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The information presented within this glossary entry is aimed at website owners seeking to learn the ropes of web accessibility. Technical elements are described in layman’s terms, and, as a rule, all topics pertaining to the legalities of web accessibility are presented in as simplified a manner as possible. This guide has no legal bearing, and cannot be relied on in the case of litigation.

In this article

NVDA stands for NonVisual Desktop Access and is a free, open-source screen reader used for Microsoft Windows. Initially developed in 2006 by Michael Curran, NVDA is operated, developed, maintained, and enhanced by NV Access, a registered charity and software development company. A popular choice for people with vision impairments and blindness in need of a means by which to access digital information, NVDA was found to be the second-most-used screen reader tool in a survey conducted by WebAIM in 2021. 

NVDA is compatible with Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 8.1, Windows 10, Windows 11, and all Server Operating Systems starting with Windows Server 2008 R2. To use NVDA, users simply need to connect a USB flash drive to whatever device they are using, forgoing the need for installation. 

NVDA features

NVDA users can benefit from the following features:

  • A built-in speech synthesizer that supports over fifty-five languages
  • Support for popular Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox, along with email clients, internet chat software, music players, and, of course, Microsoft Office applications (e.g. Word documents)
  • NVDA supports a variety of refreshable braille displays, including input of braille via braille displays that have a braille keyboard
  • Where available, textual formatting elements, such as font name, size, and style, along with spelling errors, can be announced
  • Text under the mouse cursor is announced automatically, with an option of enabling an audible indication of the mouse position
  • Seamless onboarding processAbility to run entirely from a USB flash drive or other portable media without the need for installation
  • Optional telephone support and comprehensive training material available

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