This chapter provides information about how to use a braille display with Narrator. It includes info about how to install braille on your PC, navigate your PC, and read text.
Narrator supports braille displays from several manufacturers. To learn more about which braille displays are supported, including specific key commands for each display, see Appendix C: Supported braille displays.
Narrator works with braille displays that use a USB or serial port. To use your braille display with Narrator, download and install braille:
- Press the Windows logo key + Ctrl + N to open Narrator settings.
- Under Use braille, select Download and install braille. (This will take some time. Windows will also ask if you’re sure that you want to allow Windows to make changes to your PC.)
- When download and installation is complete, select Enable braille.
- Next, add your braille display. Select Add a braille display and then choose your braille display manufacturer and connection type (USB or serial port).
Using your braille display with other screen readers
If you already use your braille display with another screen reader, or Narrator doesn’t work immediately with your braille display, you may need to change the driver Windows uses to communicate with your display. To do this, press Windows logo key + Ctrl + N to open Narrator settings, and select an option under Change your braille display driver. The driver used by Narrator is preceded by "(Narrator)."
Note: You only need to change your driver if a different driver is installed for your braille display. If you’re not sure, contact your braille display manufacturer.
To remove Narrator braille from your PC:
- Press Windows logo key + I to open Settings.
- Select Apps, choose Apps & features, and then select Optional features.
- Select Accessibility – Braille support, and then choose Uninstall.
Change braille settings
Different settings let you customize how you use braille with Narrator. To get to them, press the Windows logo key + Ctrl + N to open Narrator settings. Then, under Use braille choose from the following options:
- Language for input and output
- Table type for input and output (grade 1, grade 2, or 8 dot computer braille)
- Notification timeout
- How the cursor is displayed and if you want the cursor to blink on your braille display
If you want to use a serial braille display before you sign-in to your PC, select Use current settings before sign-in after choosing your preferred settings.
Core Narrator commands
Most braille displays can perform 12 Narrator commands to navigate and interact with apps. And supported displays with a braille keyboard can use it for entering text, or performing familiar single-letter scan mode commands. These 12 core commands are listed in the table below.
|Narrator command||Keyboard equivalent||Description|
|Primary action||Narrator + Enter||Often described as “click.”|
|Secondary action||Shift + Enter in scan mode||Often “select” or “expand” depending on the control.|
|Display context menu||Shift+F10||Shows a menu of additional actions.|
|Pan braille right||N/A||Displays the next set of characters from the current line. At end, performs Braille next.|
|Pan braille left||N/A||Displays the previous set of characters from the current line. At beginning, performs Braille previous.|
|Braille Next*||Narrator + Right||Displays the next item in the current navigation mode.|
|Braille Previous*||Narrator + Left||Displays the previous item in the current navigation mode.|
|Braille home*||Home in scan mode||Go to beginning of line.|
|Braille end*||End in scan mode||Go to end of line.|
|Braille first*||Ctrl + Home in scan mode||Go to first line.|
|Braille last*||Ctrl + End in scan mode||Go to last line.|
|Select navigation mode||Narrator + Page Up/Page Down||Perform this command, then use braille next/previous to choose a new navigation mode and perform primary action to select the new mode.|
Note that braille next, previous, home, end, first, and last all change with the current navigation mode. For example, with a navigation mode of paragraph:
- Next/previous will navigate to the next/previous paragraph
- Home/end will navigate to the beginning/end of the current paragraph
- First/last will navigate to the first/last paragraph.
You can find the mapping for a specific braille display in Appendix C: Supported braille displays.
