Introduction to Data Science for Screen Reader Users

Introduction to NVDA

What is NVDA?

NVDA is a type of screen reader software, similar to PC-Talker and JAWS, that reads the contents displayed on a computer screen aloud. NVDA has the following characteristics:

NVDA belongs to a category of software called “open source.” The source code of NVDA (the program itself, like a blueprint) is publicly available, allowing users to read it, modify it, and make improvements. However, if any changes are made to NVDA and distributed, it is a requirement that the source code should not be hidden. This mechanism allows people to collaborate and create better software by improving NVDA and building upon each other’s modifications. In practice, the core developers of NVDA are blind engineers from Australia, but people from around the world contribute to its development, keeping it constantly evolving.

As evident from the above explanation, NVDA is developed and used on a global scale. Whether someone uses English, French, or Chinese, everyone can use the same screen reader software, NVDA, to access content.

Preparing NVDA

Go to NVDA Download Site to install.

Launching NVDA

The operations you are about to perform will need to be done each time you turn on your computer, so remember them well.

Note that when explaining operations that involve pressing multiple keys on the computer keyboard simultaneously, we use the symbol “+” (plus) to denote it. For example, “Ctrl+Alt+F3” means pressing the Ctrl key, Alt key, and F3 key together. When performing such an operation, press the keys in the order specified (Ctrl, Alt, F3), and when releasing the keys, release them in the opposite order specified (F3, Alt, Ctrl). Be careful not to mix up the order, as it may cause unexpected behavior.

Starting NVDA

Now, let’s start NVDA.

Press Ctrl+Alt+N. After a moment, you will hear a rising piano sound. After a short pause, you will hear some speech output. This is the voice of NVDA. You have now successfully launched NVDA.

Exiting NVDA

Now that NVDA has been started, let’s try exiting it.

You have now successfully exited NVDA.

Repeat the process of launching and exiting NVDA several times. As you become more familiar with the operations, pay attention to the different sounds played during startup and shutdown. NVDA uses distinct sounds instead of speech output for these actions.

Restarting NVDA

By the way, what happens when you press Ctrl+Alt+N while NVDA is already running? It would be troublesome if two instances of NVDA were launched.

Let’s try it out. With NVDA already running, press Ctrl+Alt+N. After a moment, you will hear a descending sound. That was the sound indicating NVDA has exited. After a short pause, you will then hear an ascending sound. This indicates that NVDA has started again.

So, pressing Ctrl+Alt+N while NVDA is already running allows you to restart NVDA. In other words, if you ever want to start NVDA again from scratch, simply press Ctrl+Alt+N.

As you continue using NVDA, if you ever feel that something is not functioning as expected, you can try this operation to restart NVDA.

Basic Windows Operations to Know

Before diving into how to use NVDA, let’s learn some basic operations in Windows.

Basic Start Menu

The Start menu serves as the starting point for various operations such as launching the apps (referred to as “apps” in recent versions of Windows), shutting down the computer, or making configuration changes. While there are many operations that can be performed from the Start menu, mastering the basic operations makes it easy.

To open the Start menu, press the Windows key. You will hear “Start window search window search box edit blank” being read out.

The Start menu is divided into several areas. To navigate between areas, press the Tab key.

When you initially open the Start menu, the “Search window search box edit” is selected. However, as you press Tab, you will come across the following items:

The first item, “Search window search box edit,” allows you to quickly access the desired item by entering a part of the name of the app or file you want to launch or open. Once you become familiar with it, you may find yourself frequently using this feature.

If you press the down arrow when it reads “Start list [Start] Navigation menu item switch,” you will encounter the following items:

The “All apps list” displays all the apps installed on your computer. Use the up and down arrow keys to navigate between items. Press Enter on the desired app, and the Start menu will close, launching the selected app.

This list is grouped alphabetically by the first letter of the app names. The parts that are read out as “Group A,” for example, are the headers for each group. Additionally, you can press an alphabetical key on the list to quickly jump to the first app that starts with that letter.

The “All apps list” may include “folders.” These folders are like containers that group several related items together. When a folder is present, it will be read out as “Folder, collapsed” following the item name. Selecting the folder and pressing Enter will expand it, displaying the items inside. When a folder is expanded, additional menu items will be added below the folder, showing the contents of the folder. It’s important to be aware of which items belong to the folder (inside the folder) and which items were already present (outside the folder).

