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Improve screen reader user experience with NVDA

Ali ColakOctober 1, 2021 

It is likely that screen reader users have encountered a situation where they must quickly switch back and forth through two different documents or web applications and must use a separate speech synthesizer setting for both. 

I’ve encountered this situation most often while reviewing documents written in English and Turkish languages,  but other readers might find different cases where they have encountered the same problem. As constantly switching settings could be rather time consuming, 

I would like to share with you a more productive way to accomplish this task through the use of NVDA configuration profiles and the input gestures menu. I would like to remind you that either the CapsLock key on desktop or the Insert key on laptop layouts is used as the NVDA key.

  1. Press NVDA+control+p to go to the configurations profiles menu.
  2. Tab until you get the new button.
  3. Name it whatever you wish, ideally a descriptive name.
  4. Press tab to check the manual activation radio button.
  5. Press OK.
  6. Close the menu.
  7. Switch to whatever settings you want applied to the profile, then save that configuration with CTRL+NVDA+C.
  8. Go to the NVDA preferences menu, then input gestures.
  9. Down arrow until you see Configuration profiles and right arrow to expand.
  10. Down arrow until you hear the name of the profile you created, then tab until you hear add and press enter or the space bar.
  11. Press the key combination you want to associate with that profile, ideally a combination that isn't already associated with another action.
  12. A context menu will appear asking you which keyboard layout you want the combination associated with, select whichever you wish – I advise all keyboard layouts – then press enter.
  13. Tab until you hear OK, and press enter.
  14. Press the key combination to activate and deactivate the profile,which will switch you to the profile – and the settings you associated with it – and back.

Now you will be able to simply use shortcuts to trigger the ideal speech setting for whatever app or documents you are working on.

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