA community contributor Joseph Lee
Anyone active in the NVDA community is likely familiar with Joseph Lee. Joseph has been an active NVDA advocate and code contributor for many years. He can often be found helping users on the NVDA users email list. He is also a popular teacher and add-on author. Recently TechVB interviewed Joseph about NVDA, the community, accessibility and much more. You can listen to the TechVB podcast featuring Joseph Lee