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10 NVDA ADD-ONS TO BOOST YOUR PRODUCTIVITY AND EFFICIENCY


Olufemi S.A. Bayode on June 15, 2019 with comments

The growth of NVDA user community is at geometric progress. This holds to the flexibility, accessibility, extensibility and frequent improvement of the screen reader. If for nothing, it’s been the only free screen reader that stand neck to neck with JAWS in functionality for about a decade. It has many contributors across the globe who see to the development of add-ons which gives more energy to NVDA to remain relevant till date; and helping millions of persons with blindness and visual impairment have a fair share of the global benefit of information and communication technology.


NVDA add-ons are mini programme packages developed to provide extra features or enhance the existing functionality of the screen reader. These are downloaded and installed into the copy of NVDA screen reader on one’s device. Should you want to install any NVDA add-on, you need to ensure that the NVDA screen reader is running before embarking on the installation. Upon the installation, a restart of the NVDA screen reader is required for the add-on to take effect. You may also need to perform little adjustment here and there in the setting for some to suit your taste.


There are lots of NVDA add-ons on the internet to add new and improve functionalities to the screen reader such as voice synthesis, navigation, interaction with other software amongst others. Every NVDA user needs to install the appropriate add-ons for best experience because some of these add-ons perform the same functions regardless difference in name, while some perform better than others on the same task. Appropriateness in this context involves your computer use and installed programme on your computer system. Consequently, here are list of ten add-ons to boost your productivity and efficiency:


  1. INPUT LOCK:
    If your hand brushes over your touch pad during typing hereby changing the position of your cursor, this is one NVDA add-on you mustn’t bypass without installation. The Input Lock helps to freeze your mouse cursor. You may even rest your hand and do whatever you want with the touch pad without bothering about the cursor changing position. You have to rely on the NVDA mouse functions with the keyboard for clicks and reviews. You may also use it to lock other input devices like braille display, touch screen and keyboard. The default set for the command is toggle but there’s no key assignment at all. So, you’ll have to assign the keys via the NVDA menu > Preferences > Input Gesture. The extra feature of this add-on also include customization of the mouse to lock immediately NVDA starts operation.
  2. MOZILLA APPS ENHANCEMENTS:
    This add-on provides extra NVDA functionality for the Mozilla apps. It facilitates quick access to information such as address, status and notification in Mozilla Firefox. It makes navigation, reading and accessing information easier in Mozilla Thunderbird. The Mozilla Apps Enhancement also permits customization of the already key assignment.
  3. PLACEMARKERS:
    Place Marker is a key feature in the JAWS screen reader that makes me prefer it to NVDA while researching online because I can mark several parts of different websites and return to those marked places at any time I so desire. However, that was then because I now have the PlaceMarker Add-on. This NVDA add-on performs this function. It permits marking specific spot on a web page or a document with the intention of quickly returning or jumping to the place later. It involves saving and searching a particular text strings otherwise termed bookmarking.
  4. TestNav:
    there’s nothing as annoying as encountering junks of ads within an interesting article during reading on the internet. It’s so frustrating most times because it disrupts the flow. But laying your hand on TestNav simplifies your browsing experience on any web browser that supports NVDA screen reader. It provides swift and sweet browsing section on the internet by catapulting you to the meaningful aspect of a web page having jumped over ads, menus and other junks. The magic is just in a single keystroke; press SHIFT+ALT+DOWN ARROW KEY and jump to the less important elements to what you want to read.
  5. Image describer:
    Just as the name implies, Image Describer helps to identify and report focused graphic or image in a meaningful way. It serves as the eye of the blind to see pictures. Its description is often detailed to include number of persons, objects like “house, cars, ship,” landscape view such as “sea and blue sky,” and more. It also OCR any text or caption in any image. So, get to know any image on your social media and visited sites before liking, commenting, sharing or downloading them.
  6. READ FEEDS:
    This add-on provides unique way of reading feeds in Atom or RSS formats using NVDA. Reading is easy, simple and straight forward. Just add the address of your favorites feeds, press the ENTER key and have it enlisted in the feeds. From the NVDA menu > Tools, you can access Read Feeds to read previous and new articles from your feeds.
  7. EASY TABLE NAVIGATOR:
    Easy Table Navigator adds a layer command to use arrow keys to navigate table cells in web browser as well as document. For example, you may use the RIGHT or left ARROW key to move from “Sender” to “Subject” to “Date”; while you use your UP or DOWN ARROW KEY to move through that column for only the senders, subjects or Dates. This makes navigation faster and obtaining data and information easier from a table. The default set for the key command is toggle but without any particular key assignment. Therefore, you have to set what suit you via the NVDA menu > Preferences > Input Gesture
  8. Add-on Updater:
    This allows you to use the updated version of your desired NVDA add-ons. It gives automatic notification of updates pertinent to your installed add-on and also makes it possible to install the updates from its window into your screen reader. You don’t need any keystroke to start the Add-on Updater; you may start it through the NVDA menu or wait until it detects updates itself.
  9. VIRTUAL REVIEW:
    This helps to virtualize any application window with information i.e. displays the text in the windows in focus. The add-on makes reviewing a window content easy and such information may be copied and paste into another text field like email or word processing application. It comes handy while dealing with dialog box and information beyond the scope of the NVDA System Focus. The advantage it has ahead of the NVDA Review mode is that you interact with the virtualized window as you do in a simple word processing environment. The keystroke to virtualized any window with this add-on is NVDA+CONTROL+W. Then, use the ESCAPE key to close it when you are done.
  10. Windows 10 App Essential:
    This add-on provides more enhancement to the NVDA screen reader by making the Windows10 apps more accessible. There’s improved interaction with the apps and NVDA screen reader e.g. Microsoft Store.

Hi pals, you need to be careful of sites claiming to have NVDA add-on because there are a lots of bad guys out there to harvest what they never sown in your garden. You need to verify your source before venturing into downloading and installing add-ons from them. But the NVDA Add-on Community is the only save and secured haven for you. So, every interested party ready to boost his or her productivity and efficiency should visit https://www.addons.nvda-project.org for many more add-ons from the community.


Tell us the NVDA add-on you admire most in the list above, and let us know the ones you use, if not in the list. We urge you to kindly use the comment field below for your rsponse to inspire and impact others.
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