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Special Stories User Guide - Settings

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To access the settings in Special Stories, tap its Actions button at the top left in the main view, and then tap the Settings button. Using the Actions button also provides access to organising, printing, exporting and importing stories: these additional facilities are explained in Chapter 8.

Note: When you tap the Actions button, you will have to open the Child Safety Gate in order to proceed. This is explained in more detail below.

  • Animation Speed

    This sets the speed at which pages are turned, if you set them to be turned automatically.

  • Advancing to Next Page

    Set Automatic to ON to make the next page in the story appear automatically, after the spoken words for the previous page have played (with a delay determined by the Animation Speed setting).

    Set Swipe Left or Right to ON to allow swiping to the left to turn to the next page, and swiping to the right to turn to the previous page. Available in version 2.7.0 and later.

    Setting either of these to ON also hides the backward and forward arrow buttons on each page.

  • Turning Pages

    When this is ON, the spoken words for each page are played when the page appears. Turn this OFF if you prefer to read the written words before hearing the sounds. If both this and Automatic are ON, all taps are ignored, and the pages are turned automatically, with the spoken words for each page played as soon as it is displayed.

  • Tapping Pictures

    When this is ON, the spoken words for each page are played whenever the picture on the page is tapped. If you turn this OFF, tapping the picture will have no effect. If this and Automatic are both ON, but Turning Pages is OFF, then tapping the picture on a page plays the associated spoken words and then moves to the next page.

    If both Turning Pages and Tapping Pictures are OFF, but Automatic is ON, then all taps are ignored, the pages are turned automatically (with a delay determined by the Animation Speed setting), but no sounds are played.

The different combinations of the above 4 settings, and how you can use them, are summarised in the table below:

Page TurningAutomaticSwipeTurning PagesTapping Pictures
by tapping arrow buttonsOFFOFFOFF or ONOFF or ON
by swiping left & rightOFF or ONONOFF or ONOFF or ON
by tapping pictureONOFFOFFON
automatic with soundONOFFONignored
automatic without soundONOFFOFFOFF


With Automatic set to ON, then if the Lock to Story padlock is closed (as explained in Chapter 4), the story goes back to the first page and starts again after the last page, otherwise it stops at the last page.

  • Record New Sounds

    When this is ON, you can record spoken words for each new page you add. If you turn it OFF, the sound recording and play buttons don't appear, and you can only add the text and picture for each page. If you don't want to use sounds at all (e.g. for a child who is profoundly deaf), turn off all 3 sound settings. If you want sound on some pages but not others, leave this setting ON, and tap the No Sound button when adding a new page where you don't want sound.

  • Font

    You can change the font used to display the text in stories. By default, the Special Letters font included with Special Stories is used. The app also includes two OpenDyslexic fonts, designed to increase readability for users with dyslexia. You can also choose any font that's provided by Apple's iOS.

    Starting with iOS 7.0, you can also install additional TrueType (.ttf) or OpenType (.otf) font files on the device and use these. If you have additional fonts you wish to install, we suggest using the AnyFont app to do this, and recommend that you use TrueType fonts (OpenType fonts may not display as intended in stories when printed or if emailed as a PDF file).

    Note: To see this setting, you must view the settings from within Special Stories, not from Apple's Settings app.

  • Alignment

    By default, the text on each page in a story is centred under the picture, and this is usually the best option for single words or short phrases. However, if you are using longer sentences, you may prefer to have the text left-justified (or right-justified for languages that read right-to-left).

    Note: To see this setting, you must view the settings from within Special Stories, not from Apple's Settings app.

  • Large Text

    This is ON by default, causing the text for each story's pages to be displayed in a large font size, suitable for those with early or limited reading skills or vision impairment. Turning it OFF uses a smaller font size, so that longer sentences will fit on each page. This setting applies to printing as well as on screen viewing. If there is too much text to fit on the screen, you can use 2 fingers to scroll the text up and down, however the text that's not initially visible will not be visible at all on a paper printout or PDF copy of the story.

  • Enable Editing

    Turn this OFF to prevent accidental changes to all stories, especially if you have left your child to read on their own. This then disables editing and rearranging existing stories and adding new ones. It also disables most of the buttons in the Extra Actions view (see Chapter 8).

  • Registration

    Registration settings are present in version 3.0.0 and later. For help with product registration, please refer to our FAQ.

Other Settings in the Device's Settings App

If you want to use Bluetooth or Wi-Fi to transfer pictures and sounds between copies of Special Stories on 2 devices, you will need to have Bluetooth or Wi-Fi enabled. See the next page for more details.

If you have an iPad, there is a Multitasking Gestures toggle switch in the General section of the Settings app, and we suggest you switch it off when using Special Stories. Otherwise, if your child puts several fingers on the screen, they can inadvertently make the app disappear from view.


On an iPad or iPhone running iOS 11 or later, Special Stories supports the use of the device's Smart Invert Colours option, where the text is white, the buttons orange, and the background black, as shown on the right. This can be helpful for those with vision impairment and other disabilities.

To enable Smart Invert Colours on a device running iOS 11, open Accessibility > Display Accommodations > Invert Colours in the General section of the Settings app, and turn on Smart Invert (not Classic Invert).

If you set Smart Invert as the device's Accessibility Shortcut (at the bottom of the Accessibility section in Settings), you can toggle this feature on and off by triple-clicking the Home button.

To change the language in which Special Stories shows its user interface and quick start guide, change the language in the device's Settings, under General > Language & Region. If you select a language not supported by Special Stories, English will be used.

If the language is not selectable as iPad Language or iPhone language (this currently applies to Albanian), set it as the preferred language in Other Languages... instead.

Using with Switches

You can use Bluetooth switches with Special Stories. For information on how to configure the app for use with these, please refer to Chapter 9.

Child Safety Gate

The child safety gate (also sometimes called a parental gate, parental lock or parental control) is designed to protect children against navigating out of the app and visiting websites with unsuitable content, etc. The gate was added to Special Stories in version 2.8.0. An option to disable the gate completely was removed from the app's settings at version 3.1.2, in order to comply with Apple's guidelines.

Whenever you tap the Actions button in the main view, you are required to enter the answer to a calculation to continue, for example:

  9 - 3 + 4 =

In this case, the answer would be 10. Note: The gate cannot prevent the child from leaving the app by pressing the device's home button and then opening another app. To lock the user temporarily into any app, we recommend making use of Apple's built-in Guided Access facility.

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