Enhancing OS X Voice Dictation

I love it when I come across super cool tricks in OS X that are also super easy to use. Enhanced Dictation is a feature that certainly fits that criteria.

Voice Dictation was originally introduced to OS X with Mountain Lion (10.8), and has been improved over time. To use Dictation, you simply press the Fn (Function) key twice, speak what's on your mind, then press the Fn key again to let the system know that you are done (read more about how Dictation works here). There were two problems with Dictation when it was first introduced: 1) it would only work if you were connected to the Internet (bad news for frequent travelers) and 2) it would only allow you to speak your mind in short blurbs... up to 30 seconds. After that, it cuts you off. Enter... Enhanced Dictation!

With Enhanced Dictation in OS X Mavericks, you are now able to use Dictation without being connected to the Internet and you can speak much longer than 30 seconds. How much longer? As long as you want. Enhanced Dictation will dictate and convert your speech to text for you on the fly. This is very useful for composing long emails, letters, etc.

By default, Enhanced Dictation is turned off. To enable Enhanced Dictation, open System Preferences, then click on "Dictation & Speech". You will see the following window:

Click on the checkbox next to "Use Enhanced Dictation". Enabling Enhanced Dictation will require your system to automatically download and install a fairly large dictation library file. This is what allows you to dictate on the fly and without an Internet connection. Depending on your internet connection, this may take a few minutes to complete.

Once it's done downloading and installing the library file, you're set to go! Give it a try

Posted on April 19, 2016 and filed under How To, Mac.