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Talking to your Mac using Dictation

From: Mac OS X Mountain Lion New Features

Video: Talking to your Mac using Dictation

New with Mountain Lion is the Dictation feature, a feature that transcribes your speech into text. You can turn on Dictation in a couple of ways. The first is to open an application that supports it. In this case we're going to use TextEdit. I'll create a new document and then I would go into the Edit menu and choose Start Dictation. Otherwise you can open up System Preferences, go to Dictation & Speech, and you can turn Dictation on here. We'll go back to the application and switch it on.

Talking to your Mac using Dictation

New with Mountain Lion is the Dictation feature, a feature that transcribes your speech into text. You can turn on Dictation in a couple of ways. The first is to open an application that supports it. In this case we're going to use TextEdit. I'll create a new document and then I would go into the Edit menu and choose Start Dictation. Otherwise you can open up System Preferences, go to Dictation & Speech, and you can turn Dictation on here. We'll go back to the application and switch it on.

So I choose Edit > Start Dictation. Now when you do this you'll see a warning or two. Apple wants you to be sure that you understand that for dictation to work the words you say must be sent to Apple, where they're processed, turned into text, and sent back to you. This means the dictation works only when your Mac has an Internet connection. This happens very quickly, but in the course of doing this, Apple learns something about the Mac you're using and keeps a record of what you said. Its privacy policy naturally prevents it from using your words in a harmful way, but you should know what's going on, and that's why there's this large About Dictation & Privacy button.

If you click on Not Now, you can't use dictation, so you have to click on OK. They issue the second warning to make sure that you really know what's going on, and then all you have to do is click on Enable Dictation. Now with dictation enabled, a small microphone window will appear, and we'll see that in just a second, indicating that your Mac is ready for you to speak. When you do that, be sure to speak clearly. You don't have to speak slowly; just be sure that you don't mumble. Now while you're speaking you're going to have to name the punctuation you're using, so let me demonstrate.

I'm now showing all of you how to use dictation, period. As you can see, I'm telling my Mac where to insert periods and commas. I can use other kinds of punctuation as well, exclamation mark. Isn't that cool? And as you saw all I have to do finish up is click on Done, or I can remain silent for several seconds. In short order, your words, or at least a very close approximation of them appears in your document.

In places where the Mac isn't quite sure about what you have just said, a blue line will appear under the questionable word. Now in this case, it's actually transcribed exactly what I wanted to do, but this blue line has appeared indicating that perhaps that word is wrong and you need to go back in and correct it. In this case I don't have to do that. If you wanted to dictate a little bit more just go back to that Edit menu or use the keyboard shortcut, start dictation, and here I am dictating one last sentence into text edit. Now you see in this case it didn't get text edit, so I would highlight that, enter it, and we're good to go.

Now let's go back to System Preferences and take a look at dictation one more time. If you don't care for the keyboard shortcut that they use, you are welcome to change them. So you can press Command key twice, left Command key twice, either Command key twice, or you can just customize and enter your own shortcut. Also when you switch off dictation in the Dictation & Speech preference, your user data and any recent voice input data is deleted from Apple's servers. So if you're concerned about the security of your information and document contents, switching off dictation is one way to clear it out quickly, and I'll do that now.

It's off and that data is now removed from Apple's servers. And there you have it, dictating with your Mac.

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Mac OS X Mountain Lion New Features

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