New Features in NVDA 2021.1

The below list of features is a subset of the full list of new features for NVDA. I am simplifying and explaining the feature set in an attempt to help more nontechnical people appreciate what’s new for NVDA. This list was retrieved from NvAccess and edited here.

What’s New in NVDA2021.1

This release includes optional experimental support for UIA in Excel and Chromium browsers. There are fixes for several languages, and for accessing links in Braille. There are updates to Unicode CLDR, mathematical symbols, and LibLouis. As well as many bug fixes and improvements, including in Office, Visual Studio, and several languages.


  • This release breaks compatibility with existing add-ons.
  • This release also drops support for Adobe Flash.

New Features

  • Early support for UIA with Chromium based browsers.
  • Optional experimental support for Microsoft Excel via UI Automation. Only recommended for Microsoft Excel build 16.0.13522.10000 or higher.
  • NVDA now reports the categories assigned to an appointment in Microsoft Outlook, if any.
  • Support for the Seika Notetaker braille display from Nippon Telesoft.


  • In browse mode, controls can now be activated with braille cursor routing on their descriptor. This is especially useful for activating e.g., checkboxes with no labels.
  • NVDA now prevents the user from performing Windows 10 OCR if screen curtain is enabled.
  • Updated Unicode Common Locale Data Repositoryto 39.0.
  • Added more mathematical symbols to the symbols dictionary.
  • The user guide, changes file, and key commands listing now have a refreshed appearance.
  • “Unsupported” now reported when attempting to toggle screen layout in applications that do not support it, such as Microsoft Word.
  • ‘Attempt to cancel speech for expired focus events’ option in the advanced settings panel now enabled by default.
    • This behavior can be disabled by setting this option to “No”.
    • Web applications no longer speak outdated information when moving focus rapidly.
  • Updated liblouis braille translator to 3.17.0.
    • New braille tables: Belarusian literary braille, Belarusian computer braille, Urdu grade 1, Urdu grade 2.
  • Support for Adobe Flash content has been removed from NVDA due to the use of Flash being actively discouraged by Adobe.
  • NVDA will exit even with windows still open, the exit process now closes all NVDA windows and dialogs.
  • The Speech Viewer can now be closed with alt+F4 and has a standard close button for easier interaction with users of pointing devices.
  • The Braille Viewer now has a standard close button for easier interaction with users of pointing devices.
  • In the Elements List dialog, the accelerator key on the “Activate” button has been removed in some locales to avoid collision with an element type radio button label. When available, the button is still the default of the dialog and as such can still be invoked by simply pressing enter from the elements list itself.

Bug Fixes

  • The list of messages in Outlook 2010 is once again readable.
  • In terminal programs on Windows 10 version 1607 and later, when inserting or deleting characters in the middle of a line, the characters to the right of the caret are no longer read out.
    • This experimental fix must be manually enabled in NVDA’s advanced settings panel by changing the diff algorithm to Diff Match Patch.
  • In MS Outlook, inappropriate distance reporting when shift+tabbing from the message body to the subject field should not occur anymore.
  • In the Python Console, inserting a tab for indentation at the beginning of a non-empty input line and performing tab-completion in the middle of an input line are now supported.
  • Formatting information and other browsable messages no longer present unexpected blank lines when screen layout is turned off.
  • It is now possible to read comments in MS Word with UIA enabled.
  • Performance when interacting with Visual Studio has been improved.
  • Fix graphical bugs such as missing elements when using NVDA with a right-to-left layout.
  • Respect the GUI layout direction based on the NVDA language, not the system locale.
    • known issue for right-to-left languages: the right border of groupings clips with labels/controls.
  • The python locale is set to match the language selected in preferences consistently and will occur when using the default language.
  • TextInfo.getTextInChunks no longer freezes when called on Rich Edit controls such as the NVDA log viewer.
  • It is once again possible to use NVDA in languages containing underscores in the locale name such as de_CH on Windows 10 1803 and 1809.
  • In WordPad, configuration of superscript/subscript reporting works as expected.
  • NVDA no longer fails to announce the newly focused content on a web page if the old focus disappears and is replaced by the new focus in the same position.
  • Strikethrough, superscript and subscript formatting for entire Excel cells are now reported if the corresponding option is enabled.
  • Fixed copying config during installation from a portable copy when default destination config directory is empty.
  • Fixed incorrect announcement of some letters with accents or diacritic when ‘Say cap before capitals’ option is checked.
  • Fixed the pitch change failure in SAPI4 speech synthesizer.
  • The NVDA installer now also honors the –minimal command line parameter and does not play the start-up sound, following the same documented behavior as an installed or portable copy NVDA executable.
  • In MS Word or Outlook, the table quick navigation key can now jump to layout table if “Include layout tables” option is enabled in Browse mode settings.
  • NVDA will no longer announce “↑↑↑” for emojis in particular languages.
  • Espeak now supports Cantonese and Mandarin again.
  • In the new Chromium based Microsoft Edge, text fields such as the address bar are now announced when empty.
  • Fix Seika Braille driver.



Start Your Update

If you’re running NVDA while reading this, perform the following steps to update it right now!

  1. Press NVDA+N.
  2. Press the letter H, or arrow down to Help.
  3. Press the letter C, or arrow down to Check for update…

Enjoy your new NVDA!


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