In-Process 18th April

Last time I wrote, we were excited to announce the release of NVDA 2019.1. This time, we’ve stepped it up again!

NVDA 2019.1.1

NVDA 2019.1.1 is now available. This minor release addresses several bugs found in the original NVDA 2019.1 version. These fixes include:

  • NVDA no longer causes Excel 2007 to crash or refuses to report if a cell has a formula. (#9431)
  • Google Chrome no longer crashes when interacting with certain listboxes. (#9364)
  • An issue has been fixed which prevented copying a users configuration to the system configuration profile. (#9448)
Read the original release announcement.

Please visit the Download page to pickup the new version. NVDA 2019.1.1 came out a couple of days ago, so if you have NVDA set to check for updates, it should have found it by now. As with any update, once installed, please reboot your computer. Sometimes things misbehave immediately after updating NVDA, or other software. These are almost always rectified by restarting the computer.

The NVDA log

When reporting an error or a problem with NVDA, we often ask you to provide a copy of NVDA’s log. I thought I’d cover where to find the NVDA log, and what it contains.

The NVDA log is a record of actions performed by NVDA. Importantly, the log records any errors NVDA encounters along the way. This can be useful in determining what NVDA was doing, and why something didn’t work as expected.

In NVDA’s general settings dialog, there is an option for “Logging level”. Press NVDA+control+g to open the General settings, and then TAB or press alt+o to jump to logging level. This is a combo box that lets you choose how much NVDA will log as it’s running. Generally, users should not need to touch this as not too much is logged. However, if you wish to provide information in a bug report, or enable or disable logging altogether, then it may be a useful option.

The available logging levels are:

  • Disabled: Apart from a brief startup message, NVDA will not log anything while it runs.
  • Info: NVDA will log basic information such as startup messages and information useful for developers.
  • Debug warning: Warning messages that are not caused by severe errors will be logged.
  • Input/output: Input from keyboard and braille displays, as well as speech and braille output will be logged. If you are concerned about privacy, do not set logging level to this option.
  • Debug: In addition to info, warning, and input/output messages, additional debug messages will be logged. Just like input/output, if you are concerned about privacy, you should not set logging level to this option.

The log files are kept in the system’s %temp% (the word “temp” with a percent sign directly before and after) directory. To get to it:

  1. Press WINDOWS+R to open the Run dialog
  2. Type %temp% and press ENTER

The log file for the currently (or most recently) running version is called: nvda.log The log file for the previous time NVDA ran is called: nvda-old.log If NVDA itself has crashed, there will be a file called: nvda_crash.dmp

Mac version of NVDA

We often get asked about a Mac version of NVDA, or a version for smart phones. NVDA only works on Windows-based PCs. The iPhone / iPad, and Apple Mac computers are all locked down. This is to prevent malicious software accessing information. It also has the side-effect that a third-party screen-reader cannot work on them. If you have one of those devices, you are limited to using VoiceOver which comes built-in on Apple devices.

It would be possible to write a screen reader for Android. There are several third-party screen readers already available for that operating system. Screen readers often need to use operating system specific ways to get information. This makes them hard to “port” from one system to another. Because of this, we would need to rewrite NVDA almost entirely to work on a new operating system. This is also the reason there is no Linux version of NVDA.

The best use of our resources is to make NVDA for PC, the best it can be, and assist as many PC users with it as we can. We will of course, continue to watch advances in technology. Do keep sending us your questions! You can always email us. Good Friday and Easter Monday are public holidays in Australia. If you need an urgent answer, consider asking instead in the NVDA user group.

That’s all for this time. Have a wonderful Easter everyone!