While it’s not out yet, version 2014.3 of the free and open source NVDA screen reader is scheduled for its final release at the end of this month. Of course, this could be delayed if the release candidates or test versions are found to contain serious bugs. However, it’s very likely that we’ll see the next version by the end of August or early September, with the first release candidate due out very shortly. Users of Microsoft Office will find this new update particularly useful, as it contains many enhancements to Office. Here are some of the additions which we’ll see in the upcoming new version.
1. The opening and closing sounds can optionally be disabled.
2. NVDA will be able to work with the calendar which is a part of Microsoft Outlook 2007 and higher. Times are announced while moving with arrow keys. You will be told if the selected time is within any appointments. Pressing the tab key will speak the selected appointment.
3. NVDA has enhanced support for the inbox in Outlook 2010 and above. If you disable the report table row/column headers option, you can disable the speaking of column titles such as from, subject, etc. You will also be able to use table navigation commands to move from one column to the next within the inbox message list.
4. While in a Word document, pressing insert-F can now report paragraph indenting. There is also a new “report paragraph indenting” setting which will speak this information automatically.
5. When you press the enter key from within a Word document, NVDA can now report newly inserted items such as a new bullet, number or tab indent. As an example, when you’re entering a numbered list, NVDA will speak the newly inserted number when pressing the enter key.
6. Pressing insert-alt-C reads the text of a comment if the cursor is located within a comment in a Word document.
7. There is now improved support in automatic row and column header reading in both Word and Excel.
8. In Word, NVDA reports the distance from the left edge of the page when you press the tab key.
9. In speech as well as with Braille, NVDA now speaks labels for commonly used formatting hotkeys from within Word: (bold, italic, underline, alignment, outline level, superscript, subscript and font size). (
10. In Excel, NVDA can read comments in a selected cell, also with insert-alt-C. 11. There is a new dialog to edit comments in the selected cell.
12. Excel offers more labels or descriptive information for more selection hotkeys.
13. Pressing insert-F from within Excel now reports vertical and horizontal alignment of the current cell. There is also a new alignment option from within the Document Settings dialog to report this information.
14. In Excel, NVDA can report the style of the currently selected cell, either with the insert-F command or by enabling an option from within the Document Settings dialog.
15. There are new options for speaking the locations of shapes from within Powerpoint.
16. The insert-delete speak location command provides a bit more information while within edit fields and from within browse mode documents, such as Web pages. 17. The LibLouis Braille translator has been updated.
18. Bugs have been fixed to improve access to Outlook, Google chrome, Word, Firefox and Internet Explorer.