How to Download and Install NVDA

Laptop with cloud computing download symbol

Written By Cody Laplante

Cody M. Laplante is a certified Teacher of Students with Visual Impairments located in the capital region of the United States. For the past 7 years, Cody has dedicated his career to teaching children and adults with visual impairments how to use computers to be active members of society. Cody believes all people with visual impairments can have computer access skills, and with a Master’s Degree and Graduate Certificate in Assistive Technology, Cody founded eye.t to provide live and asynchronous training options to children, adults, professionals and parents to ensure that all people with visual impairments can have access to a computer.

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Published on

December 27, 2021

NVDA is an awesome screen reader! Despite its price (Free), it really does stand well against its only real competitor JAWS.

Here is our cost benefit breakdown from our NVDA Deep Dive on Instagram. 


  • Fast and Responsive
  • Settings are User-Friendly
  • Braille Display Setup is a Breeze
  • FREE


  • Open source so some organizations might have security concerns.

Let’s learn how to download, and install NVDA.

  1. Go to
  2. Choose if and how much you would like to donate. Remember, NVAccess is a nonprofit and has always offered NVDA for free to the world. Please consider donating!
  3. Click “Download”
  4. Once Downloaded, click the on the file in the Downloads bar.
  5. Once started, you should hear NVDA’s little start-up jingle and a new dialog box will pop up. 
  6. Read the terms and conditions and check I agree, then you can either download NVDA on “this computer” or “create a portable copy”. Not sure what a portable copy is, see below for an explanation.
  7. Once you select an option, you have an option to decide if you want to have NVDA on the sign in screen. If you are a screen reader user, definitely check this box. If this is just for you to practice and you are a visual user, make sure that this box is unchecked.
  8. Click Continue
  9. Wait for NVDA to Install.
  10. After NVDA installs, a dialog box will appear asking you “which modifiers you’d like as your NVDA key”. Make sure that all checkboxes (“Insert”, “CapsLock” and “NumPad Insert”) are all checked.
  11. Once you close this dialog box, you are all set to get started.

Now what in the world is a portable copy?

NVAccess in its infinite wisdom has created a way not only for you to install NVDA on a computer for free, but you can also install NVDA on a portable USB flash drive and carry around your copy of NVDA to use on any computer. If this is something you want to try, go back to step 6 above and select “Create a Portable Copy of NVDA”.

But beware, if you plan on running a portable copy of NVDA on a computer, you must have administrator privileges so if you are like me and are thinking “Wow I can use this to get around my school district’s IT department”. No luck, I’ve already tried. If you don’t have an admin password, it will not work.

Now before I leave you, there are two more skills you absolutely must know.

Turning on NVDA

It is super easy – Ctrl + Alt + N

AND maybe more importantly (if you are a visual user or installing on someone else’s computer

Turning off NVDA

CapsLock + Q

If you are wondering, Now What? Check out our eye.t Live event on our Facebook Group this afternoon at 4pm to learn more about what to do once you have downloaded and installed NVDA! 

Also, check your inbox next Thursday at 7am to learn about the NVDA key and why it is so important for learning and using NVDA!

And if you haven’t yet heard, the entire month of January we are inviting you to start fresh with your screen reader instruction with brand new content on all our social media platforms! For a full schedule in your inbox each week of all of our new content, sign up using the button below and you too will be able to Change Your View of Screen Readers in 2022!

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