The “Pinned tiles list” displays the apps that you have “pinned” to the Start menu, arranged horizontally and vertically. The operations here can be quite complex, and since any app can be accessed from the “All apps list,” this feature is not commonly used.

By the way, when the “Search window search box edit” is selected, pressing either the up or down arrow key will directly move you to the “All apps list.”

Basic Operation: Launching an App

To familiarize yourself with operations in the Start Menu, let’s try two different methods to launch an app. We’ll use the “Notepad” app that comes with Windows as an example.

  1. Launch from “All Apps”:
    1. Press the Windows key to open the Start Menu.
    2. Press the down arrow key to navigate to “All Apps.”
    3. Look for the “Windows Accessories” folder. Press the letter “W” to jump to it quickly, and then press the down arrow key a few times.
    4. Press Enter to expand the folder.
    5. Use the down arrow key to find “Notepad” and press Enter.
    6. Notepad should launch successfully. To exit Notepad, press Alt+F4.
  2. Launch using the search feature:
    1. Press the Windows key to open the Start Menu.
    2. Type “Notepad.”
    3. Use the up and down arrow keys to select Notepad, and then press Enter.
    4. Notepad should launch successfully. To exit Notepad, press Alt+F4.

Layout of Windows App Screens

Let’s explain the general layout of a Windows app screen. Note that the layout of Windows app screens is not standardized, so it may differ for different apps.

We’ll refer to the entire screen that an app occupies as the “window.”

Title Bar

At the top of the window, there is an area called the “title bar.” It displays the app’s name and may also show the name of the currently opened file.

Below the title bar, there is a region called the “menu bar.”

Typically, apps provide numerous commands (instructions), which are accessed by executing them. Commands are organized into “menus” named according to their respective categories. To execute a command, the following steps are usually taken:

  1. Open the menu containing the desired command.
  2. Select the intended command from the menu.

The menu bar displays the names of each menu in a horizontal row. When clicked with a mouse, the menu’s contents are displayed vertically.

To navigate the menu bar using the keyboard:

  1. Press the Alt key to select the leftmost item on the menu bar.
  2. Use the left and right arrow keys to select the desired menu item.
  3. Press either the up or down arrow key to open the menu.
  4. Use the up and down arrow keys to find the desired command within the menu, and press Enter to execute it.

In summary, the menu bar (the list of menus) is displayed horizontally, while the contents of each menu are listed vertically.

Within the vertical list of menu items, there may be sub-items, indicated by a right arrow after the item name. The presence of sub-menus is announced audibly as well. To enter a sub-menu, press the right arrow key. Pressing the left arrow key within a sub-menu takes you back to the previous menu.


Below the menu bar, there may be an area called the “toolbar.” The toolbar displays commands that are frequently used within the application. For example, there may be a “Undo” button to undo the previous action.

Generally, the toolbar cannot be directly operated using the keyboard. However, if the same items as those in the toolbar are available in the menu bar or if hotkeys (described later) are assigned to those items, you can achieve the same functionality through them.

Status Bar

At the bottom of the window, there is a horizontal area called the “status bar.” It displays the current status of the application. For example, when editing a document, it may show the “current cursor position.”

Main Area of the Application

Between the toolbar and the status bar, the central part of the window is where the actual operations of the application take place. Although it is commonly referred to as the “main area,” it doesn’t have a specific name.

Access Keys and Hotkeys

By using the menu bar, you can execute various functions of the application using the keyboard. However, compared to using a mouse, it can be less efficient and time-consuming to locate and execute the desired functions. To improve keyboard efficiency, there are several features available.

Access Keys

If you carefully observe the main items displayed in the menu bar, such as “File (F)” and “Edit (E),” you will notice that they are accompanied by alphabet letters. After navigating to the menu bar using the Alt key, you can directly open the corresponding menu by pressing the key associated with that alphabet letter. Additionally, if you simultaneously press the Alt key and the alphabet key, you can open the menu in a single action. This feature is called an “access key.”

Similarly, the sub-items displayed when you open a menu also have access keys, such as “New (N)” and “Open (O).” These access keys only work after opening the corresponding menu.

Here are some specific examples. To execute the “New (N)” command in the “File (F)” menu of the menu bar, you can use the following methods:

By utilizing access keys, you can increase the efficiency of your operations.


