Learn How To Use Dictation On Your Mac

Learn How To Use Dictation On Your Mac

Hi this is Gary with MacMost.com. Today let’s take a look at using Voice Dictation
in macOS Catalina. MacMost is brought to you thanks to a great
group of more than 500 supporters. Go to MacMost.com/patreon. There you could read more about it, join us,
and get exclusive content. So there are two ways to dictate text using
your voice on your Mac. The first way is to go to System Preferences
and then you go to Keyboard, and under Dictation you can turn on Dictation here. As you can see here what is happening is you’re
getting Siri-like functionality. So you’re speaking text and it’s being sent
over the internet to an Apple server and then being returned as text. This is useful for dictating very small pieces
of text like say a text message or a quick one sentence response to an email message. It’s very simple and there aren’t a lot of
commands. If you want to get more serious about dictation
you have to go under Accessibility and then scroll down to Voice Control. Here you can enable Voice Control. This is the same feature that allows you to
control menu items and click buttons and do all sorts of things but it also includes enhanced
dictation functionality. Previous to macOS Catalina this was called
Enhanced Dictation. Now it’s part of Voice Control under Accessibility. So if you turn this on it’s going to start
listening to you right away. So you can see I clicked on Sleep over here. This little control shows you your microphone
and you can drag it around anywhere on the screen where it’s not in your way. You have a Sleep and Wakeup button here so
you can easily turn it off. If it says Wakeup that means it’s not currently
listening. If you click it it will say Sleep and that
allows you to put it back to sleep. You can also speak these commands. So I can say Wakeup all by itself not in a
sentence like that and it should wakeup. Then say Go To Sleep and it will go back to
sleep. Let’s give it a try. Wakeup. Go To Sleep. So you can see it shows you the command above
the little box here. This should work in just about any place that
you type text on your Mac. So in the Mail app, in Messages, in a form
in a webpage, TextEdit, and of course here in Pages. So let’s give it a trial. I’ll wakeup voice control and then I’ll speak
some text and have it type it for me. The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog
period. So you can see it did a really good job here
of typing out what I said. I said the word period at the end of the sentence
and it recognized that was a punctuation mark period. Now it’s not always going to work this well. So it’s going to be important to learn all
of the different commands for editing your text. Let’s start with moving the cursor around. Moving the cursor around is important. You don’t want to have to use the mouse or
the arrow keys to do it. You want to be able to speak command and have
it move around in the text. So I’m going to use the Move command. Now I can use up and down and left and right
to move the cursor. Move left, move left, move right. Move down, move up. So I only have one line here so when I said
move down it went to the end of that line. The same that would happen if I hit the down
key right now on my keyboard. If I had multiple lines of text it would move
up and down just like those arrow keys. Now you can also say move forward or move
back followed by a number followed by a unit like Characters, Words, Sentences, Lines,
or Paragraphs. Move forward 12 characters. Move forward 3 words. Move backward 1 word. Now you can say move before and move after
and speak a phrase and the cursor should jump to the appropriate spot. Move before brown fox. Move after the lazy dog. Now you can also say move to beginning or
move to end and then the current word, sentence, whatever. So let’s give that a try. Move to beginning of word. Move to beginning of sentence. Now the next thing you want to learn is how
to select text. If you just spoke something you could say
Select That and it will select what you just spoke. So like the last sentence or phrase that you
spoke. So it’s easy to make quick corrections on
what you just typed. But you could also select things by speaking
the phrase. Select quick brown fox. Now you can also say Select Previous, or select
Next, Word, Sentences, Lines, etc. Select next word. Select next 3 words. Select previous 2 words. Now you have many ways to correct things when
they go wrong. For instance you can just use the Replace
command. Replace brown with green. You could also use the Insert Command. Insert very before green. You can also use After instead of before. There’s one phrase you should learn that makes
it really easy to correct things in most cases. That is to simply speak the words Correct
That. This takes either the last thing that you
spoke or whatever is selected and gives you some variations. So you can correct something when it got it
wrong. By facing his fears he was very courageous. Correct That. 3. You can also use Undo to undo what you’ve
typed. So if it got it completely wrong just use
Undo and start over again.This is a sentence I don’t want to keep. Undo that. You can also use Cut, Copy, and Paste just
like you can with the menus or shortcut keys. You just have to speak those terms. So let’s give that a try. Select quick brown fox. Copy that. Go to the end of the sentence. Paste that. So you can see here the key was to use the
word that. Copy that. Cut that. Paste that. What if you need to type a word that isn’t
in the dictionary like a person’s name or a location or some specialized term. Well you can use the word Type and then you
can spell it out with letters. It’s not going to get it perfect but then
you can use other commands to correct it. Type ABCDEF. Move back 5 characters. Delete previous character. Select this word. Lowercase that. Capitalize that. So notice I was able to use Lowercase That
and you can use Capitalize That and Uppercase That to take the selection and change the
case of the letters in it. So I was able to get what I wanted just by
using the commands. I had to go back and delete an extra space
there too. Now let’s say this is a word I want to use
all the time. I want to add it to the dictionary. You may have noticed there’s an Add Vocabulary
button in System Preferences. But you don’t have to go all the way there
to do it. You can select this word and say Add To Vocabulary. Select previous word. Add To Vocabulary. So you can see by doing that if I go into
System Preferences and then to Accessibility and to Voice Control, Vocabulary that word
is now in there. I can go in here and Edit that list and add
them manually if I wanted to as well. Now there are tons of other commands just
for typing special characters. For instance if I want to get to the next
line I could say New Line or Press Return Key. New Line. I could also do some things like say special
symbols. For instance Quote or Apostrophe, Plus sign,
Minus Sign. All sorts of special symbols that you could
type. If you want to type an emoji it helps to know
the name of the emoji and then say that followed by the word emoji. Smile emoji. For most punctuation you just say the punctuation. Like period, comma, dash, semicolon, colon,
exclamation mark, question mark. Things like that. Also notice if you say a number between zero
and nine it will spell it out. But you can say Numeral and then use that
to get the actual number. Seven. Numeral 7. You could even say Roman Numeral and you get
a Roman numeral typed out. Roman numeral 2020, MMXX. There’s a little bit of trouble in paradise
though when you want to spell out something that’s also a punctuation mark. Like for instance you want to use the word
period. In general it tries to guess the context and
spell out the word period rather than using a punctuation mark. But it doesn’t always work. Let’s give it a try. This occurred during the Jurassic period. This is a very short period of time. The pendulum’s . It was slowing down. So you can see there it got it wrong. When it gets it wrong it’s really hard to
correct it. You can spell out the word of course but it’s
gets pretty frustrating. So that brings me to my final tip which is
if you are able to type then this works great if you combine typing with speaking. So you can speak most of what you want to
say but keep your hands near the keyboard. If you need to type something out then you
can. If you need to make a correction you can do
it very easily. I know it can be difficult to remember all
of the different dictation commands so I made this little cheat sheet that you can download
as a pdf and then you can print it out and keep it nearby as you learn how to use dictation
in macOS Catalina.


  1. Good stuff!! Question – is there a way to make a once time donation to MacMost without subscribing to Patreon?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *