Use NVDA and Windows Magnifier Together

Use NVDA and Windows Magnifier Together

While it was possible to use the Windows Magnifier along with NVDA in the past, the problem was that you did not have speech support for what you were doing with the magnifier, so if you increased the magnification, or inverted the colors, you received no speech confirmation of what you were doing.

I am happy to report that this has now changed. This is because there is now a new NVDA add-on called Windows Magnifier created by Cyrille Bougot. You can download the Windows Magnifier add-on right now. The add-on is being worked on and it is in the developers area of the NVDA add-ons website. This means that bugs may be encountered. I am mentioning the add-on now because I think it will be very useful to many who need a bit of speech support while they use the Windows Magnifier. Below is text directly from the Windows Magnifier page for your convenience. I hope you find this helpful. Also as a companion to this article, please check out the article I wrote a while back on how to get the most out of the Windows Magnifier.

Windows Magnifier Documentation for the NVDA Add-on

This add-on improves the use of the Windows Magnifier with NVDA.

Features

  • Adds some keyboard shortcuts to toggle various Magnifier options.
  • Reports the result of some native Magnifier keyboard commands.
  • Reduces the cases where table navigation command conflict with Magnifier’s commands.

Commands added by this add-on

All the commands added to control Magnifier options are accessible through the Magnifier layer command NVDA+Windows+O:

  • NVDA+Windows+O then C: Toggles on or off caret tracking.
  • NVDA+Windows+O then F: Toggles on or off focus tracking.
  • NVDA+Windows+O then M: Toggles on or off mouse tracking.
  • NVDA+Windows+O then T: Toggles on or off tracking globally.
  • NVDA+Windows+O then S: Toggles on or off smoothing.
  • NVDA+Windows+O then R: Switches between mouse tracking modes (within the edge of the screen or centered on the screen); this feature is only available on Windows 10 build 17643 or higher.
  • NVDA+Windows+O then H: Displays help on Magnifier layer commands.

There is no default gesture for each command, but you can attribute one normally in the input gesture dialog if you wish. The same way, You can also modify or delete the Magnifier layer access gesture (NVDA+Windows+O). Yet, you cannot modify the shortcut key of the Magnifier layer sub-commands.

Magnifier’s native commands

The result of the following Magnifier native commands is vocalized by this add-on:

  • Start Magnifier: Windows++ (on alpha-numeric keyboard or on numpad)
  • Quit Magnifier: Windows+Escape
  • Zoom in: Windows++ (on alpha-numeric keyboard or on numpad)
  • Zoom out: Windows+- (on alpha-numeric keyboard or on numpad)
  • Toggle color inversion: Control+Alt+I
  • Select the docked view: Control+Alt+D
  • Select the full screen view: Control+Alt+F
  • Select the lens view: Control+Alt+L
  • Cycle through the three view types: Control+Alt+M
  • Resize the lens with the keyboard: Shift+Alt+Left/Right/Up/DownArrow

The following keyboard shortcuts are also native Magnifier commands: Control+Alt+LeftArrow, Control+Alt+RightArrow, Control+Alt+UpArrow, Control+Alt+DownArrow. They are used to move the magnified view respectively to the left, the right, up or down. Since they are also table navigation commands in NVDA, they are managed as follows by this add-on:

  • If the focus or the virtual cursor is not located in a table or a list view, the Magnifier command is executed.
  • If the focus or the virtual cursor is located in a table or a list view, the NVDA table navigation command is executed.
  • If you still want to move the Magnifier’s view while being in a table or a list view, you will need to press NVDA+F2 before pressing control+alt+arrowKey.

At last, here is a list of other Magnifier native commands, just for information:

  • Control+Alt+mouseScrollWheel: Zooms in and out using the mouse scroll wheel.
  • Control+Windows+M: Opens the Magnifier’s settings window.
  • Control+Alt+R: Resizes the lens with the mouse.
  • Control+Alt+Space: Quickly shows the entire desktop when using full screen view.

None of the Magnifier native commands can be modified.

Notes

  • For computers equipped with an Intel graphic card, control+alt+arrow (left/right/up/down) are also shortcut to modify the orientation of the screen. These shortcut are enabled by default and conflict with Windows Magnifiers shortcuts to move the view. You will need to disable them to be able to use them for the Magnifier. They can be disabled in the Intel control panel or in the Intel menu present in the system tray.
  • Alt+Shift+Arrow are Windows Magnifier shortcuts to resize the magnified view (lens or docked). When Magnifier is active (even in full screen mode), these shortcuts are captured by Magnifier and cannot be passed to the application, even if you press NVDA+F2 before. To use these shortcuts in the current application, you need to quit the Magnifier (Windows+Escape) and re-open it after (Windows++). For example in MS word, to decrease title level:
  • Press Windows+Escape to quit Magnifier.
  • Press Alt+Shift+RightArrow to decrease current title level.
  • Press Windows++ to re-open the Magnifier.

 

Wrap Up

That’s it, folks. As I said, I really hope you find this useful. Until next time…

Qapla!

One Comment

  1. Qapla, back atcha! 🙂

    Hey, this is great news! I use Windows Magnifier for everything at work, but I also like to use NVDA whenever I’ve got a lot of reading to do. So to be able to use them together like this sounds really cool. I like the idea of being able to control all those features using keyboard shortcuts, and that NVDA will give speech feedback about Magnifier native shortcuts.

    Also, thanks for that info about the problem with changing orientation being due to some obscure Intel menu; I’m gonna have to look that up. I always thought the Magnifier docs I was reading were out of date (that the Control-Alt-Arrow shortcuts had been phased out or something), and I’ve never seen any kind of Intel control panel or menu. So you just answered a question I’ve had for ages! Thanks for the info! 🙂

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