Obi Quick Start Guide

Obi Quick Start Guide

This is a short tutorial on how to use Obi to create a Digital Talking Book (DTB) compliant with DAISY 3 standards. This is not a complete manual, but should help you to get started.


Screen Layout

The Obi screen is divided into five segments:

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

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

Creating a DTB

Follow the steps listed below to create your first DTB compliant with the DAISY 3 standard. You can also refer to the user reference manual by clicking Help->Contents on the menu bar of Obi, or by pressing F1 at any time.

  1. Start Obi.  A dialog box appears showing various options. Select Create a new project. Obi will open 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 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. The Audio settings dialog will be displayed; click OK.  A blank project will now open.
  3. You need to create the main structure of the book and the best place to do this is in the TOC view. Bear in mind that 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. 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 be shown in both the TOC view and the Content view.

Inserting Audio

After creating the book structure (sections and subsections), audio needs to be inserted – either via a live recording or by importing existing audio files.

Live Recording

You have the option to initiate pre-recording monitoring at this point which is advisable particularly during the first time in a recording session. Select a section in Content View and click the record button on the transport bar, or press Ctrl+R to start the pre-recording monitoring. The amplitude of the microphone input will be displayed as both a graphical peak meter as well as  textual peak meter. You can adjust the microphone volume using the system microphone amplitude control.

Click start recording on the transport bar or press Ctrl+R again to begin recording.

If you have chosen to skip the pre-recording monitoring and start recording directly, then press Ctrl+Shift+R.

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 or mp3 format, they can be imported into a section:

  1. Select a section or a phrase in the Content View.
  2. Press Ctrl+I. The Import audio files dialog will be displayed, showing the list of files to be imported, together with a few other buttons and checkboxes.
  3. Uncheck the checkbox Create a section for each audio file and  click OK.
  4. The Phrase detection settings dialog will now appear; click OK, and Obi will import the audio content from the files and split it into phrases.

Editing Audio Content

After the audio content of the book has been inserted, it can be verified and edited. Use the Up and Down arrow keys to select a section and Right or Left arrow keys to select a phrase of that section.  The following commands can be used to edit the book content:

To Edit a Phrase or its Audio Content

  • Merge phrase—Ctrl+M
  • Split phrase—Ctrl+Q
  • Phrase detection—Ctrl+Shift+P

To Edit a Section:

Commands available in the Content View:

  • Merge sections—Ctrl+Shift+M
  • Split section—Ctrl+Shift+Q 

Commands available in the TOC View:

  • Increase level of section—Ctrl+Shift+Right Arrow
  • Decrease level of section—Ctrl+Shift+Left Arrow

You should also 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.

There are 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.

Marking a page

Now that all the contents of the project of the book have been entered, verified and edited, it is time to mark pages and special roles.

  1. Select a phrase that contains the audio announcing the page number, such as Page 56.
  2. Then, click Phrase->Assign role->Page on the menu, or press Ctrl+Shift+G.
  3. 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.


Enter the book metadata to the best of your knowledge. By default, the metadata view is hidden but you can make it visible by clicking the View->Show metadata view on the menu, or by pressing Ctrl+Alt+M.

Export as DAISY DTB

You are now ready to create your first DAISY DTB.

  1. Click Tools->Export as DAISY on the menu, or press Ctrl+E.
  2. The standards selection dialog will be displayed with the DAISY 3 radio button selected; click OK.
  3. The Export dialog appears; select the checkbox Encode to MP3, and click OK.
  4. Your DTB will be created in the subdirectory of your project directory, namely DAISY3 Export.
  5. You must now authenticate your DTB before distributing it. This step is very important as you must ensure that your DTB conforms to the DAISY standard, so that it can run on DAISY 3.0 players. To validate the exported DTB, click Tools->DAISY 3 validator on the menu. Click on the OK button on the dialog box just opened.
  6. If the exported DTB does not conform to the DAISY 3 standard, an error report will be shown. Correct all the errors and export the DTB again.

Obi provides a wide range of keyboard shortcuts that would further speed up the process of book production.

Tags: Obi