Use Dictation Commands to tell your Mac what to do

The Dictation Commands feature allows you to speak to your Mac to make it perform certain actions.

When you turn on Dictation, you can do more than use your voice to enter text on your Mac. You can also use dictation commands to tell your Mac what to do, like ”undo that” or ”select the previous sentence.”

Turn on Dictation Commands

Most dictation commands turn on automatically when you turn on Enhanced Dictation:

  1. Choose Apple menu () > System Preferences, click Keyboard, then click Dictation.
  2. Turn on Dictation, then select “Use Enhanced Dictation.”

You can now get a list of commands and select the ones that you want to use: 

  1. Choose Apple menu > System Preferences, then click Accessibility.
  2. Select Dictation from the accessibility categories on the left. Then click the Dictation Commands button.
  3. A list of dictation commands opens. Use the checkboxes to turn commands on or off. Click a command to see which phrases work with that command. For example, “Undo that” works with several phrases, including “Undo this" and “Scratch that.” 

    Select “Enable advanced commands” to get additional commands.

Use dictation commands

To use any of the commands that you turned on, first make your Mac listen for dictation commands:

  • Press the keyboard shortcut for starting dictation. The default shortcut is Fn Fn (press the Fn key twice).
  • Or turn on the option “Enable the dictation keyword phrase,” which is next to the Dictation Commands button. You can then speak the dictation keyword phrase to let your Mac know that the next thing you say after the keyword phrase will be a dictation command.

Then speak any of the phrases that work with a dictation command. You can even say “Show commands” to open a window showing all of the dictation commands available to you.

Create your own commands

After you select “Enable advanced commands,” an Add  button appears beneath the list of commands.

  1. Click the Add  button to add “undefined command” to the list of commands.
  2. Click the undefined command to select it, then configure these options:
    • When I say: Enter the word or phrase that you want to speak to perform the action.
    • While using: Choose whether your Mac performs the action only when you're using a particular app.
    • Perform: Choose the action to perform. You can open a Finder item, open a URL, paste text, paste data from the clipboard, press a keyboard shortcut, select a menu item, or run an Automator workflow.  

To learn more about dictation, choose Help from the Finder menu bar, then search for “dictation.”

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