NonVisual Desktop Access

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Original author(s) Michael Curran
Developer(s) NVDA team
Initial release 2006 (2006)
Stable release 2014.1 / 13 March 2014; 33 days ago (2014-03-13)
Development status Active
Written in primarily Python, C++
Operating system Microsoft Windows
Available in 48 languages
Type Screen reader
License GNU General Public License (Version 2)

NonVisual Desktop Access (NVDA) is a free, open source, portable screen reader for Microsoft Windows. The project was started by Michael Curran in 2006. The latest stable version is 2013.1.

NVDA is programmed in Python. It currently works exclusively with accessibility APIs such as Microsoft Active Accessibility, IAccessible2 and the Java Access Bridge, rather than using specialized video drivers to "intercept" and interpret visual information. It is licensed under the GNU General Public License.

NVDA uses eSpeak as its integrated speech synthesizer, and also supports SAPI synthesizers.[1] Output to Braille displays is supported officially from Version 0.6p3 onwards.


Besides general Windows functionality, NVDA works with WordPad, Notepad and Internet Explorer. It supports the basic functions of Outlook Express, Microsoft Word, Microsoft PowerPoint and Microsoft Excel.[1] Support for the free office suites LibreOffice and requires the Java Access Bridge package. NVDA also supports Mozilla Firefox (version 3 or higher).

Since early 2009, NVDA supports the WAI-ARIA standard for Accessible Rich Internet Applications, so that in the future, web applications can be better used by blind users.[2][3]

Support for email is provided with Mozilla Thunderbird version 3 or higher.

With the 2010.1 release, NVDA supports 64-bit editions of Windows, the login screen and User Account Control screens, and has full support for Internet Explorer. It also has a newer version of the E-speak speech synthesizer

Release 2010.2, from October 2010, added greatly simplified object navigation; virtual buffers for Adobe Flash content; access to many previously inaccessible controls by retrieving text written to the screen; flat review of screen text; support for IBM Lotus Symphony documents; reporting of table row and column headers in Mozilla Firefox; and significantly improved user documentation.

Release 2011.1.1 added automatic reporting of new text output in mIRC, PuTTY, Tera Term and SecureCRT; support for global plugins; announcement of bullets and numbering in Microsoft Word; additional key bindings for braille displays, including keys to move to the next and previous line; support for several Baum, HumanWare and APH braille displays; and reporting of colors for some controls, including IBM Lotus Symphony text controls.

Release 2012.2.1 addressed several potential security issues and provides new features such as automatic update, Add-ons Manager, and access to Windows 8-style apps. Release 2013.3 added configuration profiles to enhance the capability of NVDA in interacting with applications.


  1. ^ a b NVDA Project: About NVDA.
  2. ^ Marco Zehe: NVDA 2009.1 beta, what’s in it for Firefox users?, Tuesday, October 27th, 2009.
  3. ^ What's New in NVDA (2009.1)

External links[edit]