The Orbit Reader must talk to "screen reader" software on your PC for it to interact properly with the computer and be able to output braille.

If you do not already have one of the below supported screen reader applications on your PC, click one of the links to download:

Which one to pick? All are great options (but the first two are free).

If you use a different screen reader software than those listed above, check out the section at the bottom of this page entitled "Have a screen reader that does not support HID?". 

Download necessary drivers

For the software to be able to interact with the Orbit Reader, download the necessary drivers from below.

Click here to access driver download page

Under the "Software packages and drivers" section, pick the driver that applies to you.

Switching to HID mode

In order for the Orbit Reader to be recognized and used by the computer, it needs to be put in HID or "Human Interface Device" mode. Once this mode is enabled, the reader can be used as a text input device, text reading device and more.

Connect and power on the reader

  • Connect the Orbit reader to your PC via the micro USB cable
  • Power on reader by holding the button on the back (next to the SD card slot)

Enable HID mode for reader

  • press buttons 2, 7, and space bar on the reader all at once to enable HID mode.
  • Use diagram and gif below to see which buttons are which on the reader.
Orbit Reader 20 HID mode

Connecting to the Orbit Reader

The following sections show to how to connect your PC to the Orbit Reader depending on the screen reader software you have installed. These sections have been taken from the user guide linked in the "Connecting to the Reader" page of this guide.


If you have NVDA (version 2017.1 or later) installed on your PC, it automatically recognizes the Orbit Reader 20. If NVDA is not recognizing the display, go to the NVDA Preferences menu and select Braille Settings from the list. From the braille display drop-down menu, select "Baum/Humanware/APH/Orbit Displays" and click OK. Note: NVDA works in HID only, not Serial. If Orbit Reader 20 is not one of the displays shown in the Braille Display list, upgrade NVDA to the newest version and repeat the process. NVDA turns ‘On’ braille output when it is configured for the display. To turn ‘Off’ braille support, select "No Braille" from Braille Display options in the Braille Settings menu.


Currently, the Orbit Reader 20 is supported for JAWS versions 17, 18, and 2018 through a driver. The JAWS driver download and instructions are available on the Orbit Research Support webpage. For JAWS versions older than 17, you must use the RB18 emulation mode on the Orbit Reader. When connecting Orbit Reader 20 to JAWS by USB, it must be set to use the HID protocol by pressing Space + Dots 2 7. To connect Orbit Reader 20 by USB, follow these steps:

1. Start or restart JAWS.

2. Insert + J to bring up JAWS menu.

3. Press Enter on Options.

4. Down Arrow to Braille and press Enter.

5. Tab to Add and press Enter.

6. Arrow Up or Down to Aph Refreshabraille 18 and press Space to check the box and select it. 

7. Tab to the Next button and press Enter.

8. Select USB.

9. Tab to the Next button and press Enter.

10.Select Aph Refreshabraille 18 as primary device.

11.Tab to the Finish button and press Enter.

12.Restart JAWS.

Dolphin Screen Reader

To connect Orbit Reader 20 to Dolphin Screen Reader, the device must be connected by a Standard-A to Micro-B USB cable and set in HID protocol mode.

Hit Buttons 2 + 7 + space, as shown, above, to switch to HID mode

Have a screen reader that does not support HID?

If your screen reader does not support HID, switch to the Serial protocol on the Orbit Reader 20 with the hotkey or selecting Serial from the USB option in the menu.

For Windows versions 7 and newer, the serial interface requires the installation of two drivers: one for the USB and one to make the USB port appear like a COM port. The only exception is Windows XP.

Because it is Serial only, it can just be plugged in. The second driver is required because many screens reading programs handle braille displays like a serial device. The COM port assignment driver shows the assigned port number used to communicate with the display.

Take a note of the COM port number for later use. If you need to look at it later, go to Device Manager while the display is connected and look in the section for Ports: COM and LPT.

One of the COM ports is assigned to Orbit Reader 20. You need to use that number when you set up your screen reader. Once the display is connected to the device you wish to use, configure the software to use Orbit Reader 20.

This guide was first published on Aug 28, 2019. It was last updated on Jun 21, 2024.

This page (Connecting on PC) was last updated on Mar 08, 2024.

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