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Special Words User Guide - Extra Actions

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Tapping the Actions button at the top right in the Word List view reveals a choice of extra actions. In version 3.3.0 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 actions will permanently remove your existing customisations and settings for Special Words, so use with caution:


Tap the Settings button to inspect or change the app's settings. Refer back to Chapter 4 for details of all the settings options.

View Online Documentation

This displays the current online documentation for Special Words, 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 Words using Apple's Guided Access facility.

Manage Profiles

It is possible to have more than one list of words, each is referred to as a profile. Each profile can have a different set of words, pictures and sounds, and each profile can use a different language. Tap this button to show the Profile Manager: how to use this is explained in Chapter 6.

Export Word List and Import Word List

These 2 buttons allow you to transfer your customisations between devices that have Special Words installed. If you've added, deleted or re-ordered any words, or changed the text, picture or sound for any words on one device, your changes can be exactly replicated to other devices. So you could, for instance, export from an iPhone and import to an iPad or an iPod touch. From here you can also open any word list as a story in Special Stories.

If you have created additional profiles, exporting will offer you a choice of which profile to export: see Chapter 6 for an explanation of this.

Tapping Export Word List presents you with 3 choices: Use EmailUse Bluetooth or Wi-Fi and Copy to .... These choices are shown in the screenshot on the right. You will then be presented with a list of possible formats to export.

With Import Word List the choices are Use EmailUse Bluetooth or Wi-Fi and Download from Special iApps.

special-words-ios-export-profile.pngExporting using Email

You can use this to send all your customisations to yourself or somebody else, as an email attachment. To export, simply choose this option, add the recipient to the otherwise already completed email message, and send.

You may want to use this as a backup facility, if you've carefully added lots of new words, or made other changes, that you want to be sure you won't lose (e.g. if the device is damaged or lost).

Importing using Email

To import customisations 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. This will automatically open the Extra Actions view in Special Words and ask you to confirm importing the data.

Tapping the Import Word List button directly 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 word lists between Special Words running on Android and Special Words running on an Apple mobile device, in either direction.

Copy to ...

You can use this to copy a profile to a variety of destinations, as shown in the example screenshot on the right:

  • special-words-ios-copy-to.pngTo Special Stories

    This option only appears if you have both Special Words and Special Stories installed on your device.

    When you choose this option, your device switches to the Special Stories app, to import your word list as a new story. You can choose to add this story into an existing collection or to create a new collection, and after that you should select Add new story. Each word in the original profile in Special Words is transferred as its own page in Special Stories, and the title of the story is taken from the name of the profile: you can make changes to the story after importing it, as you would with any other story in Special Stories.

    It is also possible to transfer words, pictures and sounds in the opposite direction, from Special Stories to Special Words, as explained in the Special Stories User Guide.

  • To Special Spelling

    This option only appears if you have both Special Words and Special Spelling installed on your device.

    When you choose this option, your device switches to the Special Spelling app, to import your word list. You can choose to add this as a new profile, or to replace an existing one. Usually you would want to add a new one.

  • To another device using AirDrop

    If you have another device with Special Words installed, and both devices support AirDrop, you can AirDrop the profile to the other device. When you accept the file on the other device, Special Words will automatically launch, and allow you to import the profile.

  • To certain cloud-storage apps

    If you have installed the DropBox, Google Drive or Microsoft OneDrive app on your device, you can copy the profile to these cloud services. You may like to use this to create cloud backups of important words and photos, or to share with other people who have Special Words.

    If your device runs iOS 10, and you have enabled the iCloud Drive app, you can copy the profile to iCloud Drive by using the Copy to ... button and selecting the option Add To iCloud Drive. This is not possible at iOS 9 or earlier. In iOS 11 and later, Add To iCloud Drive is replaced by Save to Files.

    Please Note

    Content and settings in Special Words 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 profile-by-profile basis.

Exporting and Importing using Bluetooth or Wi-Fi

You can use Bluetooth or Wi-Fi to transfer your customisations directly between two devices, 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 Word List and choose Use Bluetooth or Wi-Fi on the source device. Then tap Import Word List 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 Words 3.1.0 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 Words. This is not possible when using Bluetooth, because iOS and Android have incompatible Bluetooth implementations.

special-words-ios-download.pngDownloading from Special iApps

Selecting Download from Special iApps will present you with a list of collections in our free online library at Special iApps, from which you can download various word lists.

The first time you do this on a particular device, you will be prompted to register or activate. You need to register once, and then use the product key you will receive by email to activate the app on each device where you'd like to use this feature. Answers to common questions about product registration can be found in our FAQ.

The collections available depend on which edition of Special Words you have - standard or professional. The screenshot on the left shows the lists in the Annual Events collection (available in both editions).

Simply select the list you would like, and once downloaded choose Add new profile when prompted.

This facility was introduced at version 4. Some lists contain text, images and audio. Others only include text and images, or just images: the intention in these cases is that you add your own written words and/or voice to suit your needs.

Importing from a Website or Cloud Service

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

You can also import a profile from a cloud service such as Dropbox, Google Drive or Microsoft OneDrive, or from the iCloud Drive app (iOS 10) or Files app (iOS 11 and later). If you don't have the relevant app on your device, but you have a shared web link for a Special Words .siasw 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 importing (using email, website, AirDrop, cloud service, Bluetooth or Wi-Fi, or downloading from Special iApps) you will be offered the choice of replacing any existing profile or adding as a new profile. If you haven't created any additional profiles, i.e. if you only have one list of words, and you want to completely replace this list by the list you're importing, select the replace option, e.g. Replace “Profile 1”. If you want to keep your existing list of words, and import as a new separate list (profile), select Add new profile. The use of profiles explained further in Chapter 6.

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


The Print button is only present in the Pro edition. You can use it to print:

  • Picture Cards
  • Word Cards
  • Assessment Form

In each case, you can choose to send directly to a printer, or to email as a PDF to use or print elsewhere. When printing cards, the currently selected profile and language are used, as well as the cards per page, font, large text and shuffle settings. The assessment form also uses the current profile, language and font, and has 3 blank columns for you to record the child's progress.


This will undo all changes you have made to Special Words since you installed it on the device. This includes undoing any modifications you made to the set of original words, pictures and sounds, removing any you have added, and restoring the app's settings to their default values. If you have added additional profiles, they are all removed. 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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