macOS High Sierra

Dictation preferences

Use Dictation preferences to turn on Dictation and choose a language and keyboard shortcut to use when you dictate. For more information about using dictation, see Dictate your messages and documents.

To open Dictation preferences, choose Apple menu > System Preferences, click Keyboard, then click Dictation.

Open the Dictation pane for me


Click the pop-up menu below the microphone icon, then choose a microphone. If you choose Automatic, your Mac listens to the device you’re most likely to use for dictation.


Turn dictation on and off.

Use Enhanced Dictation

With Enhanced Dictation, you can dictate offline, without an Internet connection. You can also use dictation commands (also known as spoken commands) to perform tasks and control your Mac while dictating text. You can use a dictation keyword phrase, which allows you to use dictation commands even when you’re not dictating text. For more information, see Dictation preferences for accessibility.

The first time you turn on Enhanced Dictation, and when you add languages to use with it, macOS downloads additional software that allows dictation to work offline. The amount of free disk space required to download this software varies depending on the language.

If you don’t want to download the software required to use Enhanced Dictation, you can deselect Enhanced Dictation and use server-based dictation. With server-based dictation, your words are quickly sent to Apple servers to be analyzed using the latest language data. The final converted text appears after you end dictation.


Choose a language (different languages may be available when Enhanced Dictation is selected). Dictation is not available in all languages.

If you don’t see the language you want in the pop-up menu, choose Add Language or Customize to download it. You can download multiple languages.

If you no longer want to use a language you downloaded, you can remove it. Click the Language pop-up menu, choose Customize, then deselect the language you don’t want to use.


By default, you press the Fn (Function) key twice to start or stop dictation. If you like, you can choose a different shortcut from the pop-up menu.

To create a shortcut that’s not in the list, choose Customize, then press the keys you want to use. For example, you could press Option-Z.

About Dictation and Privacy

Click to learn how Dictation sends your dictated speech to Apple and uses personal information such as your name, your contacts, and other data to understand you better and recognize what you say.