NonVisual Desktop Access
|This article relies on references to primary sources. (January 2012)|
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.
Besides general Windows functionality, NVDA works with WordPad, Notepad and Internet Explorer. It supports the basic functions of Outlook Express, Microsoft Word 2000/XP/2003 and Microsoft Excel 2000/XP/2003. Support for the free office suites LibreOffice and OpenOffice.org requires the Java Access Bridge package. NVDA also supports Mozilla Firefox (version 3 or higher).
With the 2010.1 release, NVDA supports 64-bit editions of Windows, the login screen and User Account Control (UAC) 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 It also has a newer version of the E-speak speech synthesizer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.
The current release is 2012.2.1, which addresses several potential security issues and provides new features such as automatic update, Add-ons Manager, and access to Windows 8-style apps.