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Saturday, June 04, 2016

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How to Control Your Mac OS X with Your Voice

Oyetoke Tobi - Saturday, June 04, 2016

Mac has always been there for new and wonderful features you can ever think which makes things easier when operating your computer. Nevertheless, Mac lacks a virtual assistant like the Cortana on Windows 10. With Cortana, you can control your Windows 10 pc. 


However, there are rumors that Apple will be including Siri to OS X in the nearest future, but what you may not know is that you can control your Mac with the built-in Enhanced Dictation feature easily.

The thing is that the Enhanced Dictation isn’t added to Mac to work like Siri. Because it won’t for example, check your sport scores or your e-mail, nevertheless, it does have a few commands you can use to control your computer. 

So in this guide, we’ll show you how to enable, configure, and use the Enhanced Dictation in order to control your Mac with your voice.

The Enhanced Dictation must be enabled in order for this to work. You can do this by heading to the System Preferences and click “Dictation & Speech”.


So ensure that the Dictation and Use Enhanced Dictation are both enabled. And also, you can select a different shortcut to begin the dictation tool.


You can press the “Fn” button twice i.e. if you haven’t changed the default shortcut (if you did, you can use the new shortcut) to start the dictation feature, this will bring a small microphone prompt in the bottom-right corner to notify you that dictation is on and listening to your commands.


Generally, dictating on Mac works pretty well and smooth. With it, you can dictate a complete sentence without errors. But still, you may probably want to use the keyboard for most of your weighty writing.

You can follow these guidelines to know how to use the commands in a productive manner.

Whenever dictating a command, it works best if you pause for a few seconds before saying the command or else it will be translated into spoken text.

In case you want to see the list of available commands you can use, just say “Show Commands” and say “Hide Commands” to hide them.

In case you would love to know how to execute a specific action, you can just say, “How do I …” for instance, “How do I delete a file?

And if you would like to have better control over the commands you can use or even create new commands, navigate to the Accessibility -> Dictation panel and click on “Dictation Commands…”



So from there, if you wish to disable a command, just uncheck the box next to it, and if you want to remove a command totally, click on the “-” sign.


If you want to add a custom command, click on the “+” and then you can add a phrase, select an application and specify an action to execute.


In order to attain excellent results when creating commands, follow the below guidelines:

1. You can use at least two words or more; prevent using names that consist of one word.

2. Try not to use proper nouns or words that sound similar to other words.

3. You shouldn’t use words that are already in used by other commands, or else a warning icon will show next to the duplicate in the list of commands.

When you’ve finished setting your commands, you can click the “Done” button and your custom commands will show at the top the “User” section.

In case Siri makes its way onto OS X, of course, you will almost certainly be able to trigger it with your voice. So you can also trigger the dictation feature with your voice, even if it’s unstable or shaky.

You can do this by opening the Accessibility options in the System Preferences.


Once the Accessibility preference has been opened, then scroll down to the bottom and select "Dictation".


So enable and give a dictation keyword phrase, this simply means that immediately it’s listening, we can easily trigger the dictation features to start with the required keyword phrase you’ve specified. 

You can configure your computer to listen for this phrase, by clicking the microphone icon at the menu bar and then select “Listen with Required Keyword Phrase”.


Your computer is now ready to accept your command at anytime if you use the right keyword phrase “Computer”.

The only drawback when using a keyword phrase is that you can’t literally train dictation to your voice. We couldn’t make the computer respond to this way when we used it; however, we found a keypress way that works very accurately.

The dictation tool it’s a pretty cool way to perform quite a few powerful commands and also dictate text easily. So after enabling, then you can now start controlling Mac with your voice. And we hope Apple will add Siri to Mac in the nearest feature.



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