The big news this time around is the release of NVDA 2023.1! But there’s plenty more exclusive news below so let’s get into it:
It’s new release time! NVDA 2023.1 is now available! In fact, it came out only a few days after our last In-Process post. Many of you may have been using it for a week or so already, in which case, how are you finding it? There are a lot of exciting new features, and although we’ve shared the highlights before, let’s go over it one more time:
A new option has been added, “Paragraph Style” in “Document Navigation”. This can be used with text editors that do not support paragraph navigation natively, such as Notepad and Notepad++. There is a new global command to report the destination of a link, mapped to NVDA+k. Support for annotated web content (such as comments and footnotes) has improved. Press NVDA+d to cycle through summaries when annotations are reported (e.g. “has comment, has footnote”). Tivomatic Caiku Albatross 46/80 braille displays are now supported. Support for ARM64 and AMD64 versions of Windows has improved. There are many bug fixes, notably Windows 11 fixes. eSpeak, LibLouis, Sonic rate boost and Unicode CLDR have been updated. There are new Georgian, Swahili (Kenya) and Chichewa (Malawi) braille tables.
This release breaks compatibility with add-ons designed for NVDA 2022.4 and earlier.
Reporting link destination
We’ve covered Paragraph Style recently, but lets have a closer look at a couple of other new features. A new keystroke, NVDA+k reports the destination of a link. Pressed once, NVDA+k reports the destination of the link that is in the navigator object. Press NVDA+k twice to show the link destination in a window, for more detailed review.
This command is really useful, especially with the number of phishing emails around. Phishing emails often include links where the link text states it goes to a particular URL, however the link itself goes somewhere else. Pressing NVDA+k would report this. Pressing NVDA+k twice presents the actual link in a window for closer inspection. If you would like to test out NVDA+k yourself, here is a link which states it goes to https://www.google.com/ but actually takes you back to this article.
Windows 7 and 8 support
With the release of NVDA 2023.1, we wanted to provide an update on support for Windows 7 and 8 in NVDA. Firstly, NVDA 2023.1 DOES still work on Windows 7 and Windows 8. NVDA 2023.x versions through this year will also still work on these versions of Windows. However, the core NVDA team are no longer working on fixes for Windows 7 or 8. When it comes time for NVDA 2024.1, we plan to update to a newer build of Python, which will include a lot of improvements such as additional security. NVDA currently uses Python 3.7, which is one of the last builds which supports Windows 7. Therefore, with the release of NVDA 2024.1 (early next year), we will drop support for Windows 7 and Windows 8.
Microsoft ended support for Windows 7 in January 2020 and Windows 8.1 in January 2023. Windows 10 is a free update for users of these two versions of Windows and NVDA works as well on Windows 10 as it ever did on Windows 7, so we strongly encourage all remaining users on these versions of Windows to update now.
Thanks to our wonderful community
As we share whenever the opportunity arises, our wonderful community is what makes NVDA so special. Whether you contribute code, spread the word about NVDA, donate, write add-ons, buy from the NV Access shop, help translate NVDA, or support NVDA in so many other ways, we appreciate you!
This week, we wanted to particularly thank two groups of people:
- Our Add-on authors! We know add-on breaking releases are frustrating, but we thank you all for working so hard to update your add-ons! As of now, the vast majority of add-ons have been updated for NVDA 2023.1, with only a few older add-ons still to come over.
- And we’d like to thanks our GitHub contributors! Thanks to those who report new issues. Thanks also to those who make sure reported issues are reproduceable, and not duplicating existing issues, and close invalid or duplicate issues. There are also members who help with pull requests (PRs), that is, code which has been submitted, to test things and double check everything before our in-house developers check it over. Keeping issues and PRs in order really helps us streamline what we do, which in turns brings everyone, a better NVDA, so thank you!
Recovering unsaved Word documents
And not an NVDA tip this time, but a more general Microsoft Word tip anyone (who uses Word) can use. How to recover files. While drafting In-Process in Microsoft Word this week, I went to close down for the night. I pressed alt+f4, and the second I hit alt+n, I realised what I’d done. I hadn’t saved my work!
So the first reminder is: Always save your work! Microsoft Word is good at automatically saving your work regularly for you. But the catch is, you need to save it once yourself first. The good news is, even if you haven’t saved your work, it may still be recoverable! In my quest to recover In-Process last night, I found this handy reference from Microsoft. It outlines a number of ways of recovering Word documents. Fortunately, I had no trouble getting my work back, right up to the point I’d closed Word, even though I’d never saved it. I knew you could recover documents you had saved previously, but I didn’t know how easy it would be to save something you’d never saved before. Thanks Word!
That’s all for this week. Do download NVDA 2023.1 if you haven’t already. Remember though to update your add-ons first, to ensure a seamless transition. Do let us know what you think of the new link destination reporting feature. And do check out the NVDA 2023.1 what’s new file and share with us what your favourite new feature is! Finally, Happy Easter, Pesach, Eid-al-Fitr, or just happy Thursday – whichever applies to you 🙂