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Microsoft Word with NVDA

Microsoft Word with NVDA

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Microsoft Word with NVDA

287 pages
4 hours
Sep 12, 2016


The official training material for Microsoft Word with NVDA covering concepts from getting started with Word, advanced features such as customising the status ribbon and running macros.

Microsoft Word with NVDA is the second module in the official set of training materials for learning to use the free NVDA screen reader.  Suitable for the new and existing user of Microsoft Word wishing to improve proficiency.  This module assumes that the user has completed the "Basic Training for NVDA" module, or has equivalent knowledge.

Topics covered include: Getting started with Microsoft Word, proofreading, styles, tables, page layout, referencing, inserting, collaboration and sharing and customising Word options.

Sep 12, 2016

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Microsoft Word with NVDA - NV Access


1 Introduction

This Microsoft Word for NVDA module builds on the skills covered in the Basic Training for NVDA module. It covers more advanced document editing and formatting using Microsoft Word.

1.1 What is Microsoft Word?

Microsoft Word, commonly (and henceforth) called simply Word, is a Word Processing program. It is sold individually or as part of the Microsoft Office suite of programs.

In the Basic Training for NVDA module, we covered using WordPad which comes built in to Windows. Word extends on the functionality of WordPad and has many more features to aid in creating documents. Some of these include: automatic lists, headings, spell checking and tables. More advanced features include the ability to track changes to documents and collaborate on a single document with others.

1.2 Goals

This module consists of the following sections:

Getting started



Styles, templates and themes


Page layout


Document review

Sharing documents

Goals are presented at the beginning of each section with related review activities at the end of each section.

1.3 Pre-requisites

It is expected that you are comfortable typing and locating keys on the computer keyboard.

It is assumed that NVDA is already installed. Refer to the Basic Training for NVDA module for instructions on installing and setting up NVDA.

If using a Braille display, it is assumed this has also been setup already.

This module assumes you have completed the Basic Training for NVDA module and have a good understanding of the concepts presented in that module.

In particular, even if you feel confident in general NVDA and PC skills, it is strongly recommended to revise the following chapters from the Basic Training for NVDA module:

6 Editing Documents and

7 Document Formatting.

In addition to the minimum requirements for NVDA, this module assumes the following minimum requirements:

Windows version 7 through to Windows 10

Microsoft Office 2010 or later.

NVDA works on earlier versions of Windows and Office, however, for clarity of description, Windows 7 and Office 2010 has been used as the minimum versions when writing this module.

2 Getting Started with Word

The aim of this section is to get started using Microsoft Word and recap the document editing skills covered in the Basic Training for NVDA Module.

Goals for this section:

Starting Word

Text editing recap

Text formatting recap

Saving a document

Opening a document

Creating a new document

Printing a document

Protected view

Reading mode

2.1 Starting Word

As with any other program, shortcuts for starting Word can be created on the desktop, Start menu or taskbar. To use the Start menu, press the windows key and type Word. Ensure the focus is on Word and not WordPad or another program, and then press enter. The Word item in the start menu will usually also include its version number, such as Word 2010 or Word 2016. Typing just Word is usually enough to find it. For revision, the Basic Training for NVDA module covered using the Start menu in Chapter 3 Getting Started with Windows and Chapter 9.3 The Windows taskbar.

If using Office 2010, once Word starts, the focus will be in a new blank document.

If using later versions of Office such as Office 2013, Office 2016, or Office 365, the focus is initially on a Start screen when Word starts. From the Start screen, a blank document or a recently opened document can be selected.

Activity: Starting Word

Press the windows key to open the Start menu.



Ensure Word is the active search result, rather than WordPad or another program. If not, press the down arrow to select Word.

Press enter to start Word. The focus will be on the Start screen. Leave it open as we shall come back and explore this start screen next activity.

2.2 Exploring the Start Screen

This topic covers using the Start Screen which was first introduced in Word 2013. Users of Office 2010 may skip to the next topic: 2.3 Writing Text.

The Start screen in Word provides the ability to start with a blank document, a document from a template or a recently opened document. The focus is on blank document. Press enter to choose this option.

Pressing the arrow keys moves through the template options. The built in templates offer different styles for things like letters, reports, newsletters or blog posts. Templates are covered in topic 5.1 Templates.

Pressing tab moves the focus to the recent documents list. From there, the arrow keys can be used to choose a recently closed document. Alternatively, the Open other documents link brings up an open dialog to open another document.

Finally, there is information about the current Microsoft account, or a link encouraging you to sign in. Unless using an Office 365 subscription, Word does not need to be signed in to a Microsoft account.

Let's explore the dialog now:

Activity: Exploring the start screen

Ensure that Word is the active program with the start screen open from the previous activity.

