This is mostly personal notes that I hope can be helpful to someone else. A lot of this info I gathered and consolidated from Deque’s super helpful post, Using Windows Screen Readers on a Mac.
Download Parallels and follow the set-up. I don’t want to put instructions here, as they’ll likely change and be outdated before too long.
Why Parallels? I found Parallels to be a lot easier to use and friendlier to set-up access to macOS’s network for local development (like connecting to
localhost, custom local domains, etc). Being able to access Windows programs as standalone Apps on your Mac is really nice.
A lot of the NVDA set-up should be basically the same between Virtual Box and Parallels, but I haven’t confirmed that.
First, Download and install NVDA on your new Windows set-up.
NVDA uses a Modifier Key for a of their keyboard commands. This is normally the caps lock or insert key, but on a Mac:
- You can’t use caps lock as a modifier, because the caps lock key doesn’t get passed through to Parallels.
- Can’t use Init, because we don’t have an init button on mac keyboards
- Can simulate an Init Keypress but it doesn’t seem to pass through to Parallels either.
Use Karabiner Elements
I tried a few options like Sharp Keys for getting a modifier key to pass through to Parallels, but couldn’t get the set-up right.
What did work for me was creating a new keybinding for the init key using right
option key using Karabiner Elements. To see how to best do that, use this guide from Deque and read the Option 3: Software – Karabiner Elements section.
Other Helpful Settings
A couple of these are also from the Deque guide, here for my own reference 🙂 All of them are optional!
- Focus Highlight addon: Adds a focus-indicator for where NVDA is on the screen, similar to VoiceOver.
- Speech Viewer: Similar to VoiceOver’s gray box transcript of what is being announced. (
NVDA + nto bring up the NVDA menu) NVDA Menu > Tools > Speech Viewer
- Turn off mouse tracking: NVDA announces whatever your cursor is on. If you’re using a mouse a lot still, then it ends up being a lot of announcements, and will continue after you switch back to your MacOS desktop. Turn it off with (NVDA + n) NVDA Menu > Preferences > Settings > Mouse > Enable Mouse Tracking (uncheck).