NVDA and JAWS compared

Recently, I have started using both NVDA and JAWS for different tasks on the computer, as NVDA is better at some things and JAWS is better at other things. But which is better for what?

I have found that NVDA is great for coding, as it gives you helpful beeps to show the indentation of code. The higher the tone, the more indented the code is. This is particularly helpful for programing languages such as Python that rely on indents to know when to end if statements or loops.

One of the other things that makes NVDA useful in some circumstances is that you can install add-ons to add functionality to it (for example, there is a dictionary add-on and another add-on for using your laptop keyboard to input braille).

I also use NVDA for connecting to my MOO, as JAWS does not read the output. As I really enjoy connecting to MOO, using NVDA has helped me to learn more about how to use it along the way.

JAWS has some very helpful features as well. It can OCR PDF’s which is really helpful if you need a document in an emergency, and it can also describe images using PictureSmart. I prefer using JAWS for my school work, browsing the internet, and quite a lot of other things I do on the computer.

Lastly, learning two different screen readers may seem like a lot. But it’s not as bad as it could be as lots of the shortcuts are the same (for example all the Office ribbon shortcuts, webpage navigation shortcuts, top and bottom of document shortcuts, Google shortcuts and a lot more). So my advice would be to try learning both JAWS and NVDA, and go for it!

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