Press NVDA+tab to read the item with focus. NVDA reads Blank document, link, read only focused.

Press right arrow. The focus moves to the first template.

Keep pressing the right arrow to explore the templates available.

Press tab to move the focus to either the latest of the recent documents, or if no recent documents, the Open other documents link.

Press the down arrow. The focus will move through the recent documents, with the last item being the open other documents link. If you reached Open other documents on the previous step, then the focus will not move and NVDA will not report anything when you press down arrow.

Press tab. The focus will move to either a link to the currently signed in Microsoft account, or a learn more link.

Press tab again. The focus moves back to the blank document button.

Press enter to open Word with a blank document. Leave Word open, ready to start writing a document next activity.

2.3 Writing Text

Once a choice is made from the start screen, a document will open, or a blank document will be created. The main Word window is somewhat similar to WordPad:

The title bar shows the name of the current document and the name of the program across the top of the window

Underneath are the ribbon titles and currently selected ribbon

The main part of the screen contains the document on a representation of a white sheet of paper

When a blank document is created, the default name is Document1. If you were to open a second instance of Word to a blank document at this point, Word would call the second instance Document2. A second instance of Word can be opened with a blank document from within Word by pressing control+n.

By default, there is space around the text, visually indicating the margin at the four edges of a printed page. There is also a visual representation of space around what would be the paper itself. Generally, text is not printed to the very edge of the paper.

This default layout is called Print layout as it is designed to appear quite similarly on screen to how a document would look on paper if you print it.

Aside from those visual differences, writing basic text in Word is the same as in WordPad or anywhere else. The standard navigation keys also work to move around text, including:

left arrow and right arrow to move back or forward by one letter

control+left arrow or control+right arrow to move one word at a time

up arrow and down arrow to move up or down by one line

control+up arrow and control+down arrow to move up or down by one paragraph

home and end to move to the start and end of the current line

control+home to move to the start and control+end to move to the end of the text

page up and page down to move up and down by one screen

Text can be selected by holding down shift while pressing any of the above keystrokes. For instance, pressing shift+end selects from the current point to the end of the line. Pressing shift+control+page down selects from the current point to the start of the next page. The entire document can be selected at once by pressing control+a.

The standard NVDA reading commands also work as they do in other programs:

NVDA+up arrow (laptop: NVDA+l) to read the current line

NVDA+down arrow (laptop: NVDA+a) to read from the current point onward

Let's practise writing and navigating through text now:

Activity: Writing text

Ensure Word is open to a blank document from the previous activity.

Press NVDA+t to read the title bar. NVDA reads Document1 - Word.

Press NVDA+tab to read the current item. NVDA reads Microsoft Word, document edit multi-line focused, indicating that the focus is in a multi-line edit field.

Type the following paragraph. Remember, if you press the wrong letter, it can be removed before doing anything else by pressing backspace:

our dog and our cat,

are best pals you see;

they sleep on the mat,

both snoring.

Press control+home to move to the very top of the document.

Press NVDA+down arrow (laptop: NVDA+a) to read through the document.

Press the up arrow until you get back to the top of the document.

Press control+right arrow to move through the text word by word.

Leave the document open to return to next activity.

2.4 Editing Text

One thing you may have noticed in completing the previous activity, is that Word attempts to detect the start of a new sentence. Word automatically capitalises the start of the next word typed after typing a full stop, exclamation point, question mark or pressing enter.

If text is too long to fit on one line, it will automatically wrap to the following line at the end of the last word which will fit within the margins.

When typing, text is inserted at the caret, visually a flashing vertical line. The caret moves as you type, so new text is added after the previously typed text. When moving through text using the navigation keys, the caret moves to indicate the current position. This enables text to be inserted in the middle of an existing line. In this case, text already to the right of the caret will be pushed to the right to make room, moving to the next line if needed.

Pressing delete will remove the character to the right of the cursor, the character NVDA reports while moving with the left arrow and right arrow. Pressing control+delete will remove the word, or partial word, to the right of the cursor.

As with other programs, press alt+f4 to close Word. If the current document has not been saved, or changed since it was last saved, a message appears, with the options: Save, Don't save and cancel. Press enter or s to save, n to not save or escape to cancel.

Let's practise now:

Activity: Editing text

Ensure Microsoft Word is open with the document from the previous task.

Use the reading keys to read the text and locate where Word has capitalised letters (hint: look at the start of each line).

Move to the start of the word pals.

Press control+delete to remove the word.

Press NVDA+up arrow (laptop: NVDA+l) to read the current line to confirm.

Type the word friends in its place.