Each command in the application may have assigned hotkeys (also known as shortcut keys). By using hotkeys, you can directly execute commands without opening the menu.

Depending on the application design, a menu item may be displayed as “New (N) Ctrl+N.” In this case, “Ctrl+N” is the hotkey. When you have the corresponding application open, pressing Ctrl+N will execute the “New” command.

Note that the specific hotkeys assigned to each command can vary depending on the application. Some applications may provide a “Keyboard Shortcuts” list in their help documentation, which can be helpful for utilizing hotkeys effectively.

Exercise: Executing Commands

Let’s practice executing commands using the built-in “Notepad” app in Windows. This time, we will try executing the “New” command in the “File” menu. Refer to this example and try executing various commands.

  1. Method of selecting from the menu:
    1. Press the Alt key. The “File (F)” item, located at the left end of the menu bar, will be selected.
    2. Use the right arrow key to check what items are present in the menu bar. It should include “Edit (E),” “Format (O),” “View (V),” “Help (H),” and “System.” Press the right arrow key once more to return to “File (F).”
    3. Select “File (F)” and press the down arrow key. The first item in the “File” menu, which is “New (N) Ctrl+N,” will be selected.
    4. Press the down arrow key to sequentially check the contents of the “File” menu. It will include “New Window (W) Ctrl+Shift+N,” “Open (O)… Ctrl+O,” “Save (S) Ctrl+S,” “Save As (A)… Ctrl+Shift+S,” “Page Setup (U)…,” “Print (P)… Ctrl+P,” and “Exit Notepad (X).” Press the down arrow key again to return to “New (N) Ctrl+N.”
    5. Select “New (N) Ctrl+N” and press the Enter key. This will execute the “New” command.
  2. Using access keys to select from the menu:
    1. Press Alt+F to open the “File” menu.
    2. While in this state, type “N.” This will execute the “New” command.
  3. Using hotkeys:
    1. Press Ctrl+N. This will execute the “New” command.

As shown above, there are multiple ways to execute the same command. Navigating through the menu one by one allows for precise operation while listening to audio cues, but it can be less efficient. On the other hand, using hotkeys allows for the most efficient operation, but you need to remember which hotkey is assigned to each command. Feel free to use these methods as needed.

Column: Menus and Menu Bars

When operating the menu bar, there are situations where you use the left and right arrow keys and situations where you use the up and down arrow keys. Let’s organize them a bit before explaining the menu bar.

First, let’s confirm what a “menu” is before discussing the menu bar. A menu consists of various commands arranged in a vertical column. This means that when navigating within a menu, you need to use the up and down arrow keys.

On the other hand, the menu bar consists of the names of the menus that the app has, arranged horizontally. This means that when moving between them, you need to use the left and right arrow keys.

The key point is that “what is lined up in the menu bar is not actually a menu.” The menu bar contains the “entrances to the menus,” and only when you select one of them and press the down arrow key will the menu appear. It may be a little confusing, but as you interact with various apps, you will gradually understand it.

Operating Dialog Boxes

Alongside menus, another commonly used component is the “dialog box.” Dialog boxes are used when performing commands that require some form of user interaction, such as changing settings, saving data, or specifying print ranges. When selecting a command from a menu, those accompanied by “…” indicate that a dialog box will appear during execution.

Let’s discuss operations within dialog boxes. The operations explained here are not limited to dialog boxes alone but are fundamental for interacting with other parts of an application beyond its menus.

In a dialog box, you can navigate between items using the Tab key. Additionally, pressing Shift+Tab allows you to navigate in reverse order.

By default, the Tab key moves between items in the order of “top to bottom, left to right.” However, the actual navigation order may not always match the visual layout due to the internal structure of the application.

Types of Controls

There are various types of controls that can be navigated using the Tab key. The method of operation depends on the type of control.

Here is a summary of common control types and a brief explanation. It’s not necessary to memorize all of them at once, and you don’t need to fully understand them immediately. In the future, when you encounter new controls while using different applications, you can refer to this guide as needed.

Unfortunately, there are controls that are not compatible with keyboard operations or cannot be read by NVDA. In such cases, manual operation can be extremely challenging.

Practice: Operating a Dialog Box

Let’s experience operating a dialog box firsthand. Unlike previous practice exercises, specific step-by-step instructions will not be provided. Please refer to the explanations given earlier and explore the controls freely.

