macOS High Sierra

Control your Mac and apps using dictation commands

When Enhanced Dictation is on, you can use dictation commands (also known as spoken commands) to perform tasks and control your Mac while dictating text. A set of selection, navigation, editing, formatting, and system commands is enabled by default. For example, you can say commands to select text, to scroll a document, or to press the Return key.

For more advanced tasks, such as switching apps, navigating in windows, or searching with Spotlight, you can enable a set of advanced dictation commands and even create your own commands.

You can set an option to say a dictation keyword phrase so you can start dictating and use dictation commands even when you’re not dictating text.

Note: Before you can use any dictation commands, you must turn on Dictation.

  1. Press the dictation keyboard shortcut or, if you enabled the dictation keyword phrase, say the phrase followed by “start dictating,” as in “Computer, start dictating.”

    If advanced commands aren’t enabled, the pointer or focus must be in an input area, such as a document or a search field. The feedback window appears and moves along with the insertion point.

  2. Say a command. If you’re dictating text, pause a few seconds before saying the command (otherwise, it may be dictated as text).

    Here are some tips for using dictation commands:

    • If you see the feedback window, you don’t need to say the keyword phrase (although you can still say it, if you want).

    • To display a list of commands, say “Show commands.” The list varies depending on the app you’re working in, or what you’re doing. For example, you see formatting commands while in a TextEdit document, but not while in System Preferences.

    • To quickly search the list of commands, say “How do I <action>?” For example, say “How do I scroll?” to see commands related to scrolling.

  3. When you’re done, say “Stop dictating” or press the dictation keyboard shortcut.

If dictation commands aren’t recognized when you say them or the microphone in the feedback window doesn’t respond to your voice, try these solutions.