@Voice Aloud Reader reads aloud the text displayed in an Android app, using the Text-To-Speech (TTS) engine installed on your device. Use it to listen to articles from news apps (e.g. Flipboard, BBC News, NPR News for articles that don't have audio yet), web pages, emails and anything else that can export text through Android "Share" or copy/paste features.
The most important part of this manual is about getting the contents to read into @Voice app, so we will start with this topic in section "1. Getting the contents". We will then discuss the program operation in section "2. Menu and controls", and finish with section "3. Advanced topics". All of these sections are important, so please try to read them, we've made them as short as possible.
We also prepared for you some video tutorials at YouTube (in English only), which you could watch instead.
You can import the text to read into @Voice in 3 ways: by using the "Share" feature in other apps, by copying text in other apps and pasting it into @Voice screen, or by opening text and HTML files from the file system of your device. The "Share" feature is the most practical, so we will starting with it.
In Android web browsers, when you see an interesting article and you'd like to listen to it now or add to @Voice list to listen to later, press the menu button (either the device hardware menu button, or the 3 vertical dots button usually showing at top right) and find the "Share" or "Share page" menu item. Tap it and you will be presented with a list of installed apps that can accept a web page. Tap the @Voice button on this list if you want to listen to or read the text in @Voice now, or the "@Voice add to list" button , if you want to save this web page to the list of articles to be read/listened to later.
In many other apps, particularly in news reading apps, you may find a similar menu function, or a "share" button with an image such as this: . If there is no "share" button, you may also use "Send by email" function, e.g. one with the following graphics: . Some apps show these buttons all the time at the top or bottom of their screens. In other apps you need to tap briefly the text to make them show (e.g. BBC News, Flipboard).
In many programs that display text, you may press and hold your finger over the text to make "copy handles" - usually blue markers - appear. You may drag these handles to select a range of text to copy, or often you will also see a "Select All" button at the top to select all text. Then click the "Copy" button - either in the top or bottom row again, or under the "overflow 3 vertical dots" button. The selected text is now saved in an internal "clipboard" buffer. When you come back to @Voice, select the "Paste text" from the menu and now you can either start listening to this text, or use the "Save" button/menu to save it for later.
When in @Voice main screen, click either the yellow folder tab at the top row, or press the hardware menu button or the 3 vertical dots button at top right and choose "Open". This will take you to our file browser, by default to a dedicated folder under /sdcard/Hyperionics/atVoice. You may navigate through the folders by pressing the "parent folder" item , enter other sub-folders and select text or HTML files from them to open for reading. Our simple file browser also offers functions to rename and delete selected files. You may also press your finger on any file to show a prompt to delete it, while a short tap will just highlight this file name, to let you press the "Select" button at the bottom right.
@Voice screen consists of 3 parts: the top menu bar, the large middle section where the text of article to read is loaded, and the bottom controls bar. The top menu bar is only visible if you are using Android version 3 or higher. On version 2 (Froyo or Gingerbread) to access the menu functions, press the menu button on your device and the menu appears at the bottom of the screen. Otherwise the program works the same.
The bottom control bar provides buttons to start/pause/resume speech and , the buttons to move to the previous and next sentence and , and the button to stop the app completely . The smaller rightmost button lets you to expand the control panel to a fuller version with speech controls or collapse it back to view more text. The image below shows @Voice control panel in expanded state:
This is where the text of article to read aloud - or read from the screen if you wish - is loaded. You may move the text up and down as needed with your finger. Double-tap any sentence to highlight it - and this is where the reading aloud will resume from, if you tap the Play button. You may also use the zoom controls displayed at the bottom right if you touch the screen, to enlarge or shrink the text. Pinch gestures also work to zoom in/out.
If you have loaded several articles into your reading list (more on it later) and opened any article from that list, a quick swipe left will load and open the next article from that list, and swipe right will open the previous article.