The “Notepad” application included with Windows has several commands that display dialog boxes. For example:

These are suitable for experiencing various controls within a dialog box.

Column: Pressing Buttons with Space or Enter

When pressing buttons in a dialog box, you can use both the Space key and the Enter key. However, it is generally recommended to use the Space key. Let’s delve into the reasons for this recommendation.

Usually, a dialog box determines the action to be taken when the Enter key is pressed. More precisely, it is decided that “when the Enter key is pressed, treat it as if this button is pressed.” The button that performs the action when the Enter key is pressed is called the “default button” or “default action button.”

When you select a button using the Tab key and press the Enter key, the usual behavior is to “press the selected button” rather than “press the default button.” Therefore, you can press the selected button in most cases. However, depending on how the dialog box is designed, the default button may be triggered instead. To understand what happens when you select a button and press the Enter key, you need to try it out.

On the other hand, when you select a button and press the Space key, you can be certain that the selected button will be pressed.

Note that it is not possible to use NVDA to determine which button is the default button in a dialog box.

Basic Operations of NVDA

In the previous section, we discussed how to navigate and operate Windows using the keyboard. Now let’s learn the basic operations of NVDA.

Before Learning NVDA

NVDA is a screen reader software that faithfully follows the fundamentals of Windows. If you are familiar with the Windows operating methods explained in the previous section, you will be able to perform everyday computer tasks.

Up until now, when you pressed the Alt key to navigate the menu bar, used the Tab key to move between controls, or pressed arrow keys or the Space key, NVDA automatically read out the results of your actions. This may seem obvious, but it is the most fundamental and important aspect. NVDA automatically informs you when the currently focused location changes or when the state of the currently focused location (such as the state of a checkbox or the options in a combo box) changes.

However, you may have the following questions at times:

To address these questions, NVDA provides numerous reading commands.

Furthermore, NVDA offers a wide range of configuration options. By adjusting the settings, you can make NVDA more user-friendly according to your preferences.

In this section, we will explain representative reading commands and how to modify settings in NVDA.

NVDA Modifier Key

Most of the commands in NVDA require the use of a special key called the “NVDA modifier key.” Similar to the Ctrl or Alt keys, you press the NVDA modifier key simultaneously with another key to execute an action. Whenever you come across an instruction like “NVDA+Tab,” it means you should press the NVDA modifier key and the Tab key together.

By default, the following keys function as the NVDA modifier key:

Additionally, you can configure the following keys to act as the NVDA modifier key through settings:

At the beginning of this section, you learned how to exit NVDA. Do you remember the instruction to press the “Left Alt key + Q”? In fact, this action can be expressed as “NVDA+Q.” This means you can also press the Insert key instead of the Left Alt key. The key itself is not as important as pressing the NVDA modifier key while pressing Q.

Please note that to use the originally assigned function of the key configured as the NVDA modifier key, you need to press that key twice in succession.

Input Help Mode

Before we delve into various NVDA commands, it can be overwhelming to learn them all at once. Some of you may not be familiar with the exact positions of keys on the keyboard. To address this, let’s start by introducing “Input Help Mode.”

In Input Help Mode, when you press a key, its name is spoken aloud. Usually, the pressed key does not trigger any actual action, allowing you to safely explore different operations. However, please note that some actions assigned by computer manufacturers to certain keys, such as function keys, may still be executed. Initially, pay attention only to the handling of the F1 to F12 keys.

To enter Input Help Mode, press NVDA+1. You will hear “Input help started,” and the key input will no longer be sent to the application.

In this state, for example, when you press the Tab key, it will be spoken as “Tab.” If you press Alt+F, it will be spoken as “Alt+f.” This way, you can confirm the positions of various keys on the keyboard.

Also, let’s identify the NVDA modifier key. It is the key spoken as “NVDA.” Pressing the same key twice in succession will speak the key’s original name.

Another feature of Input Help Mode is the ability to “lookup NVDA commands.” For instance, if you press NVDA+Q in Input Help Mode, you will hear “NVDA+q Exit NVDA.” This feature allows you to explore NVDA commands. Try pressing the NVDA key along with various other keys to see what commands are available.

To exit Input Help Mode and return to normal operation, press NVDA+1 again.

