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Configuring Accessibility on Windows

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This page contains a list of steps to configure screen readers to work with Android Studio on Windows. In general, the goal is to make sure that
  • A recent (1.7+) version of Java is installed
  • The Java Access Bridge is configured to run when Android Studio is started
  • A recent version (e.g. 2.2 or later) of Android Studio is installed
  • A screen reader compatible with Java Access Bridge is installed and configured to work with Java applications.


  • Install Java 7 or later, as required to run Android Studio
    • If you use Android Studio with a 64-bit JRE, you must also install a 32-bit JRE (see note below).
  • Turn on the Java Access Bridge
    • Go to a command prompt
    • Type "%JRE_HOME%\bin\jabswitch -enable"
    • where %JRE_HOME% is the directory of the JRE.
  • Do not use Java 6 or earlier, as they are issues with the JRE Accessibility library that makes it incompatible with Android Studio.
  • If you install a 64-bit version of Java, you also need to install a 32-bit version, as some screen readers (e.g. nvda) requires 32-bit DLLs (e.g. WindowsAccessBridge-32.dllfrom the JRE to be installed on the computer.
  • More detailed instructions:

Verifying Java Access Bridge configuration

In some cases, various versions of the system components of the Java Access Bridge can co-exist on a machine, and these components are sometimes not compatible between versions. In particular, it is important to verify the following:
  • The C:\Windows\System32\WindowsAccessBridge-64.DLL must be present and have a version # of at least 7.x.x.x and a description "Java(TM) Platform SE 7" (7 or later).
    • In particular, version "" is outdated (2006) and has many known incompatibilities
  • The C:\Windows\SysWOW64\WindowsAccessBridge-32.DLL must be present and have a version # of at least 7.x.x.x and a description "Java(TM) Platform SE 7" (7 or later).
    • In particular, version "" is outdated (2006) and has many known incompatibilities
  • The %JRE_HOME%\lib\ext\access-bridge-64.jar and/or %JRE_HOME%\jre\lib\ext\jaccess.jar files may have been overwritten by the Windows Eyes installer. Check the "Date Modified" of these files is the same as the others files in the directory -- if the dates are different, the files probable have the date of when Windows Eyes was installed. If not, re-install the JDK/JRE.

Android Studio

  • Android Studio 2.2 (or later) is required.
  • Android Studio must be configured to support screen readers
    • Open the "Settings" dialog via the "File > Settings" menu item
    • Go the "Appearance & Behavior > System Settings" entry
    • Ensure the "Support screen readers" checkbox is checked
    • Click "Ok"
    • Restart Android Studio
Note: If the "Support screen readers" option is not checked, Android Studio may still partially work with screen readers, but enabling the option vastly improves keyboard navigation (e.g TAB/Shift-TAB keys) as well as the way focus interacts with complex features such as Code Completion and Text popups.

Screen Readers

There are various screen readers available on Windows, each with various pros and cons. We currently recommend using nvda, as this was the screen reader used the most during the development of accessibility support for Android Studio.

In general, if screen readers see Android Studio as a Windows with a title with no elements inside, it is because Java Accessibility is not configured properly, either on the JDK/JRE side, or on the Screen Reader side.


  • Install and run nvda 2015 or later from
  • Make sure that the WindowsAccessBridge-32.dll is installed. If nvda cannot find that file, there will be a message "Java Access Bridge not available" in the nvda "Event Log" window.
  • There is nothing else to configure
  • Unlike Jaws, nvda can be started before or after Android Studio without any issue
  • If nvda does not see Android Studio components (i.e. it sees Android Studio merely as a single window frame with a title and no components inside), it is most likely that it could not load the appropriate version of C:\Windows\SysWOW64\WindowsAccessBridge-32.DLL.
  • We do not recommend changing the default nvda speech synthetizer to "Microsoft Speech API" (i.e. keep using the "eSpeak" default), as the former tend to be make Windows sluggish.
  • For developers, it is recommended to install the "Focus Highlight" addon. The addon extend nvda so that it highlights the system focus area, as well as the object navigator focus, with rectangles of various colors.


  • Install and run Jaws
  • There is nothing else to configure, but it is important to start Jaws before starting Android Studio, or Android Studio accessibility will not be enabled. Restarting Android Studio after Jaws should solve the problem.
  • Note: Unlike nvda, Jaws is a 64-bit application, so there is no need to install a 32-bit version of the JRE.

Windows Eyes

We do not recommend Windows Eyes, as during setup, Windows Eyes overwrites the accessibility libraries (jre\lib\ext\access-bridge-64.jar and jre\lib\ext\jaccess.jar) of all JDK/JRE installed on the computer. There libraries are older version (JDK 1.4?) and not compatible with Android Studio.

Windows built-in Narrator

We do not recommend Windows Narrator, as it is not compatible with Java Accessibility in general.


  • The screen reader sees Android Studio as a single frame with a title, but without any component inside
    • See the "Verifying Java configuration" section
    • The Screen Reader is not configured properly: see the section corresponding to the screen reader used
    • Android Studio was started before the screen reader: Restart Android Studio
  • The Screen Reader can see the contents of list/tree views, but does not speak anything when moving from item to item: see the "Verifying Java configuration" section.
  • Some elements are missing description, actions, list of children, etc.: see "Filing Bugs" section
  • Keyboard navigation (e.g. TAB) does not work as expected: see "Filing Bugs" section
  • Some Android Studio popup window stole the focus (e.g. "Tip of the Day", Notification popup/balloon): Use the Ctrl-Tab keyboard shortcut to switch to a toolwindow or editor window.

Filing Bugs

At the time of this writing, there is still a long tail of bugs and improvements in Android Studio accessibility support. Bug can be submitted via the "Help | Submit Feedback" menu in Android Studio. To ensure the bug is promptly assigned to the right person, add the "Type-Accessibility" label when submitting the bug.