@Voice menu is at the top of the screen on Android versions 3 and higher, or appears at the bottom after pressing the device's "menu" button on Android versions 2.x. Two or three menu buttons usually appear at the top bar - they may include the Save button and the Reading List , and the "menu overflow" button with the 3 vertical dots , which shows the other menu functions. The name of the functions are self-explanatory, we'll describe some of them anyway in the "Advanced" section of this manual.
Reading list is one of the most important and useful features of @Voice. It is accessible through this button at the menu row: . At the bottom of the Reading list screen you will see again a row of buttons to manage it - add new files to the list (+ button), remove files from the list (X button), move selected article up or down on the list (blue arrows), and start reading the selected article (blue triangle).
The + button takes you again to a file manager screen, where you may mark files to add and remove from list, and with other file management options, like select all or none files, delete selected files, and move selected files to other folders.
Once you start reading aloud of one of the selected articles on the list, upon finishing that article the program will sound a gong and proceed to reading the next article. You may also swipe horizontally on the main screen of @Voice to go to the next or previous article on the list, or long-press the Next/Previous buttons on your headset for such navigation across articles on the list.
By default, when you send a web page or news article to @Voice, it is trying to extract only the article text, and skip the menu, navigation links, advertisements and maybe also reader comments from that page. This feature works correctly maybe for 95% of web pages and articles saving you listening to the boring parts, but it is virtually impossible to make it 100% accurate. If you open a page in @Voice and find some text missing, press the "menu" button and choose "Load full page text" function. @Voice will now display all the text found on the page. After such switch, you may use menu again at any time to go back to the "essential text only" option as needed. If you save an article, @Voice will also remember how you wanted to read it (full or essential text only) and load it the same way next time you open it.
By default @Voice automatically recognizes in which language any given article is written, and automatically selects the corresponding Text to Speech voice to read it. If you want to manually set the language, or - at least for some TTS engines - manually select one of several voices for any given language - choose this function from @Voice menu and make the appropriate choice from the presented list.
Under this menu function you can further customize @Voice operation - review all the given options there and change as needed. The choices include:
Press the menu button to see this function. When enabled (a check-mark appears next to the description), @Voice will ask you for login and permission to access your Dropbox account, afterwards it will synchronize across all Android devices where you install @Voice and enable this feature, the articles you save to the reading list, and the exact position where you stopped reading, to resume next on the same or different device.
You may also access your Dropbox folder on your desktop computer. It will be under Your Dropbox Folder - Apps - @Voice Aloud Reader. You will see there your saved articles and you can manage them (e.g. delete or rename) or save to this folder some other text or HTML files for later reading/listening in @Voice. For example, if you want to save a web page from your Firefox browser on a desktop computer, choose File menu (or if menu is hidden, the top "Firefox" button), then choose "Save page as", navigate to your Dropbox\Apps\@Voice Aloud Reader folder, choose at the bottom the option to "Save as type: Web Page, HTML only" and click the "Save" button. Now when you go back to your Android device, where @Voice is installed and Dropbox sync is enabled, you will have this article added to your reading list.
Under the "Settings" menu of @Voice you have also extra configuration for the Dropbox feature. You may make Dropbox sync to be active all the time and sync as soon as you save or change something in your reading list, or only sync on demand.
For its Edit Speech feature (under menu - Settings), @Voice uses this particular RegEx implementation, although any RegEx reference or tutorial on the web will work:
Also look at the articles labeled FAQ on our support forum for some useful RegEx examples:
Instead of reading the long paragraphs on how to use @Voice, you could watch our three short video lessons, each about 5 min. long. These tutorials are in English only, and recorded with an older version of @Voice Aloud Reader, but most of their contents is still valid. Please watch them by tapping the images below:
Lesson 1 - Menu and Controls
Lesson 2 - Getting the Contents
Lesson 3 - More Controls and Settings
Suggestions for improvements and bug reports welcome - send them to the email address below. Thanks and have fun! And: a big THANK YOU! to Ilia Prokator for sending me the idea for this app.
Greg at Hyperionics