Basic Speech Commands

Here are some commonly used speech commands. I have provided hints for each command to help you remember them.

Stopping Speech

Let’s discuss how to stop NVDA’s speech during its reading.

When NVDA is speaking, you can press the Ctrl key to stop the current speech. If the “Read all” command is in progress, the cursor will be placed at the position where the speech was stopped.

Additionally, you can press the Shift key to pause the current speech. Pressing the Shift key again will resume the speech. Note that depending on your Windows settings, pressing the Shift key five times may enable the “Sticky Keys” feature.

Modifying NVDA Settings

Let’s explore how to modify NVDA settings. Since it’s not possible to cover all the settings, I’ll focus on explaining the necessary steps to change settings.


To make changes to the settings, you need to open the “NVDA Menu.” This menu provides options for changing settings, accessing the NVDA user guide, and exiting NVDA.

To open the NVDA Menu, press NVDA+N. You will hear “NVDA menu.”

As you’ve learned before, use the up and down arrow keys to navigate between menu items, and press Enter to execute the selected item. To enter a submenu, press the right arrow key, and to go back, press the left arrow key.

The NVDA Menu includes the following items:

NVDA Settings

To modify NVDA settings, execute “Preferences (P)” in the “Settings” submenu of the NVDA menu. This will open the “NVDA Settings” dialog, where you can change most of NVDA’s settings.

The dialog is divided into three main sections:

The steps to modify settings are as follows:

  1. Select the category that contains the setting you want to change from the “Categories (C)” list.
  2. Make the necessary changes.
  3. If you want to modify settings from other categories, repeat steps 1 and 2 as needed.
  4. Press the “OK” button to apply and exit the settings.

Upon opening the “NVDA Settings” dialog, the “Categories (C)” option is selected. Here, pressing the up and down arrow keys will allow you to review the following items:

The displayed content on the screen will change depending on the selected item. Let’s choose “General” for this example.

From here, pressing the Tab key will navigate through the settings items within the selected category.

I won’t provide explanations for each item, as there are numerous settings available.

Now, press the Tab key again.

Pressing the “OK” button will save the changes and close the dialog.

Pressing the “Cancel” button will discard the changes and close the dialog.

Pressing the “Apply (A)” button will save the changes without closing the dialog.

Pressing the Tab key once more will return to the “Categories (C)” option.

As a practice for modifying settings, let’s change the speech rate. Follow these steps in the “NVDA Settings” dialog:

  1. Select “Speech” in the “Categories (C)” list.
  2. Use the Tab key to navigate to “Rate (R).”
  3. Use the arrow keys to adjust the rate. Pressing the right or up arrow keys will increase the speed, while pressing the left or down arrow keys will decrease it.
  4. Press the “OK” button to save the settings.

You can modify other settings using the same procedure.

Saving Settings

When modifying NVDA settings, you may encounter situations like the following:

To avoid these situations, the NVDA version used in this case is set not to save the modified settings. This allows you to revert to the original state by simply restarting NVDA if you accidentally made changes.

If you want to use the modified settings in the next session, after making the necessary adjustments, execute “Save Configuration (S)” in the NVDA menu. On the other hand, if you want to revert to the previously saved settings without restarting NVDA, execute “Restore Saved Configuration (R)” in the NVDA menu.

Browsing the Web

Next, let’s explore reading websites (homepages on the internet) using NVDA.

So far, we have focused on following the basic operations of Windows. However, browsing the web is slightly different. Generally, web pages contain various elements arranged horizontally and vertically, making it challenging to read them through speech output. Therefore, NVDA analyzes the structure of the page and processes it to enhance readability for speech output. You can freely navigate through the resulting document while reading. This feature is called “Browse Mode.”

Let’s Read the User Guide

As a practice for web browsing, let’s read the “User Guide” for NVDA. The User Guide is a helpful resource for learning about NVDA’s operations and settings, and it is provided as a web page.

Opening the User Guide

To open the User Guide, follow these steps:

  1. Press NVDA+N to open the NVDA menu.
  2. Press the up and down arrow keys to select “Help (H),” and then press the right arrow key to open the submenu.
  3. Press the up and down arrow keys to select “User Guide (U),” and then press Enter.

By performing the above steps, a web browser will open, and the User Guide will load for reading.

