Using Dragon Voice Recognition to control your computer
When you first get Dragon Dictate, your first thought will be how you can use it to dictate (Obviously) and have it convert your speech into text. It does take time to train the application to recognise your voice. It also takes time for you to get used to speaking in a way that works best for dictation using DragonDictate. DragonDictate is quite a large application and there is a lot to learn when you first get started. So concentrating on the main use or feature of the application, which is dictation, is going to make sense. I would be inclined to recommend that every now and then, you choose an application that works with DragonDictate, such as Finder and see what else you can do.
Starting off by navigating around DragonDictate
Aside from the actual conversion of your speech to text, you want to do things like moving the cursor to the beginning of the document, or to the end. There are commands that you can use to make these things happen very easily, by using them a few times they will soon work their way into your memory. It is even possible to do a copy and paste using DragonDictate. First of all use the commands to select the text and it is possible to select portions of text and not just one word. In fact you can use the command to Select All and to either cut or copy that into the clipboard. All you have to do then is to get the cursor to where you want that text to go, this could be within the Dragon Dictate window or even within another application.
The DragonDictate Windows
The status window
It is possible for you to either show or hide the status window. This status window shows you what is happening within the application, you get a meter which shows you the volume of your voice as well as various icons to clue you up on what is happening with the application. It shows you whether you are in spelling mode, dictation mode, number mode, or command mode. I find that most of the time I will be in dictation mode with the occasional excursion into spelling mode.
The Available Commands Window
This window is really useful when you are learning to use DragonDictate, both within the application and with other external Mac applications. It does what it says on the tin – Showing you the commands that are available for what you are doing, wherever you are doing it. The commands are split up into three sections, 1. Dictation, 2. Global, 3. Dragon Dictate. Just looking within the commands available within the dictation list you will see that there are a ton of possible commands that you can use. It is easy to see why you need to spend time and effort in learning how to properly use DragonDictate. Well worth the effort though to use Dragon Voice Recognition and get all Star Trekky in the way that you work.
Within the global list you will be able to see commands that will let you either quit or activate other applications. Also within that list you will see that you can do things with your mouse or keyboard commands. So for example you could tell it to press Cmd, Shift and F10 and your Mac will do whatever you have assigned to that hotkey setup. It is pretty bloody amazing really. There is even a command that you can use to do a screen capture.
The Recognition Window
The Dragon voice recognition window is something that you will want to have open most of the time when you are dictating. When the application is not quite sure of what it is that you said, it will offer you alternatives and you can say the word choose followed by the right number. Most times this will give you the phrase that you actually said and when it doesn’t, you can use the word edit followed by the number for the phrase you want to edit. This way you can do some corrections on the phrase which is closest to what you actually said. At the bottom of this DragonDictate recognition window you also see a drop-down for Related Commands. This just gives you five of the commands that you are most likely to use at that point.
Operations on your computer that you can control with DragonDictate
You can issue commands that will switch you to another application, so if for instance I want to use the Finder on my Mac, I just have to say “Activate Finder”. Or I might be in another application already and I want to quit it, so I just have two say “Quit MarsEdit” and that application will close down. And the same sort of thing again with any of your applications such as Evernote or Skitch.
Quite often when you are using your computer you will get dialog windows pop-up in which you will need to either press cancel or press OK. Dragon gives you commands that you can use to do these things without having to reach for the keyboard. It is true that you do need to know the exact words required for the command, but practice and constant use will reinforce these things into your memory.
Working with applications that are not fully supported by DragonDictate
There is something within DragonDictate which is called the Express Editor and this is a window which pops up above the application which you are trying to put text into. You dictate your text in as per normal and then when you are finished you use the command “Transfer the Text” and that text is inserted into your application. This facility is not one that you are likely to have to use very often, but it is nice to know that it is there if you need it.