Enhanced Touch gestures notice: global touch support toggle and touch gesture passthrough features to be removed in a future release


Hello NVDA developers and add-ons community,


I’m delighted to announce that two major features from Enhanced Touch Gestures add-on are being considered for inclusion in a future NVDA release (or rather, one is already here, the other is being looked at). As such, the following features will be removed from the add-on in a future release:


  • Enable/disable touch support completely: the ability to enable or disable touch support (also being aware of profiles) is now part of latest NVDA alpha snapshot.
  • Command to enable/disable touch support and touch passthrough: until now it was possible to enable or disable touch support through a command that comes with the add-on, and to suspend touch support for up to ten seconds (touch passthrough). There is an NVDA pull request (PR 11297) to bring this to NVDA itself (not written by me), and if approved, touch passthrough (automatic and manual) will be removed from the add-on, as it is no longer needed.


Because many people are using NVDA stable releases (or trying out betas), these changes will not happen overnight – it will happen in a future version of Enhanced Touch Gestures. However, in order to make this process as smooth as possible, I’m laying the foundation in version 20.07 of the add-on (July). Specifically:


  • Last tested version will be set to 2020.3 (at least in the add-on manifest). This is to remind me that I need to conduct more tests in coming days.
  • If touch support is disabled globally, an appropriate debug log message will be printed.
  • The add-on does come with an extension point action handler for configuration profile switches. If an NVDA version with the ability to toggle touch support is in use, the action handler will ignore config profile switches altogether, as that is now handled by NVDA.
  • Automatic touch passthrough (where touch support can be suspended for up to ten seconds) will be deprecated. The only passthrough mode will be manual i.e. touch support can be toggled from everywhere, not suspended for a time. Automatic touch passthrough will be removed in a fall release. The user interface responsible for setting up automatic touch passthrough will be removed, however i.e. no more “Enhanced Touch Gestures” settings panel (the only thing left in there will be enable/disable touch support checkbox, meant for older NVDA releases).
  • As part of toggling touch support from everywhere, a keyboard command is proposed (see the mentioned PR). If this comes to NVDA, Enhanced Touch Gestures will add the same keyboard command to toggle manual touch passthrough mode for ease of transition.


The result of this work is that Enhanced Touch Gestures add-on will be left with the following features:


  • Global object mode gestures (read title, read status bar, for instance)
  • Additional NVDA command gestures (four finger double tap to toggle input help, for instance)
  • Web and synth settings touch modes
  • Touch keyboard enhancements


P.S. Coordinate announcement beep feature will be removed, too (that feature is beyond the scope of this post).