We are almost at the end of another year, and what a year it’s been! We’re not done yet though, we’re hard at work on the next NVDA release, so let’s start with that:
NVDA 2020.4 News
NVDA 2020.4 Beta 1 has just been released. NVDA 2020.4 will include lots of new and improved features. A quick summary: This release includes new Chinese Input methods, an update to Liblouis and the elements list (NVDA+f7) now works in focus mode. 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.
We don’t want to rush the release just for the sake of getting it out before the end of the year. So we will run the beta period across the holidays and encourage everyone to test it out. In January we will look to a Release Candidate, and then final stable version. Then we’ll turn our attention to 2021.1 and do it all again!
Christmas Trading hours
We’re pleased to confirm that you can Download NVDA 24/7 across the holiday period! In addition, The NV Access Online Shop hours remain unchanged, also 24/7 – it is a great time of year to pick up a new skill with our training material, or challenge yourself to become an NVDA Certified Expert. And you can continue to Donate at any time, we do very much appreciate the generosity of our supporters, thank you! NV Access staff are all taking a break either after the 18th December, or from Christmas Eve, through to January 4th. With some additional leave at various points through January.
We will endeavour to address any correspondence to firstname.lastname@example.org as quickly as possible. Please note it may be the second week in January before we are able to get to everything.
While we’re away, and even when we’re here, the NVDA User Email Group is a great place to meet other users. You can ask questions, get advice and share information and tips about your favourite screen reader. Over the break, we’d encourage you to raise any issues you find in the user group. Often, the good folks there will be able to help keep you working. If something needs further attention, then you can either create a GitHub Issue, or send us an Email. As mentioned, we will do our best to address it as soon as we can.
NVDACon was, once again, a huge success. We’d like to thank all the organisers and participants for a memorable event! There are recordings of the sessions. While these aren’t available yet, they’ll likely be up by the time the next In-process comes out. In the meantime, you can still enjoy recordings from previous NVDACon conferences. Go to the the NVDACon Past Conferences Page for all the goodness!
One of the changes in NVDA 2020.4 is an improvement to Skim Reading. “When reading with say all in browse mode, the find next and find previous commands do not stop reading anymore if Allow skim reading option is enabled; say all rather resumes from after the next or previous found term.”
While that itself almost explains skim reading, let’s have a closer look at the feature. The User Guide notes that the option in NVDA’s keyboard settings is named: “Allow skim reading in Say All”. The user guide goes on to define it: “If on, certain navigation commands (such as quick navigation in browse mode or moving by line or paragraph) do not stop Say All, rather Say All jumps to the new position and continues reading.”
First, you need to go into NVDA’s keyboard settings (NVDA+control+k) and enable this option (alt+r). With the setting enabled, start say all as you normally would. Press NVDA+down arrow if using NVDA in desktop keyboard layout, or NVDA+a if using Laptop keyboard layout. While Say All is speaking, you can use navigation keys to skip forward through the text, to get to text of interest. Or you could go back a bit to listen again to something read, without needing to then restart say all.
The new change allows you to use NVDA’s find next and previous commands with skim reading. So let’s say we’ve got NVDA 2020.4 beta 1 running, and we’ve set it to allow skim reading. You could load the what’s new page for the beta in your favourite browser: https://www.nvaccess.org/files/nvda/releases/2020.4beta1/nvda_2020.4beta1_changes.html If interested in updates relating to Braille, press NVDA+control+f to bring up NVDA’s find dialog. Type “Braille” as the term to search for, and press ENTER to search. It will find the first instance, in the blurb for 2020.4. At this point start say all (NVDA+down arrow or NVDA+a). Press NVDA+F3 to jump ahead to the next reference to braille, in the new features for 2020.4. NVDA will read that point, then keep reading. As you press NVDA+f3, it will jump ahead to the next mention of Braille and read from there onwards. For more context at a given mention of Braille, press up arrow to move up a line. NVDA will move up a line and continue reading without interrupting say all. Do you use skim reading? Will you give it a go after reading this? Try it out and let us know what you think!
That’s all for this edition, and this year. We’d like to wish everyone a safe and happy Christmas, and New Year! Please do wear a mask, wash your hands, maintain social distancing, and particularly if in a Covid hotspot area, just stay home.
We look forward to bringing you In-Process once again, early in 2021!