Use Voice Control commands to interact with your Mac
After you turn on Voice Control on your Mac, you can speak commands to navigate the desktop and apps, interact with what’s on the screen, dictate and edit text, and more.
Note: When Voice Control is on, you use Voice Control to dictate text; standard macOS Dictation isn’t available. If you just want to enter text using Dictation, without controlling your Mac with your voice, see Dictate messages and documents.
Start using commands
To use Voice Control on your Mac, just say a command.
Voice Control: Say, for example, “Open Mail,” “Scroll down,” or “Click Done.”
When you say commands in quick succession—such as “Scroll up,” “Move cursor right 5 pixels,” “Press OK”—pause about half a second between commands.
Tip: You can use the interactive Voice Control Guide to get familiar with Voice Control and practice essential commands. Choose Apple menu > System Settings, click Accessibility in the sidebar, click Voice Control on the right (you may need to scroll down), then click Open Guide.
Pause or resume Voice Control
Pause Voice Control when you don’t want words you say to be interpreted as commands or dictation. Resume Voice Control when you’re ready for it to listen for commands and dictation again.
Voice Control: Say “Stop listening” or “Start listening.”
See what commands you can use
Display a list of the available commands, which vary depending on the app you’re working in and what you’re doing. For example, you see text formatting commands while in a text document, but not while in a settings window.
Voice Control: Say “Show commands.”
To browse the full list of supported commands and see examples of how to use them, choose Apple menu > System Settings, click Accessibility in the sidebar, click Voice Control on the right, then click Commands. (You may need to scroll down.)
Label onscreen items
When you’re not sure what to call something, you can display a name or number next to each item on the screen. You can then use the item’s name or number to interact with it.
Voice Control: Say “Show names” or “Show numbers.”
To interact with an item, say its name or number, or say a command—such as “Click”—followed by the item’s name or number. The item names or numbers disappear after you say the command.
Show a numbered grid on the screen
You can make it easier to interact with a precise area of the screen by superimposing a grid.
Voice Control: Say “Show grid.” To display a grid only over the active window, say “Show window grid.”
Interact with a location on the grid: If a number is at the location you want to interact with, say any command—such as “Click”—followed by the grid number. The grid disappears after you say the command.
Drill down on an area of the grid: If you need to further refine the location, say a grid number to drill down in that area.
You can drill down multiple times. When an area can’t be drilled into further, the numbers are no longer framed and saying a number performs the Click command.
Tip: When item names, numbers, or a numbered grid are shown, you can drag and drop an item using the names or numbers of the item and the drop location. Say “Drag <item name or number> to <location name or number>.”
Say “Hide names,” “Hide numbers,” or “Hide grid” to turn the overlay off.
Dictate words and custom spellings
When working in a text input area, you can dictate word by word (using Dictation mode) or character by character (using Spelling mode). Switch to Command mode—Voice Control responds only to commands—when you want to avoid entering text by mistake.
Voice Control: Say “Dictation mode” to dictate word by word.
Any words you say that aren’t Voice Control commands are entered as text. Dictation mode is on by default.
Voice Control: Say “Spelling mode” to dictate character by character.
Spelling mode is helpful when you need to enter a password, a web address, or another sequence of characters that wouldn’t be recognized as a word in Dictation mode.
Tip: To increase accuracy when entering letters, you can use the letter’s phonetic alphabet code word (for example, say “Alfa Bravo Charlie” to enter “abc”).
When Spelling mode is on, an icon appears in the text input area.
Note: Spelling mode isn’t available in all Voice Control languages.
Commands for working with text are shared between Dictation mode and Spelling mode. For example, while editing text in Dictation mode, you could say “Replace cat with dog”; to do the same thing in Spelling mode, you could say “Replace Charlie Alfa Tango with Delta Oscar Golf.”
On your Mac, you can see a list of dictation and text editing commands you can use. Choose Apple menu > System Settings, click Accessibility in the sidebar, then click Voice Control on the right (you may need to scroll down). Click Commands, then scroll down. You can also click the “Dictation mode” or “Spelling mode” command to see a list of characters you can enter and what to say to enter them.
Voice Control: Say “Command mode” to have Voice Control respond only to commands.
Words and characters that aren’t commands are ignored and aren’t entered as text. Command mode is helpful when you need to say a series of commands and don’t want them inadvertently entered in a text input area.
When Command mode is on, an icon appears in the text input area to indicate you can’t dictate to enter text.
Use Voice Control with VoiceOver
To use Voice Control with VoiceOver on your Mac, just say a command.
Voice Control: Say, for example, “VoiceOver rotor,” “VoiceOver read all,” or “VoiceOver select first item.”
To see a list of the Voice Control commands you can use with VoiceOver, choose Apple menu > System Settings, click Accessibility in the sidebar, then click Voice Control on the right. (You may need to scroll down.) Click Commands, then scroll to the set of Accessibility commands.
Tip: If you use Voice Control with VoiceOver, try using headphones to help ensure Voice Control hears only you speaking.