Frequently Asked Questions

Speedread this document
So what does SpeedRead.io let me do?
SpeedRead.io gives you the ability to speed read PDF documents, Word documents, .txt files, websites, blogs and Wikipedia entries at speeds you thought were impossible. It is particularly effective at enabling you to read lengthy, text-heavy documents or web pages quickly.
How does it work?
SpeedRead.io uses a technique called Rapid Serial Visual Presentation (“RSVP”). Instead of the usual left-to-right reading pattern RSVP presents words one after the other at the same place on the screen. The effect is to reduce or even eliminate the “saccades” - the movement of the eyes and refixation from one word to the next. These saccades have the unfortunate effect of limiting the speed at which we can read even though the brain is capable of understanding text far more quickly. RSVP, in reducing saccades, allows most readers to dramatically increase the speed at which they can read.
Can I try it out for free?

Sure! Go to our homepage at www.SpeedRead.io, click on the “Try it out!” button at the top of the page, upload a PDF file that you want to read, and away you go!

Feel like polishing off a classic book on your lunchbreak? Head over to www.SpeedRead.io/free-classics and start wowing your co-workers with Kafka and H.G. Wells references.

What document types do you support?
SpeedRead.io allows you to speed read PDF documents, Word documents, .txt files, websites, blogs and Wikipedia entries.
Can I use SpeedRead.io on a mobile device?
Yes. We have designed the speed reading pane so that it works well on mobile web. Native apps for iOS and Android are on their way and will be complimentary for website users.
How long does reading with SpeedRead.io take to learn?
In our experience testing with long-suffering friends and family, about 2 minutes.
Does using SpeedRead.io require special training?
Not at all. However, experience tells us that the more you read the faster you will get. Focus on the bold character and relax. The key is not to try to read the whole word - just focus on that bold character and, like magic, you'll "get" the word on the screen.
Are there different speeds? Can I change the speed to match my reading level?
Yes. You can set the reading speed from 100 - 1,000 words per minute (wpm) and fine tune in 50 wpm increments. We suggest you start on 200 wpm and work upwards from there.
Which speed should I use?
This depends on the individual. However, we've found that it's best to start people at 150 - 200 wpm for their first SpeedRead.io experience.
Will I be able to speed read faster over time?
Yes. The RSVP technique allows your brain to focus and as a result, you will start to notice that you want to increase the speed naturally.
I read a lot of academic texts with references and citations which break up the text. How do you handle that?
Academic texts with substantial numbers of references present a challenge to presenting a flow of clear narrative text within the reader pane. We have found that the best way to get over this issue is to allow you to define whether the reader skips sentences which contain a year in brackets (e.g. Maynard Smith, John (1998)). With this option switched on - the default setting - the reader typically does a good job in skipping parenthetical references within a text that would otherwise disrupt the narrative reading experience. This is, however, a work in progress and to some extent we rely on users to let us know about reference and citation formats that could use some work. If you experience one of these please don’t hesitate to drop us a note with an example at Team@SpeedRead.io.
How do you deal with abbreviations like e.g. and i.e.?
Unless you change the settings we default to presenting common abbreviations such as these as one word.
The reader has more controls than I’ve seen before. Can you list them?
Sure! As a result of considerable user feedback we’ve added the following media controls (with keyboard shortcuts in brackets) to the reader pane:
  • Play/Pause (Space Bar)
  • Go to next/previous paragraph (Left / Right Arrow)
  • Increase/decrease speed in 50 wpm increments (P / L)
  • Go to beginning of document (Shift + H)
In the account management section you can also:
  • Set length of pause after paragraphs and periods
  • Toggle abbreviations as one word on or off
  • Toggle skipping sentences which contain a year in brackets on or off
Can I share files with friends, colleagues and family?
Once you have uploaded a document to your SpeedRead.io account, hover over the document tile and click "Share." A dialog box will open where you can either copy a link to the file, send the link by email to multiple recipients, or share the link on either Twitter or Facebook.

Here is an example of a sharing link: https://speedread.io/share/1acc6902f67062627497308e51e05479

What does someone see when I share a file?

When someone clicks on your sharing link they will be taken to webpage where they will be able to speed read the document. Here is an example: https://speedread.io/share/1acc6902f67062627497308e51e05479

Recipients do not need to be signed up for SpeedRead.io in order to read the document.

Below the URL upload bar it says “See our list of optimized websites.” What does this mean?

Websites are often “messy” not just in design but also within the underlying code. That can sometimes make it difficult for us to extract the content that’s most relevant to you. For this reason we’ve taken some of the world’s most popular sites (like CNN, BBC News and ESPN) and specifically trained our system, or “optimized”, to extract the right text.

You can still upload any URL but these sites perform particularly well with SpeedRead.io.

Is there a website you read regularly but that isn’t covered in our optimized list? If so, drop us a line at team@speedread.io and we’ll see what we can do.

What does SpeedRead.io cost?
It’s a steal at $5 per month for unlimited usage.
Can I cancel my account at any time?

We take cancellations in person at our Shetland Island offices in person on the 3rd Friday of every month.

Just kidding! You can cancel your account online at any time.

Do you hold my credit card details on file?
No we don’t. We use a 3rd party payments provider called Stripe who have been audited by a PCI-certified auditor, and is certified to PCI Service Provider Level 1. This is the most stringent level of certification available.
I’ve got more questions, who do I contact?
Drop us a note at Team@SpeedRead.io (we read every email and particularly like funny pictures of dogs dressed up as movie characters).

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