macOS High Sierra

Enable, disable, and create dictation commands

When Enhanced Dictation is on, a default set of dictation commands (also known as spoken commands) is available for use when you dictate text. You can enable advanced dictation commands to do tasks like switch apps, navigate in windows, or search using Spotlight, and to create your own commands. For information about using dictation commands, see Control your Mac and apps using dictation commands.

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

Enable advanced dictation commands

When advanced dictation commands are enabled, the feedback window appears in the lower-right corner of the desktop, instead of following the insertion point, and remains there until you move it.

  1. Choose Apple menu > System Preferences, click Accessibility, then click Dictation.

    Open the Dictation pane for me

  2. Click Dictation Commands.

    The commands are organized into categories. By default, all selection, navigation, editing, formatting, and system commands are enabled.

  3. Select the “Enable advanced commands” checkbox.

    Additional navigation and system commands are added to the list, as well as app and document commands.

    To show more information about a command, select it in the list.

Disable specific dictation commands

If a command is repeatedly applied instead of one you expected, you can disable that command.

  1. Choose Apple menu > System Preferences, click Accessibility, then click Dictation.

    Open the Dictation pane for me

  2. Click Dictation Commands.

  3. Deselect the checkbox for a command.

    To enable the command again, select the checkbox.

Create your own dictation commands

  1. Choose Apple menu > System Preferences, click Accessibility, then click Dictation.

    Open the Dictation pane for me

  2. Click Dictation Commands.

  3. Select the “Enable advanced commands” checkbox.

  4. Do one of the following:

    • Click the Add button located above the “Enable advanced commands” checkbox.

    • Say “Create command” (if you enabled the dictation keyword phrase, say it first, as in “Computer, create command”).

    • In a document, menu, or other location where you can select text or an item, select it, then say “Make this speakable” (use the dictation keyword phrase, as necessary). An action for the command to perform is suggested; you can choose a different action from the Perform pop-up menu.

  5. Enter a name for your command, or edit the name that’s shown, following these guidelines:

    • Use two or more words, and avoid names with a single syllable. For example, use “Make text smaller” rather than “Smaller.”

    • Avoid proper names, names that sound similar to other words, or names that could be confused with other commands.

    • Don’t use names that are used for other commands. If you do, a warning icon appears next to the duplicate commands in the list of commands.

  6. Indicate whether the command is to be used in any app or in a specific app.

  7. Choose the action the command performs.

    Some actions require additional information. For example, for Paste Text, you must enter the text to be pasted whenever you say your command.

    To run Automator workflows, choose Run Workflow, then choose a standard workflow such as “New screen recording.” To run a workflow you created, choose Other.

  8. Click Done.

    Your commands appear in the User section at the top of the list.

You can use other dictation commands that macOS provides for punctuation, typography, formatting, and more, even when Enhanced Dictation is not on.