Control Usage Assistant generation 3/19.11 released #addonrelease


Hi everyone,


Just in time for NVDACon 2019: Control Usage Assistant 19.11 aka generation 3.0 is now available. Not only add-on internals have changed, it also comes with a brand new help screen. The command is still the same: NVDA+H.


The biggest user-visible change is how the help message is shown. In previous releases, when you press NVDA+H, NVDA will present help message in speech and braille, so there was no way to review individual parts. In generation 3, help messages are shown inside a browse mode document so you can review help messages at your leisure.


Another big change: help messages are extensible. That is, any add-on that defines custom logic for various controls (also known as “overlay classes”) can define help messages for controls. To do so, any overlay class can define a “helpText” attribute (without quotes) that presents a help message string. If this attribute is found, Control Usage Assistant will present your custom help message, otherwise default message (based on control’s role) will be displayed. GoldWave add-on will be the first one to take advantage of this.




  • Control Usage Assistant is compatible with NVDA 2019.3 (alpha form).
  • Version 19.11.x is the last version to support older NVDA releases. A release scheduled for 2020 will drop support for NVDA versions prior to 2019.3. This also means saying goodbye to Windows XP support by then.
  • The “helpText” attribute is optional – you don’t have to define a custom help message, but it is encouraged. If you choose to define a custom help message, you should do it for a control that will get focused by users. If you want to make messages truly contextual i.e. based on what’s actually happening on the screen, try defining a getter method (_get_helpText) or a property (@property decorator), otherwise an attribute definition will work.
  • Certain states such as read-only are not handled yet. This will be resolved in 2020.


Also, the code repo for this add-on is now located at:


As always, the new update is just an update check away via Add-on Updater.




Join to automatically receive all group messages.