Braille keyboard commands
If your braille display has a braille keyboard, you can use it to enter text or do the following commands. The command to toggle the keyboard is Space + Dots 1-3.
|Braille dots||Narrator command|
|1-2-3-4 or 1-2-3-4-7||Go to the next or previous paragraph|
|1-2-5 or 1-2-5-7||Go to the next or previous heading|
|2-3-4-5 or 2-3-4-5-7||Go to the next or previous table|
|1-3 or 1-3-7||Go to the next or previous link|
|2-4 or 2-4-7||Go to the next or previous item|
|1-4-5 or 1-4-5-7||Go to the next or previous landmark|
|1-2-4 or 1-2-4-7||Go to the next or previous form field|
|1-2 or 1-2-7||Go to the next or previous button|
|1-4 or 1-4-7||Go to the next or previous combo box|
|1-5 or 1-5-7||Go to the next or previous edit field|
|1-2-3-5 or 1-2-3-5-7||Go to the next or previous radio button|
|1-3-4-6 or 1-3-4-6-7||Go to the next or previous check box|
|1-6 or 1-6-7||Go to the next or previous heading level 1|
|1-2-6 or 1-2-6-7||Go to the next or previous heading level 2|
|1-4-6 or 1-4-6-7||Go to the next or previous heading level 3|
|1-4-5-6 or 1-4-5-6-7||Go to the next or previous heading level 4|
|1-5-6 or 1-5-6-7||Go to the next or previous heading level 5|
|1-2-4-6 or 1-2-4-6-7||Go to the next or previous heading level 6|
|1-2-4-5-6 or 1-2-4-5-6-7||Go to the next or previous heading level 7|
|1-2-5-6 or 1-2-5-6-7||Go to the next or previous heading level 8|
|2-4-6 or 2-4-6-7||Go to the next or previous heading level 9|
|Space + 1-2-3||Turn on input learning, press twice to turn off|
|2-3-4 or 2-3-4-7||Read by sentence|
Use the following commands for keyboard input.
|Braille dots||Keyboard input|
|Space + 4-5||Tab key|
|Space + 1-2||Shift + Tab key|
|Space + 2-3-4-5||Alt + Tab key|
|Space + 2-4-5-6||Windows logo key|
|Space + 1-2-3-5||Windows logo key + Tab key|
|Space + Routing Key 1 through 12||F1 through F12 keys|
|Space + 2-6||Escape key|
|Space + 3||Cursor left key|
|Space + 6||Cursor right key|
|Space + 1||Cursor up key|
|Space + 4||Cursor down key|
|Space + 2-3||Page up key|
|Space + 5-6||Page down key|
|Space + 2||Home key|
|Space + 5||End key|
|Space + 3-5||Insert key|
|Space + 2-5-6||Delete key|
The following commands allow you to enter and hold a modifier key followed by another letter or key.
|Braille dots||Keyboard input|
|Space + 1-8||Hold Windows logo key|
|Space + 2-8||Hold Alt key|
|Space + 3-8||Hold Ctrl key|
|Space + 4-8||Hold Shift key|
|Space + 5-8||Hold AltGr key|
|Space + 6-8||Hold Narrator key|
|Space + 7-8||Release all modifier keys|
Dismissing flash messages or notifications
Pan the length of the message with your braille display to quickly dismiss a flash message or notification.
Using touch cursors on your braille display
If your braille display has touch cursors you can use them to do certain actions.
Working with interactive elements
When the displayed content is an interactive element, tap any touch cursor above that content to do its primary action. Tap two adjacent touch cursors above the content to do its secondary action if one is available.
When the displayed content isn’t text, tap two nonadjacent touch cursors above the content to display a context menu if one is available.
Use the following touch cursor commands when editing text:
- To move the text insertion point to a specific character, tap the touch cursor above the corresponding cell. You can also tap the touch cursor above a cell representing a character or its preceding modifier (such as a capital or a number). Caret representation will be on the cell after the modifier.
- To move the text insertion point to the last character on the display, tap the touch cursor above a blank cell at the end of the display.
- To do a secondary action, tap on two adjacent touch cursors on a corresponding character.
- To show a context menu, tap two nonadjacent touch cursors above the character closest to the center of the two nonadjacent touch cursors.
Note: Some displays don’t support simultaneous pressing of two touch cursors. Therefore, there are additional commands for each display. To learn more about specific key commands for each display, see Appendix C: Supported braille displays.
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