Talking to Opera

This guide was last updated for Opera 12.00

Using Opera with Voice


You need a computer with a functioning sound card and loudspeakers or headphones. If you want to be able to give Opera voice input, you also need to have a microphone attached to your computer. Opera with Voice only works on computers running Windows XP or 2000, and you also need the latest Opera version with Voice.

When starting Opera, open Tools > Preferences > Advanced > Voice, and check the "Enable voice-controlled browsing" option. You will then be prompted and asked whether you want to download and install voice modules for Opera. Confirm, and Opera will take care of the rest automatically.

After closing the preferences, check that the "Voice" button on the View toolbar is activated, and click the button or press Scroll Lock to see it switch to listening mode. When pressing the button, you should also hear a short beep. If you do not hear anything, check to make sure that sound is enabled and switched on.

If you still cannot hear anything, go to the troubleshooting page.

What Opera With Voice Can Do

Opera with Voice allows you to control Opera's interface by talking to the browser. Any ordinary browser command can be done by voice, such as navigating to and following the next link in a document, going to the next slide in an Opera Show presentation, or logging on to a password protected Web site.

Opera can also read from documents. This document is an example of a voice-enabled document that has particular voice coding included (read more about this in the section on voice-enabled documents), but Opera can also read from documents without such specific code.

The voice modules that Opera downloads contain two voice types; standard, and high quality. Both of these are able to produce male, female, and child voices. The high quality voice type is a more realistic human voice, and may be preferred. The standard quality voice type is more flexible, and is able to dynamically change volume, speed, and pitch. You can choose which voice type Opera should use in Tools > Preferences > Advanced > Voice > Details. If a page attempts to style the voice used to read the page, Opera will always use the standard quality voice type to read it.

Please note that unless dealing with voice-enabled documents that come with their own commands, Opera will only respond to pre-set browser commands in English, commands that you may add to and customize yourself.

Basic Browser Commands

To see the list of standard browser commands, click the "Voice" button, wait for the beep, then say "Opera voice commands". Alternatively, you can visit the same page using Help > Opera Help > Using Voice. This will load a document that will tell you, among other things, that "back" is the command to get back to this tutorial.

Note that in order to avoid confusion of commands directed at the browser and in-page commands for voice-enabled documents, all commands for the browser need to use the prefix "Opera".

To have a block of text read to you by Opera, select the text and use the command "Opera speak". Alternatively, say "Opera read" to hear the next block of text after your currently highlighted position. If no text is highlighted, Opera will go to the first block of text on the page. Try the "speak" command on the following paragraph:

It was not long before someone knocked at the house-door and called: ‘Open the door, dear children; your mother is here, and has brought something back with her for each of you.’ But the little kids knew that it was the wolf, by the rough voice. ‘We will not open the door,’ cried they, ‘you are not our mother. She has a soft, pleasant voice, but your voice is rough; you are the wolf!’

You have now tried out your first voice commands in Opera. It may take some time to get used to the voice command interface. If Opera keeps responding by saying "Sorry, I did not understand", please see the Helpful Hints section for advice.

If you get no response from the browser at all, please go to the Troubleshooting page.

Voice-Enabled Documents

This tutorial is one example of a voice-enabled document. It is written using XHTML+Voice 1.2, a combination of the markup languages VoiceXML and XHTML. At this stage, there are very few voice-enabled Web documents around. To find out more about writing your own voice-enabled documents, please refer to Let There Be Sound Too: Adding Voice to XHTML.

Without a Microphone

You can of course use Opera with Voice even if you do not have or do not want to use a microphone, but you will not be able to give Opera spoken commands. Instead of pronouncing the "speak" command, right-click the selected text and select it from the menu, or use the keyboard shortcut V.

Cancel a running voice prompt by pressing Esc.

Helpful Hints

Learn More

If you already have Opera with Voice installed on your computer, you may also go to Help > Opera Help > Using Voice to find a short introduction to using Opera with Voice and an overview of available voice commands.

The quotation used on this page was taken from "The Wolf and the Seven Little Kids" in Fairy Tales by the brothers Grimm, made available by the Gutenberg project.