How Does it Work?

The Basics

You know the students who get the grades but never seem to study much? Their secret—often, it’s outlines, both making and studying from them.

We can’t do much about the “making” part. (Sorry!). But OutlinesOutloud makes the studying part faster, easier, and much more powerful. Here’s how you use it:


Create an outline on your Mac or PC, using an outlining program that saves in OPML.  (Most do. Here’s a list of our favorites.) You can also use or adapt pre-existing outlines.


Save the finished outline into your Dropbox folder. Using Dropbox means new outlines and subsequent edits sync instantly to your iPhone. (See Support>Syncing Outlines Using Dropbox.) If you’d prefer, you can also use iTunes to get outlines onto your iPhone, in which case outlines update when you manually sync. (See Support>Syncing Outlines Using iTunes.)


Launch OutlinesOutloud on your iPhone. New files from your Dropbox folder will sync automatically.


Set any outline-specific preferences. (You typically only do this once.) In the Settings pane, select the speech rate, text colors for display, and whether you’d like to hear prefixes before all, some, or none of the rows. (With Prefixes on, you hear things like “Roman Numeral One” instead of “Aye” for a row identifier like “I.”.)


Select the outline you’d like to listen to. Green vs. gray icons make it easy to see which outlines you’ve listened to and which are new.


Press PLAY. During playback, you can jump backward and forward, loop sections, display or hide text from any row, and scroll to any part of the outline. Pressing the auto-locator will return you to the row that’s currently speaking.

If you want to edit your outlines, simply manage outline files on your computer and re-save them to your OutlinesOutloud>Dropbox folder. The changes will appear on your iPhone automatically the next time you launch the app, or you can click the Refresh button to get the changes immediately.

Hear the Difference

Listen to these two audio samples, and see which one you prefer…

Standard Text-to-Speech

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OutlinesOutloud Conversion

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Text you are hearing:

Learning Styles

Auditory Learners: Listen Up!

For a lot of students, “getting the notes” is just not the same as attending the lecture. In fact, about 30% of people find it easier to retain information they hear, rather than what they read or see. If you’re one of these auditory learners, you’re probably more comfortable in lecture situations and oral exams, and have a harder time studying from written notes or textbooks. OutlinesOutloud offers you an easy, flexible way to convert written text to an auditory learning experience at the touch of a button.

Visual learners: We’re talking to you, too!

Even if you’re mainly a visual learner and are comfortable studying from books or notes, studies show students seem to benefit the most from mixed modality presentations, making OutlinesOutloud a great option for all students. Auditory learning gives you a chance to boost your retention by incorporating an additional learning pathway, plus the flexibility to study virtually anywhere!