I have some additional findings to report regarding screen reader
accessibility of Calc 4.3 and screen readers.
As I indicated in an early message, I receive little or no feedback when
navigating through spreadsheets using the latest Calc RC along with NVDA
2014.2, although accessibility is not broken in OpenOffice 4.1 and I
assumed that both LibreOffice and OpenOffice were using the same code for
For kicks, I wanted to see how Calc would interact with the latest build
of JAWS 15.
When I tried navigating through a Calc spreadsheet using JAWS, the
behavior was different and, on the whole, more positive.
When I first opened Calc with JAWS running, JAWS treated the spreadsheet
as though it was a Web page or HTML document and I had to turn off the
Once I did this, audible feedback while using arrow keys to navigate the
spreadsheet also yielded no results.
However, when I pressed the alt key to open the menu bar followed by a
second press of the alt key to close it, JAWS read the spreadsheet data and
cell information perfectly, as it would with programs such as Excel.
I was intrigued and closed Calc.
After reopening Calc, JAWS did not go into its Web page browse mode but
still did not produce feedback while navigating through the spreadsheet.
Once again, I pressed the alt key twice, to move focus to and then away
from Calc's menu bar.
As I expected, audible navigation worked perfectly, allowing me to hear
cell coordinates and any data contained within the cell.
Even more curious, I wanted to see if I could get NVDA and Calc to
cooperate by moving focus away from and then back to the spreadsheet.
I closed JAWS and started NVDA.
I opened Calc and pressed the alt key twice, once to access the menu bar
and a second time to move focus away from the menu bar back to the
workbook. Unfortunately, NVDA would still not read any data or cell
coordinates in the workbook. I don't know if this information is of any
use to any of the developers who may be reading this but I thought I should
pass this along.
While I don't have JAWS on my home computer, I do have NVDA and would be
happy to run specific tests if I can be of any assistance.
I've also gone into the view menu to try and turn off unnecessary or at
least unneeded toolbars, as this can sometimes make a difference. As an
example, I vaguely remember that the formula bar might have been
responsible for producing too much audible feedback in one of the earlier
versions of Calc. Again, if there are specific settings any of you would
like me to try please let me know. As a user and trainer for other users
of this technology, I am quite excited at seeing more accessibility being
implemented in these suites and I'd like to do anything I can to assist in
making this happen. I'm not a programmer but I'm happy to test and report
Computer Technology Instructor
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Serving Philadelphia's and the nation's blind and visually impaired
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