Welcome to NVDA: What You Need to Know to Get Started Fast!

When you install NVDA for the first time, you will be shown the “Welcome to NVDA” dialog box. This box is designed to quickly get you setup with the essentials that you need to use NVDA effectively.

Follow Along

Assuming you have already installed NVDA, you can bring up the welcome dialog box at any time by doing the following:

  1. Press NVDA+N. Note that your NVDA key could be CAPS LOCK or INSERT.
  2. Arrow down to “Help”, or just press the letter H.
  3. Arrow down to “Welcome Dialog…” or just press the letter L.

You made it! When this box comes up you will hear the following text.

“Most commands for controlling NVDA require you to hold down the NVDA key while pressing other keys.

By default, the numpad Insert and main Insert keys may both be used as the NVDA key.

You can also configure NVDA to use the CapsLock as the NVDA key.

“Press NVDA+N at any time to activate the NVDA menu.

From this menu, you can configure NVDA, get help and access other NVDA functions.”

I quoted the text above as a reminder that these screens often have helpful text along the way. Most of us, myself included, get way too impatient and just start tabbing like our lives depend on how fast we can hit the tab key, like maybe if we can tab to the OK button quickly enough, we’ll get an extra taco… or maybe that’s just me.

Focus, Focus…

OK, on to the first setting that you’ll want to check out.

Keyboard layout

This is a combo box, otherwise known as a drop down, that is asking, “What kinda keyboard do ya have?”. If your keyboard has a number pad on the right or left, you will leave this set to “desktop”. If you don’t have a number pad, then you can hit the DOWN ARROW and select “laptop”. Now let’s tab to the next setting.

Use CAPSLOCK as an NVDA modifier key

If you have a laptop, you will want to check this box with the SPACE BAR. This is because you will not have the INSERT key available to you on your number pad or in the six-pack of keys that are normally found on a desktop keyboard. Even if you’re not using a laptop, you still might want to check this box, as it gives you another way to use NVDA-related commands. For example, I will sometimes change punctuation levels via the NVDA+P command. Using the numpad INSERT key for this command is a bit cumbersome in my opinion, since both keys are located on the right. With this option, I can now use CAPS LOCK+P, making it a bit easier to  perform this command.

Remember that if you turn this on, you will need to hit the Caps Lock key twice if you want to toggle it on or off. You can use the CAPS LOCK key for NVDA commands, regardless of whether caps lock is on or off.

Automatically start NVDA after I log on to Windows

Make sure this is checked if you would like NVDA to start up after you log into windows.

Show this dialog when NVDA starts

This check box will show this welcome dialog box each time NVDA starts. I recommend unchecking this  check box, as it is unlikely you will need this to come up every time you start NVDA.


Those are all of the settings in this screen. You can press Enter to save the settings, or hit Escape to cancel this screen and not save any settings.

So, that’s it! As always, hope this has been helpful, and comments are welcome as usual!

Qapla! Make it a great day!

1 thought on “Welcome to NVDA: What You Need to Know to Get Started Fast!”

  1. Great post, as always! Like you, I usually skip to the OK button on those setup dialogs (and I would definitely do it if there were tacos on the line, LOL). But there’s a lot of good stuff there, especially for people who are just starting out with NVDA. And I didn’t know that NVDA+P hotkey, so thanks for that too. :)

What's in your head about what you just read?

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Privacy Preference Center