Voice Dream Reader User Manual

Getting Started

The controls for text-to-speech are similar to those for listening to music. You can play and pause just as you would in any music player. The marker for speech is a highlighted word called the speech cursor. Voice Dream Reader remembers the location of the speech cursor so that when you open the article or book later, you can resume from where you left off.

Gesture Tip: Tapping the text area with two finger twice (double-finger double tap) does the same thing as the Play or Pause button. This gesture works with VoiceOver turned on or off.

By default, the rewind and fast forward buttons move the speech cursor backward or forward by 30 seconds. Instead of 30 seconds, you can change that to a sentence, paragraph, page, chapter, bookmark, highlight, 15, 30 or 60 seconds. These are called Navigation Units. The current Navigation Unit is shown at the bottom right in the footer. Tap it to change it to something else.

Gesture Tip: You can press the rewind or fast forward button and hold, the list of Navigation Units would appear. Select the unit, that does two things: it changes the current Navigation Unit to what you selected and then performs a rewind or fast forward in the new Navigation Unit.

Gesture Tip: Swiping left or right with two fingers does the same thing as the rewind and fast forward buttons.

Gesture Tip: Swiping up or down with two fingers increases or decreases speaking rate.

Gesture Tip: Some documents, like PDF files, can be viewed both in the original layout and as plain text. To switch between the views, swipe right with one finger from the left edge of the screen. Swipe left from the right edge also works.

Tap anywhere in the text box to enter full screen mode. Tapping again brings back the controls at the top and bottom. By default, the app enters full screen mode a few seconds after you press Play, but you can disable auto-full screen from Advanced Settings.

While listening, you can scroll to a different part of the text freely using the text box or the slider at the bottom. You can also tap on the percentage or page number in the footer at the bottom to go to a different part of the text. You can double tap (tapping twice in quick succession) on any word, and Voice Dream Reader will start reading from that word. To scroll back to the speech cursor, tap the screen with two fingers.

Many people prefer a distraction free screen without a lot of text. Voice Dream Reader is equipped with Focused Reading Mode. To activate, pinch the screen with two fingers, and the speech text area will be reduced to about a third of the screen in the middle. In addition, the text will be scrolled automatically so that the word and line being spoken is always in the middle. To bring back the full screen, un-pinch or expand the text area with two fingers.

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Advanced Reader Controls

If you press on a word and hold, the selection markers and selection menu appears. The behavior is the same as any other text box in iOS. Among other commands, you can create a bookmark, text highlight, and add a note. To delete a bookmark, highlight or note, tap on the symbol in the margins and press Delete.

The Bookmark button to the left lets you pull up chapters, bookmarks and highlights or highlights with notes. You can also tap on the chapter name in the footer to bring up the same menu.

When the end of an article is reached, the default behavior is to play a sound and advance to the next article on the list currently shown in the Home screen. You can change the default behavior in the Advanced Setting section in Settings. However, when you’re playing from the Playlist, Voice Dream Reader will always advance to the next article regardless of the setting.

Some people like to listen to a book at night before going to sleep. You can set a timer by pressing on the Play or Pause button and hold. Once you start the timer, a clock icon will show up at the bottom of the screen. The Reader will stop reading when time is up. To stop the timer, just tap on the clock icon.

The Voice Setting button at top of the Reader screen lets you change how text is spoken. You can change how fast the text is read using the Speech Rate slider. You can also change the Voice — if you’ve purchased additional Voices. See the next section for more detail on how Voice Dream Reader handles languages and voices.

The Visual Setting button next to it allows you to change the visual appearance of the document.

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Managing Voices

When a new article or book is loaded in Voice Dream Reader, we automatically detect the language of the text. The first time you listen to it, we’ll use the preferred voice for that language. (Preferred voice can be set by tapping on “More Info” from a voice in Settings-Manage My Voices or from Voice Settings. While listening, you can pick a different voice for that language if you have more than one. Voice Dream remembers that and will use it the next time you open the article or book.

Besides setting a preferred voice, you can also fine tune the default speech rate, pitch, and volume of a voice from the same screen.

When you start listening to a new article or book, Voice Dream Reader selects an appropriate voice, and read the text using the default Speech Rate for that voice. In Voice Settings, it’ll say “Speech Rate (Default)”. If you change the speech rate in Voice Settings, you’ll override the default by setting an item-specific speech rate. From then one, that article or book will always be read with that speech rate regardless which voice you choose.

Voice Dream Reader is equipped with a highly advanced personal pronunciation dictionary. There is a separate dictionary for each language, and a dictionary consists of multiple entries. To create an entry, tap on “+” under pronunciation dictionary.

