Re: please help with go to Meeting

David Goldfield

Hi. As this is a support list for NVDA users I don’t want to steer things off-topic to JAWS but I will say that JAWS does make the occasional exception in assigning JAWS-specific commands to keystrokes which don’t involve the JAWS modifier key, such as pressing alt-shift-L to generate a list of spelling errors in a Word document. However, Brian’s tip for determining whether a keystroke is screen reader specific definitely works 99.9% of the time. Of course, the other exceptions are the single letter navigation commands found on Web pages/HTML documents  and in Word documents, such as pressing H for next heading, which are screen reader specific.




David Goldfield,

Blindness Assistive Technology Specialist

NVDA Certified Expert


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From: <> On Behalf Of Brian Vogel
Sent: Thursday, April 21, 2022 11:07 PM
Subject: Re: [nvda] please help with go to Meeting


On Thu, Apr 21, 2022 at 08:44 PM, Gene wrote:

It may be helpful to explain in some detail how to distinguish between a screen-reader command and program or Windows commands. 

Indeed.  And I thank you for that.

There is, however, a somewhat "quick and dirty" method to filter, and that's a combination of:
1. Scope - where does the command actually work (in only one program, across multiple programs, or across multiple programs and in Windows) and on what is it acting?
2. Modifier Key or Keys used.

NVDA commands, for most cases, use the NVDA key as their modifier, whether that's the Insert key in desktop keyboard layout or CAPS LOCK in laptop layout.  If you have any command that uses the NVDA modifier key, you can be as close to completely assured as is possible that you're looking at an NVDA command.  (The same applies for JAWS, too, and from what I remember of Narrator it also applies there).

CTRL, ALT and the two in combination are a bit less clear, because they get used both within programs and by Windows.  In the vast majority of cases if you use CTRL + ALT + something else, it's being handled by Windows.  That includes firing up NVDA via CTRL + ALT + N.  That's a shortcut that is interpreted by Windows that gets created if you so choose when you install NVDA, but it is NOT, in any way, acted upon directly by NVDA.  Those of you who've created other keyboard shortcuts in the Properties dialog for a desktop shortcut that doesn't have one by default have done precisely the same thing the NVDA installer does when it installs NVDA.  In the case of when NVDA is running, there are cases where CTRL + ALT + Arrow Keys are NVDA commands, but those cases are constrained by very specific situations, like being inside a table.  If you're not in the specific situation where those commands are interpreted by NVDA, they do nothing.  A quick cruise through the NVDA commands quick reference shows how rare NVDA keyboard commands without the NVDA key modifier are, with the exception of those done on the number pad when it is not in number pad mode.  Overall, it's pretty darned safe to assume if NVDA Key is not involved, it's most likely not an NVDA command.

For things like cut, copy, paste, and similar you can use the context in which you use the command, and exactly what it's acting on, to get a very good idea of which program layer is interpreting it.  If you are in a word processor, what is it that you cut, copy, and paste?  Text, tables, other objects like images, text boxes, etc., and all of those things are created within that word processor.  Things like mute/unmute, well, do those make sense in Word, Excel, File Explorer, etc.?  No, they do not, and they are acting on sound in programs that have sound as something they manipulate, so in that case you have very clear evidence, if those commands are CTRL or ALT plus some letter or function key that those are controlled by that program.  For those who use email clients, think about all of the CTRL, ALT, or function key commands that do what they do only when that client is open and operating.  That's a clear indication that they are that email client's commands, not Windows, not your screen reader.

But a few seconds thinking about exactly where and when a command works, what it works on, and whether it includes any really distinct modifier key, like the NVDA key, gives you some really good, and not particularly complicated, ways to make a very educated guess as to "who controls what" in reference to that specific command in the context where it's being used.

It's really not all that complicated.  And I have to say that Betsy's original query, as a whole shows that.  The topic title showed a clear, if not conscious, understanding of what was being asked about, "Go To Meeting."  And the specific question asking about mute/unmute instantly tells you:  not NVDA, as NVDA doesn't mute/unmute sound from a program in the way being asked about and there's no NVDA modifier involved.  And it's not likely that any mute/unmute command is going to be handled by Windows if it only effects a single program.  You can mute/unmute all sound, and that's what's under the control of Windows, but if you're selectively muting the output from Zoom, Go To Meeting, a media player, or similar the command you're using to do that goes with that program.  But regardless, because the classic NVDA modifier key is nowhere to be seen, it's really, really unlikely to be an NVDA command.

Brian - Windows 10, 64-Bit, Version 21H2, Build 19044  

You can't crush ideas by suppressing them. You can only crush them by ignoring them.
     ~ Ursula LeGuin, The Dispossessed

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