NVDA Keyboard Shortcuts

Screen Reader Keyboard Shortcuts and Gestures > NVDA

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NVDA (Non-Visual Desktop Access) is a screen reader for Microsoft Windows that is totally free, yet fully functional and portable; you can download it to your PC or to portable media such as a USB stick. It was initially released in 2006 by NV Access founders Michael Curran and James Teh—blind computer programmers who believe passionately in universal access to computers.

To install NVDA: Go to http://www.nvaccess.org/download/ . We encourage you to donate if you can. If you can't, you can skip the donation and just download the software.

Note:

NVDA works well with Firefox, Chrome, and Edge. NVDA also has decent support for Internet Explorer, but the best testing combinations are NVDA + Firefox, NVDA + Chrome, and NVDA + Edge.
NVDA + Firefox, NVDA + Chrome, NVDA + Edge

NVDA shortcut keys

Note: Some keyboard shortcuts require using the NVDA modifier key. By default, both the Numpad Insert key and the Extended Insert key are set as NVDA modifier keys, but users can designate the Caps Lock key as an additional NVDA modifier key. In the tables below, the assumption is that the Insert key is being used as the NVDA modifier key. If you have changed your settings, you may need to substitute the Caps Lock key in the place of the Insert key. Note also that these keyboard shortcuts are for NVDA's desktop keyboard layout setting; some shortcuts are different when using NVDA's laptop keyboard layout setting.

Browse and Focus Modes

Browse Mode: Browse mode is used when reading documents or web pages.

Focus Mode: Focus mode is used when the user enters a form or other fields that require user input.

NVDA automatically switches between Browse and Focus modes, but the user can toggle them using Insert + Space Bar.

Speech Viewer

Turn on Speech Viewer: Enabling Speech Viewer opens a window that shows everything NVDA states. This is useful for sighted users learning NVDA for testing purposes. Enable it under Tools in the NVDA menu.

The basics

Topic Task Command
On/Off: Turn NVDA on Control + Alt + N
Turn NVDA off Insert + Q
Reading: Stop Reading Control
Start reading continuously from this point on Insert + down arrow or Numpad +
Read next item down arrow
Read next focusable item (e.g. link, button) Tab
Activate: Link Enter
Button Enter or Spacebar
Headings: Go to next heading H
Go to next heading of level [1-6] 1 - 6
List all headings Insert + F7
Landmarks: Go to next landmark/region D
Elements list: Show list of all links, headings, form fields, buttons, and landmarks Insert + F7
Tables: Go to next table T
Navigate table cells Ctrl + Alt + down arrow or up arrow or left arrow or right arrow
Lists: Go to next list L
Go to next list item I
Graphics: Go to next graphic G
Links: List all links Insert + F7
Go to next link K
Go to next unvisited link U
Go to next visited link V
Navigate: Toggle between:
Radio buttons,
<select>list items,
Tabs (ARIA widget),
Tree view items (ARIA widget),
Menu items (ARIA widget)
right arrow or down arrow or left arrow or up arrow
Go backward: To previous heading, landmark, table, focusable item, etc. Shift + [H, D, T, Tab, etc.]

Reading text

Topic Task Command
Line: Say prior line up arrow or Numpad 7
Say next line down arrow or Numpad 9
Say current line Insert + up arrow or Numpad 8
Start of line Shift + Numpad 1
End of line Shift + Numpad 3
Top line Shift + Numpad 7
Bottom line Shift + Numpad 9
Character: Say prior character left arrow or Numpad 1
Say next character right arrow or Numpad 3
Say current character Numpad 2
Say character phonetically Numpad 2 twice quickly
Word: Say prior word Ctrl + left arrow or Numpad 4
Say next word Ctrl + right arrow or Numpad 6
Say current word Numpad 5
Sentence: Say prior sentence Alt + up arrow
Say next sentence Alt + down arrow
Say current sentence Alt + Numpad 5
Paragraph: Say prior paragraph Ctrl + up arrow
Say next paragraph Ctrl + down arrow
Spelling: Spell word Numpad 5 twice quickly
Spell word phonetically Numpad 5 thrice quickly
Spell current line Insert + up arrow twice quickly
Spell current line phonetically Insert + up arrow thrice quickly

Tables

Topic Task Command
Table: Go to next (previous) table T (Shift + T)
Cell: Cell to right Ctrl + Alt + right arrow
Cell to left Ctrl + Alt + left arrow
Cell below Ctrl + Alt + down arrow
Cell above Ctrl + Alt + up arrow

Forms

Topic Task Command
List all: List all form elements Insert + F7
Navigate: Next form field F
Next focusable item Tab
Next button B
Checkboxes: Select and deselect Spacebar
Next checkbox X
Combo boxes (<select>): Open combo box Alt + down arrow
Browse/select options down arrow or the First letter
Select multiple options Shift + down arrow (or up arrow)
Next combo box C
Radio buttons: Toggle selection up arrow/down arrow
Next radio button R
Focus mode*: Toggle between focus mode and browse mode Insert + Spacebar

* “Focus mode” allows you to enter data into form fields. Browse mode allows you to navigate the page using standard screen reader shortcuts (e.g. to navigate headings, landmarks, links, etc.)

Other commands

Task Command
Search for a word or a phrase NVDA + Ctrl + F
Keyboard help Insert + 1
Next blockquote Q
Next key you hit ignores NVDA and is a normal keystroke Insert + F2
Speak characters typed Insert + 2
Speak words typed Insert + 3
Read entire foreground window (e.g. for dialogs) Insert + B
Announce title of the current foreground window Insert + T

Additional resources

The full list of NVDA's keyboard commands can be found in the official NVDA User Guide.

NV Access' support webpage is available at www.nvaccess.org/get-help/.