Reading by Characters and Lines

Once the page finishes loading, NVDA will start reading from the beginning of the document. This is in the “Read All” mode (NVDA+A), and you can pause the speech by pressing the Ctrl key.

To read the content while navigating within the document, use the following operations:

Furthermore, you can perform tasks such as selecting a range or copying the selected text, similar to working with documents in Notepad, by combining the Shift key with the navigation keys.

Various Elements of a Web Page

While reading line by line with the up and down arrow keys, you may encounter elements such as “links,” “headings,” and “lists” being spoken. These are the names of different “elements” on the page.

Below, we will cover commonly used elements and provide an overview:

Links are elements used to navigate to other pages or different parts of the same page. By selecting a link and pressing the Enter key, you can move to the linked page. If you have previously visited the linked page, it will be announced as a “visited link.”


Headings are elements commonly used to indicate the start of a section or to divide the content. Headings have levels ranging from 1 to 6, with level 1 being the largest and level 6 being the smallest.


Lists are used for items such as bullet points. There are three types of lists: unordered lists, ordered lists, and definition lists.


Landmarks represent the roles of different parts, such as “banner,” “navigation,” and “main,” to facilitate easy navigation within the page using assistive technologies like screen readers.

Form Controls

Form controls include elements such as text boxes, checkboxes, and combo boxes, which allow you to input or select information.


Tables are elements used to arrange data in a grid-like format. They are commonly used to present tabular data. Each piece of data within a table is referred to as a “cell.”

Single Character Navigation

NVDA has a feature called “Single Character Navigation” that allows you to easily navigate to specific elements within a page.

In Single Character Navigation, you use predefined alphabetical keys for each element. Pressing these keys individually will move you to the next corresponding element. Additionally, pressing the key along with the Shift key will move you to the previous corresponding element.

Here are the keys used in Single Character Navigation and their corresponding elements. Please note that the following descriptions are based on NVDA’s user guide and may differ in some element names from previous explanations or NVDA’s speech.

Practice Exercise: Single Character Navigation

Let’s open NVDA’s user guide and perform the following operations:

Element List

By using Single Character Navigation, you can efficiently browse web pages. However, it can be challenging to go through each heading or link, especially in cases like the user guide with numerous elements.

NVDA provides a feature called “Element List” that can be helpful in such situations. This feature allows you to view and navigate through a list of specified elements within a page, making it easier to find the desired items.

To open the Element List, press NVDA+F7 in Browse Mode. Then, use Shift+Tab to move to the “Type” radio buttons and select the desired element to check. Press Tab to move to the tree view, which displays the specified elements within the page. Selecting an item and pressing Enter will move the cursor to the selected element.

Find in Page

There are times when you want to search for a specific keyword within the currently open page. In such cases, NVDA’s Find in Page feature can be handy.

Press NVDA+Ctrl+F to open the search dialog, enter the keyword you want to search for, and press Enter. The search will automatically start from the cursor position towards the end of the page. If a match is found for the entered keyword, the cursor will move to that location. If the keyword is not found, an error message will be displayed.

Additionally, the following commands can be used to search with the last entered keyword:

Note on Tab Key Behavior

When you’re reading a page in Browse Mode and press the Tab key, it will move to the next available element (link, button, or other form controls). Pressing Shift+Tab will move in the reverse direction.

These behaviors are inherent to Windows and not specific to NVDA’s functionality. However, they can be useful for quickly navigating within a page, so feel free to use them as needed.

Next, let’s try a common activity on the internet, which is performing a “Google search.”

Opening a Page by Specifying the Address

To perform a Google search, we need to open the Google webpage first. We will do this by specifying the address of the page.

The address for Google is as follows:

To open a page by specifying the address, follow these steps:

  1. With the browser open, press Ctrl+L. NVDA will read out something like “Address and search bar, search landmark, collapse, search or enter web address, Ctrl+L.”
  2. Enter the address of the page you want to open. In this case, enter the Google address mentioned above.
  3. Press Enter.

Now, the Google webpage should open. You can use NVDA+T or other commands to confirm.

Note that when entering the address, you can omit the initial “https://” or “http://” if you prefer. Additionally, in some cases, you can also omit the “www.” part. In other words, in the example above, entering just “” will also open the Google page.

