Dragon NaturallySpeaking is a pretty amazing program.
In theory, you speak, it types.
But in practice, it can be slow. It can be balky. It gets words wrong. It gets capitalization wrong. And in its default mode, it’s obtrusive. It can slow your writing down, rather than speed it up.
However, when things go right, it’s so cool! It’s so fast! You don’t have to think about spelling! You can just sit back and say stuff, and it types it out. It’s so easy and fun…. sometimes.
So let’s take a look here at some things you can do to take Dragon NaturallySpeaking from slow/error-prone/frustrating to fast/accurate/fun.
Start with Dragon NaturallySpeaking running. Right-click on the icon in your taskbar and select Tools > Options.
You’ll get a box with several tabs. Go through all those taps and disable anything you don’t use or need. For example, under the “Commands” tab, you will find a list of commands you never use.
Having fewer enabled commands lessens the potential for accidental commands being made. If you aren’t using it, take it out. You can always add it back later if you find you want it.
Under the ‘miscellaneous’ tab, make Dragon NaturallySpeaking less obtrusive by disabling the sidebar, the launch of the DragonPad, and try adjusting the faster/accurate slide bar and experiment to see what works for you. In my case, I find it doesn’t lose much accuracy to set it at ‘faster’.
You can also set the microphone to stay on for a longer period of time, as we are going to set up an easy microphone sleep hotkey in a moment.
Under the “View” tab, go minimalist by selecting the ‘tray icon only’ setting. For the results box, under ‘auto hide’, select ‘never show’.
This gets Dragon NaturallySpeaking out of your face, you’ll just be able to use it without it taking up so much room on the desktop and without annoying icons getting in the way.
Under the “Hot Keys” tab, select a really easy to reach hotkey for putting the microphone sleep on and off. I use the ‘end’ key for mine.
Following the steps above will give you a low-profile, easier to use, Dragon NaturallySpeaking. Perfect for those of us who use it primarily on our blogs and email.
There are three more things you want to do to improve speed and accuracy.
Right-click on the Dragon NaturallySpeaking icon again and select Vocabulary > Add New Word or Phrase’. Any time that the program is getting something wrong consistently, add it here. This works especially well for business names or phrases that need to be capitalized but aren’t.
Now head back to Tools > Accuracy and click on: Run The Acoustic and Language Model Optimizer. Follow the instructions there to optimize the program based on your experiences on Dragon to date. This can take a while to run.
And last of all, and the most powerful thing you can do to improved speed and accuracy, is to articulate well when speaking into the microphone.
You might practice by over-articulating your words for a short while. Open your mouth much wider than usual and really enunciate your words very, very, clearly. You will suddenly see a marked improvement in word recognition.
After practicing, you will be able to relax while still mindfully articulating well.
If word recognition becomes an issue again, practice over-articulating again.
Leave your comments about using Dragon NaturallySpeaking below. Include any tips you have picked up along the way!