OS X Yosemite: Dictate your messages and documents

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Dictate your messages and documents

After you turn on dictation in Dictation & Speech preferences, you can dictate text anywhere you can type it by choosing Edit > Start Dictation.

When dictation starts, a microphone icon appears onscreen.

Turn on dictation

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

  2. Click On. If a prompt appears, click Enable Dictation.

  3. If you want to use Enhanced Dictation, select its checkbox.

    With Enhanced Dictation, your words appear while you speak, and you don’t need to be connected to the Internet. If you select this option, you’re prompted to download the language data your Mac needs for voice recognition. The amount of space required for the download depends on the language.

    If you don’t want to download the data required to use Enhanced Dictation, you can use an online dictation method. Your words appear after you’re done dictating because they are quickly sent to Apple servers to be analyzed. This method takes advantage of the latest language data. For more information, click About Dictation and Privacy.

  4. To change your dictation language, click the Language pop-up menu, then choose your language and dialect.

    If your language isn’t listed, choose Customize, then select the language you want. You can download multiple languages.

Turn off dictation

Choose Apple menu > System Preferences, click Dictation & Speech, click Dictation, then click Off.

Dictate text

  1. Place the insertion point where you want the dictated text to appear.

  2. Press the Fn (Function) key twice, or choose Edit > Start Dictation.

    The Fn (function) key is the default shortcut for starting dictation, but you can set a different shortcut.

  3. When you see the microphone icon, speak your text.

    To insert a punctuation mark, such as a period or comma, say the name of the punctuation mark. You can also perform simple formatting tasks. For example, say “new line” or “new paragraph” to insert space between lines. For a list of the commands you can use while dictating, see Commands for dictating text.

    If you’re using Enhanced Dictation, your text appears as you speak, and you can use the keyboard, mouse, trackpad, or verbal commands to edit as you go. If you’re not using Enhanced Dictation, your spoken text appears after you’re done speaking.

  4. If you downloaded multiple languages, use the pop-up menu under the microphone icon to switch languages as you dictate.

  5. When you’re done, press the Fn key or click the Done button.

Ambiguous text is underlined in blue. If the text is wrong, click it and select an alternate. You can also type or dictate the correct text.

Set a different shortcut

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

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

  2. Click the Shortcut pop-up menu, then choose a different shortcut.

    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.

Change the microphone used for dictation

The pop-up menu below the microphone icon shows which device your Mac is currently using to listen.

To change the microphone used for dictation, click the pop-up menu below the microphone icon.

If you choose Automatic, your Mac uses whichever device you selected for sound input in your Sound preferences. For more information about changing your sound input device, see Adjust your computer’s sound input settings.

If you use Enhanced Dictation, you can speak commands to control your Mac. For example, you can select text, open an app, and search using Spotlight. For more information, see Control your Mac and apps using spoken commands.

Published Date: Sep 14, 2017