The GNOME Desktop includes a "notification area" which can be used by applications to present information to the user. Examples of notifications include incoming chat messages, the details associated with the song your media player is starting to play, and warnings that your battery level is getting low.

Because notifications are intended to present information to users without interrupting what the user is doing, these messages tend to appear and disappear relatively quickly. They are also not focusable. While Orca will present these messages to you as they come in, it is far too easy to interrupt Orca's announcement accidentally by continuing to type or to change focus. For this reason, Orca has three commands which you can use to access previously-displayed notification messages:

  • Present the last (most recent) notification message

  • Present the previous notification message

  • Present list of all notification messages

The first two commands are designed mainly for quick access to a message you just received. The last command is the most powerful as it stores your notification message history.

When you enter the list of notification messages, you will be told the size of the list and prompted with the following choices:

  • Press H for help.

  • Use Up, Down, Home or End to navigate in the list.

  • Press Escape to exit.

  • Press Space to repeat the last message read.

  • Press one digit to read a specific message.

Note that the most recently-received message is at the top of the list.

Each of Orca's notification review commands is unbound by default. You can bind any or all of them to the shortcut or shortcuts you choose. How to do so is described in the Introduction to Key Bindings.