Special Stories User Guide

8. Extra Actions

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Tapping the Actions button at the top left in the main view reveals a choice of extra actions. In version 2.8.0 and later, unless you have disabled the Child Safety Gate in Settings, you will have to enter the answer to a simple calculation in order to proceed.

Some of these will permanently remove your existing stories from Special Stories, so use with caution:

Settings

Tap the Settings button to inspect or change the app's settings. Refer back to Chapter 7 for details of all the settings options.

View Online Documentation

This displays the current online documentation for Special Stories, from the Special iApps website. If you are not running the latest version, we suggest you update the app, otherwise the documentation may not exactly describe the version you are using. You will need to have an Internet connection (using Wi-Fi or cellular data) in order to access the documentation.

This will launch Apple's Safari app: you can prevent this by disabling Safari in the Settings app (in General > Restrictions) or by running Special Stories using Apple's Guided Access facility.

Manage Collections

As explained in in Chapter 6, you can group stories together into named collections. Tapping this button presents a view showing all the collections you have, and allows you to add and remove them, rename them and select which one you want to be working with. Refer back to Chapter 6 for full details.

Print Story

You can use this either to print a story to an AirPrint-enabled printer, or to email a story in PDF format for subsequent printing.

When you tap this button, you are presented with the list of stories you have created: tap the title of the one you would like to print or email. You are then presented with a choice of Send to Printer or Email as PDF. Choose the option you prefer, and then follow Apple's standard dialogs for printing or sending an email. If you have more than one collection, you will be prompted to choose a collection, and then to select a story from that collection.

The font face and text size in the printed story are determined by the Font and Large Text settings, just as when viewing the story within Special Stories, as described in Chapter 7.

Please Note

To print directly, you must already be able to print from Apple's standard apps, e.g. Mail and Safari. If you cannot print from these, you will not be able to print from Special Stories. However, provided you have an email account set up on your device, you can always email a story as a PDF attachment, and then pick up the email on a Mac or PC that has access to a printer, and print from there. Alternatively, there are programs available to AirPrint-enable the printer queues on a Mac or PC: we successfully use Printopia 2 for Mac.

Export Story and Import Story

These 2 buttons allow you to transfer stories between devices. So you could, for instance, export from an iPhone and import to an iPad or an iPod touch. From here you can also copy your stories to Special Words and to Apple Books (formerly iBooks), and email them in EPUB and PDF formats. Except in the case of PDF, these options allow you to transfer the spoken words for a story, as well as its text and pictures.

Tapping Export Story first presents you with a list of the stories you have created: tap the title of the one you would like to export. If you have more than one collection, you will be prompted to choose a collection, and then to choose from the stories in that collection. An alternative to exporting a single story is to export the whole collection: to do this, select All stories in collection at the top of the list of stories.

You are then presented with a choice of Use Email and Use Bluetooth or Wi-Fi, and Copy to ..., as shown in the screenshot on the rightabove. You will then be presented with a list of possible formats to export. The available formats depend on whether you have chosen to export an individual story or a whole collection.

Exporting using Email

You can use this to send an individual story, or a whole collection, to yourself or somebody else, as an email attachment. When exporting a single story, the available formats are:

To export, simply choose the desired option, add the recipient to the otherwise already completed email message, and send. When exporting a whole collection of stories, the EPUB and PDF options are not available.

Copy to ...

You can use this to copy a single story or a whole collection in Special Stories format to a variety of destinations, as shown in the example screenshot on the rightabove:

Please Note

Content and settings in Special Stories are not automatically synchronised between devices connected to the same iCloud account: it is left to you to manually export and/or import on each device, on a collection-by-collection or individual story basis.

You may want to use one of the above options as a backup facility, if you've carefully added stories that you want to be sure you won't lose (e.g. if the device is damaged or lost). In this case, we recommend selecting Use Email, with format Special Stories, as this is the only option that allows for re-importing into Special Stories and updating subsequently.

