In-Process 6th October 2022

It’s release time! 2022.3 is here!

NVDA 2022.3

The big news this week is the release of NVDA 2022.3. It contains many new and improved features, but there’s one point we’re particularly proud of. A significant amount of this release was contributed by the NVDA development community. This includes delayed character descriptions and improved Windows Console support.

This release also includes several bug fixes. Notably, up-to-date versions of Adobe Acrobat/Reader will no longer crash when reading a PDF document.

eSpeak-NG has been updated, which introduces 3 new languages: Belarusian, Luxembourgish and Totontepec Mixe.

Read the full what’s new and download from the NVDA 2022.3 Release Announcement.

Please note, after updating any software, it is a good idea to restart the computer. Restart by going to the Shutdown dialog, selecting “restart” and pressing ENTER. Updating software can change files which are in use. This can lead to instability and strange behaviour which is resolved by rebooting. This is the first thing to try if you do notice anything odd after updating.

Add-ons still work with NVDA 2022.3

A small reminder for anyone worried about add-ons. All add-ons which work with NVDA 2022.1 and 2022.2 releases will continue to work with NVDA 2022.3 (and the upcoming NVDA 2022.4).

For add-on developers, a reminder that we have a new NVDA API announce only list. We strongly encourage ALL add-on developers to join the list. It is where information about any upcoming API changes will be detailed. See the recent NVDA API list announcement in In-Process for full details

Community contributor Bill Dengler

Bill Dengler, photo from Twitter profile of Bill in a blue & white striped shirt against a green leafy background

Bill Dengler, photo from Twitter profile of Bill in a blue & white striped shirt against a green leafy background

As mentioned in the NVDA 2022.3 release notes, NVDA 2022.3 would not have been possible without the amazing contributions from so many in our community. We are very grateful to all our community contributors. Although we’d love to highlight everyone, one I would give a mention to today, is Bill Dengler. You might remember Bill as our 2019 Google Summer of Code Intern. Bill’s brief with us in 2019 was “Improving the console experience with UI Automation”. He did fantastic work during the GSOC program back then. He has continued to work on it through to its implementation in NVDA 2022.3. Fantastic effort Bill! And thank you again to Bill and all the other contributors!

If you’d like to contribute code to NVDA, you can find more on our GitHub page. If you’d like to look at what needs work, you can check out our GitHub Issues. NVDA’s issues page on GitHub is also the place to go to report any problems you have with NVDA.

Windows console support

So, what does that improved console support Bill (and others) worked on give you? Glad you asked! From the What’s new file:

In the Windows Console Host used by Command Prompt, PowerShell, and the Windows Subsystem for Linux on Windows 11 version 22H2 (Sun Valley 2) and later:

  • Vastly improved performance and stability.
  • When pressing control+f to find text, the review cursor position is updated to follow the found term.
  • Reporting of typed text that does not appear on-screen (such as passwords) is disabled by default. It can be re-enabled in NVDA’s advanced settings panel.
  • Text that has scrolled offscreen can be reviewed without scrolling the console window.
  • More detailed text formatting information is available.

Character descriptions

One of the new features in NVDA 2022.3 is a option in the Speech settings (Press NVDA+control+v). The option is called “Delayed descriptions for characters on cursor movement”. This feature will read character descriptions after a delay when reading by character (with the arrow keys). When enabled, NVDA reads the character, then after a second, reads the phonetic letter.

While navigating through the start of this sentence by character, NVDA normally reads: “W h i l e”. With this new option enabled, NVDA will read: “W whiskey, h hotel, i India, l Lima, e echo”. This can be useful when reading text with unfamiliar words.

There are other commands you can use to spell information or have it read phonetically. Press NVDA+up arrow or NVDA+l (in laptop keyboard layout) to read the current line of text. Press it twice to spell the information. Press three times quickly to spell it with character descriptions.

There are also several review cursor commands which can be used to read words:

  • Press Numpad 5 (or NVDA+control+dot. For laptop keyboard layout) to read the current word with the review cursor. Press twice to spell, and three times quickly to spell phonetically.
  • Press Numpad 4 (NVDA+control+left arrow) or Numpad 6 (NVDA+control+right arrow) to read the previous or next word with the review cursor. Again, press twice to spell or three times to spell quickly.
Note that these commands use the review cursor, not the regular text cursor. Moving the review cursor does not move the regular text cursor. Although developed to read text you can’t get to with the regular caret, these review cursor commands can be useful in many situations.

That’s all for this week. We encourage everyone to download NVDA 2022.3 if you haven’t already. Join in the conversation in the NVDA user group to share how you are finding it.