Chapter 8: Using Narrator with braille

Applies to: Windows 10

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 what braille displays are supported, including specific key commands for each display, see Appendix C: Supported braille displays.

Install braille

Narrator works with braille displays that use a USB or serial port. To use your braille display with Narrator, download and install braille:

  1. Press the Windows logo key  + Ctrl + N to open Narrator settings.
  2. Under Use braille (preview), 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.)
  3. When download and installation is complete, select Enable braille.
  4. 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)."

Uninstalling braille

To remove Narrator braille from your PC:

  1. Press Windows logo key  + I to open Settings.
  2. Select Apps, choose Apps & features, and then select Manage optional features.
  3. 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 (preview) 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 + Up/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
 

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
7 Backspace key
8 Enter key
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 Caps lock key
Space + 7-8 Release all modifier keys

 

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 displayed isn’t text, tap two nonadjacent touch cursors above the content to display a context menu if one is available.

Editing text

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.

 

Next: Appendix A: Supported languages and voices

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