Importing using Email

To import a story or collection previously exported via email, you need to view the email in the Mail app on the importing device, and tap on the attachment in the email message. If the attachment is in Special Stories format, this will automatically open the Extra Actions view in Special Stories and ask you to confirm importing the data. You will be offered the choice of creating a new collection containing just that story, or adding the story (or replacing an existing story) in any of your existing collections. If the attachment is in EPUB or PDF format, it cannot be opened in Special Stories, but if you have iBooks installed, you will instead be to able to add it to your iBooks library.

Tapping the Import Story button in the Extra Actions view and choosing the Use Email option, will pop up a message reminding you to use the Mail app instead.

Using email export and import, it is also possible to transfer stories and collections between Special Stories running on Android and Special Stories running on an Apple mobile device, in either direction.

Exporting and Importing using Bluetooth or Wi-Fi

You can use Bluetooth or Wi-Fi to transfer a story or collection directly between two devices that both have Special Stories installed, without having to go via email. The devices must be physically close to each other, and either (a) have Wi-Fi enabled and be connected to the same Wi-Fi network, or (b) have Bluetooth enabled. Alternatively, if both devices have a Lightning connector (as opposed to the older 30-pin connector), and are not connected to a Wi-Fi network, but have Wi-Fi turned on, this will still work. Use the Settings app to turn these on as necessary, before trying to export and import.

With the Extra Actions view visible on both devices, tap Export Story, select the story, and choose Use Bluetooth or Wi-Fi on the source device. Then tap Import Story and choose Use Bluetooth or Wi-Fi on the destination device.

Each device will prompt you to allow a connection with the other. Once the data has all been transferred, you will be asked to confirm importing it into the app on the destination device.

Please Note

Devices running Special Stories 2.6.0 and later cannot connect using Bluetooth or Wi-Fi with devices running earlier versions. Devices running iOS 6 can only use this feature over Wi-Fi, not Bluetooth.

When using email or Wi-Fi, you can transfer to/from Android devices running Special Stories. This is not possible when using Bluetooth, because iOS and Android have incompatible Bluetooth implementations.

Importing from a Website or Cloud Service

An exported story or collection in Special Stories format can be hosted on a website, as a file with a .siast suffix. This can then be imported into Special Stories by visiting the website in Safari and tapping the link to the file. This will open the Extra Actions view in Special Stories to import it, just like when importing from an email attachment.

You can also import a story or collection from a cloud service such as Dropbox, Google Drive or Microsoft OneDrive. If you don't have the relevant app on your device, but you have a shared web link for a Special Stories .siast file on one of these services, you can import by visiting the link in Safari, as in the previous paragraph.

Please Note

Using iCloud will NOT automatically backup or restore your content: you must use the iTunes program on a PC or Mac, or the export facilities described here.

When you import a story (using email, website, AirDrop, cloud service, Bluetooth or Wi-Fi) if you have already created one or more stories, you will be offered the choice of replacing any of your existing stories or adding as a new story. Use the Add new story option if you don't want to overwrite any of your existing stories.

If you choose to replace, the story you select will be completely removed. You cannot undo this once you've done it. This option is intended primarily for where you have an updated version of an existing story, and you don't want to keep the old version.

If you choose to add, the imported story will be added as a new one, without overwriting any existing stories. One use for this is if you've updated the same story separately on both devices, and want to keep both sets of updates. You could then merge your updates by using the Copy button in the page editing view to transfer updates in one of the stories to the other, and then delete one of the stories: this is discussed in more detail in Chapter 5. Be careful, as keeping several stories with the same title can be confusing.

If you import a whole collection of stories, you similarly have the choice of adding as a new collection, or replacing one of your existing ones. If you choose to replace, any existing stories in the collection will be lost. You cannot undo this once you've done it. If you don't want to lose any of your existing material, use the Add new collection option.

When using email to transfer a story or collection, be aware that there are limits on attachment sizes. Sending the recipient a link to download from a cloud service will avoid these limits.

Reset

This will undo all changes you have made to Special Stories since you installed it on the device. This includes removing all collections and all stories you have created, and restoring the app's settings to their default values. You cannot undo this once you've done it.

To prevent accidental use of the Reset button, turn the Enable Editing option off in the Settings, as described in Chapter 4.

After confirming that you wish to reset the app, you have to reconfirm by typing the word “Reset” into the box that appears. This is to reduce the chances of a child resetting the app unintentionally.

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