You can choose from three ways to match the entry text: “Word”, “Anywhere”, or “RegEx”. “Word” means the text should be an independent word, while “Anywhere” would try to find the entry text even if it’s a part of another word. For example: dictionary entry for “wonder” would not affect “wonderful” if you choose “Word”, but it would affect it if you choose “Anywhere”.”

“RegEx” stands for Regular Expression, a powerful text pattern matching language. For example, the chapter-verse in the Bible can be described with “[0-9]+:[0-9]+”. There’s many good RegEx tutorials on line if you’re interested in learning how to use this powerful technology.

Once a match is found using any of the matching options, you can tell Voice Dream Reader to skip all text that match, or to pronounce it as if it’s another piece of text. For example, you can pronounce “lol” as “laughing out loud”, or spell out “MAD” as “M-A-D”.

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Editor and Language Translation

The Editor button takes you to the text Editor. You can perform language translation using Google Translate there. At present, you cannot edit very large text, like an ebook, due to the memory limitation of the text editor available on the iPad or iPhone. But if you wish, you could translate text of any length even if it’s too large to be displayed.

You can translate text from one language to another in the Editor. We use Google Translate; the result is the same as if you do it on the Google Website. Translation uses up translation credits, which you can buy in Settings. Each translation credit is good for translating a single article up to 5,000 characters. If your article is longer than 5,000 characters, you would need multiple translation credits. For example, if you have an article with 8,000 characters, you’ll need 2 translation credits. As long as you have enough translation credits, you can translate text of any length, even a book.

Note: Google charges other companies like Voice Dream for using their translation engine, which is why we set up the system of translation credits.

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Loading Content from Files

Voice Dream Reader can open files with the following formats:

  • Adobe PDF (.pdf)
  • DRM-free EPUB eBooks (.epub)
  • DAISY text or audio books (.zip)
  • Plain Text (.txt and .text)
  • Microsoft Word (.doc and .docx)
  • Microsoft PowerPoint (.ppt and .pptx)
  • Apple Pages (.page)
  • Apple Keynote (.key)
  • HTML (.html and .htm)
  • Rich Text Format (.rtf)
  • Audio (.mp3, .mp4, .m4a)

There’re three ways to open a file: from the Dropbox or Google Drive directly in Voice Dream Reader, using iTunes to move files from you PC or Mac, and from another app on your device.

The easiest way is to use Dropbox or Google Drive. First, go to Settings-Dropbox and enable access. After you authorize Voice Dream Reader access, from Voice Dream Reader you can open files by pushing the “+” button at the bottom of the Home screen and select Dropbox or Google Drive.

To move files using iTunes, open iTunes on your PC or Mac. Select your device under “Devices” on the left, and then click on “Apps” along the top. Scroll down to “File Sharing” section and you’ll find Voice Dream Reader in the list of App. Select it, and click on “Add..” button to the right to select the files to move to your device. Once the files are moved to Voice Dream Reader on your device, open Voice Dream Reader, tap “+” and “iTunes” to import the files.

The other way is to do it from another app. Many iPad and iPhone apps can open files: you’ve probably opened attachments in the Mail app. After you open the attachment, you’ll see the Action button at the top. The button looks like a box with an arrow coming out of it. Click on that, click on Open In… and select Voice Dream Reader. You can do this from any app that presents content with the Open In… option, such as Good Reader and box.net.

Either way, once you open the file, Voice Dream Reader will extract text from the file and store it in its own database. You’ll be able to listen to it offline, and you don’t need the original file any more.

You can download eBooks from Gutenberg for free directly from Voice Dream Reader. Press the “+” button from the Home screen and select Gutenberg. Navigate to the book you want, and select the “EPUB (no image) version to the book to download.

Finally, you can download eBooks from Bookshare, if you have a Bookshare account. You’ll first need to enter your user ID and password in Settings. Then, Bookshare will appear as an option when you press the “+” button.

Note: DRM-protected eBooks from iBooks, Kindle, Nook, Adobe OverDrive cannot be opened in Voice Dream Reader.

Note: If a DAISY book contains both audio and text, we only retain the text, since almost all full-text-full audio books use TTS.

Note: Besides supporting DAISY audiobooks, we also supports zipped MP3 files without an index. The ZIP file creates a single book item in Voice Dream. The name of the ZIP file becomes the title, and each MP3 file becomes a chapter with the name of the file as chapter name. Please make sure the file names are sorted in the same order as it appears in the book. Having a “track number” works great. For example, “01 Chapter 1.mp3”, “02 Chapter 2.mp3”, etc.

