Tips: how to use the speech dictionary of NVDA

Thanks to our user Michael Bayus for sending us this “how to” article, we are grateful to Michael and happy to share this tips with all our users.

We also invite all users to send us tips on mispronounced words and names by sending an email to or use the “report a pronunciation bug” field in the type&talk demo here on this page.

How to use the speech dictionary with the Acapela TTS for NVDA add-on

The speech dictionaries menu (found in the Preferences menu) contains dialogs that allow you to manage the way NVDA pronounces particular words or phrases. There are currently three different types of speech dictionaries. They are:

  • Default: rules in this dictionary affect all speech in NVDA.
  • Voice: rules in this dictionary affect speech for the synthesizer voice currently being used.
  • Temporary: rules in this dictionary affect all speech in NVDA, but only for the current session. These rules are temporary and will be lost if NVDA is restarted.

All dictionary dialogs contain a list of rules which will be used for processing the speech. The dialog also contains Add, Edit and Remove buttons.

To access the Speech dictionaries, press and hold the NVDA key, plus N to open the NVDA menu.  Then press the down arrow once to get to the preferences menu.  press the right arrow to access it.  Press the down arrow until you hear NVDA say “Speech dics”.

To add a new rule to the dictionary, press the Add button, and fill in the fields in the dialog box that appears and then press Ok. You will then see your new rule in the list of rules. However to make sure your rule is actually saved, make sure to press Ok to exit the dictionary dialog all together once you have finished adding/editing rules.

The rules for NVDA’s speech dictionaries allow you to change one string of characters into another.  For example, I like Ella, and she is the default voice for my screen reader.  She gets the word “peruse” wrong.  She says “parice”.  To teach her to pronounce the word correctly, I would go to the “voice” dictionary, and In the Add rule dialog, I would type the word “peruse” in the Pattern field, and I would type “per ruse” in the Replacement field. Now, Ella will say: “peruse” as she should. You may also want to type a description of the rule in the Comment field (something like: changes peruse to per ruse).

NVDA’s speech dictionaries however are much more powerful than simple word replacement. The Add rule dialog also contains a checkbox to say whether or not you want the rule to be case sensitive (meaning that NVDA should care whether the characters are uppercase or lowercase, NVDA ignores case by default).

Finally, a set of radio buttons allows you to tell NVDA whether your pattern should match anywhere, should only match if it is a complete word or should be treated as a “Regular expression”.

Acapela for NVDA v1.4 is here!

Today we released the new version 1.4 of the Acapela TTS for NVDA add-on. This version brings to the NVDA add-on the latest improvements for all voices, including improvements in both sound and pronunciation for each voice.

In version v1.4 we also say hello to a new Scottish English voice named Rhona, available both as Colibri and High-Quality version.

We also extend our portfolio of Colibri voices by adding a colibri version of the Australian English voice Lisa, and the American Spanish voice Rodrigo.

After the latest additions, we can proudly announce that the Acapela TTS for NVDA add-on now provides 52 high-quality voices and 23 colibri voices.

If you already have a version of the Acapela TTS for NVDA plug-in, you can just remove the older version of engine and voices, and then download and install the new version via the NVDA “Manage add-ons” menu.

License is not affected by the update, so no action at all is required, the new version of the add-on will find and use the existing license.

Learn how to use NVDA

The American Foundation for the Blind continues its mission of providing tutorials to help Visually Impaired all over the world getting started using technology. Their later installment is an helpful tutorial on how to use the NVDA screen reader, from installation to navigating Windows. Here it is:

Enjoy it!

How to use the automatic Arabic switch

The Arabic switch allows you to switch automatic to a non-arabic voice as soon as NVDA reads text in latin alphabet.

To enable it open the “Arabic Switch” command under the “Acapela TTS for NVDA” menu. In the dialog box that opens up select the “Enable” check-box and then in the “Choose a voice” list pick the voice that you want to use to read latin alphabet and click “OK”. At this point you will need to restart NVDA for the changes to take effect.

The Arabic switch only works when you have selected one of our Arabic voices as main voice for NVDA.

Acapela NVDA v1.3 with Arabic and Turkish voices

We are proud to release v1.3 of Acapela for NVDA, now including also Arabic and Turkish voices. Download this version of the software now!

For Arabic, we have also added a new command in the Acapela for NVDA menu to allow configuration of automatic switching between Arabic and non-Arabic voices depending on the text being read.

Users with earlier version of Acapela for NVDA can upgrade for free by simply downloading the new version.

Acapela for NVDA 1.2.1

Today we released Acapela TTS for NVDA v1.2.1

This new version solves an issue where the Acapela TTS for NVDA in same case would crash instead of providing an error message in case the evaluation version had expired.