Windows App Essentials

Note: Originally called Windows 10 App Essentials, it was renamed to Windows App Essentials in 2021 to support Windows 10 and future releases such as Windows 11. Parts of this add-on will still refer to the original add-on name.

This add-on is a collection of app modules for various modern Windows apps, as well as enhancements and fixes for certain controls found in Windows 10 and later.

The following app modules or support modules for some apps are included (see each app section for details on what is included):

  • Calculator (modern)
  • Calendar
  • Cortana (Conversations)
  • Mail
  • Maps
  • Microsoft Solitaire Collection
  • Microsoft Store
  • Modern keyboard (emoji panel/dictation/hardware input suggestions/clipboard history/modern input method editors)
  • People
  • Settings (system settings, Windows+I)
  • Weather
  • Miscellaneous modules for controls such as Start Menu tiles

Notes:

  • This add-on requires Windows 10 20H2 (build 19042) or later. For best results, use the add-on with latest Windows release (Windows 10 21H1/build 19043).
  • Although installation is possible, this add-on does not support Windows Enterprise LTSC (Long-Term Servicing Channel) and Windows Server releases.
  • Support for Windows 11 is experimental, and some features will not work (see relevant entries for details). A warning dialog will be shown if trying to install stable versions of this add-on on Windows 11 prior to general availability.
  • Some add-on features are or will be part of NVDA screen reader.
  • For entries not listed below, you can assume that features are part of NVDA, no longer applicable as the add-on does not support unsupported Windows releases such as old Windows 10 versions, or changes were made to Windows and apps that makes entries no longer applicable.
  • Some apps support compact overlay mode (always on top in Calculator, for example), and this mode will not work properly with portable version of NVDA.

For a list of changes made between each add-on releases, refer to changelogs for add-on releases document.

General

  • NVDA can announce suggestion count when performing a search in majority of cases, including when suggestion count changes as search progresses. This option is controlled by "Report object position information" in Object presentation panel found in NVDA settings.
  • When searching in Start menu or File Explorer in Windows 10 1909 (November 2019 Update) and later, instances of NVDA announcing search results twice when reviewing results are less noticeable, which also makes braille output more consistent when reviewing items.
  • In addition to UIA event handlers provided by NVDA, the following UIA events are recognized: drag start, drag cancel, drag complete, drop target drag enter, drop target drag leave, drop target dropped, layout invalidated. With NVDA's log level set to debug, these events will be tracked, and for UIA notification event, a debug tone will be heard if notifications come from somewhere other than the currently active app. Events built into NVDA such as name change and controller for events will be tracked from an add-on called Event Tracker.
  • It is possible to tracke only specific events and/or events coming from specific apps.
  • When opening, closing, reordering (Windows 11), or switching between virtual desktops, NVDA will announce active virtual desktop name (desktop 2, for example).
  • NVDA will no longer announce Start menu size text when changing screen resolutions or orientation.
  • When arranging Start menu tiles or Action Center quick actions with Alt+Shift+arrow keys, NVDA will announce information on dragged items or new position of the dragged item.
  • Announcements such as volume/brightness changes in File Explorer and app update notifications from Microsoft Store can be suppressed by turning off Report Notifications in NVDA's object presentation settings.

Calculator

  • NVDA will no longer announce graphing calculator screen message twice.

Calendar

  • NVDA no longer announces "edit" or "read-only" in message body and other fields.

Cortana

Most items are applicable when using Cortana Conversations (Windows 10 2004 and later).

  • Textual responses from Cortana are announced in most situations.
  • NVDA will be silent when talking to Cortana via voice.
  • In Windows 10 1909 (November 2019 Update) and later, modern search experience in File Explorer powered by Windows Search user interface is supported.

Mail

  • When reviewing items in messages list, you can now use table navigation commands to review message headers. Note that navigating between rows (messages) is not supported.
  • When writing a message, appearance of at mention suggestions are indicated by sounds.

Maps

  • NVDA plays location beep for map locations.
  • When using street side view and if "use keyboard" option is enabled, NVDA will announce street addresses as you use arrow keys to navigate the map.

Microsoft Solitaire Collection

  • NVDA will announce names of cards and card decks.

Microsoft Store

  • After checking for app updates, app names in list of apps to be updated are correctly labeled.
  • When downloading content such as apps and movies, NVDA will announce product name and download progress (does not work properly in updated Microsoft Store in Windows 11).

Modern keyboard

This includes emoji panel, clipboard history, dictation/voice typing, hardware input suggestions, and modern input method editors for certain languages. When viewing emojis, for best experience, enable Unicode Consortium setting from NVDA's speech settings and set symbol level to "some" or higher. When pasting from clipboard history in Windows 10, press Space key instead of Enter key to paste the selected item. NVDA also supports updated input experience panel in Windows 11.

  • When opening clipboard history, NVDA will no longer announce "clipboard" when there are items in the clipboard under some circumstances.
  • On some systems running Windows 10 1903 (May 2019 Update) and later, NVDA will no longer appear to do nothing when emoji panel opens.
  • When an emoji group (including kaomoji and symbols group in Windows 10 1903 or later) is selected, NVDA will no longer move navigator object to certain emojis.
  • Added support for updated input experience panel (combined emoji panel and clipboard history) in Windows 11.

People

  • When searching for contacts, first suggestion will be announced, particularly if using recent app releases.

Settings

  • Certain information such as Windows Update progress is reported automatically, including Storage sense/disk cleanup widget and errors from Windows Update.
  • Progress bar values and other information are no longer announced twice.
  • Windows Update reminder dialog is recognized as a proper dialog.
  • Odd control labels seen in certain Windows installations has been corrected.
  • NVDA will announce the name of the optional quality update link if present, typically named "download and install now".

Weather

  • Tabs such as "forecast" and "maps" are recognized as proper tabs (patch by Derek Riemer).
  • When reading a forecast, use the left and right arrows to move between items. Use the up and down arrows to read the individual items. For example, pressing the right arrow might report "Monday: 79 degrees, partly cloudy, ..." pressing the down arrow will say "Monday" Then pressing it again will read the next item (Like the temperature). This currently works for daily and hourly forecasts.