Get started with Obi

Get started with Obi

Obi is a free audio book authoring tool from DAISY Consortium for Windows. Obi is used to create Digital Talking Books compliant with the DAISY 2.02, DAISY 3 or EPUB Standard. Obi is accessible with keyboard and works well with screen readers like NVDA and Jaws. If you need to include the publication text or images in your output then you need to use tools other than Obi such as Tobi or WordToEPUB.

This guide is for providing the new users of Obi a quick start for creating Digital Talking Books (DTB). This is not a complete manual, but helps you create your first DTB without requiring a prior acquaintance with this tool.

The Obi Project Home is at Visit this page for software downloads, documentation and the development site. You may also want to visit the Obi Guidance page to see more step-by-step tutorials on Obi.

Obi Screen layout

Obi screen is divided into five segments:

  1. TOC view (F6)
  2. Content view (F6)
  3. Transport bar. (Ctrl+F6)
  4. Metadata view (Ctrl+Alt+M)
  5. Panel splitter

You can also navigate among these views by pressing Ctrl+Tab or Ctrl+Shift+Ttab.

Steps to Create Digital Talking Book

  1. Start Obi. A dialog box appears with various options. Select the first one, – Create a new project. Obi opens the Create new project dialog box displaying the following fields:
    Field Field Type Description
    Title Edit Box Enter a title of your project. This will be the title of the exported DTB.
    Automatically create a title section with this title Checkbox If checked, Obi will create a section (strip) for the title section.
    ID Edit Box Enter a unique identifier for the book. This identifier should be compliant with the scheme of allotting identifiers to a book in your organization. You can leave this field with the default value provided, if you are not sure at the moment. ID is stored in the metadata and can be changed any time.
    Generate Button Generates an identifier for your project randomly and fills in the ID field.
    Location Edit Box Enter the location where you want to store your project. You can also browse for a location by Clicking the Select button or pressing Alt+S.
    Select Button Opens a Windows file browser to select a directory for your project.

    If the selected location is not empty, Obi will suggest one. Click Yes or press Alt+Y to accept or click No or press Alt+N to ignore.

  2. Enter the information in the fields listed above, and click on the OK button. A blank project is opened in the work area of Obi.
  3. Now, the main structure of the book should be created, and the best place to create it is the TOC view. Keep in mind, Obi uses a hierarchical structure of sections for each entity of the book. This means that whether it’s a chapter, a topic or a sub-topic – each of them will be mapped to a section, though their levels will be different. Use the following commands to create the sections and subsections:
    • Add section (Ctrl+H)
    • Add subsection (Ctrl+Shift+H)
    • Insert Section (Ctrl+Alt+H)

    The sections created by you will show in the TOC view and only the selected section will be shown in the Content view.

  4. After creating the book structure (sections and subsections), audio should be placed in them using live recording or by importing existing audio files.
    • Live recording:
      • Make sure the microphone is connected to the computer and then open the Peak Meter in Obi (Alt+Ctrl+P)
      • Select a section in TOC or content view & click the record button on the transport bar, or press Ctrl+R for starting pre recording monitoring. The amplitude of microphone input will be displayed in graphical peak meter as well as textual peak meter. You may adjust the microphone volume using the system microphone amplitude control.
      • Click start recording on the transport bar or press Ctrl+R again to start recording.
      • If you want to skip pre recording monitoring and start recording directly, press Ctrl+Shift+R. However, it is advisable to monitor the audio before recording for the first time in a session.
      • Operations available while live recording:
        • Mark phrase (K)
        • Mark page (P)
        • Mark section (H)
    • Importing external audio files: If pre-recorded audio files are available in wav format, they can be imported into a section by performing the following:
      • Select a section or a phrase inside a section in the Content View.
      • Press Ctrl+I to import the audio files.

    Obi will create a new phrase for each file at the end of the selected section.

    Note: Obi can import WAV & MP3 files.

  5. After the audio content of the book has been placed, it should be verified and edited, if necessary. You can split the audio into phrases by applying Phrase Detection on selected section (Ctrl+Shift+P) or multiple sections (Phrase menu > Apply phrase detection > Multiple sections).Use the Up and Down arrow keys to select a section, and then, Right or Left arrow keys to select a phrase of the selected section for playback and editing.Use the following commands for editing the book content:
    • To edit a phrase or its audio content:
      • Merge phrase (Ctrl+M)
      • Split phrase (Ctrl+q)
    • To edit sections:
      • Merge sections (Ctrl+Shift+M)
      • Split section (Ctrl+Shift+Q)
      • Rename section (F2)
  6. Now that all the contents of the project of the book have been entered and verified, it is time to mark pages and special roles.To mark a page, select a phrase that contains the audio announcing the page number, such as Page 56. Then, click Phrase > Assign role > Page on the menu, or press Ctrl+Shift+G. Enter the properties of the page such as page number and page type in the dialog box, and click on the OK button.Other roles such as heading, silence (used for phrase detection) etc can also be assigned in a similar way.
  7. Enter the book metadata to the best of your knowledge. By default, the metadata view is hidden. You can make it visible by clicking View->Show metadata view on the menu, or by pressing Ctrl+Alt+M.
  8. Now, clean all the unreferenced audio that may be consuming a fair amount of disk space, by clicking Tools->Clean Unreferenced audio on the menu, or by pressing Ctrl+L.
  9. You are now ready to create your first DAISY DTB. Click Tools->Export as DAISY on the menu, or press Ctrl+E. You will be prompted to choose DAISY 3, DAISY 2.02 or EPUB. You can also choose to compress the audio to MP3. Your DTB will be created in the subdirectory of your project directory.

For details of any of these operations, refer to the user reference manual by clicking Help->Contents on the menu bar of Obi, or by pressing F1.


  • * There are many other commands that let you select a portion of audio and perform very minute audio editing.
  • You can also perform cut, copy, paste, or delete operations on a section, a phrase, a portion of audio, or text.
  • In addition to the play command, Obi offers a variety of commands that would make audio editing much simpler, such as preview, play with elapse back, or nudging the audio cursor.
  • Obi provides a wide range of keyboard shortcuts that would further speed up the process of book production.
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