NVDA is a free, open source screen reader that works with Microsoft Windows XP, Vista and 7 (32 and 64 bit). NVDA is developed in Australia, and supports over 20 different languages.
Installation and portability
NVDA can be installed on to your computer using the easy-to-use talking installer or you can use the portable version and take NVDA with you on a USB stick or other portable media without the need for installation.
The default voice that NVDA uses is eSpeak, an open source speech synthesiser that supports over 20 languages. You can also use Microsoft’s Speech Application Programming Interface (SAPI), in particularly SAPI 4 and SAPI 5, to provide speech output.
NVDA automatically announces whatever is underneath the mouse. This may be useful for people who are able to see where the mouse is on the screen (particularly if the size of the mouse pointer has been increased) but who need assistance with identifying or reading what is under the mouse.
Another feature makes it possible to hear which direction you mouse is traveling using sound. This feature works as follows:
- As you move your mouse to left-hand side of the screen, the tone will change from coming out of both speakers to only coming out of the left speaker when your mouse is at the far left of the screen. The same will happen when your move your mouse to the right-hand side of the screen, but with the right speaker instead of the left.
- As you move your mouse towards the bottom of the screen, you will hear a tone that progressively decreases in pitch. As you move your mouse towards the top of the screen, you will hear a tone that progressively increases in pitch.
Therefore, if you move your mouse from the centre of the screen to the top right-hand corner, the tone will progressively increase in pitch and gradually shift to the right hand speaker.
NVDA will also announcement text formatting where available such as font name and size, style and spelling errors.
NVDA supports a range of Braille displays - see the NVDA user guide for an up-to-date list.
Applications that are supported by NVDA include:
- popular applications including web browsers, email clients, internet chat programs and office suites
- Windows Command Prompt and console applications
- Windows logon and other secure screens
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