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Loading Content from the Web

The easiest way to listen to a Web page is to use our built-in Browser. Click on the “+” button from the Home screen, and select Web Browser. The browser will pop up, and you can type in or paste an URL. You have two options to save the Web page: “Smart Save” and “Save All”. Smart Save tries to intelligently strip out the extraneous stuff on the Web page like menus and ads. Smart Save does not work on Web sites that requires you to log in and occasionally it could make mistakes. The other option is “Save All”, which saves all the text that appear on the Web page and works on Web sites that require logging-in. If you like, you can use the Editor to remove the text you don’t want.

If you rather use Safari, or another browser on your device, you can create a special bookmark to link it to Voice Dream. When you want to listen to a page, you can tap on the special bookmark, which would open Voice Dream and place the current web page in Voice Dream’s browser. At that point, you can do a “Smart Save” or “Save All” to extract text.

To create the special bookmark:

  • 1. Go to any Web page and tap on “Action” and “Bookmark” to create a bookmark. Put it in Favorites.
  • 2. Open up Bookmarks and find the page that contains the bookmark you just created. Tap on Edit.
  • 3. Tap the bookmark you just created. In the first field, give it a new name: “Open in Voice Dream”.
  • 4. In the second URL field, paste in the following:

    javascript:window.location=”com.voicedream.reader://open?url=”+window.location

You can also use a bookmarking service. If you already use Pocket (formerly Read It Later) or Instapaper, enter your user ID and password in Settings, and press the Refresh button in the Home screen to download unread articles.

For both services, Voice Dream Reader downloads “Unread” articles, and you can download the most recent 50, 100, 200, or 500 articles. If you have older articles on your device, they’ll be deleted from Voice Dream Reader (not from Pocket or Instapaper).

After you delete an article in Voice Dream Reader, the next refresh will move these articles to Archive in the cloud. Currently, Pocket supports the reverse: when you archive an article in Pocket, it will be deleted in Voice Dream Reader. This option can be turned on or off under Settings-Pocket.

Finally, you can Reset the connection in Settings-Pocket or Instapaper. Resetting will delete all articles in Voice Dream Reader and you’ll need to Refresh to download all the articles again.

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Managing Content

Folders

Voice Dream Reader lets you use folders to manage your content. To see folders, click on the File Cabinet icon in the Home screen. (You can also click on the Title in the middle of the top bar). The File Cabinet first shows All Items and Playlist. If you enabled Pocket or Instapaper, it’ll show those also. These are special, system folders. You cannot edit them.

You can create you own folders, like “Books” or “Junk”. Press the “+” button the File Cabinet to create a folder. You can also rename folders or re-arrange them by pressing on the Edit button in the File Cabinet.

To move articles and books to a folder, you need to be in the Home screen. Press the Edit button all the way to the right, and you’ll enter Edit mode. Then, you can select the items by tapping on the them, and click on the Move button to move it to your own folder.

When you’re in Edit mode, pressing the Trash button permanently deletes the articles you selected. When you delete articles from Pocket or Instapaper, they’ll be marked “Read” or “Archived” there also. This works even if you’re offline; we mark these articles and tell Pocket and Instapaper about it the next time you Refresh. The “Unread” button moves the speech cursor to the beginning of the text.

You can sort the items in the current folder by Add Date, Title, Author, or Size. You can assign a different sort field for each folder.

A couple of neat iPad and iPhone features — many people don’t know about them — are very handy. One, you can swipe left on an item and the Delete button will pop up on that item. Two, you can tap on the thin status bar that shows battery life at the top to scroll to the top of the list.

Playlist

Playlist is a special folder. It’s special because one, you can pick any text item to include in your Playlist without moving them. Two, you can arrange the items in any order you like after you press the Edit button.. Three, if you remove an item from the Playlist, it is not deleted from the device permanently: it’s simply removed from the Playlist. Lastly, items in the Playlist are always played back-to-back.

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Tips for VoiceOver Users

  • Full screen mode is disabled. In fact, when you turn VoiceOver on, Voice Dream automatically exists full-screen mode.
  • Focused Reading Mode is disabled.
  • To invoke the sleep timer, select the Play or Pause button first. Then, do a quick tap, followed by tap and hold.
  • To set the Navigation Unit on the fly using the rewind or fast forward button, use the same gesture of tap then tap and hold.
  • Voice Dream Reader scrolls automatically so that the line of text containing the speech cursor is always in the middle of the screen.
  • The Voice Settings button is the reader can be swiped up or down to quickly increase or decrease speech rate. There is no need to double tap and get into the Voice Setting screen.
  • The Play Or Pause button can be swiped up and down to rewind or fast forward.

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