Obtaining & Using MSReader

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Hello, I am Brian K Wright.  Welcome to my guide on using Microsoft Reader, the eBook application with text-to-speech capabilities!

Microsoft Reader is a registered trademark of the Microsoft Corporation in the United States and other countries.

MSReader and the text-to-speech add-on are free applications obtainable from Microsoft.  System requirements are Windows 98 or later with a Pentium 75 or higher microprocessor. Please note that Windows XP has the speech application already installed, but with limited functionality.

The Microsoft Reader text-to-speech add-on includes the Lernout & Hauspie TruVoice Text To Speech Engine.  It comprises the voices of LH Michael and LH Michelle, and those voices will appear in the Control Panel after you install the engine.

If you haven't got Reader and the text-to-speech application installed you may download them from the following URL:
http://www.microsoft.com/reader/downloads/pc.mspx

Install MSReader first and then the text-to-speech add-on.  To download 'premium content' MSReader files you must first 'activate' the program.  You will be prompted to do this during your installation of the MSReader.  An informative activation tutorial is located at :
http://www.microsoft.com/reader/support/act_tutorial.mspx

Configure the text-to-speech application next. Click the 'Start' button in your task bar (at the bottom of your main computer screen on the extreme left).  Choose 'Settings' and then 'Control Panel'.

When the Control Panel opens, choose (double-click on) the 'Speech' icon. A screen will open, and towards the top there will be a field where you can change the computer's 'default' voice.  You can have a 'person' called 'LHMichael' - a male voice, or another called 'LHMichelle' - a female voice.

In Windows XP the text-to-speech application is already installed, and has a narrator called 'Microsoft Sam'.  'Sam' is more of a robotic voice than either Michael or Michelle, and what is more Sam can't say certain words.  Forget Sam.  Click the down-arrow at the right of the voice field and select 'LHMichael' if you choose to play a story written in the male first-person.

Once you have done that, close the Control Panel and start MSReader.  Go to the 'Settings' area in Reader (you will see that listed on the left hand side of the page when Reader actually opens).  In the Settings area choose 'Verbosity' for the speech mode.   Close MSReader when you are done.

You can start MSReader in one of two ways:
(1) by double-clicking on any .lit file.  Reader will start, welcome itself, then open with the cover page of the selected eBook displayed; or
(2) by opening Reader from a short-cut.  Then, after Reader does the welcome blurb, it will open with the contents of your library displayed so that you can make a choice of which eBook to read/play.  To open an eBook simply click on the title in the library.

Please note that downloaded MSReader .lit files will be normally saved to the My Library sub-folder under your My Documents folder.

Whichever method you choose the eBook will open to the cover page, and this will typically display the title of the publication, the author's name, and a copyright notice.

To open the eBook to the first page simply click either the title or the author's name.  To read the copyright notice, click on it.  This notice will typically appear as a 'splash' screen.  To close it, just click an area of the page behind it.

The title appearing at the top of every page except the cover page is an important area.  If you hover your cursor over it, it becomes highlighted. If you click on the title on any page except the cover page a menu will be displayed giving you various options, including one to return to your library.

What is different about the cover page?  Obviously if you click the title on the cover page the eBook will open, however you will observe that there is a button on the cover page called 'Go to' immediately to the left of the title.  Clicking this button will give you even more options, including one called 'Begin playing', but there are better ways to 'play' the contents.

At the bottom of every page (except the cover page) there is what Microsoft calls a 'riffle' bar.  This has the playback volume control and under that a series of fairly standard audio buttons.  The first is the 'play' button, then 'stop' and so on.  Below that is the 'book position slider', a visual guide as to your relative position in the eBook.

You can commence 'playing' the story in two ways:
(1) Simply click the 'play' button on the riffle bar . This will cause the first word at the top of the page to become highlighted and audio will commence.
(2) You can also start the audio process by clicking on any word on the page and choosing 'Play' from the drop-down list.

PLEASE NOTE:  If you choose to play an eBook, hover your cursor over the 'Stop' button (just rest your mouse pointer over it, don't click it). Unless you do this, the voice will tell you every page number as it is turned and this is both annoying and distracting.

TIP!  Bookmark this page for future reference if you have no prior experience with MSReader.

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