Keyboard Mappings

1. Overview

This section describes the default desktop and laptop keyboard mappings for the focus tracking and flat review modes of the Orca screen reader. Note that Orca allows these mappings to be overridden and extended, allowing users to define their own keyboard mappings.

The user will be able to switch between the desktop and laptop layouts from the Orca config UI. A group of radio buttons will be added to the general tab allowing the user to choose between desktop and laptop. If desktop is chosen, the user will get the insert as the modifier by default and the laptop modifier will be caps lock. In the Orca text setup the user should also be asked which layout they prefer.

Orca should also provide for language specific keyboard layouts. The laptop layout is designed primarily for an English keyboard. Many users with non-western layouts will not easily be able to use this layout. It should be possible to use an Orca keymap based on the current language.

As with most other available screen readers, the numeric keypad is the primary location for Orca keystrokes on the desktop layout. Where appropriate, the keymap also provides letter-based mnemonics that have been carefully chosen so as to make Orca easier to translate into other languages. Furthermore, the default mappings have been developed with a minimalist approach so as to allow custom scripts to override and extend the default keyboard behavior while reducing conflict with the default keybindings.

Orca will also automatically invoke flat review mode when a command is issued to review any part of the screen that does not have the keyboard focus.

For the laptop layout Orca will use a very similar layout using the Orca Modifier key plus the keys on the right side of the keyboard.

In brief summary, the default keyboard mappings break the numeric keypad into the following logical sections:

  • The top row is for mouse clicks, managing focus, and switching review mode between focus tracking and flat review. On the laptop these map to Orca modifier+7, 8, and 9.
  • Keypad keys 7, 8, and 9 are for navigating lines. On the laptop u, i, and o are used.
  • Keypad keys 4, 5, and 6 are for navigating words. On the laptop j, k, and l are used.
  • Keypad keys 1, 2, and 3 are for navigating characters. On the laptop m, ,, and . are used.

2. Keybindings

The keyboard mappings are as follows, and use the "Insert" key for desktop keyboards and the caps-lock key for laptops as a modifier:


Flat Review


Learn Mode

Say All




Projects/Orca/Specification/KeyboardMappings (last edited 2013-11-22 19:22:24 by WilliamJonMcCann)