NVDA and Braille Support

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NVDA and Braille Support

What You Need to Know

If you or your student benefit from braille support, for example, if you or your student's primary learning medium is braille, using a braille display in tandem with your NVDA screen reader may be the right choice.

A braille display offers both braille output and input. Everything that NVDA says will be accessible via the braille display, output. And, you can use your braille display to enter text into edit fields, input.

In the NVDA braille category of the settings dialog you are able to customize whether contracted braille is off, used for output only, or used for both input and output. Note that when uncontracted braille is selected for input, text is immediately inserted as soon as it is entered. When contracted braille is selected, text is inserted as soon as you press space.

Easily move your cursor when editing and reviewing written work by using the router buttons. Read materials at your own pace using the thumb keys

NVDA has the ability to work with many Refreshable braille devices, including the Focus line of braille displays from Freedom Scientific and the Brailliant series of displays from Humanware.

Displays will either connect via a USB cable or bluetooth. Below find instructions for pairing a display via bluetooth.

There are a number of available braille displays on the market, and thus, a number of different device-specific key commands. For each individual display type, there are a number of ways to customize the user experience. Users may choose to use the display in a case-by-case manner, for output only, or for both input and output.

For these reasons, this page will serve only as an overview of the experience offered by using NVDA with a braille display, and more specific information can be found in the resources section.

Pairing a Braille Display with NVDA Via Bluetooth

There are two main components to pairing a braille display via bluetooth to use with the NVDA screen reader

First, you must pair the braille display with the computer.

Press the "Windows" key. Type in "bluetooth" and press "Enter". You are directed to the Bluetooth and Devices Settings.

Press "Add new device", then press the "bluetooth" button.

Ensure your braille display is on and not paired to any other device. Your braille display should show up in the drop down box. Press "Enter" to connect.

Second, you must set the braille display as the default display in the NVDA braille settings.

Navigate to the NVDA settings by pressing the "NVDA key + n".

Arrow down to "preferences." Press the right arrow. You will hear "settings". Press "Enter". You have been placed in a dialog box. Use your down arrow to find "braille". Press "Enter".

Press the tab key to find the "change" button. Press enter. You are entered into a dialog box. Use your arrows to select the display you are trying to connect.

You will be prompted to select an "output port," which is the method of communication you plan on using to virtually connect the computer to the display. For a Bluetooth device, this is a COM port, or communication port. Select the COM 4 port. Select the okay button.

Select your display's name as the primary device. Select the finish button. You may be asked to restart NVDA

Connecting Via USB

NVDA has automatic detection for many braille displays. Plugging in your device to the computer via a USB cord should initiate the pairing for immediate use. But, if this does not happen, you can go through the steps above to manually change the display in the braille settings.