How to listen to the headlines from web sites and add articles from them?

1. In the Headlines tab of the app add a home page or some other site section that contains headlines or site’s RSS feed using the ‘+’ button. You will see three options:

  • Popular Sites – first pick the category of the site (e.g. Sports, News) and then check all the sites that you want to follow from that category.
  • Web Site – find the site using Google, navigate to its home page and tap ‘Add’.
  • Type Address – type in the address of the feed or web site to add it

2. Tap on the item and the app will start to read the headlines from the page

3. To add linked articles you can right click to activate the context menu and choose “Add to Articles & Books”.

How to import files from disk, iCloud, OneDrive, Dropbox, Box etc?

1. When file is stored on the storage other than iCloud ensure that you have installed the required storage app from the App Store (e.g. Dropbox app) and after that log in to that app.

2. In the Articles & Books page press the ‘+’ button and then ‘Import File’.

How to listen to the selected text in other apps?

Using macOS services you can listen to selected text by activating the keyboard shortcut in every app that supports services. More details on how to set them up and use them are available in Apple’s official documentation for services.

How to change the language of the item?

The language of the item is automatically detected based on its text. If the language is not properly detected it may be changed from its context menu, under the submenu ‘More’ there is the item ‘Language’ where you can assign any of available languages to the item.

How to add voices?

1. Open the macOS Preferences (it can be opened from the Launcher or from the Apple menu).
2. Go to Accessibility > Spoken Content on macOS Monterey. On older versions open Accessibility > VoiceOver and then click on ‘Open VoiceOver Utility’ and then on Speech.
3. Under the ‘System Voice’ (or just voice if you use VoiceOver dialog) there is a popup button to pick the voice. After you click and open it you will see that on the bottom it contains option ‘Customise…’. That option will open a new window where you can install new voices (ensure also to check the option ‘Upgrade to enhanced quality’ if it is available for that voice to install higher quality voices).

How to sync data among iPhone, iPad and Mac?

To sync data across devices ensure that:

  • You are logged in to those devices with the same Apple account with at least some free iCloud space and that iCloud function is activated in the system settings.
  • That the option Books & Articles > Storage > ‘Sync across Apple devices’ is enabled on each device. On the iOS devices it is toggled by going to the Extras tab, then Settings. On the Mac it is available from the main menu on the top by going to Speech Central > Settings.

The items may not appear immediately on another device after the app is installed.

If you still encounter problems, it is likely that the sync on Apple apps like Notes and Reminders don’t work either. If that is the case you need to contact Apple on how to restore the device syncing capabilities for your account.

Can I use Siri voices?

Apple restricts Siri voices only to the operating system functions. This is done to protect the user privacy as the user might be sharing his private data with Siri. While this sounds reasonable Apple has already proved that such risks can be managed by implementing the mechanism in which an app asks the user for the permission to use a potentially risky resource. Please encourage Apple to implement such mechanism by sharing your feedback using the Apple’s feedback assistant. In the header press the icon to start the new feedback, then pick ‘macOS’, and then mention that you would like Apple to implement the mechanism that would allow you to give apps permission to use Siri voices.

Also you may want to sign the petition that asks Apple to improve on this.

What to do if the app is not working?

If you find some specific bug use the support contact to report it.
If the app is not working at all or some major function is not working in most cases there is the problem on your device. The app is tested by Labsii and Apple (or Setapp) before each release and it is highly unlikely that such problem may occur.
In most of such cases it is enough to just restart the device to restore the functionality. If it doesn’t help you may try to reinstalling of the app. If this still doesn’t resolve your problem it is very likely that your problem is caused by specific data. In such case deleting your data will help. You can do that by following these steps:

  1. Open the Finder app
  2. From the ‘Go’ menu pick ‘Library’
  3. Open the folder ‘Containers’. There you should find the folder ‘com.labsii.speechcentralmac’. It should be available in the search under this name and macOS may display it with any name used in the localization like ‘Speech Central’ and frequently it prefers to use the Chinese variant of the name. Delete this folder. If the app works after that you may restore it from the Bin, compress it and send the zip file to support so that the bug may be fixed.

Please ensure that you have tried the options mentioned above. If you still find problems please report the problem to the support.

How to get the API key and region for Microsoft Neural voices?

If you want to first preview voices available on Azure service, you can do this on the official page (the app uses the default style).

  1. Create the Azure account and subscription (note: currently there is a version with free limited tier and paid version) from here.
  2. Create the Speech Service from here
  3. You should be able to see the Speech Service in the Azure Portal. When you open it in the left sidebar there is the option ‘Keys and Endpoints’ that you can use to create and get data about API key.

Please note that:

  • Speech Central is in no way affiliated with Microsoft. Your relationship with Microsoft is in no way connected to your relationship with Speech Central as Speech Central doesn’t take any fee from your eventual payment to Microsoft.
  • Microsoft paid tier is fairly expensive (the price at the moment of writing of this article is 16$/million characters which means that listening to larger books would cost 10$ or more). We have picked to support Microsoft as it has a generous free tier that may be enough for most use cases, most other providers (Amazon, IBM) charge the same amount but don’t have a free tier at the moment.
  • If you use their paid tier it is strongly suggested for you to track your costs in their portal and avoid unpleasant surprises (there is a page ‘Cost Analysis’ that can be activated from the option right below ‘Keys and Endpoints’ that you have used in the previous step).

To activate those voices go to Extras tab > Settings > Voice > Microsoft Neural Voices (activated from the menu at the top right of the screen).

What to do if Microsoft AI voices don’t work?

As Speech Central is not affiliated with Microsoft, you need to contact Microsoft directly for eventual problems in their service. In most of the cases users are hitting the limitation of their free tier and getting the error for that. Most notable limitations of their free tier are:

  1. You can use up to 500,000 characters in the last 30 days. This Information is updated each second so the app is likely to be able to read few sentences now and then if this happens.
  2. You have a limited number of requests in the minute. You shouldn’t be able to hit this limitation by listening to the regular text at the default speed, but you may hit it by frequently skipping the content, listening at high speeds or by some specific context with very short sentences (or combination of all of those).