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How to use Synapptic Reader

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Synapptic Reader is a simple but powerful screen reader for Android phones, tablets and the Synapptic TV Box. It is used to read out apps or Android messages and screens. It starts automatically and reads out text, headings, links and buttons, etc. on the app or screen.

There are three different ways to highlight and move about the text and other items on the screen. These are by using the Volume Keys on the edge of the device, by sliding your finger about the screen and by using swipe gestures. Each of these are detailed below.

The three different ways of using Synapptic Reader can be used together, in any combination.

Synapptic Reader also places the familiar red Cancel and Go Back button in the top left of each App or Android message. This makes using Apps and Android features seamless and easy from Synapptic.

1. Volume Keys

Each time you press the Volume Down button, Synapptic Reader will move to the next item on the screen and read it out. Pressing the Volume Up button will read out the previous item. When you get to the end of the items, it will make a dull thudding noise to let you know there aren't any more. Pressing Volume Down again will jump back to the start.

If it reads out something on the screen you can interact with - such as a video you can play or a box where you can type text in, it will audibly inform you. To activate it, press and hold the volume down button. After one to two seconds you will feel a buzz as the device vibrates to let you know it has been activated.

If you activate an item that lets you type in text then a keyboard will be shown on the bottom half of your screen. Run your finger over the keyboard to have the letters read out. Lift up your finger when you find the right one – that character will then be typed.

When typing in text, pressing the volume down key will move forward and the volume up key will move back through what you have typed. To stop typing and go back to having the screen read out, press and hold the volume down button to continue further down the screen, or press and hold the volume up button to go back up the screen.

2. Explore by Touch

To explore by touch simply run your finger over the screen and it will read out whatever you touch. You don't need to keep your finger on the screen and can just tap on what you want to have read out. Synapptic Reader will highlight what you have selected and read it out. If that is a link, a video or anything else that can be activated, then tap on it again to activate it.

If the screen you are reading is too long to be shown all at once, use two fingers and stroke upwards from the bottom of the screen to move further down, or stroke down from the top of the screen to move back towards the top.

It is important to note when using explore by touch that Android and Apps items don't always take up the full width of the screen. There can be an item on the left and a different item on the right.

3. Using Gestures

To explore by gestures, use one finger and swipe across the screen, starting from the left and going to the right. This will read out the next item on the screen. You can do the same thing by swiping down from top towards the bottom. To read out the previous item swipe upwards or towards the left.

When you find an item you want to activate, tap anywhere on the screen twice, quite quickly.

Finally, there is an option in the Synapptic Reader settings called Advanced Gestures. It is disabled by default but enabling it will change the swipe up and swipe down gesture. Instead of moving onto the next or previous item, this will let you choose what type of item to go to next. For example, Synapptic Reader will normally look for the next paragraph to read out. You could instead look for the next word or just the next letter. Going the other way, if you are reading a large amount of text you could look for the next heading, like a chapter title.

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