@Voice Aloud Reader

@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.

1. Getting the contents

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.


1.1 Using the "Share" feature in other apps to send text to @Voice

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 (the 3 vertical dots button at top right) and find the "Share" or "Share page" menu item, or a button with 3 connected dots . 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).


1.2 Using Copy/Paste to get text into @Voice

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, or if visible the Paste button on top, and now you can either start listening to this text, or use the "Save" button/menu to save it for later.


1.3 Opening files from the device storage

When in @Voice main screen, press the "Open" button on top. It works in two modes, which you may select - Browser by file type, where you see tabs on top labeled BOOKS, PDF, DOC, HTML and TXT. It may be also switched to "Browse by folders" mode, which will take you to our file browser, and show the contents of the app default folder under /sdcard/Android/data/com.hyperionics.avar/files. You may navigate through the folders by pressing the "parent folder" item , enter other sub-folders and select  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.


2. Menu and controls

@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.

2.1 Control bar at the bottom

The bottom control bar provides buttons to start/pause/resume speech and , the buttons to move to the previous and next sentence and . There is also an optional Repeat button (to repeat articles or entire lists), hidden by default, which may be enabled under the Settings menu - Screen and sleep timer settings. 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:

2.2 The text area in the middle

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, or move horizontally to change "pages", if you switch to horizontal scrolling mode. Double-tap any sentence to highlight it - and this is where the reading aloud will resume from, if you tap the Play button.

Long press a word there to select it - selection handles appear, together with an extra toolbar, which I call the Reference toolbar. You may enlarge the selection of text moving the blue handles around the word, and use the buttons on the Reference toolbar to operate on selection, e.g. copy it, use Google Translate on it, lookup a word in dictionaries, set bookmarks, access and search in Wikipedia and more. The text selection handles and the Reference toolbar are shown below:

The buttons on the Reference toolbar, left to right, are: Dicionary, Google Translate, Copy, Select all, Search for selected text, Bookmark and menu of more functions, where you find Wikipedia, Google, Share selected text, Translation setup, Dictionary setup and Edit speech access.

2.3 The menu

@Voice menu buttonis at the top right corner of screen, as a button with 3 vertical dots. If there is room, some of the most frequently used menu functions may appear as buttons on top of the screen too, they are Search, Open, Reload or clear, Page look buttons, sometimes more. Which buttons actually show there depends on your settings, under the "Extra buttons to show in top bar" item in the Settings section of the menu, and of course on available space. Here is how this top bar looks on my device:

The buttons, left to right are:

Reading list and ebook Table of contents access button
Text search button
File Open button
Reload or clear button - a small extra menu to clear text from the main window, reload it, change viewing parameters etc.
Page look button - to change screen colors, night mode, font and text size, change from vertical to horizontal scrolling etc.

The remaining 3 buttons you see on my device were configured by the user (me) and are Bookmarks, Settings and Paste buttons, and finally there is the main menu button with the 3 vertical dots.

3. Advanced topics

3.1 Reading list

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.


3.2 Text loading options

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 Reload or clear button on top 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.


3.3 Set language and voice

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 - press the round button with up arrow near bottom-right, then press the “Change voice or language” button.

3.4 Settings

Under this menu function you can further customize @Voice operation - review all the given options there and change as needed. The choices include:

4. Useful links

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:


5. Video tutorials

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 links below:

Suggestions for improvements and bug reports welcome - send them to the email address below. Thanks and have fun!

Greg at Hyperionics