First NVDA screen reader update for 2016 now available

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Wednesday, 24 February 2016 10:32am

NV Access has launched the 2016.1 update of its NVDA screen reader for Microsoft Windows, adding a new option to lower the volume of external sounds, additional support for braille displays, significant fixes for using Microsoft Office and improvements to browsing the iTunes Store.

Woman using a laptop with headphones outdoors

Braille users are provided with a range of new features, including updated translation tables, settings to modify braille cursor shapes and Bluetooth/USB support for additional braille displays. Audio controls have also been updated for users of Windows 8 and above, allowing the volume of non-NVDA sounds to be lowered with a newly introduced ‘Audio ducking mode’ option.

Major changes in this version also include reporting of emphasis being disabled by default, the shortcut for formulas changed to Alt + R in Microsoft Excel and the word “text” no longer being announced when text-based objects receive focus.

Numerous improvements and bug fixes are available in NVDA 2016.1, including browse mode updating correctly when opening a new page on the iTunes Store, improved single-letter navigation for headings in Internet Explorer, two significant improvements for browsing Spotify, several navigational improvements for Microsoft Windows and updates improving touch screen gesture detection.

NVDA 2016.1 is free to download from the NV Access website. The complete list of changes can be read on the What’s New in NVDA page.

MAA’s Director, Digital Accessibility Dr Scott Hollier welcomes the release, saying, “NVDA continues to be an effective, free and standards-compliant screen reader. This new version provides great benefits for Office users and improves web browsing for web users who are blind or have low vision”.

For more information on using NVDA, check out the improvements made in NVDA version 2015.3 and Dr Scott Hollier’s hands-on impressions with NVDA 2015.1.

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