Furthermore, if you have previously entered similar addresses, they might be suggested as autocomplete options. Even if options like “select” or “delete selected item” are read out after each character input, continue entering the address until the end without worrying about them.

Finding the Search Keyword Input Field

On the opened page, there should be an input field for entering the search keywords. Based on what we have learned so far, let’s try to locate it.

The search keyword input field is recognized as an “editable combo box.” Understand it as a combination of an edit box and a combo box.

With this knowledge, there are several ways to find the input field:

Try one of these methods to find the location where NVDA reads out “search landmark, search, combo box, autocomplete, editable.”

Entering the Keyword

Let’s say we want to enter “NVDA” as the keyword. However, when we input the letter “N,” the one character navigation for “non-link text” may activate, preventing us from entering the correct character.

To overcome this, NVDA has a feature called “focus mode” in addition to browse mode. Let’s explain the difference between the two:

To switch between focus mode and browse mode, press NVDA+Space. Each time you perform this action, focus mode and browse mode will alternate, and you will hear a sound effect. If you hear a “click” sound, you have switched to focus mode. If you hear a “boop” sound, you have switched to browse mode.

For Google search, the following steps can be followed:

  1. In browse mode, navigate to “search landmark, search, combo box, autocomplete, editable.”
  2. Press NVDA+Space to switch to focus mode.
  3. Enter the search keyword.
  4. Press NVDA+Space to switch back to browse mode.

Note that for controls like edit boxes or combo boxes where focus mode operation is required, the following operations are also possible:

However, when you switch to focus mode by pressing NVDA+Space, you cannot return to browse mode by pressing the Escape key.

Executing the Search and Checking the Results

After entering the search keyword and pressing the “Google Search” button, the page will switch, and the search results will be displayed.

On the Google search results page, the links to each page found in the search will be displayed as headings. By using one character navigation, you can easily review the search results by reading the headings one by one.

Let’s search for “NVDA” on Google. What results are displayed?

Instances Where Focus Mode is Used

Focus mode was traditionally used when operating various form controls, as we saw in the previous example of entering search keywords.

However, there has been an increase in the use of “web apps,” which are applications that run in the browser. Tasks such as managing calendar schedules or sending and receiving emails, which were previously performed using dedicated applications, are now often done through web apps.

Some web apps provide numerous hotkeys to facilitate keyboard-based operation. To use these hotkeys, you need to switch NVDA to focus mode.

In the future, you may also use “Google Colaboratory,” which is a type of web app. Compared to typical applications, the operations may be somewhat more complex, but let’s gradually get familiar with them.

Note: Supported Browsers for NVDA

The browser we are using for this exercise is “Microsoft Edge.” It comes preinstalled with Windows and is the easiest to use.

Other browsers that can be used with NVDA include:

Please note that “NetReader,” a browser designed for visually impaired users, is not compatible with NVDA.

Note: “Use screen layout if supported” Option

In the “Browse Mode” category of the “NVDA Settings” dialog, there is an option called “Use screen layout if supported.” This option is checked by default, but let’s explain what happens when you change it.

In the NVDA User Guide, there is a section called “17. Further information.” Within that section, there is a line that appears as follows:

If you need further information or help with NVDA, check out the NVDA website. There you'll find additional documentation and resources for technical support and the community.

This is a representation close to the actual screen display. However, if there is a link in the middle of a line, selecting that link can be challenging. There may also be multiple links or buttons within a single line.

When you uncheck the “Use screen layout if supported” option, the representation changes as follows:

If you need further information or help with NVDA, check out the NVDA website.
There you'll find additional documentation and resources for technical support and the community.

In this representation, regardless of the actual display format, links or buttons are displayed with line breaks before them. You can easily switch this setting by pressing NVDA+V in browse mode.

Summary of This Section

In this chapter, we learned the basics and characteristics of NVDA, a type of screen reader. We covered detailed information on installing and configuring NVDA, as well as how to start, exit, and restart the screen reader. We also explored basic operations in Windows, particularly focusing on navigating the Start menu, launching applications, and understanding the layout of Windows applications.

This knowledge is essential for freely utilizing computers and online services. It can be considered timeless knowledge that remains relevant even as new services emerge. It is advisable to become familiar with these skills in your day-to-day computer usage and to seek help from knowledgeable individuals when encountering unfamiliar situations. By acquiring these skills confidently, you will be well-prepared to navigate various technologies and services.