Move back to the end of the document, and add the word gently. Ensure the full stop is in the right place at the end of the line so it reads both snoring gently.

Press alt+f4 to close Word. A dialog box appears asking to save the changes to the document.

Press n to choose don't save.

2.5 Text Formatting

Being a full, professional, word processing program, Microsoft Word has a lot of options for formatting text. Some of these are the same as were covered in the Basic Training for NVDA module with WordPad:

Bold, control+b, makes text thicker and more prominent

Italic, control+i, makes text slant to the right

Underlined, control+u, underlines text for emphasis

Increase text by one font size, control+shift+.

Decrease text by one font size, control+shift+,

There are two ways to use font formatting options such as these; while writing, and to format existing text. These methods work for other types of formatting, but let's use underline as an example:

While typing, when ready to type the text to be underlined, press the shortcut key, control+u, to turn underline on. Next, type the text to be underlined. Finally, press the shortcut key again to turn underline off and keep writing.

To underline text which is already in the document, first, select the text to be underlined. Next, press control+u. Finally, press an arrow key to unselect the text.

Press NVDA+f to have information read about the formatting of text at the cursor, or the selected text. Pressing NVDA+f twice quickly displays this information in a small window.

Let's practise:

Activity: Text formatting

Open Microsoft Word (press windows+number if you remember the location on the taskbar, or use Start menu search).

Press enter to choose to create a blank document.

Type the following text:

Running down the main road,

To try to catch the

Press NVDA+f to read the formatting information. Note which font and size is used. This will be the default as nothing has been changed yet.

Press control+b to turn on bold.

Type the word train. As long as you haven't moved, this should be at the end of the second line, making it: To try to catch the train.

Press NVDA+f to confirm that this is bold.

Leave the document open to return to next activity.

2.6 Paragraph Formatting

The text formatting options used in the previous activity only affect the specific text selected or typed while they are active. Paragraph formatting options affect the whole paragraph, not just any selected text.

Some conventions specify pressing enter twice to create a blank line between paragraphs. Word, however, treats any time enter is pressed, as a paragraph break. Pressing shift+enter instead, creates a soft line break, which moves to the next line while keeping the paragraph, and any paragraph formatting, intact.

As with text formatting options, some of the most common paragraph formatting options should also be familiar from the Document Formatting section of Basic Training for NVDA. Some frequently used paragraph formatting options include:

Left align, control+l, the default

Center align, control+e, often on fliers

Right align, control+r, company details in business letters

Justified, control+j, even on both sides, used in magazines

Justified makes the text even along both the left and right margins. This is done by automatically adjusting the space between words, making words further apart on one line than another. This can be difficult for some users to read.

Let's practise now on the document created last activity:

Activity: Paragraph formatting

Ensure Word is the active program with the text from the previous activity open.

Press control+end to ensure the focus is at the end of the document and press NVDA+f to read the formatting. Note that the text is left aligned, and also bold. The last text in the document is train that was made bold last activity.

Press home to move to the start of the line.

Press control+e to center the text.

Press NVDA+f to read the formatting information. Note that bold is not mentioned as the focus is out of the bold text.

Press end to move to the end of the line again.

Press NVDA+f to read the formatting information again.

Press up arrow to move to the previous line and press NVDA+f. Note that this line is still left aligned. Because enter was used to manually move to a new line, Word treats it like a separate paragraph when using paragraph formatting.

Close Word without saving the changes.

2.7 Using the Ribbon

The commands introduced so far have used shortcut keys; for instance, control+b to make text bold, or control+r to right align text. Word has a lot of features, many of which you may not use frequently. While most features have a shortcut key to access them, remembering the shortcut key for every possible feature is not practical. It is important to be familiar with the ribbon as this is a consistent way to access features and means you do not necessarily need to remember keystrokes for every feature.

To access the ribbon, press alt. The focus moves to the tab control header for the last used tab, or the Home tab when Word is first started. From the tab control header, the arrow keys can be used to move between the different tab control headers. If known, the letter associated with each tab can also be used. These are:

File, f

Home, h

Insert, n

Design, g

Layout, p

References, s

Mailings, m

Review, r

View, w

The different tabs are each designed around particular groups of tasks (inserting items into a document, the layout of the page, etc.). Each tab is further divided into sections. On the Home tab for instance, there is a section of font formatting options, and another section of paragraph formatting options. Once the focus is on the correct tab, press control+left arrow or control+right arrow to move between the sections on the tab. Press tab to move between individual items on the ribbon.

When moving to each ribbon tab, section or item, NVDA will read it, as well as a description. NVDA will also report the shortcut keys to use that feature via the ribbon. Note that items may have other shortcut keys as well.

The shortcut key to access the Home ribbon directly, for

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