Add-ons news part 2: important notice about Windows 10 App Essentials and upcoming NVDA 2017.3


Dear NVDA community:


A few days ago, during a conversation regarding Windows 10 App Essentials add-on, someone pointed out the lack of features from this add-on in NVDA screen reader. I (the author of the add-on) did say then that some features from this add-on are being integrated into NVDA. Below is an important update (and a notice) regarding it:


I’m happy to announce that, starting with NVDA 2017.3, four (or possibly five) major features from Windows 10 App Essentials add-on will be part of the NVDA screen reader. Specifically, from August 2017 onwards, you won’t need the add-on to use the following features:


  • Search suggestion sounds: when you enter text in places such as Start search box, you would have heard a sound to indicate appearance of suggestions. This feature, a landmark feature of this add-on, will finally ship with NVDA in August 2017. The add-on will still be required to hear suggestion count in some cases, and I’ll make sure that this is part of NVDA screen reader in a future release.
  • Navigating suggestions: you can now use up or down arrow keys to review suggestions.
  • Suggestion announcement in braille: when suggestions appear, the top suggestion will be brailled on your braille display as a flash message.
  • Combo box value changes: in some cases, when you change options from combo boxes, NVDA would not announce changes to values in combo boxes. I’ll be deprecating this workaround in the add-on in the fall, as NVDA will now include a fix for it as part of 2017.3.
  • Live region change announcements: if the app is written correctly, screen readers can be told to announce changes to screen text via live region change events. The latest NVDA next (alpha-level) snapshot includes this change, allowing NVDA to announce various things on screen. This feature, originally part of Windows 10 App Essentials, could make its debut as part of NVDA 2017.3 at the earliest.


In regards to live region change announcements, the following will be announced by NVDA:

  • Windows Update installation progress before and during installations, including the part where the computer restarts to finish installing updates. The thing Brian S suggested a few weeks ago – where NVDA should announce updates being installed – is hereby partially fulfilled. The complete picture will be part of Windows 10 Fall Creators update.
  • Text from various universal apps including Skype, Windows Store and many others. I’m working on teaching NVDA to not announce things twice.
  • Notifications from Microsoft Edge such as file download status and website alerts. These include skip ad notice fomr YouTube and many others.
  • Changes to live text in some desktop apps.
  • Windows Hello (fingerprint or iris scan) setup announcements.


Due to these changes, Windows 10 App Essentials version 17.09 or 17.10 will require NVDA 2017.3. Normally I provide support for the current and immediate past versions of NVDA (currently NVDA 2017.2 and 2017.1), but due to massive changes noted above, one of the fall add-on releases will ask you to use 2017.3.


Thank you.



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