Module 4 - Run a screen-reading test for Windows using NVDA

If you use a Mac, click this link to run a screen-reading test for Mac using VoiceOver.

What is NVDA?

NVDA is an acronym for "Non-Visual Desktop Access". It is a free download that reads the text on the screen in a computerized voice. The user can navigate the items on the screen by using the arrow keys on the keyboard.

Why should we test PDFs using a screenreader like NVDA?

In order to ensure that your PDF contains the proper tagging, alternate text, and reading order, it is necessary to simulate what a screenreader user would experience when accessing your document.

How do we test a PDF using NVDA?

  1. Download NVDA to your computer
    1. Go to
    2. Click the orange "DOWNLOAD" button on the right of the screen. NVDA download button

    3. You will be taken to a screen where you have the opportunity to provide a donation. This is not required, but any amount allows NVAccess to continue to provide free screenreading software to those who really need it, regardless of economic status.

    4. Continue the download process. When prompted, consider allowing NVDA to create a shortcut on your desktop. This will make it easy for you to access when you want to test more material!

  2. Use NVDA
    1. When NVDA starts for the first time, you will be greeted by a dialog box which provides you with some basic information about the NVDA modifier key and the NVDA menu.

    2. Practice moving around the document and hearing what is voiced. Pay attention to alternate text and reading order.

    3. For further information about commands and navigation, check out:

Complete tutorial coming soon...


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