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.
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On Thu, Apr 21, 2022 at 08:44 PM, Gene
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
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
Brian - Windows 10, 64-Bit, Version 21H2,
You can't crush ideas
by suppressing them. You can only crush them by ignoring
~ Ursula LeGuin,