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):

  • Cortana
  • Maps
  • Modern keyboard (emoji panel/dictation/voice typing/hardware input suggestions/clipboard history/Suggested Actions/modern input method editors)
  • People
  • Settings (system settings, Windows+I)
  • Voice access (Windows 11 22H2)
  • Weather
  • Miscellaneous modules for controls such as Start Menu tiles

Notes:

  • This add-on requires Windows 10 21H2 (build 19044), 11 21H2 (build 22000), or later releases.
  • Although installation is possible, this add-on does not support Windows Enterprise LTSC (Long-Term Servicing Channel) and Windows Server releases.
  • If Add-on Updater 22.08 or later is installed and background add-on updates is enabled, Windows App Essentials will not install at all on unsupported Windows releases.
  • Not all features from Windows Insider Preview builds will be supported.
  • 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  • For entries not listed below, you can assume that features are part of NVDA, no longer applicable as the add-on does not support unsupported Windows releases such as old Windows 10 versions, or changes were made to Windows, apps, and NVDA that makes entries no longer applicable.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 best experience with apps that embed web technologies and content such as Start menu and its context menu, enable "Automatic focus mode for focus changes" setting from NVDA's browse mode settings panel.

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

General

  • In addition to UIA event handlers provided by NVDA, the following UIA events and properties are recognized: drag start/cancel/complete (recognized as state change event), drag drop effect, drag item is grabbed, drop target effect.
  • When opening, closing, or switching between virtual desktops, NVDA will announce active virtual desktop name (desktop 2, for example).
  • When dragging and dropping items such as arranging pinned entries (tiles in Windows 10) in Start menu or Action Center quick actions with Alt+Shift+arrow keys, NVDA will announce "dragging" and/or drag and drop effects before and while dragging items, respectively. This is now part of NVDA 2022.4.
  • 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.
  • In Windows 11 22H2 and later, microphone mute toggle status (Windows+Alt+K) is announced from everywhere.

Cortana

  • Textual responses from Cortana are announced in most situations.
  • NVDA will be silent when talking to Cortana via voice.

Maps

  • NVDA plays location beep for map locations.

Modern keyboard

This includes emoji panel, clipboard history, dictation/voice typing, hardware input suggestions, suggested actions, and modern input method editors for certain languages across Windows 10 and 11. 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.

  • In Windows 10 emoji panel, when an emoji group (including kaomoji and symbols group) is selected, NVDA will no longer move navigator object to certain emojis.
  • In Windows 11 clipboard history, browse mode will be turned off by default, designed to let NVDA announce clipboard history entry menu items.
  • In Windows 11 22H2 Moment 1 and later, NVDA will announce suggested actions when compatible data such as phone numbers is copied to the clipboard.

People

  • When searching for contacts, first suggestion will be announced.

Settings

  • NVDA will announce the name of the optional quality update control if present (download and install now link in Windows 10, download button in Windows 11).
  • In Windows 11, breadcrumb bar items are properly recognized.
  • In Windows 10 and 11 22H2 and later, NVDA will interupt speech and report updates to Windows Update status as download and install progresses. This may result in speech interruption when navigating Settings app while updates are being downloaded and installed. If using Windows 11 22H2 and later, if selective UIA event registration is on, you must move focus to updates list as soon as they appear so NVDA can announce update progress.

Voice access

This refers to Voice access feature introduced in Windows 11 22H2.

  • NVDA will announce microphone status when toggling microphone from Voice access interface.

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.